I took a moment this week to head over to my third hive. I had not visited it in a couple of weeks. When I arrived I could not believe my eyes. I opened the hive and discovered that the population had boomed!!! The hive was crowded. At 1 pm in the afternoon, most of the bees were still foraging away from the hive. This was when those bees were not home. I could only imagine the lack of space when they returned for the evening. I needed to intervene. I did a thorough inspection. and was surprised to find multiple queen cups
Everything looked fantastic! The queen was easy to find-she has a red dot on her. The brood looked great and the honey stores were good. They were just running out of room and a bit cranky because of crowding. I had already placed one honey super on the hive and decided to place another on top. This was like adding another floor to their bee high rise. With the extra space, they have more room plus busy work with new foundation to build out. I did find two empty queen cups. I removed them.
In my research, I have learned that most hives keep a couple of queen cups ready for use-just in case they need to requeen the hive. However, it is not uncommon to find queen cups when the hive is getting ready to swarm. Queen cups are usually found at the lower portion of a frame. They look like dangling peanuts off the frame and have openings on the bottom. So, regardless of why they were there, I just removed them. It will not harm the hive. Now with the extra space, if they were going to swarm, hopefully they will change their mind.
Photo Credit: Tilly’s Nest