Monday, May 30, 2011
The Difference Between Drone and Queen Cells
Oh, no! Queen Cells, I thought.
They weren't. They're drone cells.
Drone cells are large with cupped tops, almost like bullets. The cells are larger to accommodate the bigger boys. You'll often see them sticking out of the middle of a frame. They look like large golden muffin tops.
When there's a bit more space in a hive and the bees build burr comb the queen will often sneak in there and lay drone eggs. You'll lift off a super or a deep and see clumps of comb along the bottom or stuck to the bars of the box underneath. These cells often get torn apart when you separate the boxes, spilling fat white drone pupae out.
If it's honey in these combs you can lay it out on the front stoop and the bees will happily lick them clean. I think they might even take some of the wax back to reuse too, but I'm not certain about that.
When I first starting beekeeping I had a difficult time telling the difference between drone and queen cells. But they're not hard to tell apart because they are different.
[Photo - two drone cells and a cluster of four are to the right - notice their position is the same as worker cells. The large queen cell is far left, pointing down.]
I hope this is helpful to the other beginners out there.