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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
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    Greensboro, North Carolina
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    Default Queen Development Question

    I grafted on April 1. I rechecked them on the 3rd, and a dozen JZBZ cups were drawn out. On the 6th they were capped, and on the 10th I moved them into mating nucs.

    According to the calendar I have, they should have hatched on the 13th, last Wednesday. Wikipedia says they take 15.5-17 days to emerge, which would be between late Tuesday and Thursday.

    I checked them today (Friday the 15th) to discard any unhatched cells. Mind you there were 12 nucs with cells in it. The first one I opened, the queen cup was waxed inbetween the two cells, and when I pulled on it the cell stayed behind while the cup was removed. It gave me a great view looking down into the cell, where a white, half developed queen sat.

    The second nuc I checked, I was a little more careful to remove the frame to the left and right, grabbed the cup (and the same separation occurred), this time there was a darker, half developed (but dead) queen sitting in the cell.

    I stopped checking the others, and havn't opened them yet. Did I do something incorrect in transferring them into the nuc? Should I check the others?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Nelson, South Island, New Zealand
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    531

    Default Re: Queen Development Question

    do you know that the queen was dead for sure?
    when they are nearly fully developed they look a browny black colour and dont move a whole lot sometimes you can see them move a leg if you look closely.

    If they are all dead the only thing I can think that would kill them all would be cold, how did you move them to your nucs? and were there plenty of bees in your nucs?

    sometimes if the weather is really cold the queens can take longer to emerge I'd be inclined to give them another full day before checking again.

    welcome to the joys of queen rearing!
    I reckon queens are sold way to cheap when you consider all the work that goes into them!

    frazz

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
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    Greensboro, North Carolina
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    Default Re: Queen Development Question

    Quote Originally Posted by frazzledfozzle View Post
    do you know that the queen was dead for sure?
    The first one was white, not fully developed or even close. The royal jelly that was in the bottom of the cup had all dried up. I assumed if she wasn't done developing in 18 days, she wasn't going to finish at all. Is that an accurate assumption?

    The second one was very dark brown, almost black. The royal jelly was the same as the other one. This one, however, didn't appear to have finished developing either. I've been trying to find pictures to compare, but I can't. I did watch her for a few seconds, no movement whatsoever.

    Quote Originally Posted by frazzledfozzle View Post
    If they are all dead the only thing I can think that would kill them all would be cold, how did you move them to your nucs? and were there plenty of bees in your nucs?
    I don't think it was that cold in the past week or so. Not enough to give them that much trouble, but I could be wrong.

    I took a monster hive and divided it up into 12 nucs, that's what I used for mating nucs. The two I checked were deeps, three frames each of brood in varying stages, all attending nurse bees with them. The other 10 nucs comprise of one deep with four frames, 8 mediums with two frames each, and 1 medium with four frames.

    It took me a little longer to "transfer" the queen cells into the nucs than I thought. The monster hive wasn't being too cooperative. I also wasn't sure if I should have left the queen cells in the sun, or in the shade, upsidown, or rightside up. I was trying to be as gentle as I could in removing them from the cell bar, but a few needed to be twisted quite a bit. I fear maybe I was too rough on them.

    I watched a few videos, and I've seen breeders putting "1 cup" of nurse bees into a mating nuc. I figured two-three frames each would be sufficient (but I could be mistaken).

    Quote Originally Posted by frazzledfozzle View Post
    sometimes if the weather is really cold the queens can take longer to emerge I'd be inclined to give them another full day before checking again.
    I was under the assumption, and we all know about assumptions, that the average queen development takes 16 days. Hot days can push it closer to 15, and cold days can push it closer to 17 days. But I didn't think they would go beyond 17 days. Perhaps I'm wrong though.

    The other thing that confused me was that since it's my first time grafting, I'm sure some of the larvae were a little bit older than ideal. That would just mean that they would be born earlier, right? So why would it take that long?

    But even still, if the weather did push it back to 18 days, they should have been born today (or would be in the next few hours). Why would one of them still be white? That one, obviously, woudn't have made it.

    Sorry, just a little bit confused about timing, and whether or not I should count the ones that havn't hatched yet as a loss, go ahead and check in on them, or give it two more days (tomorrow is severe thunderstorms all day). I'm just concerned about leaving them queenless (if that's the case) for too long. If there are queen development issues, I'd want to combine them while it still makes sense.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Nelson, South Island, New Zealand
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    531

    Default Re: Queen Development Question

    I dont know for sure how long your cells were out of the hive? or what you did with them while you were making up your nucs.
    I dont know if your cell raising hive and your nucs are at the same place.

    I think they were damaged either by heat or cold before you put them in depending on what you did with them.

    If it was me I would make the nucs up first then go and get the cells keep them in the downward facing position.
    If your cells are on the same site and your nucs are made up you can take them directly from your builder and plant them in your nucs.

    If you have to travel you either need to find a way to keep your cells at the correct temperature or leave the cells in the builder longer so they are only a few hours from opening when they are taken out this way they will be much stronger and will survive a ride to your out apiary.

    At 10 days old the queens are still delicate and very suseptible to changes in temperature.

    so I'm taking a quess that you took your cells out then left them somewhere either in the sun or the shade and by the time you got done making up your nucs the damage was done.

    frazz

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Nelson, South Island, New Zealand
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    531

    Default Re: Queen Development Question

    Just one more quick thought if you made up your nucs on the same site as the hive you were breaking up most of the bees will go back to the original hives location leaving only the nurse bees to stay with the nucs.
    If you have 2-3 frames of brood there will probably be too few nurse bees to keep the brood warm you would need to plant your cell right in the middle of a brood frame preferably one that has young lavae on it, If you planted your cell at the top of the frame the bees wouldn't keep it warm because they will be over the brood.

    does that make sense?

    frazz

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Greensboro, North Carolina
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    2,718

    Default Re: Queen Development Question

    Quote Originally Posted by frazzledfozzle View Post
    I dont know for sure how long your cells were out of the hive? or what you did with them while you were making up your nucs.
    I dont know if your cell raising hive and your nucs are at the same place.
    My nucs and finisher hive is at the same place.

    I tried to be as quick as possible, but I guess I wasn't really thinking too much about the temps. I was also so anxious about having capped cells that I went right for them, took the cell frame out of it's finisher, sat it down beside the hive, then made up the nucs. Even though it wasn't too long, my guess is that this is the source of the damage.

    Lesson learned though

    Quote Originally Posted by frazzledfozzle View Post
    At 10 days old the queens are still delicate and very suseptible to changes in temperature.
    I knew at 10 days old they were still very sensitive, but I figured I could remove them from the hive for 10-15 min (or possibly a little longer). I guess I underestimated how delicate they were.

    Quote Originally Posted by frazzledfozzle View Post
    Jmost of the bees will go back to the original hives location leaving only the nurse bees to stay with the nucs.
    I thought about that. I made sure that I swapped box locations (the nucs were stacked, about the same height as the original hive, that had a top and bottom entrance) in an attempt to even up the "numbers" a little bit. That doesn't mean that it worked, as three of the nucs (from the outside) appear to be packed, while the two that I checked up on were not quite so busy.

    Quote Originally Posted by frazzledfozzle View Post
    you would need to plant your cell right in the middle of a brood frame preferably one that has young lavae on it, If you planted your cell at the top of the frame the bees wouldn't keep it warm because they will be over the brood.
    I did make sure that I put the cells not just on the top bars, but down a little bit. Where the cells were, there was capped brood. The capped brood to the left and right of the cell appears to be alright, so I assumed that they were able to keep the queen cell warm enough as well. None of the nucs appeared to be too small on hive numbers (again, this is my first time grafting, so my assumptions could be far off). They all appeared to be at the strength that a normal hive is at, just in two-three frame size, if that makes any sense.

    So if we are to assume that I did some damage, either in the movement of the cells to the nucs, or in the drifting of field bees leaving too few numbers in the nucs, can we assume that the other 10 cells have either hatched or will never hatch? Or should I still give it two days and re-check?

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Brandon, MS USA
    Posts
    1,585

    Default Re: Queen Development Question

    When you checked the cells, were they covered in bees? Frazz is dead on the money with an issue that effects a lot of beginners... taking brood frames from hives and making nucs with them in the same yard can be tough... your making the bees have to choose between the brood and the cell... most will choose the brood... when we do this, we plug up the nucs for a minimum of 2 full days, and only open them in the evening... then give them a cell with no protector right at day light the next morning... that is another thing to remember, when starting nucs in early spring when temps are up and down, protectors can be your worst enemy... I believe that the "grid" design of the protector hides the shape of the cell, and that the cell transmits pheromones by touch transfer... if you watch bees walk on cells that are in protectors, they do not straddle the protector, thus they never touch the actual cell... save your protectors for when it gets hot if you want to use them... if the bees do not see the cell for what it is, they will not incubate it.

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