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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
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    Alexandria, VA
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    Default Will bees move queen larva?? Weird emergency cell placement...

    I started this thread in the general forum but no one seems to want to answer. Do any of you queen breeders know if bees move larva?

    I made a 4-frame split Thursday evening, gave them Friday to realize the queen wasn't around, and went in this morning to make On-the-Spot cuts so they'd build queen cells there.

    Pulled out a frame that had some old wax moth damage on it, and found this:







    I didn't think the queen was even laying in that area--you can see the nectar and pollen being stored surrounding the cups, and there isn't ANY young brood on that whole side of the frame! Would the bees build a cup in a convenient area and MOVE eggs or larva into it?? (I mean, we do it with grafting...) Will they ever build a cup around a cell with no larva/eggs? I see three cups, with maybe the beginning of a fourth (right below the bottom right cup).

    I hadn't ever heard of such things happening...

    Practiced making some OTS cuts anyways. The bees' queen will probably hatch out first, but ah well.

    Please chime in if you have any inputs on this! I'm quite confused!

    ~Tara

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
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    Default Re: Will bees move queen larva?? Weird emergency cell placement...

    Some folks suspect that bees move eggs, but it is a widely held belief that they don't. I, for one, don't understand why, in nature, such a thing would happen. But, I know I don't have as wild an imagination as others.
    Mark Berninghausen
    The answers are the end. The questions are the journey. Journey on.



  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
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    Heavener Oklahoma
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    Default Re: Will bees move queen larva?? Weird emergency cell placement...

    No they will not move larva all they need to do is start building around the larva and keep feeding it royal jelly.

    But when you make one queen less they will construct Queen cell cups in different locations some with no larva in the comb or eggs usually if you make a divide from a hive that has brood in all stages they will build the cups around the small larva.

    but they will makes cups more so when they have been brood less and queen less for a long period in desperation to raise a queen if queen less lone enough the workers will lay an egg or eggs in q cell cups. Have seen them construct a queen cell around a cell of pollen several time.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
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    Camas, WA
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    1,962

    Default Re: Will bees move queen larva?? Weird emergency cell placement...

    I took 7 frames of capped brood (no open brood) one time to make a cell builder. I didn't look in every cell, but the queen was busy in all of the hives that I took the frames from on frames at least 2-3 away from the frames taken.

    Every frame ended up with queen cells (from 4 to 13 cells per frame). It looks like the queen takes a trip around the hive every evening depositing a few eggs in a cell here and there.

    In a way, I can see that this would be a safety mechanism that the bees might have. If something (predator) damaged or removed the frame or two of very young eggs or larva, the hive would be hopelessly queenless. If the queen travels around laying eggs on each frame daily, they would have a much better survival.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
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    Aberdeen, Idaho
    Posts
    533

    Default Re: Will bees move queen larva?? Weird emergency cell placement...

    I know that most beeks believe that workers do not move eggs. Last year we had a hopelessly queenless hive that we had a tough time getting to raise a queen. The queen had been gone long enough that there was very little open larvae present. We put a frame of eggs in from another hive. A week later we had queen cells on that frame, as expected, but there was a queen cell plus larvae on a frame that could not have had any eggs. It was even on the side of that frame away from the frame with eggs. I do not know how to explain it.
    Dave

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
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    Default Re: Will bees move queen larva?? Weird emergency cell placement...

    When a colony is queen less long enough the workers will lay a egg in queen cell yes just one. If they are queen less very long you might find more than 1 egg have seen them even feed royal jelly the cells looked good but if you know they have been with out a laying queen then all of a sudden you think a miracle has happened you got a queen cell and you think that maybe all hope was not lost a chance, i have a q cell. Don't Count on it

    if you have a ripe cell that is from a laying queen there is other brood, worker brood in the colony whether open or sealed

    it takes worker brood 21 days to hatch and 16 days on average for Q cell to hatch

    if you have sealed or open queen cell and no worker brood in combs it not right.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
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    Forsyth, North Carolina
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    Default Re: Will bees move queen larva?? Weird emergency cell placement...

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Burrup View Post
    I know that most beeks believe that workers do not move eggs. Last year we had a hopelessly queenless hive that we had a tough time getting to raise a queen. The queen had been gone long enough that there was very little open larvae present. We put a frame of eggs in from another hive. A week later we had queen cells on that frame, as expected, but there was a queen cell plus larvae on a frame that could not have had any eggs. It was even on the side of that frame away from the frame with eggs. I do not know how to explain it.
    Dave

    Dave, I am so glad I found your post. I have a hive that I made queenless by first placing a queen excluder between the two deep brood boxes for 3 days--then locating the queen (she was fat and happily laying away in the top box) in one box and removing that box to another location. I checked the box that was left and found capped brood (both worker and drone) as well as a few older larvae (fat and white--no longer tiny and "translucent" so they were no longer possible queens). I found no eggs and no young larvae and no queen cells in the remaining box.

    After one day, I happily grafted from my breeder queens--a small set, only 15 cells grafted. I went back in after 3 days and found that one graft had taken and all the other queen cups were empty. I figured that they had dried out and the workers had cleaned the cells out. *Important note here--any queens raised from that first set of grafts I did this year would have come "on-line" so to speak and would have been laying for about the past 4 days or so (at least according to the general calendar of queen rearing). Also, that one graft that had taken--well she did not emerge--I had taken her out to a mating nuc, but found her dead in the cell several days later.

    Since that first graft of the year, I have made two more attempts with the same queenless hive to raise queens. At the beginning and end of the second attempt I double checked for eggs/larvae/capped brood on several frames and found none. The frame of capped brood I gave them from another colony had no eggs. During the second attempt, they did not create a single queen cell (and yes, I checked the frame of capped brood too--just in case there were eggs on it that I did not see--and no queen cells there either).

    So I tried one more time. According to the queen rearing calendar, yesterday was time to go into the hive and take out the capped queen cells and distribute them to mating nucs. To my surprise, I found 4 started queen cells--none of them capped. Now if the workers had used any of the tiny larvae I gave them from my breeder queen on this third attempt, the cells should have been capped for several days by yesterday.

    So I decided to look at some other frames and found that there is a very prolific queen in there somewhere--she has already covered about two frames or more with a very good laying pattern (none capped yet, but at various stages from egg to fat, white larvae).

    Now I am assuming that the 4 just started queen cells that I found (which were not capped as of yesterday) are this new queen's offspring. But I am very confused, where did this new queen come from? She has started her laying right at the very time that a queen from my first graft of the year should be laying if she had matured and mated well.

    An added point to this story--for the first two attempts, I had a queen excluder on the bottom of the hive. I was afraid of "strange" queens deciding that this was their home and coming in and starting to lay. But after the second attempt, I noticed that this excluder was about 1/3 clogged up with drones, so I removed it. Maybe this new queen that is laying in this hive is a "strange" queen that has come in? But I am not raising queens from any other hive, and where I have this hive placed is in an area where there is only one other hive (that I know of--maybe there is one in the woods in a tree). Of course, maybe the strange queen was way blown off course and said "the heck with it, this hive looks good enough".

    My final confusion is this: If they now have a queen who is laying like mad (which they seem to have), why then are they raising more queens? Is this their way of hedging their bets just in case she does not really prove to be satisfactory in the short term? I would have thought that they would at least wait until her first set of brood emerges?

    I welcome your questions and comments. I apologize that this is so long, but I want to get as much information to you as I can right up front. I probably have forgotten several points of information that would be helpful, and I probably have overlooked some things that would give me answers to my questions. I do need to get back in there to see if they cap or destroy the queen cells they have started (I did remove two of them already to a nuc since I wanted at least to have them). I also need to get back in there and see if I can find any open queen cells anywhere that I was not expected them to be. And finally, I would like to locate that queen--to see what she looks like--how fat and healthy or not that she is. I looked and looked yesterday, but I don't really like spending more than 10 or 15 minutes in the hive and I was probably in that one yesterday at or over this limit.

    Thanks,
    Kyle

  8. #8
    Join Date
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    Default Re: Will bees move queen larva?? Weird emergency cell placement...

    Quote Originally Posted by Tara View Post
    I didn't think the queen was even laying in that area--you can see the nectar and pollen being stored surrounding the cups, and there isn't ANY young brood on that whole side of the frame! Would the bees build a cup in a convenient area and MOVE eggs or larva into it?? (I mean, we do it with grafting...) Will they ever build a cup around a cell with no larva/eggs? I see three cups, with maybe the beginning of a fourth (right below the bottom right cup).
    ~Tara

    Are there any eggs in those cups? Bees will make cups for future use. at least that's what I think that they woul;d be for. Who knows what the bees think or plan?

    These are just queen cups. Which doesn't mean much really. Only that they ar queen cups. Bees seem to like having them around.
    Mark Berninghausen
    The answers are the end. The questions are the journey. Journey on.



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