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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
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    Watauga, North Carolina, USA
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    366

    Default I'm not new to beekeeping, but this hive has me stumped (pictures)

    I need some advice to help me understand the situation of this hive. Here's the timeline:

    06/06-- Package was picked up after a month of delays due to weather. Rossman Apiaries, I believe. Queen placed in queen frame.
    06/13-- Queen released from Queen frame. Oddly, she is marked with a white mark. That is not the colour this year's queens are supposed to be marked with.
    06/16- Queen is sighted, nearly three medium frames are drawn in solid brood. Queen was not handled or hurt.
    06/19-- Queen nowhere to be seen. New brood is still appearing, though scattered and weak. Emergency queen cells present (12). Fleck of white paint (queen was marked) on a worker bee.
    06/29-- Queen cell is found with an open bottom. Others are tore down. Queen present, but looks very much like the last queen, just without a mark. Brood appearing scattered and weak, multiple eggs in one cell. Some do not appear to be drones.
    07/06-- (Date of pictures) Capped brood appear to be both drones and workers. (Confirm?) Queen sighted, but doesn't appear to be a virgin. (Confirm?)

    The obvious answer, to me, is that the package was shipped with laying workers in it, because the odd brood pattern was present from nearly the beginning. Now we have a virgin queen. But if so, who's laying what appears to be normal worker bees? And if so, why does she look so rotund? (I've seen virgins before, and she doesn't look like one to me).

    What happened to this hive? Are those laying worker brood? A virgin queen?
    And now that it's July 13th, what, if anything, should be done to save it?

    Please see pictures here. There are pictures of the eggs/larva, and the queen. https://www.facebook.com/faith.schaf...9251933&type=1
    4.5 hives of Italians. 2 seasons of experience. And you-- yes, you! You're my mentor!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Rockford, MI
    Posts
    2,457

    Default Re: I'm not new to beekeeping, but this hive has me stumped (pictures)

    Timeline is off somewhere.
    Queen released and 3 combs of solid brood 3 days later? I'm thinking the queen was released within 3 days.
    Although you had a laying worker hive at some point. Many packages replace the queen right away as in your case.
    Now you have what appears to be a mated queen walking around. Nice looking superceedure queen BTW.
    Package shipped, queen released (should be only 3 days though... check after 3 days), started laying, bees didn't like the brood pattern, superceeded her, now hive is back to beginning.
    It should be back to normal in a week or so.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Herrick, SD USA
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    4,241

    Default Re: I'm not new to beekeeping, but this hive has me stumped (pictures)

    Not saying this is your fault, but its usually a good practice to stay away, (or at least nothing more than just a quick in and out to feed) from a newly hived package for a couple of weeks while the bees and queen are getting acclimated to their new surroundings. Its not terribly unusual for a new package to try to supercede even a good queen after a short period of time. I have always assumed its because the population of workers is shrinking and because no young bees are emerging the workers sense something is amiss. Given the fact that the original queen was marked and is now nowhere to be seen would indicate to me that they made a supercedure attempt and ended up with a poorly mated queen. I am not seeing anything in these pictures indicative of a fertile queen and a lot of visual evidence of either a drone layer or laying workers. A comb or two of good open brood might remedy the situation but absent any help this hive may well be doomed.
    "People will generally accept facts as truth only if the facts agree with what they already believe."- Andy Rooney

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Herrick, SD USA
    Posts
    4,241

    Default Re: I'm not new to beekeeping, but this hive has me stumped (pictures)

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr.Beeman View Post
    Timeline is off somewhere.
    .
    I took it to mean that she confirmed the release on 6/13 a week after installation.
    "People will generally accept facts as truth only if the facts agree with what they already believe."- Andy Rooney

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    monterey Ca USA
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    73

    Default Re: I'm not new to beekeeping, but this hive has me stumped (pictures)

    I would quit looking in the hive so much and you wont be stumped... Let em do their trip for a while, if they have the resources they will straighten it out. Sounds like they do and are.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Watauga, North Carolina, USA
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    366

    Default Re: I'm not new to beekeeping, but this hive has me stumped (pictures)

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr.Beeman View Post
    Timeline is off somewhere.
    Queen released and 3 combs of solid brood 3 days later? I'm thinking the queen was released within 3 days.
    Yes-- the brood was eggs and little larva, of course. And I mispoke in that it was three SIDES of medium frames, and of course the nectar and such was around them. o-o She had hopped to it and was doing a good job.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr.Beeman View Post
    Now you have what appears to be a mated queen walking around. Nice looking superceedure queen BTW.
    How can I have a mated queen when the queen cell hatched only a week, if that, before? Last time we had a supersedure, it was 45 days before that queen was laying.

    If that looks like a mated queen to you, then I'm thinking they removed her poorly made mark, and that's the original queen. Is it possible for a mark to be removed? Wasn't a white marked queen 2011? I'm used to little apiaries using whatever colours, but bigs ones usually try to stick with the colours.

    As to the issue of looking too much, we've always had that issue. xD But when you get a package in June, you kind of want to make sure your queen is working out ASAP, so that's why we checked so quickly.

    Maybe she spent herself and it now drone laying? But does an older queen also do multiple eggs per cell? Perhaps we did something that made them mad at the time, and perhaps they maimed, but didn't kill her. Perhaps she killed the virgin queen, or is it possible that the virgin queen is in there and they are just biding their time with the old queen?

    Do those brood cells look like drones or workers to you all?

    ACTION:
    I'm just trying to decide if we need to isolate that queen and do the 'laying worker' shake-- shake everyone off on the other side of the creek they're in front of, and whoever makes it back isn't a laying worker (do we lose our nurse bees and potentially the virgin queen in this process? We've done it once before, but I always am curious about the others who can't fly) and if so, what timing to ensure we don't lose bees?

    We have a neighbouring hive we can give the once a week fresh brood from from, but will that suppress any laying workers fully? I guess worse comes to worse we can just combine the hives and pinch the poorly mated queen come fall, so it isn't a 'waste' of resources worse comes to worse.
    4.5 hives of Italians. 2 seasons of experience. And you-- yes, you! You're my mentor!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2012
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    Sacramento, CA, USA
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    2,691

    Default Re: I'm not new to beekeeping, but this hive has me stumped (pictures)

    Typically you don't see problematic laying workers and a queen at the same time. All the brood looks like drone. If the queencells hatched 6/29, you could have a laying queen by now, the shortest I've seen it is 8 days post emergence. Since you have other hives, just take a frame of open larva/eggs, shake all the bees off and drop it in there, it'll help boost morale and suppress laying worker if it's becoming an issue.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Rockford, MI
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    2,457

    Default Re: I'm not new to beekeeping, but this hive has me stumped (pictures)

    Metamorphosis of the queen bee
    Egg hatches on Day 3
    Larva (several moltings) Day 3 to Day 8 1⁄2
    Queen cell capped ~ Day 7 1⁄2
    Pupa ~ Day 8 until emergence
    Emergence ~Day 15 1⁄2 - Day 17
    Nuptial Flight(s) ~Day 20 - 24
    Egg Laying ~Day 23 and up

    It's entirely possible to have a laying queen.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
    Location
    Reno, Nevada, USA
    Posts
    50

    Default Re: I'm not new to beekeeping, but this hive has me stumped (pictures)

    This is my first year, so I'm maybe not much help. But I'm posting because I just got through dealing with a queen (Yes, queen) laying up to 6 eggs in a cell because she was crowded. Maybe you have a perfectly good queen, but something else is amiss. I'm seeing a few capping look dirty and deflated, and some dirty cells, and 1 odd looking larvae that seems to be flipped over on itself. Have you considered a disease disrupting the brood pattern and not the queen? Before you shake your bees, maybe wait for the brood closest to the middle of the frame to be capped and decide if it's drones or workers. You do seem to have a lot of drone cells but they're at the bottom of the frame for the most part. Isn't that normal? The bees can clean the paint off so I really have no idea if she's the original or not. I'll leave that up to the more experienced Beeks.

    They're tending to her and they aren't hurting her. Nothing but good news there. Maybe give them some more time. Your laying workers, if you were given some in the original package and that's even what's going on, will die off of age soon, won't they? I'm guilty of getting into my hives too much, too! But this might be a case for standing back and seeing what they do. Also, if she is running out of space a frame of brood from another hive or even empty frames dispersed in the brood nest can help get your bees building up more comb for her. That's what ultimately worked for my hive and they've sorted out all the extra eggs.

    Watching the thread! Hope it all works out!
    Amanda. First year. 2 hives. Anecdotal beekeeping journaling here.

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