View Full Version : Where's my queen?
05-14-2005, 08:13 AM
I just checked my hive and they are doing great - I think. I hived them on the evening of the 10th. They have built some comb on several bars. I have been feeding syrup, but yesterday and today they have pretty much left it alone - maybe there is enough nectar now? Anyway, my question is this: They have filled a lot of the comb with nectar/syrup and some with pollen. But nothing yet is capped and I didn't see any eggs. It was taking me longer than I wanted to bother them so I didn't take too much time to find the queen. I didn't see her. Am I overlooking the eggs? Should she have started laying yet or am I too impatient? What should I look for next time? When should I begin to worry about my queen and maybe try to find a replacement? I also didn't notice any drones in the hive.
The comb they built seemed perfect. It was straight along the wax coated splines on the bars. They attached their comb to the bottom edge of the spline only, not on the bars themselves. Is that normal? It seems like an awful small connection for the comb. My spline is about 1/8 inch wide and they probably didn't build but about 1/8 inch up the spline. I didn't have any attachments to the side which I was worried about since they were clustered on the side as much as the top bars. They were very calm without smoke. It was very satisfying.
Sorry to seem so paranoid, but I really want everything to be ok and all of you here sound like you know how everything should work. Thanks for all the help!
05-14-2005, 07:23 PM
I'm about as new at this as you are,so take it with a grain of salt. My only experience is with swarms and i dont know how much differently a package (i assume you started with a package) will behave. What i have found is that if they are building comb and bringing in pollen they are doing fine and are on the road to success. I had a swarm that i'm pretty sure was queenless and it made no attempt to build any comb. They were also very docile, i could reach into the nuc without any show of concern on their part. I combined them with another frame that i had accumulated from a trap-out from a garage wall that was also queenless and as well had laying workers. There was no problem just pouring them together. Then i introduced a queen. I've not been able to determine if she was accepted for certain yet, but i did see single eggs instead of the multiple eggs that had been layed before. I haven't been able to see if they are making fresh comb yet either. They have become quite defensive and that's why i've not been able to confirm my suspicions. However, with the defensive behavior, my hopes have risen
that they will survive. Time will tell.
Unless your bees came with drones, i think you wont see any for a few weeks. They need time to hatch from eggs that may not have even been layed yet.
Like i say, i dont know a lot and my situation is not the same as yours but, well, there you go.
05-14-2005, 08:22 PM
Thanks Jim. The bees are actually from a swarm. I don't know a whole lot, so I am trying to learn it all at once I think! I did read in a book today that drones aren't too common at this time of year anyway. I will take a closer look next week to see if I can find some eggs. Today I was more concerned with getting them moved toward the front of the hive and building and installing a follower board/feeder. I'll take more time with them next week and see what I've got. Thanks.
05-14-2005, 11:51 PM
just another note- i find it really helps to have the sun to my back and move the comb to where i can see straight down into the cells and for me, at least, i wear both pairs of glasses while i am searching. Eggs are tiny.
Best of luck,
05-15-2005, 04:04 PM
Bee from a swarm may be from a virgin and it may be two weeks before she starts to lay.
I've had the best attachments and the best luck with the beveled comb guide. Starter strips have had some of the same problems as your splines where the bees don't build a really strong attachment. In a frame this isn't so bad, but with a top bar that's about all there is to hold everything up.
05-16-2005, 08:19 AM
I checked this morning and I got eggs! I didn't see the queen, but I did see the eggs. So I'm assuming things are going well. Thanks a lot for the help and encouragement.
Michael, I built a second hive and plan on bevelling the bars on it. Is there a specific angle bevel that tends to me more successful? Thanks.
Scot Mc Pherson
05-17-2005, 07:44 AM
Once you have hives with combs in them, I find that that comb guides are not as useful as before. I still think that the beveled top bars when at the right angle produces a superior attachment because the bees can maximize the attachments, but I also find with as much woodworking as I do now to make new hives and top bars, its just not as worth it as it used to be.
I am on the other hand, not ripping the bevel anymore, but using a router which is new, and so that might end up making it worth it again for new hives. But once again, once you have nice combs, and most of your top bars have been used by the bees once, you have natural comb guides in the form of the midrib attachment left behind when you cut off honey combs at harvest. THe bees just build right back on top of that with almost 0 failure.
05-17-2005, 08:30 AM
I make the bevel a ninty pointing down. In other words a 45 on each side.
I'm like Scot. I don't use comb guides on all of the bars anymore. My TTBH's I start the packages in five frame nucs with only one guide on the center bar and none on the rest. Then I move it up to an eight and then a ten frame Langstroth box, still with no guides. Then I move it into a 33 frame box and I put guides on the rest of them that are behind the drawn comb, but I put bars in between drawn combs with no guides on them.
05-17-2005, 01:42 PM
Thanks Scott, I wondered about using the used combs like that. Sounds like it would work fine.
Michael, I know you've got much more experience than me in beekeeping, but that sounds like a lot of moving the bees around to me. It sounds like a lot of work to move them that much. Are there other reasons besides not having to make comb guides on all the bars that you do this?
Also, how thick are your bars? I tried doing some bevels on my table saw and found that the angle was pretty wide using 3/4" lumber. A 45 degree angle would be a pretty thick bar, right? Would a 3/4" thick bar just cut flat be used with a small 45 degree strip glued on? Sort of like a spline, but not inset into a kerf? If that would work, how high should the guide be?
I've got another question, but I think I'll start another thread for that. Thanks for all the help.
05-17-2005, 03:32 PM
>Michael, I know you've got much more experience than me in beekeeping, but that sounds like a lot of moving the bees around to me. It sounds like a lot of work to move them that much.
You pick up five combs and set them in an eight frame box. I'd pick up the five combs anwyay to inspect them, I'm just setting them down in a different box.
>Are there other reasons besides not having to make comb guides on all the bars that you do this?
Yes, the limited size of the space makes them flourish. Maybe this is partly because it's still chilly at night in the spring here.
>Also, how thick are your bars? I tried doing some bevels on my table saw and found that the angle was pretty wide using 3/4" lumber. A 45 degree angle would be a pretty thick bar, right?
My KTBH has 3/4" thick bars with the bevel added on. The bevel is just the corner of a 3/4" board cut off at a 45. My TTBH has 3/8" thick bars with the bevel added on. None of the bevels is as wide as the bar.
>Would a 3/4" thick bar just cut flat be used with a small 45 degree strip glued on?
That's what my KTBH is.
>Sort of like a spline, but not inset into a kerf? If that would work, how high should the guide be?
I just cut the corner on a one by.