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Well, this capping is not 'normal' or 'usual'. Notice the rosette pattern? one normal looking brood cell was surrounded by six sunken cells. Normal brood should all look like the center cell. After seeing this in my observation colony, I was betting with my lab members that there were probably no brood in these sunken cells. I was wrong! there were normal worker pupae in all cells. Genetic? when the colony swarmed, I harvested it and the same queen produced similar pattern in the new colony! I should have saved a frame in the freezer and could have published another paper...Prof. Randall Hepburn (South Africa) has written a book on wax of bees and showed many strange patterns but he has not seen this type either. He did see rosette patterns before, but usually the center cell is a 'false' cell (no larva). Here all cells have larvae. MSU observation hive, May 3, 2000.

Note, I have discovered (on June 3rd, 2003, three years and one month later...) another queen is doing this again, in the same observation hive! We will try to 'study' what causes these wierd cappings to occur.-- Zachary Huang


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