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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Erie, PA
    Posts
    2,030

    Default Update on queenless hive

    I looked into the hive where I saw no brood and a queen cell 3 weeks ago. Still no brood, and the bees are packing honey into the brood chamber. Looks like there's nothing happening there. Still a decent number of bees, though.

    So I opened the othert hive, which is going gangbusters. Has 2 deeps full of brood, some brood and honey in the 1st shallow, and the 2nd shallow nearly full of honey. Bees filling almost every frame. I looked through the brood boxes, trying (in vain) to find a frame of eggs. Dang it! I know there had to be eggs. Didn't see the queen, either. So I took a frame where I could see little or no capped brood, some tiny larvae, and a bunch of "empty" cells, and moved it to the other hive. Put it between a few empty frames. Wait and see, I guess. Hope that was the right thing to do.

    Threw a 3rd shallow on the booming hive. Next step: Get glasses and someone to show me eggs.
    “The keeping of bees is like the direction of sunbeams.” -Henry David Thoreau

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Newark, DE
    Posts
    47

    Default

    So I overfed my first hive this spring and they took about a gallon of feed in a week! The queen had already laid in the bottom brood box and the top brood box had the feed in it, so she got over crowded. I had about 15 swarm cells throughout the hive, most on the frame that were packed with feed. So I split the upper box into 2 nucs and put 2 drawn supers on the box to coax the bees to fill with honey. There were still a couple swarm cells on the lower frames I thought I would do a cutback split to guarantee no swarm. I dug through the box for about 30 min and couldn't find the queen. I left the box and figured I had split them up enough. BIG MISTAKE! 8 days ago the hive still swarmed but luckily I hived it. 6 days ago I went into the 4 hives to check on the queens. I could only find a virgin (she didn't look normal anyway) in Nuc #1, but not in Nuc#2 or the original hive. At that point they had only been out of the cells for 3 or 4 days so I just closed everything up. I checked on them yesterday and I am starting to get worried. I couldn't find the queen in any of hives. Nuc #2 had a quarter frame of 1 or 2 day old brood so the queen started laying 5 days ago which seems right on time and everything was nice and calm, Nuc #1 seemed a little agitated and no queen spotted and no eggs or brood, the swarm and original hive had no eggs or brood also. How long should I wait before I consider the 3 remaining queens dead? Michael Bush states on his website somewhere that a virgin should mate within 5 days and start laying soon after just like my Nuc#2. Also, when is the queen that I do have going to get up to speed? I've heard 2 weeks for a new queen to punch it into high gear. And what about my old queen? She was great in the old hive! What about now? What should I do?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,584

    Default

    >Michael Bush states on his website somewhere that a virgin should mate within 5 days and start laying soon after

    Not really. She MIGHT, but it's more likely it will be two weeks from when she emerges that you'll see eggs and occasionally it's three weeks:
    http://www.bushfarms.com/beesmath.htm
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Newark, DE
    Posts
    47

    Default

    Thanks for the reply MB. Quick 3 questions...
    1) does the queen start off slow? Because a quarter of one side of on frame seems like a bad queen to me. How long should I wait before I deem her unfit?

    2)We are about to have a killer black locust flow in less than a week and I was hoping to get honey off my original hive but then it swarmed. I know I would have gotten an awesome crop without the swarm. What are my chances of a surplus if I use both hives? It's the same number of bees but in two boxes. No brood in either right now. Should I do a quick combine right now and let the queens duke it out or kill the queen and leave the virgin? They would be packed in if I did.

    3)Can I expect 10/20/40 lbs? I know everything "depends" but I'm talking thousands of buds on these trees and I live on Locust Point, so it seems to me it's all about the bees (weather permitting).

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Newark, DE
    Posts
    47

    Default

    So I guess I'm just too excited with this and need to be patient. To update my previous post, I visited my outyard today. The queen that laid the quarter frame of eggs is definitely unfit becuase the bees have already started emergency cells on the quarter frame of 6 day old larvae, so there goes another 22 days. I'm quite disappointed. I am considering doing a newspaper combine with the other 5 frame split and giving the other potential queen a full 10 frames to lay up in. I doubt I would get a good queen cell out of this small split and most of the bees will be dead by then anyway. Am I being hasty yet again?

    On the plus side, my original queen, bless her hemolyph pumping organ, has laid 2 full frames of eggs. I even spotted her! Very happy about that. Now I'm going to buy my marking supplies and start practising on some drones. The other hives splits still don't show evidence of their virgins being mated yet but it's only been 1.5 weeks.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,584

    Default

    >1) does the queen start off slow?

    Sometimes.

    > Because a quarter of one side of on frame seems like a bad queen to me.

    Not starting off.

    > How long should I wait before I deem her unfit?

    I can take them a couple of weeks to get going.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Newark, DE
    Posts
    47

    Default

    Thanks MB
    I'm pretty sure I killed her. Would you combine?

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