First, I am new to this board , but I quickely recognized the vast experience and knowledge available from the friendly user of this forum. I have been keeping bees for the past 50 years when I could , the majority of my years were dedicated to the USAF. In the past five years I have been seriously trying to learn what it was I was doing in the past years and I find that there is more to learn than one learning time. Like most beekeepers with little or no training I have been repeating what I have heard old beekeepers say , such as the "Queen never goes down, she always goes up" therefore if you want to find the Queen ten days after you last saw her look in the box above the box where you last saw her.
Question?, how much truth is there that the Queen never goes down ?. I have researched The Hive And The Honey Bee and while I feel sure the answer is in that book as most answers are , I can not find it.
Les in SC
I have kept bees for about 30 years and I have an observation hive where I can watch.
The queen goes all over. If you want to prove this, in a hive with no queen excluder, put a frame of drone brood comb in the top super. She will lay it full of drone when it's half way drawn and go back to the brood nest when she's done.
It is true that the brood nest tends to slowly work it's way up the hive.
I think lots of stuff in beekeeping that has been stated as fact is just often repeated assertions. At best they are localized by hive type, management style, climate, etc.
That's the advantage of a board like beesource, lots of observations from a many different situations.
Early in the season, the brooding pattern does move more up than down in a conventional hive but it also expands downward. I think cluster temps and food location control the direction to some extent. When the weather gets warmer and some pollen starts coming in the queen broodnest will expand in any available direction. I have had them even go through an excluder under neath the cluster and lay.
Those with long hives and top bar hives indicate the bees freely expand horizontally. Bees are very adaptable and successfully occupy various types and shapes of cavaties in nature. If they could only expand in one direction, they wouldn't bee as successful.
>If you want to prove this, in a hive with no queen excluder, put a frame of drone brood comb in the top super. She will lay it full of drone when it's half way drawn and go back to the brood nest when she's done.
BTW this experiment was done by me entirely by accident. But I have had others express the same experience.
I am putting together an observation hive, so I can see exactly what does go on inside a hive. I think it will be the best tool I ever could want. Now your question. I would have to say the queen moves everywhere, especially if you over smoke. I use the least amount of smoke, and usually find her where there are new eggs and larvae. I know that I always reverse my supers when she is running out of room, so she will have to move up, but I guess sahe would move down too. I removed bees from a house between 2 studs in the wall, and they where only 2x4s, and the bees swarmed a few times before I got rid of them. So if they swarmed, she must have filled it up, and moved wherever empty comb was. Logic tells me she would have to move around. But the observation hive will answer the many questions, that I guess at now, at least I hope it will!\
There is also a lot of other information from the observation hive. You can see when there is pollen coming in, when there is nectar coming in etc. It gives you an idea what's going on in the hives.
I found a very interesting article by George Imirie on the Brushy Mountain site. I went back to the January 2002 Pink Pages he writes and he had some information that fits this discussion. http://www.beekeeper.org/george_imirie/jan2002.html
The first part involves reversing, check it out, he makes a lot of sense. However he does it more than I really want to. He also has some good advise on how best to multiply your numbers at just the right time to have the maximum number of bees during the flow.
He also recomends three different sugar water mixtures for different times of the year. I like the sugar weight to water volume measuring he gives, it's less confusing than just saying 1 to 1, 1 to 2, ect.
Some of you might not like this, he says that honey is emergency food for the bees. That their real food is nectar, and sugar syrup is the closest thing to it. He does not recomend high fructose syrup either.
Another side note: he uses all mediums, no deeps. I had all but decided to do that when I read he did that, it just makes sense for me and my aching back.
Anyway, it's a good read, I plan to print them all and put in my notebook for referancing on a monthly basis.
Thank You: Michael, Dennis, Hook and Bill. I will continue to try to become a better bee keeper. I have an observation hive, but it is a single frame, the next time I see a two frame observation hive I will be paying more attention. I do use drone comb foundation and the next time I put a frame in I will put it below the brood nest and watch to see what happens. The general census seems to be that a Queen will travel in any direction once she becomes determined to lay. Bill I have copied Mr.Imirie's pink pages of January 2002. Thank you for leading me to that site, I will be using his coments as a go by as I start a new year of beekeeping with great anticipation.
Les in SC
I guess you heard it all by now=lol I been keeping bees for 48 yrs too.
I am commercial breeder and as for how far a queen will go====well on the orange flow with a new queen I seen a queen go 2 and 1/2 boxes up on a good flow.
so take it for its worth.
love to chat with a fellow bee man since your close to me
Don: Thanks for your response and your comments. I do like your attitude and I believe that I get the message. I have great respect for you commercial breeders and often wonder how you keep at it year after year. I met up with a old retired USDA bee scientist a few years back who introduced me to the art/science of Queen rearing using both grafting ( I have one heck of a time seeing those itty bitty eggs) and artificial insemination no less trouble seeing where to put the needle. I now have a much greater appreciation for Drones and their contribution to the colony , this experience also gave me a whole new outlook on beekeeping.
Don is there any truth to the adage that a knowledgeable beekeeper can read the health of a hive by it's Drone population?. If it's true I would surely love to learn how to do the reading.
Located in GA, I'm in Sumter SC a short drive from the GA/SC line and keep some sourwood collecting bees (two coloneys )at our place in the mountains (Pickings county) even closer to the GA line. I travel to Atlanta occasionally, if you care to send me your Apairy location and permission to visit, the supervisor and myself would love to visit a active Queen rearing facility. Do you give samples?.
Les in SC
I would love to see you ,I never get tired to chat to any beekeeping fellows.
maybe we could share ideas.
the season will be starting soon and you can see how to hands experence.
I build every thing and teach as many young beekeepers as I can, we are the few old beekeepers and the younger generation wants every thing done yesterday.
P.S. if you e mail me I'll give you directions and my phone #
>I'm in Sumter SC a short drive from the GA/SC line and keep some sourwood collecting bees (two coloneys )at our place in the mountains (Pickings county) even closer to the GA line.
I haven't had sourwood honey for close to 30 years. What a flavorful honey! Would you like to sell me a jar or two? There is none around here. I planted a sourwood tree here in Nebraska, but it didn't make it through the first summer, in spite of my watering all the time.
Michael: I feel confident that I can persuade my supervisor to ship you a pint jar of Sourwood honey at our cost plus postage , please understand that wife woman aka supervisor handles all jarring, selling, shipping, etc and has the experience requird for this task. Give us a e-mail with your address and I will e-mail you when when we ship. We will be putting on pollen sub. and sugar syrup this week end so it will be next week. Well at least you managed to get a sourwood and plant it even though it failed. We have been trying to obtain Basswood (Linden) seedlings for some time, I tried germinating seeds, no luck, so I am still looking, do I remember NE having large numbers of the small leaf Linden trees, Redmans I believe ?.We have some land in the SC mountains a stones throw from the SW corner of NC, the tolerance map for Basswood shows the SW corner of NC as the southern and western most limits for growing Basswood. I would like to plant some to see if we could get lucky. You don't suppose that Basswood knows about those published boundries do you?
Les in SC
>Michael: I feel confident that I can persuade my supervisor to ship you a pint jar of Sourwood honey at our cost plus postage , please understand that wife woman aka supervisor handles all jarring, selling, shipping, etc and has the experience requird for this task. Give us a e-mail with your address and I will e-mail you when when we ship.
bush at inebraska dot com (hiding from the spam crawlers)
>Well at least you managed to get a sourwood and plant it even though it failed.
I got it from Gurney's.
>We have been trying to obtain Basswood (Linden) seedlings for some time, I tried germinating seeds, no luck, so I am still looking, do I remember NE having large numbers of the small leaf Linden trees, Redmans I believe ?
I don't know. http://forestry.about.com/library/tree/blbass.htm
shows a map of the range of basswood and I would be just on the western edge of the range. in fact it's a finger that reaches up through Kansas and right to here and quits.
>We have some land in the SC mountains a stones throw from the SW corner of NC, the tolerance map for Basswood shows the SW corner of NC as the southern and western most limits for growing Basswood. I would like to plant some to see if we could get lucky. You don't suppose that Basswood knows about those published boundries do you?
I don't think the Basswood trees care about the map. If I find any around here, I'll let you know. If it does grow around here, it may be the nurseries here will carry them. Maybe they would ship them to you?
[This message has been edited by Michael Bush (edited April 27, 2004).]
I am really curious about why one would put drone comb at all if it is not for queen rearing? Would it be to attract Varroa mites to the larger drone larvae? If so, it seemes to me that it makes no sense because the larger drones will simply be a larger "culture" medium where more mites can live.
I bought a hive and it was shipped with drone foundation for the super. I was in the habit of running my hives without queen excluders. I was not paying attention at the time I put in the foundation and added a super full of drone foundation. It was soon fairly full of drone comb.
Why you would use it is, if you have a queen excluder on and you use nothing but drone foundation in your supers, it is very easy to extract and requires less wax from the bees to draw the comb. The honey comes out of the large cells much more easily.
Also, it is useful to add drone foundation for a varroa magnet and then freeze it to kill both the drone and the varroa, then give it back to the bees to clean up, lay more drone and remove it when it's capped.
Jorge: Good question, Michale is right on. The bee scientist tell us that female Vorra mate and go most directely to a brood cell that is soon to be capped,the majority go to a Drone cell. There she will lay one to four eggs that will hatch and attach to the grub for life support, emerging from the cell as the Drone emerges, it is said the Vorra choose Drone cells due to their larger physical size . I use drone foundation as a mechanical means of vorra removal and in a small way reduce the need for chemicals in vorra mite control. After the majority of the Drone cells are capped I remove the frame from the hive and place it into the freezer, replacing it with one previoulsy removed, you would be astounded at how quickly the hive bees remove the grubs and polish the cells for the next egg laying. This system is accepted pratice in Europe especially in the scandinavian countries where chemicals are very expensive.
The next time you are in your hive take a knife blade/corner of your hive tool , etc and uncap a few Drone cells, pull the pupa out and look at it for dark spots, Vorra . I do this to four or five cells on one or two frames a easy way to keep a check on mite levels. With the FGMO concept gaining more subscribers perhaps soon we can stop the use of chemicals in our hives.
Using Drone comb in supers to collect surplus honey is a new thought for me. I have see bees store honey in drone cells during a heavy honey flow, but I do not remember seeing them cap it, they may cap it and I just haven't noticed. Interesting, does any one know if honey is stored and capped in drone comb ?.
Les in SC
If you use drone size comb in the supers, the bees fill it and cap it with normal flat caps that just look like regular capped honey. It takes a little less time to draw the drone comb because it takes less wax and it is much easier to extract. I don't use it much because it's nice to have good drawn comb to put in a honey bound brood chamber or to use to start a new hive.