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Author Topic: Queen cells already -- Ooops.  (Read 459 times)

Offline Duane

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Queen cells already -- Ooops.
« on: March 02, 2020, 02:37:53 pm »
I was checking my boxes yesterday and saw in the center of a frame near the middle of the box and cluster of queen cells that had been destroyed.  I don't see in my notes that any such cells existed last fall.  I did notice a little pollen, and a couple of bees bringing in some.  But not near as I noticed in the other boxes.

I'm thinking there was a problem with the queen, no?  So what should I do at this point?  Especially if I cannot find the queen.  We're going to be up to 60 in a couple of days.  Do I have time, or do I need to do something real quick?  I guess it depends if there is a queen or not.  Even non-fertile, that should suppress the egg-laying workers or is that only if worker brood?

Offline iddee

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Re: Queen cells already -- Ooops.
« Reply #1 on: March 02, 2020, 03:49:44 pm »
Don't look for a queen. Look for eggs and/or larva. Wait one more week then put a frame of eggs in there from another hive that can afford to give a frame up.
"Listen to the mustn'ts, child. Listen to the don'ts. Listen to the shouldn'ts, the impossibles, the won'ts. Listen to the never haves, then listen close to me . . . Anything can happen, child. Anything can be"

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Offline Oldbeavo

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Re: Queen cells already -- Ooops.
« Reply #2 on: March 02, 2020, 05:07:12 pm »
From this side on the world and down under I don't know where your season is up to.
Do you have drones in your hives? If you have a new queen she will need to be mated.
Idee is right, young queens are hard to spot, eggs and larvae are easier. A frame of brood with eggs will test if there is a queen as they will draw a new cell or two if queenless.

Offline Duane

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Re: Queen cells already -- Ooops.
« Reply #3 on: March 03, 2020, 12:34:14 pm »
I should have said, we're in early spring.  Elm tree pollen just starting to come in.

If there is a queen, a non-mated queen, will adding eggs prove anything?  That is, since they have a queen, would adding eggs mean nothing unusual so they would raise them as workers?

How many eggs would I need to add to prevent egg-laying workers?  That is, could I just tear out a small patch from one of the other boxes so that I don't disturb them much, and that'd be enough, or do I need a whole frame?

Offline iddee

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Re: Queen cells already -- Ooops.
« Reply #4 on: March 03, 2020, 02:26:11 pm »
You need 2 or more eggs, in viable cells. If I were to cut a section, it would be a minimum of 2 X 6 inches.
"Listen to the mustn'ts, child. Listen to the don'ts. Listen to the shouldn'ts, the impossibles, the won'ts. Listen to the never haves, then listen close to me . . . Anything can happen, child. Anything can be"

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Offline Oldbeavo

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Re: Queen cells already -- Ooops.
« Reply #5 on: March 03, 2020, 04:19:10 pm »
As Idee said, wait a week, which gives her a chance to mate an possibly lay. if you put open brood in and they don't form a cell then you probably have a queen.
Bees will start to polish brood cells ahead of a queen laying, so check this.
If you have polishing, no drawn queen cell, no eggs, then maybe I would be looking for an unmated queen, not common.
You won't get a laying worker while there is brood in the hive.

Offline Duane

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Re: Queen cells already -- Ooops.
« Reply #6 on: March 13, 2020, 08:01:36 pm »
Okay, I waited a week, still no brood.  Others hives having 3-4 frames of capped brood!  I took out a strip of eggs from them, and added to this one.  Then looking through a box with 4 frames of brood, I got lucky and saw the queen.  I took a frame of eggs for the lacking one.  Our bee club says there should be 3 frames for March 15, so thought moving eggs won't set them back and might stop them from swarming.

Then, looking through some other hives, I had one I thought was pretty strong.  When I opened the lid, I thought they sure were loud.  I noticed some were already scenting when I first opened the lid and several throughout the box.  I have not noticed that before until I've been in a box for awhile.  The first box with no eggs was not doing that.  And I found no brood.

Looking through another box, the first frame with brood had drone cells!  I'm starting to think, what am I doing, killing the queens?  But I found some capped brood, total of 4 frames.  Then another box, I found drone cells among the 4 frames of brood.  So maybe they're doing really good.  I found the queen in another box with eggs, so took a frame for the buzzing one.  Usually, I see queens off and on except when I really need to see her, but I just happened to see her these times. 

With the background suggestions previously, I think I made the right choices.  Seeing the drone cells, would this indicate that by the time the others raise a queen, there should be plenty of drones for her?  And with the boxes with more than three frames of brood, I should be taking some from them to give to these others to prevent swarming?

Any thoughts on what might have happened to the 2 queens, did I kill her, or sometimes do they just die through the winter for no apparent reason?

Offline ifixoldhouses

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Re: Queen cells already -- Ooops.
« Reply #7 on: March 13, 2020, 09:44:36 pm »
So if you have 3 frames of brood by MArch 15th you'll have enough bees to make a honey crop?
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Offline iddee

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Re: Queen cells already -- Ooops.
« Reply #8 on: March 14, 2020, 07:12:41 am »
You did the right thing. Now wait a week and check those moved frames for queen cells.
"Listen to the mustn'ts, child. Listen to the don'ts. Listen to the shouldn'ts, the impossibles, the won'ts. Listen to the never haves, then listen close to me . . . Anything can happen, child. Anything can be"

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Offline MikeyN.C.

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Re: Queen cells already -- Ooops.
« Reply #9 on: March 14, 2020, 06:34:03 pm »
Duane, out of curiosity what's temps. there

Offline Duane

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Re: Queen cells already -- Ooops.
« Reply #10 on: March 15, 2020, 10:47:47 am »
So if you have 3 frames of brood by MArch 15th you'll have enough bees to make a honey crop?
That's what we were told in the meetings.  And if we have more, then they'll swarm.  But that's just my understanding of what we were told.  They gave for each couple of weeks and number of frames.  That if they are less, then you have a problem, if they are more, you have a problem, that it is a balance.

The temperatures here are variable, but in the upper 60s when I was looking and the upper 30s today.

Offline ifixoldhouses

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Re: Queen cells already -- Ooops.
« Reply #11 on: March 16, 2020, 12:59:48 pm »
Good to know :smile:
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Offline Oldbeavo

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Re: Queen cells already -- Ooops.
« Reply #12 on: March 17, 2020, 06:44:14 am »
In OZ our similar date is Sept 15, when we go through our hives in Sept we take nucs on the basis that we leave 3 frames of brood.
If there are 6 frames of brood we will take 3 for the nucs.
We will also add 5 frames of brood to a 8 frame deep and it will make a productive hive for late spring.
Previously all nucs grow there own queens, but this year if my grafting improves we will add a cell at making to gain 10 days and improve our bees.

Offline Duane

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Re: Queen cells already -- Ooops.
« Reply #13 on: March 20, 2020, 11:59:48 am »
I found the notes I took at the bee meeting:
  March 15 - 3 frames of brood.
  April  1 - 4 frames of brood.
  April 15 - 5 frames of brood.

Yesterday, we were in the 70s.  Both boxes in questioned had capped queen cells.  So it was a good plan to add a frame.  The advice saved 2 boxes.  The first box that wasn't noisy before was very noisy yesterday.  Don't know what that means since the second box that was noisy wasn't noticeable with the queen cells.  What was interesting was I found a queen cup on an original frame that looked like it had food inside.

I found the queen in another box with 5 frames of brood, so added two (one capped, one eggs and young larva) from it to the queenless one.  Couldn't find a queen in the others that had 5 frames so couldn't add any to the other queenless one. 

Most of the boxes have drone cells, now.  And many have 4 frames or more of brood.  But now that I'm thinking about it, I might not be in such surplus as I thought.  I'm sure the recommendation at bee meeting implied deep frames.  I use mediums.  Maybe that's why I have so many and I may have hurt the one by reducing it to 3 mediums.  I'm not sure how you'd translate deeps to mediums.  Because a circle of brood in a deep would be a lot different than a circle of brood in a medium.  There's border edges of comb around each, so you couldn't just translate the total frame area from deep to medium.  You'd have to calculate the frame area, and then add some amount.