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Thread: Am I queenless?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
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    seattle, wa
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    Smile Am I queenless?

    Hi everyone!
    I just built two top bar hives with a friend and we set them up in my yard. Last weekend we put a box o' bees in each. We did, however, loose one of the queens when we were trying to do that darn marshmallow thing. But, she flew back in and we saw her in the hive. We assumed that she had been traveling with her mates long enough and hoped all would be well. What to do at that point anyway? So, almost a week has passed and I am trying to figure out if the differences in the hives are just how hives are: they are all different.
    Or, is it that this particular hive is queenless?
    During the night they are the same...huddled in a neat ball keeping each other warm. During the day (this week it has been sunny and in the 60's!!!!), they seem different. The one hive with the queen in her box with a marshmallow (which we assume has been eaten out by now, but haven't checked) - this hive seems like the bees are obviously working, they are buzzing all around and going in and out and eating the sugar water like mad. However, even during the day, they seem pretty clumped together and organized.
    Hive #2, which is where the queen was loose in the hive with her travel companion bees seems equally active and equally hungry. We built pull out drawers on the hives and when we pull out this one there are wax droppings all over the place - obviously making comb. So, that makes me think it is a good sign, that they are making comb. (Funny that I don't see any wax on the hive I am not as worried about - maybe I should be?). Anyway, hive #2 - again, where the queen was loose - it seems that during the day the bees are less organized - not as clumped into a ball. Almost think I can see some chaining. They are definately more spread out in the hive (we gave each hive about 8 bars worth of room). They are not as clumped together.
    What do you folks think?
    Should I not worry about either?
    Am I worrying about the wrong hive?
    Should I just trust mother nature and the bees and let go and celebrate the diversity of hives?! Thanks in advance for your thoughts!!!
    Liz in seattle

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Tucson, Arizona, USA
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    5,347

    Default Re: Am I queenless?

    What's wrong with pulling a few combs to see if there is brood - I'd certainly recommend quickly checking out both hives. If there is healthy worker brood, you know that, at least, there was a queen in there. If no brood in the questionable hive, you should be able to give them a comb containing eggs from the other hive, so the second hive, if it is queenless can then raise themselves a queen. Heck, you can even look to see if there are queens.
    48 years - 50 hives - TF
    Joseph Clemens -- Website Under Constructioni

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Lewiston, MI, USA
    Posts
    211

    Default Re: Am I queenless?

    I agree. Open it up and see what you can find and then you can come up with a game plan. Hopefully, you'll see fresh comb with eggs. Keep us posted and congrats on your new hives.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    seattle, wa
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    Default Re: Am I queenless?

    Thank you for your ideas...I really appreciate all the experience out there!
    Do you think that there is any significant comb to speak of after only 6 days?
    Just curious, and thought I would reiterate that it has been less than a week. Not sure how fast these girls work. It has, however, been a real nice bee week, and they have been eating up a storm!
    The primary reason that I feel a bit of a time crunch is because the guy we got our bees from has a second shipment with some extra queens coming in on Saturday this weekend.
    Thanks again.
    LIz

  5. #5
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    Tucson, Arizona, USA
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    Default Re: Am I queenless?

    Here is a photo of a comb that a condo nuc consisting of only two medium depth frames built in one evening -- I unintentionally left them an empty space large enough to fit a third comb/frame:

    This comb contained a few dozen cells with pollen and nectar near the top on either side and end, and some freshly laid eggs in the center on both sides. I can only assume they placed the pollen early the same morning I discovered the comb.
    Last edited by Joseph Clemens; 04-16-2010 at 12:10 AM.
    48 years - 50 hives - TF
    Joseph Clemens -- Website Under Constructioni

  6. #6
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    Mar 2010
    Location
    seattle, wa
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    Smile Re: Am I queenless?

    WOW!!! Tells you how new I am to this. Thank you so much for your replies. I will check them out tomorrow! One more question...if you have been beekeeping since I was born (1964), why do we look the same age?? Maybe bees have some anti-aging properties that I will be excited to learn about!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
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    Default Re: Am I queenless?


    Thanks for thinking I look so young.

    I was born in 1956 and was really only eight years old in 1964, when I first became fascinated by honey bees and began learning about them and watching them. My school principal fostered my interest, with the cooperation of my parents, together they looked up many of the beekeepers in my area, introduced me to them and I was able to visit their hives to share the experience inside beehives with several of my closest local beekeepers. I didn't actually obtain my own first beehive until I was ten. All this while we lived in Lompoc, California, which was and still is a center for commercial flower seed growers.

    I haven't yet stopped being fascinated, surprised, and amazed by them.
    --------
    I kept bees on the North side of Dugualla Bay on Whidbey Island from 1979 through 1987.
    48 years - 50 hives - TF
    Joseph Clemens -- Website Under Constructioni

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
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    seattle, wa
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    Default Re: Am I queenless?

    OK, that makes a bit more sense! My son is 9; I can only hope he takes to it like you! Seems like it has worked out well for you! Thanks again for your help, I will keep you posted.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
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    Dalkeith, Ont, Canada
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    Default Re: Am I queenless?

    I would defiantly take a peek inside, no eggs in 5 or 6 days is still inside normal if I understand the literature properly.. at the vary lest you need to check that they are building the right direction, I had a new hive build 90deg opposite the direction I wanted them to, had to start them at square one, as usual don't let any brood get chilled ect, 60f is still a tad cold

  10. #10
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    nelsonville, ohio
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  11. #11
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    Jun 2009
    Location
    Lewiston, MI, USA
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    Default Re: Am I queenless?

    nice photos 11x. Thanks for sharing. i hope to stick some bees in my tbh soon.

  12. #12
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    Jul 2009
    Location
    Dalkeith, Ont, Canada
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    Default Re: Am I queenless?

    They look fairly normal, it can take a few days for them to orient themselves so looks good, pics were to small for me to see inside the comb some spots looked like either grubs or nectar hard to say though =D I noticed your dandylions are in bloom, ours are just now starting least you have a flow.

    Sam.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Concord, CA
    Posts
    4,137

    Default Re: Am I queenless?

    Its still to early for you to see capped worker brood in the hive, but you probably have eggs.
    Dan

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