On a Frame of Emerged and Capped Queen Cells, Will the Workers Destroy the Capped Cells?
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David D asks —
On a frame that has emerged queen cells and capped queen cells, is it most likely that the capped cell contents have been killed and of no use in trying to raise a queen in a nuc? Are these cells eventually torn down by the workers?
Rusty Burlew replies:
It’s possible that your colony swarmed without you knowing about it. If so, you may have more than one virgin that will fight for supremacy. The capped cells may be preparation for after-swarms.
If the colony intends to release an after-swarm, the workers will not kill the capped queens. Instead they will protect them.
However, if the colony doesn’t need those queens, they will kill them and then dismantle the cells.
Those cells are likely viable and can be used for nucs. However, make sure you have a laying queen before you take them, or you may be left queenless.
You can check for viability with an infrared camera. A hot spot usually means you have a queen inside, although sometimes it’s just a worker. Be gentle. It’s easy to damage a developing queen with rough handling or extreme temperatures.