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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    Hendersonville, Tennessee, USA
    Posts
    85

    Default New Beek in panic mode-first inspection and no queen or drones

    He all, just installed my 2 nucs last Monday (6 days ago). Since then, both hives have appeared to be equally active.

    I did my first inspection on both hives today. One hive looks as normal as I had expected it to be...marked queen, drones, workers, drawing out new comb, capped brood, cells with pollen and honey, etc.

    The other hive is different. I couldn't find my marked queen (watched her get marked and put in the hive), and I didn't see any bees large enough to be drones. The workers are all busy drawing out new comb and bringing in pollen and doing everything else as normal as I expected. I found capped and uncapped larva in some cells but they're on the fames that came with the nuc so I'm not sure if that really tells me anything or not. I did not find anything that resembles queen cells on any of the frames. I'm trying not to panic over not seeing the queen because I know she gets overlooked sometimes...I'm just wondering if there's any way of determining that she's there based on everything else I observed. Also, is it possible not to have any drones?

    One other odd thing that did appear on one frame in the suspect hive was about 8 cells that looked like they had a solid white substance in them. The cells looked open and filled with it. It looked solid and not liquid. I took a couple of pics but they turned out too blurry to tell anything from them. Next time I'm in there I'll try to take a better pic. Not sure what it is or if it's even anything to be concerned about...thought I'd include it in case it sheds any light on my problem.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Snowmass, Colorado, USA
    Posts
    2,516

    Default Re: New Beek in panic mode-first inspection and no queen or drones

    The solid thing in the cells is probably chalk brood. Don't worry if there are no drones...I wouldn't want many drones if I bought a Nuc as they should be frames of worker brood no drone brood. Wait a bit and look for the queen again or eggs. If you see eggs then your queen is there...as eggs hatch into larve in three days. If no eggs after then, you may want to look to get a queen or watch to see if they are drawing out queen cells.
    Life is tough, but it's tougher when you're stupid. John Wayne

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Alachua County, FL, USA
    Posts
    6,437

    Default Re: New Beek in panic mode-first inspection and no queen or drones

    Calm down, or as they say on SNL simma da na!
    Six days is barely enough time for girls to settle into a new home. It will be 3 days after the queen lays eggs to have larva which are almost visible to the novice or weak of vision. Drones take 24 days to emerge so you will be waiting a while. Queens can be runners! There were many of us looking for marked queens yesterday. Sometimes it took 3 sets of eyes to find that huge white dot. I might have made it look hard on a couple frames, so as not to embarrase the beekeepers looking over my shoulder that missed her. Unless you are mating queens, which is a little over-enthusiastic yet, you do not need drones. Drones are huge food gobblers. Two hives side-by-side will rarely be identical. Even if they are artificially inseminated by the same drone set and maternal lines, there are too many variables. The solid white substance is royal jelly so there is fresh brood to feed. Evidence of a queen is usually enough.
    If experienced beekeepers cannot find some marked queens in 58 new hives, you should not feel bad.
    americasbeekeeper.com
    beekeeper@americasbeekeeper.com

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    Hendersonville, Tennessee, USA
    Posts
    85

    Default Re: New Beek in panic mode-first inspection and no queen or drones

    Thanks...I took your advice and slept well last night. I'll go back into the hive in the middle of the week (when it's not so rainy) and have another look.

    Just curious; from a hive that's been started from a nuc, how quickly do they draw comb on new foundation. We started with three full frames from the nuc (plus 2 frames worth of bees shaken into the box) and 7 frames of new foundation. Each hive has taken over a gallon of 1:1 from a hive top feeder. Over the past week it's been rainy most of the time but the bees have been able to get out some each day. I've observed 2 days of good pollen collection from incoming bees. Both hives have only drawn out a couple of frames each. Not panicked, just curious as to how fast I should expect them to draw comb.

    Thanks again for the wisdom.
    Pete

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Cookeville, TN, USA
    Posts
    3,595

    Default Re: New Beek in panic mode-first inspection and no queen or drones

    Hello neighbor - for them to draw comb they have to 1) Need it. 2) Have a nectar flow. You're providing an artificial nectar flow by feeding them - and if it would stop raining they have a natural one too - so when they run out of space they will draw more comb.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Portsmouth, NH
    Posts
    94

    Default Re: New Beek in panic mode-first inspection and no queen or drones

    I would guess the white stuff in the cell might be pollen. I always carry a container with toothpicks. Next time take a toothpick and scoop up some of the white stuff. Compare it to cells with yellow or brown pollen.
    Backyard beekeeping and honey bees.
    www.BlueLineApiary.com

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    Hendersonville, Tennessee, USA
    Posts
    85

    Default Re: New Beek in panic mode-first inspection and no queen or drones

    OK. Performed a follow-up inspection today. Both queens were located (1 in each hive, of course) and are laying. Saw eggs, larva, capped brood, pollen, nectar, and capped honey. Both hives have drawn out 3+ frames (in addition to the original 3 from the nucs). Another frame or 2 and I should put a second box on, right?

    The odd looking white stuff in the bottom of the cells is, I believe, part of a plasticell foundation that's exposed. It's solid white and, from what I can tell from jabbing at it with a toothpick (thanks eqnox), solid plastic. That frame came with the nuc and was already drawn out with dark comb and in full use except for a hand-full of cells near the bottom bar. I just assumed it was wax foundation since that's what he normally uses. No worries now.

    Thanks all.

    Pete

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