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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Winsted, CT, USA
    Posts
    77

    Default Queen cell question

    Will the bees make a queen cell around larva that is unsuitable? Perhaps as a last ditch effort would they make one around larva from a laying worker? I have a package that replaced the queen twice in a row and barely gave the first one enough time to lay eggs. I have had it with package bees and will try to only do splits from now on or only buy NUC's. Have had nothing but problems. My packages arrived early and I was pleased however now they are behind for the season because of this nonsense.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Pepperell, MA.
    Posts
    3,671

    Default

    I don't know that they would make a queen cell from a laying worker egg. In a laying worker hive, they "think" that they are queenright.

    Package bees seem to hive a higher rate of supersedure than any of us would like to see. I assume that a package will have queen problems and feed medicated syrup right away in case of Nosema and then I keep an eye on the colony for the rest of the year looking for signs of trouble. I've had one go queenless this year and it was odd. The package arrived with an open queen cage. I shook them in and went back after a week and found brood. One cycle and she was done. No eggs, no brood, no nothing. I re-queened that colony.
    "My wife always wanted girls. Just not thousands and thousands of them......"

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    43,492

    Default

    >Will the bees make a queen cell around larva that is unsuitable?

    They will do the best with what they have. I've seen laying worker hives build queen cells and that's pretty hopeless, but if there are suitable larvae they will use the right ones.

    "It has been stated by a number of beekeepers who should know better (including myself) that the bees are in such a hurry to rear a queen that they choose larvae too old for best results. later observation has shown the fallacy of this statement and has convinced me that bees do the very best that can be done under existing circumstances.

    "The inferior queens caused by using the emergency method is because the bees cannot tear down the tough cells in the old combs lined with cocoons. The result is that the bees fill the worker cells with bee milk floating the larvae out the opening of the cells, then they build a little queen cell pointing downward. The larvae cannot eat the bee milk back in the bottom of the cells with the result that they are not well fed. However, if the colony is strong in bees, are well fed and have new combs, they can rear the best of queens. And please note-- they will never make such a blunder as choosing larvae too old."--Jay Smith

    "If it were true, as formerly believed, that queenless bees are in such haste to rear a queen that they will select a larva too old for the purpose, then it would hardly do to wait even nine days. A queen is matured in fifteen days from the time the egg is laid, and is fed throughout her larval lifetime on the same food that is given to a worker-larva during the first three days of its larval existence. So a worker-larva more than three days old, or more than six days from the laying of the egg would be too old for a good queen. If, now, the bees should select a larva more than three days old, the queen would emerge in less than nine days. I think no one has ever known this to occur. Bees do not prefer too old larvae. As a matter of fact bees do not use such poor judgment as to select larvae too old when larvae sufficiently young are present, as I have proven by direct experiment and many observations."--Fifty Years Among the Bees, C.C. Miller
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Winsted, CT, USA
    Posts
    77

    Default

    More to learn every year. The OB hive really can force a person to reflect on what is seen. I watched the bees start a cell and then abandon it within a couple days for another choice. The cell built around the second choice has been closed for about 10 days and amounts to a large bulge but not the usual long extended downward facing cell we usually see. I also noted that the bees haven't been crowding on it to keep it warm. Could this cell be rejected? Do bees need to stay on the brood during the whole incubation period. Thanks to those who have taken the time to reply.

    Jack

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    43,492

    Default

    Once they are capped they require less heat and no attention.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    Kiel WI, USA
    Posts
    2,373

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by jbw View Post
    Will the bees make a queen cell around larva that is unsuitable? Perhaps as a last ditch effort would they make one around larva from a laying worker?

    If they succeed, that would be thelytoky.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    College Station, Texas
    Posts
    6,985

    Default

    jbw writes:
    Will the bees make a queen cell around larva that is unsuitable?

    tecumseh:
    once a group of bees become 'desperately queenless' they will build a queen cell around almost anything including cells of pollen. these cells themselves typically appear (to me) to be highly irregular in shape.

    another jbw snip:
    I have had it with package bees and will try to only do splits from now on or only buy NUC's. Have had nothing but problems.

    tecumseh:
    I would suggest that everyone that might desire to purchase a package of bees needs to ask directly if the package supplier treats for nosema. if the package producer does not and you still wish to use their product then definitely think about treating for nosema yourself. there is a nice little blurb in the back of the current issue of the american bee journal that suggest that nosema c is much more prevalent that even I thought. it quite likely wouldn't be such a bad idea even if you purchased nucs to ask the folks putting these together if they threat for nosema.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    43,492

    Default

    >If they succeed, that would be thelytoky.

    Which has been documented, but is not something I would count on to fix things. The bees can gamble on it as they have no choice.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Winsted, CT, USA
    Posts
    77

    Default

    Today the bees took an increased interest in the queen cell and since I had the closing of the cell date pegged for the 18th I just might have a queen in there when I look in the morning. A watched pot takes a long time to boil. I will know a bit more about queens after this adventure and between you folks and the OB hive the tutoring has been beneficial.

    Thanks,

    Jack

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