View Full Version : Bee's obsession with capped queen cells
06-18-2003, 11:07 AM
I took out my queen, a frame of brood and a frame of honey from my crowded observation hive and I've been watching them raise a queen.
The queen cells were capped 8 days after I removed the queen. I understood the bees obsession with feeding the larvae. I never really got to see the larvae because there was always a worker with her head stuck in there.
Now that it's capped they are just as obseesed with it. The cap is dark from their attentions. The cell is constanly covered with bees and the end is always being messed with by a bee even though there is nothing that I know of that they need to do. I'm guessing they are either getting reassurance or some pheromone from the cell.
The queens should emerge day after tommorow.
Dee A. Lusby
06-21-2003, 03:57 PM
The queens should emerge day after tommorow.
So how did the emerging go? Peaceful or two fighting for control?
06-21-2003, 07:38 PM
When the time came there were only two cells left and then the whole side of the one was gone when I checked. It looked like the classic pictures where the first queen destroys the cells, but I couldn't find another queen and the only other queen cell I could find hadn't emerged yet. I wonder if the workers did it?
Anyway, the other one was "quacking" for about a day and finally emerged last night. She's from a Carniolan, but she's brown and looks a lot like the Russian queens I've had.
She's pretty big. I thought, considering the size of my nurse bees and considering the size of the queen my other small cell bees raised, that she would be smaller. Also, she's a virgin, so I expected her to be a bit smaller, but she looks like a full sized "normal" queen.
I also, just transfered larvae from my Jenter system yesterday and put them in several cell builders. One I am certain is queenless I put 14 cells in, but the rest I just put a few in, because, although they appear queenless and I can't find one, they may have a virgin in them somewhere and I thought it would be a way to find out.
Back to a thought on the small black queen my other small cell bees raised. I am more puzzled the more I think about it.
This black Carnolian queen who was the mother of the brown queen in my observation hive,(who was probably open mated and has some darker and some lighter offspring) had a large brown queen as her sucessor.
The small cell nuc that raised the black queen had started out as a split from a Carniolian hive. When they failed to raise a queen, had no queen cells and no young larvae, I installed a brown Russian queen that was mated before I got her. A week or two after I installed the Russian queen the hive was queenless again, but now had a queen cell. I let them raise the queen and got this lovely small black queen. I'm unsure of her genetics. She certainly doesn't look like the russian queen nor like any of the offspring of my Russian queens. She's black like the Carniolan queen that I made the split from, but they didn't successfuly raise a queen from that split. If she's not from the Russian queen, then either I missed seeing a virgin queen that layed the egg that the small black queen came from, or she's from a laying worker?
Frankly, she's a mystery to me.
06-21-2003, 07:46 PM
Also, the bees seem just as obsessed with the empty queen cell now that she emerged. The are over it so much that it took me quite a while to figure out if she emerged or not. I finally saw one of the workers crawl in the end.
06-21-2003, 08:36 PM
When you give queenless bees a cell, the workers usually go to the cell quickly and seem to play with it. Shortly after the virgin emerges, the workers will crawl into the cell and it always looks like they are cleaning them out to me but I really have no idea if that is the case. They will continue to mess with the empty cell and typically tear them down to cell cup size within a few days.
A few years ago I put a cell into my observation hive and the virgin killed the laying queen. Then the next day the workers killed the virgin. Then they raised cells.
The first two virgins to emerge started attacking the other cells and then they killed each other. In the end, a little runt queen was what ended up ruling the hive. That was when I decided to stop double celling nucs.
Dee A. Lusby
06-21-2003, 09:10 PM
Good to hear you both watching and learning and thinking.
That can grow on you, you know! ;> )
Dee A. Lusby (Huum, laying worker queen???? Small Black even.....)
05-18-2011, 02:25 AM
Michael, sounds like you have been experimenting with russian bees for some time. How are you liking them?
05-18-2011, 05:43 AM
>Michael, sounds like you have been experimenting with russian bees for some time. How are you liking them?
I won't say I don't have some Russian genetics in there somewhere, but I'm focused on feral survivors now. The Russians were ok. They headbutted a lot, liked to pull hair, and followed a long ways, but didn't sting any more than the Italians. All in all I prefer the local dark bees.
Talk about bumping up a thread....!
Hey Michael, how's that 8 year old little runt queen doing nowadays? I bet she outlaid them all... lol!
05-18-2011, 10:10 AM
I'm sure she's gone to that great clover field in the sky by now... but she did well and I raise some queens from her. Can't say I keep good enough records to know which are her offspring now.
Hi Michael, am I missing something? I thought it was impossible for a laying worker egg to develop into anything other than a drone. I thank you for the information you have condensed and shared on your website.
05-18-2011, 08:48 PM
Only if he has a strange strain of bee such as capensis with high Thelotoky abilities will a laying worker egg develop into something else. TK
05-18-2011, 09:48 PM
>Hi Michael, am I missing something? I thought it was impossible for a laying worker egg to develop into anything other than a drone.
Extremely unlikely, but not unheard of. Much more likely there was a virgin there all along who mated, laid that queen and was superseded, that I didn't know about.
That is fascinating, I see googling in my future. Thank you.
So I did some searching and Thelotoky, even in very low frequencies makes sense, otherwise what would be the evolutionary advantage of having laying workers? Thank you for clueing me in.