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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    Location
    Milford, NJ, USA
    Posts
    73

    Question

    About three days ago, I got a small swarm, right behind my hives. I thought it might have been a secondary swarm with a virgin queen, from one colony that had swarmed a few days before. I did not have frames set up, so I kept it in a pail covered with screen indoors. Next day I put them in a 4 frame nuc with three frames of foundation and one frame of brood and eggs, but no bees, from a good colony. I though that if a queen, virgin or not, was in the crowd they would not build a supercedure cell, and that if she was there, that she would start laying, unless she was virgin. Today I went in and upon looking on one side of the frame I saw a small queen (small abdomen) and I though that's the virgin queen! But then I noticed she had frayed wings, and that the rest of the bees were paying no attention to her. On the other side of the frame several workers were around an enlarged worker cell that seems to me it's being turned into a supercedure cell located pretty much in the center of the single frame with brood.
    Does this sound like an old queen to you? Should I kill her and leave the hive only with the supercedure cell they are building to prevent the old, (or virgin with frayed wings, whichever might be the case) from leaving with some of the bees once or after the emergency cell get's capped? Or is it likely she will be killed by the bees or leave alone...?
    Thanks,
    Alejandro

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    [This message has been edited by dandelion (edited May 24, 2003).]

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Belmont, NC, USA
    Posts
    38

    Exclamation

    Well, if its a supercedure cell, the hive will replace the queen anyway. I vote for leaving her in there and letting nature take its course since you are going to allow them to raise another queen anyway. If its another swarm cell its entirely up to you. I hear that once they start making swarm cells they will swarm unless you are very diligent in preventing them from swarming again, like by destroying EVERY swarm cell. Location of the cell on the frame will indicate whether it is a supercedure or swarm cell.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    43,487

    Post

    >Today I went in and upon looking on one side of the frame I saw a small queen (small abdomen) and I though that's the virgin queen! But then I noticed she had frayed wings, and that the rest of the bees were paying no attention to her.

    If she has a small abdomen and the bees are ignoring her, what makes you think she's a queen?

    >On the other side of the frame several workers were around an enlarged worker cell that seems to me it's being turned into a supercedure cell located pretty much in the center of the single frame with brood.

    Is it a queen cup or an "enlarged worker cell". A queen cell in no way resembles a woker cell at all it does not look like an "enlarged worker cell".
    Here is a page with a picture of a queen cell: http://www.scottishbeekeepers.org.uk...s/biology2.htm

    If I saw what I would describe as an "enlarged worker cell" I would say that is a drone.

    >Does this sound like an old queen to you? Should I kill her and leave the hive only with the supercedure cell they are building to prevent the old, (or virgin with frayed wings, whichever might be the case) from leaving with some of the bees once or after the emergency cell get's capped? Or is it likely she will be killed by the bees or leave alone...?

    The only time I every kill a queen is if I have one in my hand that I'm planning on installing the next day. If this is indeed a queen and they are indeed ignoring her and the are indeed rasising a new queen (all of which may not be true) than killing her would still not accomplish anything. The bees will take care of it if this is a supercedure.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    Location
    Milford, NJ, USA
    Posts
    73

    Post

    Michael,
    I understand your doubts... It's certainly strange behaviour, I thought, and that's precisely why I was asking questions. Could it be that the old queen run our of pheromones...?
    Anyway, here are answers to your questions.

    >If she has a small abdomen and the bees are ignoring her, what makes you think she's a queen?

    A.: Her abdomen is smaller than a laying queen, but still a lot larger and more pointy than the workers'. Her torax is bigger and hairless, and her rear legs are different. There is no doubt she is a queen.

    >Is it a queen cup or an "enlarged worker cell". A queen cell in no way resembles a woker cell at all it does not look like an "enlarged worker cell".
    Here is a page with a picture of a queen cell: http://www.scottishbeekeepers.org.uk...s/biology2.htm
    If I saw what I would describe as an "enlarged worker cell" I would say that is a drone.Is it a queen cup or an "enlarged worker cell". A queen cell in no way resembles a woker cell at all it does not look like an "enlarged worker cell".

    A.: Since the frame with brood and eggs was added just a couple of days before my post, the cell we are talking about was not yet changed into the long vertical shape. It was not even a queen cup, since the bees had to turn one of the worker cells with an egg in it into what will hopefully become a queen cell. Correct me if I'm wrong but I thought a queen cup is what workers build, to raise a new queen provided the queen lays and egg in it. This happens if they can plan ahead. This is not the case here, since this frame came from a different colony. It had only worker cells with eggs, some drone cells, pollen, honey and brood, both capped and uncapped. There were no queen cups in theis frame. In the case we are discussing the bees were still pulling the walls out further, and it looked as if they were starting to go down, to turn it into the vertical cell, characteristic of emergency supersedure cells.
    I called an "enlarged worker cell" because some of my books refer to the supersedure cells in that way.

    >If I saw what I would describe as an "enlarged worker cell" I would say that is a drone.

    A.: I do know what a drone cell looks like. In this case, new wax was being added to extend it further as described above. It was not a matter of the "diameter" of the (hexagonal) cell. I take it that they are using new wax, unlike regular supersedure cells in a full hive, because in the frame I gave them there is no old wax. And the rest of the frames are just foundation, except for the side facing the supersedure cell, which is being drawn and filled with pollen and nectar, further sign, I believe, that a new queen is coming.

    >The only time I every kill a queen is if I have one in my hand that I'm planning on installing the next day. If this is indeed a queen and they are indeed ignoring her and the are indeed rasising a new queen (all of which may not be true) than killing her would still not accomplish anything. The bees will take care of it if this is a supercedure.

    A.: So it seems... I just read again in one of my books that in some cases old queens live along the next generation queen for a while. I did not have that fresh in my memory until just now!

    Thanks,
    Alejandro


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    [This message has been edited by dandelion (edited May 25, 2003).]

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    Post

    An emergency queen cell or a supercedure queen cell still looks like a queen cup. It's quite large.

    Anyway, unless it looks like a lot of swarm cells (queen cells hanging off the bottom) I wouldn't worry about it.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    Location
    Milford, NJ, USA
    Posts
    73

    Post

    The old queen died... I found her in front of the hive.
    I'm feeding the nuc to help them out in this bad weather. The queen cell keeps on developing. Hopefully by the time the new queen is born the rain spell will be over for her to go out on her nupcial flight...


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  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2000
    Location
    Fremont, New Hampshire, USA
    Posts
    695

    Post

    Alejandro,
    Virgin queens never get any respect.

    When the original hive swarmed did you look inside and check to see if it had capped queen cells? I ask this because, I have read, if a capped queen cell is turned more than 45 degrees, the queen inside may develope deformed wings. This queen with the frayed wings might be what you saw before her demise. Also, in the worker cell that the bees are enlarging to produce a new queen, you should see a ton of royal jelly being stuff in there. The bees will float the larva right out of that cell with jelly and at the same time be building the elongated queen cell. It might not get as long as a swarm cell but it will definately be hanging down.
    Definately keep the feeding going not only now but even after the queen emerges.
    Let's pray for better weather.


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    Dave Verville
    Fremont, NH USA

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    Location
    Milford, NJ, USA
    Posts
    73

    Post

    I just check on the developing queen cell.
    7 days after having introduced the frame with eggs and brood from another colony into this small swarm, the emergency supersedure queen cell in the center of the frame is done. Capped and all. By June 6 the queen should be coming out, since all this started on May 20.
    Alejandro


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  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    Location
    Milford, NJ, USA
    Posts
    73

    Smile

    The queen was born, and mated! I checked the 5 frame nuc yesterday and saw the blond queen with a huge abdomen, lots of eggs and quite a bit of open brood. All of this after 26 days from having introduced the frame where she was destined to be a worker!

    A while back I said to myself that 12 was my limit, but now I have 13 and it looks to me that I will have to turn this nuc into my 14th colony...
    Alejandro

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  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    43,487

    Post

    If and when you want to cut down, just start combining the smaller ones and the queenless ones and you'll have less, but stronger colonies.

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