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Thread: Queen Cups...

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Quad Cities, Illinois, USA
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    16

    Default Queen Cups...

    Just to caveat this post... I am not distressed, or worried, or concerned. I am actually a bit excited that I may be on my way to gaining another queen! (which would let me start another hive) I am just not 100% sure how to proceed.

    Over the past week I have watched the bees (through the observation window) create what seems to be queen cups (not capped yet). I have counted three of theses cups (from the window) that are larger than the surround cells, on the very edge of the comb, and are being worked on with the cell hole oriented almost vertically down. Again.. they are on the edges, not the face of the comb. (I am assuming that these are more likely to be the start of swarm cells then.)

    Since expanding the brood nest last week I added 4 new bars in between 5 other bars of straight brood comb. 2 of these bars are built up nicely (50-60% built) with fresh new comb, 2 of the bars have not a singles cell on them yet. (Full brood bars 6-7-8-9-10.. empty in between 6-7 and 9-10.. partially built between 7-8 and 8-9) I cannot tell if any of the new comb has eggs in it yet from just looking through the observation window.

    I still have yet to have a second hive or nuc built yet. My thoughts are to first open the hive and observe to see if any of the new comb has eggs in it. I also plan to see if I can find the existing queen. If they are swarm cells, I assume that I should expand the hive a bit correct? Any thoughts on why two of the bars I have added have not been touched by the bees?

    I may take one of the bars with cells on it, and place it in a new hive. Thoughts?

    Any other advice or things I should consider.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Quad Cities, Illinois, USA
    Posts
    16

    Default Re: Queen Cups...

    (The new fresh comb DOES have eggs throughout the comb.)

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,212

    Default Re: Queen Cups...

    Do the cups have larvae in them? Bees often build cups without them. If there is larvae in them the bees will be feeding constantly. If there is not larvae in them they will not be all that interested in them.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Quad Cities, Illinois, USA
    Posts
    16

    Default Re: Queen Cups...

    Bees are constantly sticking their heads inside of the cell making it hard for me get a look from just the observation window.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Accord, NY
    Posts
    333

    Default Re: Queen Cups...

    "My thoughts are to first open the hive and observe to see if any of the new comb has eggs in it."
    Absolutely. The observation window is more for entertainment than real inspection.

    "I also plan to see if I can find the existing queen. If they are swarm cells, I assume that I should expand the hive a bit correct?"
    By expand the hive, you mean make a split? I assume this is the first year. If so, my guess is they are not swarming. Just watch them, they've got a lot to teach. (Another consideration: Have these bees come from a package? How long ago? Have they superceded (replaced the queen) that you know of?)

    "Any thoughts on why two of the bars I have added have not been touched by the bees?"
    Too much space all at once. They have to cover the brood to keep it warm. Adding four bars in a hive with only five bars drawn is stretching them thin. Depending on how many bees in the hive, one bar break in the brood nest might have been plenty. (How old the hive? How many bees in the hive? how many total drawn bars?)

    "I may take one of the bars with cells on it, and place it in a new hive. Thoughts?"
    If first year hive, don't worry about splitting it. They need those cells to build up. Just enjoy watching them. Bees build queen cells for fun all the time. Doesn't mean they'll raise another queen. Sounds like yours have plenty of space.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Quad Cities, Illinois, USA
    Posts
    16

    Default Re: Queen Cups...

    Quote Originally Posted by Aram View Post
    By expand the hive, you mean make a split? I assume this is the first year. If so, my guess is they are not swarming. Just watch them, they've got a lot to teach. (Another consideration: Have these bees come from a package? How long ago? Have they superceded (replaced the queen) that you know of?)
    Bees came from a 3lb package and were installed on May 2nd. They have been in the hive about 6 weeks now. I probably used the wrong terminology, but by "expand" I meant adding more bars of space. And this is my first year keeping bees!

    Quote Originally Posted by Aram View Post
    "Any thoughts on why two of the bars I have added have not been touched by the bees?"
    Too much space all at once. They have to cover the brood to keep it warm. Adding four bars in a hive with only five bars drawn is stretching them thin. Depending on how many bees in the hive, one bar break in the brood nest might have been plenty. (How old the hive? How many bees in the hive? how many total drawn bars?)
    There were actually about 10 bars drawn almost completely full when I added the 4 extra bars. Only the first two near the entrance had ~50% built comb. Now I have the original 10 basically completely built with the addition of two empty bars, and two bars that are ~50% built. I crack the hive last night to take a peak at the new comb. It does in fact have eggs throughout the comb.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Quad Cities, Illinois, USA
    Posts
    16

    Default Re: Queen Cups...

    Had the hive open tonight. Most of the queen cells were empty or gone. One queen cell had royal jelly in it. I could not tell if there was larva or an egg... just a bunch of white royal jelly. Would the bees even put RJ in the cup if there wasn't an egg in it?

    Also quite a few more drone in the hive than previous inspections. One side of one comb was about 50% drone cells. There is also plenty of new worker brood throughout the rest of the hive.

    Unfortunately I could not find the queen during the inspection.
    Last edited by adamziegler; 07-08-2010 at 05:51 PM.

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