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Author Topic: White "stuff" in many cells  (Read 202 times)

Offline Pete F

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White "stuff" in many cells
« on: April 19, 2019, 01:35:02 am »
I'm in upper north shore in Sydney and did a relatively late split into a Poly nuc on 9th February. The split went fine and they produced a laying queen. I just did an inspection, saw the queen and standing eggs. There are no queen cells in the nuc.

There doesn't seem to be much to eat at the moment and the colony hasn't been able to expand much from the initial split. The humid weather has produced a lot of hive beetles and the nuc has carolleled quite a stash. I would like them stronger going in to winter so have decided to feed them @ 1:1. My feeders are too large to fit the nuc, I just tried an entrance feeder and that was an unmitigated disaster, so will try feeding via a ziplock bag.

During the inspection I saw what looks like royal jelly coloured fluid in a lot of nectar cells. I'll try to attach a photo. I wondered if anyone could tell me what this is?

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Offline eltalia

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Re: White "stuff" in many cells
« Reply #1 on: April 19, 2019, 06:00:02 am »
Certainly looks the part of RJ, which is weird given your context description.
A wider shot showing those cells located where in relation to the rest would
help.

Are you looking for guidance on anything else mentioned, or all under control?


Cheers...

Bill

Offline Pete F

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Re: White "stuff" in many cells
« Reply #2 on: April 19, 2019, 10:51:14 am »
Thanks, I've already bothered the girls enough for a while so other than feeding them I think I'll leave them be.

The cells are in frames of nectar/honey. It's also in cells around the brood where the bees would normally store honey, in fact in the last two photos you can see some capped brood cells They did back fill the occasional brood cell with the same type of fluid in otherwise relatively good coverage. Given the relatively small cluster and the season maybe they're doing that for efficiency? I hope feeding them can induce the queen to lay and fill up the frames.

The white "stuff" is in the bottom of the cells and sometimes gets topped off with regular nectar/honey, sometimes not. I didn't notice any in my other hives, but only checked the top supers. I still have double supers on the full size hives. The bees were having trouble capping the honey off, and now even look to be drawing down on it, so they're still on there. We haven't had much flow for a while.

Offline eltalia

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Re: White "stuff" in many cells
« Reply #3 on: April 19, 2019, 06:25:46 pm »
Mornin' Pete.
I am of the mind there exists an anomally in your view/assessment of the cell use
distribution as where there is RJ and pollen (beebread) there should be more of the
same, n0t uncapped stores.
Looking at it as "RJ amongst "nectar"" isn't how bees work **unless** they are
backfilling brood cells - what I suspect is happening here.
Clearly you believe feeding bees lollywater (syrup) is a solution for the problem of
doing splits whenever, in lieu of building startups on a flow or in the days before flows
are imminent. To that I'll simply say this is folly and more often than not does not
build sustainable colonys yet can and does pop many weird and puzzling outcomes...
.. for bees.

Despite the mountain of rhetoric around feeding bees there is never and never has
been any requirement by bees to be fed lollywater, and for a beekeeper doing so is
regressive in the apiary. Starving bees are another matter, requiring supplement
feeding under close observation. North Shore in Sydney post Xmas no bees are
starving, low level forage maybe but a long way from so deprived as to require feeding.


You will feed anyway, so the takeaway suggestion is to dye the syrup to both clarify
(prove) backfilling and put another aspect to your husbandry which may in time have
your approach change - verdant green is a fine colour.
I attach a tute for broodframes in a startup, in landscape view.
Good luck and mind how you go.

Cheers...

Bill
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Offline Pete F

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Re: White "stuff" in many cells
« Reply #4 on: April 19, 2019, 09:20:01 pm »
I am feeding sugar syrup 1:1 to promote the queen to lay, an established and well regarded management technique where there is insufficient bees and/or resources for them to build by themselves. I had not fed that split when I made it, and it existed off the stores I provided. It is only now as we go in to winter I have decided to give them a hand. The Poly hives are excellent, but can't do everything. Hive Beetle was a big problem in this region and I would like a stronger colony for numerous reasons.

I have been referring to their stores as "nectar" as that's about all it's been. Our bees were having a hard time drying the honey at the end of this season and full frames of honey in full size hives took ages to be capped or weren't able to be capped. New stores didn't progress and was little more than nectar. As I mentioned in my first post, I believe they are now consuming their stores in all hives. We are surrounded by dense Eucalyptus bushland, with residential gardens also within easy flight distance.

As far as the placement of this white "stuff", it is on both brood and honey frames, but stored either alone or with "honey". It did occur to me last night that it may be Royal Jelly left over from the initial split, but I think I would have noticed that before now on a earlier inspections when I checked and marked the queen. I would also have expected them to have re-consumed that by now if that was the case.

Offline eltalia

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Re: White "stuff" in many cells
« Reply #5 on: April 19, 2019, 11:22:22 pm »
"I am feeding sugar syrup 1:1 to promote the queen to lay, an established and well regarded
management technique where there is insufficient bees and/or resources for them to build by
themselves"

And right there is the thing Pete - in the runup to Winter (anywhere) the last thing
needed is prolific reproduction. Bees themselves determine this and tell the
not-so-clued so by backfilling when lollywater is shoved into them.
Nevermind the harm done to workings in the gut before a time bees require maximum
health to survive a long dearth.
Buuuut not my job to 'lecture' the faith believers, I simply point to example in it only
 being "well regarded management technique" amongst those pushing shi77y built
nuclei and mashed up packages to a demanding market - many buyers within who
 know no better.

That there is new made RJ Pete, and as put, "weird"... quite evident is the confusion
when bees are placing more lollywater on top of made RJ.
Makes for great food for whatever, n0t.

Believe it or not, lollywater as a mantra is a new generation thing in beekeeping. Those
of insight having dabbled in it soon recognised there was no true benefit for bees..
... merely an illusion of activity some read as beneficial to they themselves, in the hip
pocket.

Cheers...

Bill

Offline Pete F

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Re: White "stuff" in many cells
« Reply #6 on: April 20, 2019, 12:37:17 am »
Bill here is a DPI produced document on the feeding of bees. I'd encourage you to pursue your opinion regarding "lollywater" with them, as I'm sure they would be interested in your expertise. https://www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0018/532260/Feeding-sugar-to-honey-bees.pdf

I only began feeding yesterday, and will only do so for as long as it takes for the nuc to establish itself as a viable colony with stores going in to winter. That nuc was established for a specific purpose when I had available time. The assertion that they are backfilling cells with "lollywater" is completely false, as I only began feeding (sparingly) yesterday after the photos were taken.

It would be good to get to the bottom of what the white fluid is, and whether others have seen this situation before. It looks to me like Royal Jelly, but I don't know why it would be where it is, the amount that's there, both in the overall nuc and in each cell. Discussions about the pros/cons of feeding don't add to this question but would make interesting reading in another thread.

Offline kanga

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Re: White "stuff" in many cells
« Reply #7 on: April 20, 2019, 02:00:19 am »
Pete

In my 40 odd years of keeping bees I have never seen them store RJ in the frame. I believe the nurse bees produce it as required. To gather commercial quantities of Royal Jelly they generally wait until the larvae are 3 days old as this will result in the highest yield of royal jelly. So it is harvested from cells which contain larvae and the royal jelly has been placed there by the nurse bees to feed the larvae, not from frames where bees have stored royal jelly for future use.

Looking at your photos I am unable to say exactly what it is that they have stored.

Now I am not saying that I am 100% correct and if someone else has seen bees store Royal Jelly in cells for future use then perhaps they might like to respond.

Kev

Offline Pete F

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Re: White "stuff" in many cells
« Reply #8 on: April 20, 2019, 02:11:45 am »
Couldn't agree more Kev. It quite possibly isn't RJ at all, but it's certainly what Royal Jelly looks like, though maybe a bit thicker?

Offline eltalia

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Re: White "stuff" in many cells
« Reply #9 on: April 20, 2019, 04:49:05 am »
"Bill here is a DPI produced document on the feeding of bees. "

That doc is actually a Doug Somerville production Pete, a relative newcomer to
the industry, it is not just that publication alone I and others take issue with
in Doug's (errrr) let's say 'ignorant enthusiasm' - when running unchallenged
amongst those genuinely seeking accurate devolution of husbandry topics - that
has looks cast his way by those with broken backs and bee money in the bank.
Some strange views on important topics as AFB and package builds has our Doug,
bless him in his G'mnt charge.
You bring that (comment) to the table. And now you also bring a new timeline, as
an afterthought I note. These are reactives, not the contribution of a thinker, Peter.

Like Kanga - and no doubt those paying attention to frame scans - "white stuff"
in frame cells is usually clearly something else other than RJ. However in giving
you the benefit of the doubt in actually knowing RJ when you see/feel/ taste it
I  can only insist this materal is RJ, as to why it is there *and* having stores
added on top is as put "weird". Just as weird as a bee owner attempting to
excite bees into expansion immediately before a weather period known to vary
wildly in bee friendly conditions.
You keep right on feeding lollywater as you will, and if not paying attention to cell
builds over what's left of April at least turn an eye to the sky -  midmorning on any
fine windless day. As *if* that there is RJ then there is only one impetus bees have
to produce it.

Compliments

Bill

(edit)
On reading your OP Pete my first thought was actually around SHB contamination of
some stores, as this is what SHB does do even when in small numbers. I discounted
that based on your observation the cells were still being used to deposit stores on top
of the "white stuff"... hygenic bees would not do that I would offer. In my experience
they chase them out and renovate the cells.
However my personal hands-on SHB experience is not a bible as it is mainly cutouts and
rescues I have seen SHB in numbers, our colonys are pretty much SHB free.
So, I consulted with a peer well experienced and SHB savvy as he battles them constantly
every summer. His take on those pix says it is not SHB. His suggestion though was helpful
in that taking a syringe and collecting it to sample a spoonfull will soon rule out contaminant
*AND* jelly storage. Quite 'safe' as the bees are a virtual canary in these things - his words
not mine.
Enjoy your egg today.

Bill
« Last Edit: April 20, 2019, 07:28:23 pm by eltalia »