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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
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    North Alabama, SW Kentucky
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    Default Who's in control here? (workers vs "queen")

    Topics like the thread "Outbreeding Mites" and articles from W. Wright often get me thinking on an age-old question: who is running the show in the beehive? I Phrases like: "the queen slows down", "the queen speeds up", "the queen ran out of room," etc. fill the discussions by beekeepers. In particular, the thread "Outbreeding Mites" (http://www.beesource.com/forums/showthread.php?t=222285) refers to one difference between spring-reared and fall-reared queens as the former will slow down in the fall while the later will not.

    If the traditional view that hive authority lies with the queen is true, then I can accept the arguement for productive fall-reared queens as having validity. However, if, as I gather some are suggesting in non-traditional circles, that the workers control the queen's ability to lay by "backfilling the broodnest" (argued by W. Wright) and other power-play methods, then we'll have to take a different look at beekeeping strategies.

    In addition to W. Wright's observations that the workers will "backfill" the broodnest with nectar to prohibit the queen from laying, I've wondered if the workers might also control her egg production by eating eggs that she's lain. An observation hive would be handy. Two hives established on equal terms would be handy, one with a spring-queen and one with a fall-queen. but then again, perhaps there has already be experiments on the issue of who determines how much brood is reared under normal conditions.
    WayaCoyote

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Fair Grove,MO,USA
    Posts
    1,656

    Default Who!s in control here?

    Neither one is in complete control.Their!s not any Dem. or Rep.to mess things up for them.They actually work together for the good of their community and survival.When things start going wrong they all seem to know what to do and take action,also they know, not one bee is worth more than the other because without each othere thery can!t survive.I might add that the male bees[drones]are treated a little harsh come Oct.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    mt. airy, surry county, nc
    Posts
    217

    Default

    i like to think of the colony as a living being, each bee is a cell. with the queen is the ovary of the producing replacement cells.

    a colony is not a cohesive unit. some bees will be making comb, will another bunch is tearing down comb.
    "Any fool can learn, the trick is to understand - Einstein"

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Saskatchewan, Canada
    Posts
    282

    Default

    Well the queen can't fully be in charge. I am sure she would not order supercedure cells to be built otherwise. I think they do their work and if the ruler is not up to par she get's replaced or chastized.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Orlando, FL
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    1,313

    Default

    yeah, it's a collective. The bees decide as a group what to do. Much of it is by pheromones too.

    They smell trouble, they remove it. The notice the lack of queen pheromone, they make queen cells etc.
    Troy

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Sacramento,California,USA
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    3,543

    Default

    Worker bees conform a concensous of what to do, and the decision is made from input perceived. A fresh young queen in summer or early fall has the pheremones and desire to lay more than an early year queen, so the workers give her room by moving honey out of the broodnest to enlarge the laying area. Of course room for moving honey/nectar out of broodnest area is needed.

    Workers will backfill a broodnest not necessarily to slow down a queen, but to have nectar around the brood for feed, or as a place of storage while comming to a concensous to start drawing comb above. If the workers want to slow down a queen, they simply slow down or stop feeding her, which will cause her to slow down or stop laying.

    Many things go can be input for making the concensous... space available, nectar flows, weather, strength/age of the queen, amount of pollen and open nectar stores, the time of year, etc.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    avery county n.c.
    Posts
    240

    Default

    Really a fascinating question and I like the way wayacoyote lays it out.
    This needs to be studied with an open mind....
    Thanks for your time, Beehopper

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Venango/Crawford Pennsylvania
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    1,709

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by brooksbeefarm View Post
    Neither one is in complete control.Their!s not any Dem. or Rep.to mess things up for them.They actually work together for the good of their community and survival.When things start going wrong they all seem to know what to do and take action,also they know, not one bee is worth more than the other because without each othere thery can!t survive.I might add that the male bees[drones]are treated a little harsh come Oct.
    Now this is a great topic to talk about... finally, thanks WayaCoyote .

    Well I agree that neither one is in complete control. They seem to worship their queen. Will follow her out the hive is she swarms. Take care and feed her, and defend her if needed. However, having said that, could it bee that they push her out when they think it is time to leave. As they are the ones that built the queen cells. They are the ones that feed and cap these cells, etc. I believe that each bee has it's own mind and works for the greater good of it's family. i.e.- brooksbeefarm's idea of Dem and Rep. as I take it one step farther, in as them working together for the good of America, the land that we love.

    So, could it bee that they all do what they think best. I believe so. I watch some bees as they do their jobs (Like hauling out the dead or some ant or dead yellow jacket they killed) as others walk right by and wouldn't THINK of helping. Why, because that have other things they are working on.

    Each have their own job and in fact, it is amazing. I love watching them in an observation hive. If the queen wanders off, some bees will not seem to care and will do nothing, while, if you watch, soon one or two bee(s) will find her and herd her back to where she/they think the queen should bee. Again, amazing... .

    But what what is even more amazing is having 4 OB hives going at my office and watching each of them, and although they are somewhat the same they differ in many ways. I notice that each hive it ran differently and yet they still get the job done.

    So going back to brooksbeefarm's Democrat and Republican association, coming together and social interaction between people, it doesn't matter who is in the office, we as a country will still be here because we will all work together for the good of our country.

    But then you always have those few bees that go off and do their own thing some place else in the hive for no reason...

    But that's another story...

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    St. Albans, Vermont
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    5,241

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by wayacoyote View Post
    In addition to W. Wright's observations that the workers will "backfill" the broodnest with nectar to prohibit the queen from laying...
    You mean the bees consciously do this...knowingly backfilling the broodnest to stop the queen from laying? As if it was some plan?

    Couldn't it just be that the top of the hive has been filled with honey, and the bees place nectar in the broodnest because that's the only place left to put it?

    I've seen colonies and nucs that winter poorly because the broodnest has been plugged with honey and the colony can't raise enough bees for a good winter cluster. Did they get the game plan wrong, or is it just instinctive.

    I'd vote for the latter.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    45,290

    Default

    Seems to me that it's the workers making the decisions but those decisions are often driven by the pheromones (not so much the will) of the queen.

    >You mean the bees consciously do this...knowingly backfilling the broodnest to stop the queen from laying? As if it was some plan?

    That's the way it appears in the spring in prime swarm season when you have plenty of supers on and they backfill the brood nest anyway which sets off (or is simply the plan for) swarming. I've certainly watched them do control the queen in the observation hive many times. They fill in when they don't want the queen to lay and define the brood nest by what they clear out for the queen. There appears to be a distinct plan at work when they do this as if follows the seasons and the available resources and the flow of resources.

    >Couldn't it just be that the top of the hive has been filled with honey, and the bees place nectar in the broodnest because that's the only place left to put it?

    When there is no room in the supers, sure that's exactly what they will do.

    >I've seen colonies and nucs that winter poorly because the broodnest has been plugged with honey and the colony can't raise enough bees for a good winter cluster. Did they get the game plan wrong, or is it just instinctive.

    Harder to say since it's not a drive to swarm causing it, but it may be that the resources drive it. When there isn't enough pollen coming in to support brood rearing they may decide to restrict the brood nest.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

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