Results 1 to 20 of 20
  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Alexandria, VA
    Posts
    370

    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
    Posts
    26,135

    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 "That which works, persists."

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Heavener Oklahoma
    Posts
    928

    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
    Location
    Camas, WA
    Posts
    1,918

    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
    Location
    Aberdeen, Idaho
    Posts
    403

    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
    Location
    Heavener Oklahoma
    Posts
    928

    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
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
    Posts
    26,135

    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 "That which works, persists."

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Forsyth, North Carolina
    Posts
    31

    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

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Grosse Ile, Michigan, USA
    Posts
    2,817

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

    I firmly believe workers will move eggs to construct queen cells. I had a queenright hive recently that built a single queen cell in a honey super above an excluder. The super was just about completely filled with honey but not capped much, the queencell was in the middle of a solid frame of honey on the face of the comb in a depression the bees made in the comb. The elongated queencell contained a larva and was full of royal jelly.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    Mtn. View, Arkansas, USA
    Posts
    1,245

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

    I have read in the Journal and Bee Culture that studies have shown that laying workers can lay eggs that are female. This occurs about once in 10,000 eggs. Around damaged areas of comb, the bottom and edges of the comb, and groups of drone sized cells are areas where the bees construct queen cups. The queen will lay in the cups, I assume it is because the house bees have prepared the cell to receive an egg.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    Camas, WA
    Posts
    1,918

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

    I suspect that you had a supercedure virgin queen in the other half of the hive when you separated them. When you place the excluder on the bottom of the hive she couldn't go out to mate. After you removed the excluder, she mated and started laying. Since she was in there they wouldn't raise any new queens from your grafts.

    If it was long enough between the time she was born until she mated the bees may now decide that she isn't the quality that they want and have decided to start again with new cells (her eggs) if they are not just cups.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Forsyth, North Carolina
    Posts
    31

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

    One point of clarification on my earlier post. I had the two brood boxes of the hive in question separated by a queen excluder for at least three days. I think it was longer than that, but I can't be certain. My records do not include any notation of the day I put the excluder in.

    I believe that if I had the queen restrained to and laying in the top box for only three days before separating the boxes, then the workers remaining without the queen could have created queens from the youngest of larvae left with them. However, I did a thorough examination and found no young larvae or eggs on those frames in the queenless box. Of course we all know that "not finding" and there actually not being any eggs or young larvae can be two different things.

    I know what I suspect happened, and I know what I would like to have happened. In the end though, I hope I have some really stellar queens coming out of this experience.

    And I have thought of another question for all of you--How do I get the workers to accept this young queen? Evidently they want to get rid of her since they have new queen cells from her offspring. To me, the silly human, she really seems to be laying like mad--and I don't see a spotty brood pattern so far--pretty solid walls of brood that I can see. Of course, the bees certainly know a lot of things that I don't. I have been told that once the workers have their minds made up to raise new queens, they will do it no matter how many times you destroy or otherwise remove the queen cells.

    My thought is that I will have to find this young queen and introduce her to a different queenless hive and see if they accept her--but that the hive she is currently with has already made up their mind to get rid of her.

    Again, thanks for your comments and questions,
    Kyle

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    45,335

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

    I think the strange convolutions the bees go through with old brood comb, building a queen cell at the mouth of the cell, floating the larvae out etc. are good evidence they can't move a larvae other than feeding and floating it to the mouth. They always prefer soft new comb if there is some with the right age larvae and then they tear it down and build a cell right there. As far as there not being eggs in a particular place, queens are often laying eggs in every nook and cranny around the brood nest. I think the reason they can't move eggs is the same as the reason we can't graft eggs. They have no means of gluing the egg back into position. That "glue" comes along when the queen lays it, but they have no means to duplicate that.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Casper, Wy, USA
    Posts
    804

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

    Hi Guys

    Whether they will move an egg or larva I don't know. But my experience indicates they can. In a previous life I raised queens.

    I would split a 3 story hive into:
    • a single free flying starter finisher.
    • and a double support hive with a marked queen excluded to the bottom.


    The support hive would:
    • gather the pollen and honey.
    • process any feed as needed.
    • raise nurse bees and sealed brood.


    As needed, frames of pollen, honey and sealed brood would be rotated up above the queen excluder. And then transferred into the starter finisher during the next grafting cycle.

    The starter-finisher consisted of a:
    • division board feeder.
    • feed frame.
    • sealed brood frame.
    • grafting frame.
    • pollen frame.
    • sealed brood frame.
    • feed frame.
    • frame of foundation.


    Empty feed and sealed brood frames were rotated back into the bottom box of the support hive. And ripe feed and sealed brood frames were rotated out the top box of the support hive and into the starter finisher.

    New grafts were put in the hive every 3 1/2 days. So the starter finishers were almost constantly worked/disturbed.

    Initially every frame would be pulled and check for spurious queen cells. But after a few grafting cycles the feed situation would stabilize. I'd get lazy. And feed/foundation frames were seldom rotated out or checked.

    Occasionally I'd work a starter finished and find:
    • a very poor take on the last graft.
    • started cells being reclaimed by the worker bees.
    • or worse, if I'd moved the previous graft over between the pollen and sealed brood frame to incubate, chewed cells.
    • a queen in my starter-finisher.


    How'd she get there? Usually it was my fault.

    But sometimes I'd find a spurious queen cell located on the far bottom part of the feed frame, next to the division board feeder. It would often be located there many grafting cycles after the feed frame was capped!

    It's as if the bees somehow sensed they couldn't raise a queen in the most disturbed part of the hive. So, they would go and raise one where I seldom looked, on the backside of the capped feed frame!

    How'd it get there? I don't know. Didn't see them do it. But suspect the bees moved a very young larva.

    Regards - Dennis
    I once wrangled bees. But now, knowing better, I just let them bee.
    http://talkingstick.me/category/bees/

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    45,335

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

    I always figure an actual observed method is a better explanation than something that has never been observed. Thelytoky has been observed. Moving eggs has not.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Forsyth, North Carolina
    Posts
    31

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Bush View Post
    I always figure an actual observed method is a better explanation than something that has never been observed. Thelytoky has been observed. Moving eggs has not.
    If thelytoky occurs, it would not take place until after laying workers develop, right?

    Thanks,
    Kyle

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    45,335

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

    >If thelytoky occurs, it would not take place until after laying workers develop, right?

    Technically Thelytoky can occur in virgin queens as well as laying workers, but something has to lay the egg, yes. However every hive has laying workers. It's just a matter of how many...

    http://bushfarms.com/beeslayingworkers.htm#multiple

    See page 9 of "The Wisdom of the Hive"

    "Although worker honey bees cannot mate, they do possess ovaries and can produce viable eggs; hence they do have the potential to have male offspring (in bees and other Hymenoptera, fertilized eggs produce females while unfertilized eggs produce males). It is now clear, however, that this potential is exceedingly rarely realized as long as a colony contains a queen (in queenless colonies, workers eventually lay large numbers of male eggs; see the review in Page and Erickson 1988). One supporting piece of evidence comes from studies of worker ovary development in queenright colonies, which have consistently revealed extremely low levels of development. All studies to date report far fewer than 1 % of workers have ovaries developed sufficiently to lay eggs (reviewed in Ratnieks 1993; see also Visscher 1995a). For example, Ratnieks dissected 10,634 worker bees from 21 colonies and found that only 7 had moderately developed egg (half the size of a completed egg) and that just one had a fully developed egg in her body."

    If you do the math, in a normal booming queenright hive of 100,000 bees that's 70 laying workers. In a laying worker hive it's much higher.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    Mtn. View, Arkansas, USA
    Posts
    1,245

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

    At all times in an average colony there are a few worker bees laying eggs. As long as the colony has a queen the house bees will remove them from the cells when they are found.

    Sorry Mr. Bush, your post came in while I was typing, I didn't mean to repeat your information.

  19. #19
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    DFW area, TX, USA
    Posts
    1,010

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Bush View Post
    If you do the math, in a normal booming queenright hive of 100,000 bees that's 70 laying workers. In a laying worker hive it's much higher.
    I've read that 1% of apis mellifera have the gene to perform Thelytoky. Is that one per cent of the general population of bees, or is the gene found in a small portion of the total population? I suppose the medical term for the distribution of the gene would be 'penetrance'. Has the gene been secluded to that small group of bees naturally found in South Africa, or is the gene found in one per cent of honey bees as they are now scattered around the world?
    LeeB
    I try to learn from my mistakes, and from yours when you give me a heads up :)

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    45,335

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

    >I've read that 1% of apis mellifera have the gene to perform Thelytoky.

    My guess is that is in the total population and it's passed on genetically.

    http://www.beesource.com/point-of-vi...s-mellifera-l/
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

Tags for this Thread

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
Ads