they are expertly constructed. they are really quite beautiful and extraordinary. they are yet another example of the amazing capabilities of the honey bee. they are queen cups, and here they are, on the frames in our hive::
my heart sank more than a little upon discovering them. i believe our queen is still alive, but she is not working to her full potential and these queen cups are proof that the worker bees have noticed. these cups can be a precursor to swarming. it truly is amazing stuff, but not the kind of happenings you want to find in your hive at this point in the season. my bee mentor, claire, has told me not to worry, as all cups are empty. i'll be going in today, weather permitting, to do some rearranging and a slow, steady, full inspection of every frame. fingers crossed.