What is a Queen Cup?

A queen cup is the beginning of a queens cell, typically found throughout beehives during the spring and summer. For bees, a queen cup is merely insurance for when it is time to raise a new queen. Building a queen cup is the equivalent of pouring a concrete foundation for a home, just in case you need to build a new home very quickly. If bees do need a queen cup, bees can move a new egg into the queen cup and add fresh comb to the queen cup to turn it into a queen cell. 

Even though the bees will build 10-15+ in a single hive of these cups, they are rarely being used.  If a beekeeper sees a queen cup, it's wise to tilt the frame up and look into the cup for any sign of a queen. If there is a larva or royal jelly, then it means the bees are likely preparing to swarm or to replace their queen with a new one. 

A typical queen cup on the side of the frame.

 The view a beekeeper will need to see if a queen cup has a larva in it. 

The view a beekeeper will need to see if a queen cup has a larva in it. 

 Three queen cups with larva and royal jelly in them. 2 of the have been broken open to show their contents.

Three queen cups with larva and royal jelly in them. 2 of the have been broken open to show their contents.

Happy Beekeeping