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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Hampton, VA, USA
    Posts
    58

    Default Newbee - need some interpretation of today's hive inspection.

    I got my first hive, a split, from a fellow beekeeper on Friday. I took my first peek inside today and . . .

    It was 70ish today so I came home early to see what the bees were doing. I began by taking off the two top supers. First concern, neither of the boxes had any activity, no comb being built here. When I got down to the brood box it looked OK from the top, bees roaming over the top of the frames. The first frame I took out was an end frame, there was some comb drawn on it but not much else, some pollen on the inner side.

    The second frame, however, was a big surprise - it was loaded with queen cells! They were bright yellow, sticking perpendicular to the frames, probably half a dozen on both sides of the frame.

    As I went through the frames there were several others with queen cells scattered about - and one of them open! I also saw a queen on one of the frames, she seemed to be wandering around, without any attendants watching after her - this seemed strange. She also seemed skinny, not that I have seen a lot of queens before. There were also a bunch of drones bees in the hive.

    There were also a bunch of cells that were only half filled with something. It was off white and looked pasty. I talked to another beekeeper and he suggested that perhaps it was pollen. All of the pollen I have seen up to this point has been yellow or even orange. ?

    I also did not see eggs or larva or much stores! This could be my inexperience at spotting them.

    So, I am guessing that the first queen left, or gave up, or was killed in the transport, or the bees started building queen cells when the queen was trapped for the split. I am guessing the queen I saw was a new one (is there any way to tell?) perhaps a virgin queen?

    So, because there were little stores, I went ahead and took off the two supers, put the inner cover right down on the brood box and put on two feeder jars. I know I have a chance of crowding the bees with the one box which could cause them to think swarm, but I have to worry about them living through the next couple of weeks. Hopefully one of the new queens will mate and get to work laying eggs!

    I'd love to get some feedback!! (sorry for no pictures, my helper was at baseball
    Newbee Rich
    Antcliff Farms

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Troupsburg, NY
    Posts
    4,072

    Default

    "I got my first hive, a split, from a fellow beekeeper on Friday. I took my first peek inside today and . . .

    It was 70ish today so I came home early to see what the bees were doing. I began by taking off the two top supers. First concern, neither of the boxes had any activity, no comb being built here. When I got down to the brood box it looked OK from the top, bees roaming over the top of the frames. The first frame I took out was an end frame, there was some comb drawn on it but not much else, some pollen on the inner side."

    How many frames in this hive? Sometimes it is better to leave them in less room...ie...without the supers, until they have grown into their new space.

    "The second frame, however, was a big surprise - it was loaded with queen cells! They were bright yellow, sticking perpendicular to the frames, probably half a dozen on both sides of the frame."

    Yup

    "As I went through the frames there were several others with queen cells scattered about - and one of them open! I also saw a queen on one of the frames, she seemed to be wandering around, without any attendants watching after her - this seemed strange. She also seemed skinny, not that I have seen a lot of queens before. There were also a bunch of drones bees in the hive."

    That would be the one that hatched. If you look back in a day or so, the remaining queencells should be ripped open from the side. Any that have opened from the bottom will have hatched.

    "There were also a bunch of cells that were only half filled with something. It was off white and looked pasty. I talked to another beekeeper and he suggested that perhaps it was pollen. All of the pollen I have seen up to this point has been yellow or even orange. ?"

    Started queencells filled with RJ perhaps.

    "I also did not see eggs or larva or much stores! This could be my inexperience at spotting them.:

    Would be a good indication that there wasn't a queen in this split at all.

    "So, I am guessing that the first queen left, or gave up, or was killed in the transport, or the bees started building queen cells when the queen was trapped for the split. I am guessing the queen I saw was a new one (is there any way to tell?) perhaps a virgin queen?"

    Yes the one you saw would be the virgin.

    "So, because there were little stores, I went ahead and took off the two supers, put the inner cover right down on the brood box and put on two feeder jars. I know I have a chance of crowding the bees with the one box which could cause them to think swarm, but I have to worry about them living through the next couple of weeks. Hopefully one of the new queens will mate and get to work laying eggs!"

    I don't think you have enough bees to cause enough crowding to cause them to swarm at this point. In about three weeks you should check for eggs, and you might even see some larva at that point if she mated quickly.
    "I reject your reality, and substitute my own." Adam Savage

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    piperton,Tennessee,usa
    Posts
    369

    Default

    Was a Queen included in the split you got? Was she already introduced to the hive when you got it? Did you place a new Queen in with them once you recived it?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    College Station, Texas
    Posts
    6,973

    Default

    rich writes:
    I began by taking off the two top supers.

    >keep the space within the hive at a minimum especially if you are still experiencing cool days or nights.


    As I went through the frames there were several others with queen cells scattered about - and one of them open! I also saw a queen on one of the frames, she seemed to be wandering around, without any attendants watching after her - this seemed strange. She also seemed skinny, not that I have seen a lot of queens before. There were also a bunch of drones bees in the hive.

    >the last sentence suggest that the old queen might have become a drone layer. a virgin queen should look more like a yellow jacket with an abdomen just somewhat longer than a worker and a mated queen should look more like a red wasp with a fairly long abdomen relative to the rest of their body. If the queen you saw looked more like a red wasp and was still skinny (ie the abdomen was not swollen) this could indicate near starvation.

    There were also a bunch of cells that were only half filled with something. It was off white and looked pasty.

    >as peggjam suggest these are likely just started queen cells.

    I also did not see eggs or larva or much stores! This could be my inexperience at spotting them.

    >another sign that the queen problem may be related to starvation.

    I am guessing the queen I saw was a new one (is there any way to tell?) perhaps a virgin queen?

    >see description above...

    So, because there were little stores, I went ahead and took off the two supers, put the inner cover right down on the brood box and put on two feeder jars.

    >this is likely what I would have also done. even if this intervention resolves the hives problem, once queen cells are started they are rarely left unfinished.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    Location
    Greenville, TX, USA
    Posts
    4,410

    Default

    As has been said, pack them down into one box or at most two at this point. Don't add space until 90% or so is packed out. Bees do best a little crowded. Virgin queens typically have a "waist" like a girl. Once mated, they are long and thick looking.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    Suffolk, VA
    Posts
    2,731

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by rantcliff View Post
    The second frame, however, was a big surprise - it was loaded with queen cells! They were bright yellow, sticking perpendicular to the frames, probably half a dozen on both sides of the frame.

    As I went through the frames there were several others with queen cells scattered about - and one of them open! I also saw a queen on one of the frames, she seemed to be wandering around, without any attendants watching after her - this seemed strange. She also seemed skinny, not that I have seen a lot of queens before. There were also a bunch of drones bees in the hive.

    Please don't take offense, but are you sure you're looking at queen cells? Cells "sticking perpendicular to the frames" could very likely be drones cells. Big peanut-shaped cells hanging off the frame are queen cells. And the white pasty stuff could be drone brood, of course RJ is also white and pasty looking. You'd certainly be on the early side for swarming for our area. I inspected all my hives last weekend and saw no signs at all of queen cell building. Of course I don't know the history on that split, which could really explain much of what you're seeing.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    Kiel WI, USA
    Posts
    2,368

    Default

    Pictures of drone brood and queen cells.

    http://www.beesource.com/forums/show...ighlight=drone

    I checked your weather, it seems to me a super or two would be a good idea along with the feed.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Hampton, VA, USA
    Posts
    58

    Default oops

    Well, those of you who guessed drone cell were correct. Sorry, as a newbee it looked so peculiar that I jumped to a conclusion that it was a queen cell. What gave it away to the careful readers was when I described it as perpendicular to the frame. Please take a look at the blog an make sure I am NOW correct.

    Sorry for ramping some of you up!

    So, I went back in today, took some pictures, and now have a new question - but I'll start a new thread

    Thanks!
    Newbee Rich
    Antcliff Farms

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