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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2011
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    Phillipston, MA
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    19

    Default Another multiple cell question

    I have been a beekeeper for 2 weeks now. I need reassurance.

    -Hived 1 pkg bees in topbar hive April 23 on Easter.
    -Checked to see if queen was released 3 days later = yes
    -Seemingly doing their bee thing. Mortality rate is low, not many dead bees at all. Went through 2 pollen patties and slowing down on syrup. Finally something is in bloom and it's warmer so they seem to be foraging now and I see more bees with pollen on their hind legs. Started with 6 bars, 4 have straight comb. Did not add any new bars yet.
    -Looked for eggs on 8th day = no eggs.
    -Looked for eggs on 13th day = yes.

    This morning on day 13 I did see eggs:

    -Multiple eggs in MOST cells, middle and outer edge.
    -In the 2 inspections I had, I for the life of me could not find the queen and I spent a long time looking this morning. She is a marked queen. Good lord, how can one miss a big bee with a bright white spot on her?! I wouldn't put it past me since my eyesight is pretty bad but c'mon now. But then, I am a newbee and I also don't recognize the behavior of the hive around the queen either.
    -The were behaving like they were accepting the queen when I hived them though
    -Many of the cells have syrup in them
    -The eggs appear to be on the bottom and sort of in the middle, as opposed to the sides.

    I have read many posts indicating that multiple eggs may not mean a laying worker hive. The eggs are in the middle and not on the side. Many of the cells have syrup so maybe she's rarin' to go with no room. I don't know the state of the queen - if she was packaged as a newly mated queen. Or if she just plain needs to get her plumbing in order. I don't hear a "roar" that people describe. They don't seem to be aimless. I don't feel comfortable not seeing the queen yet though.

    What would you advise:

    1. Should I just hang tight and wait another week for capped brood?
    2. What other things or signs might I need to look for in a queenless hive? It looks like I have one supercedure cell(?) see photo.
    3. At what point do I decide I may be in trouble?
    4. How do I remedy having many cells with syrup? Just remove the syrup feeder? I thought they would just stop taking if when they didn't want it anymore. I still have days in the low 50s and with raw rain, and finally as of 3 days ago red maple and forsithia is blooming so something is out. I have noticed they have begun to forage.

    https://picasaweb.google.com/1037315...XFtbrDoP-4kQE#
    In particular, look at the first 2 pictures
    Picassa has a good magnifier to zoom in on the pictures.

    Oh, and here's a bunch of pictures on my Day 8 inspection. I can't see a queen at all in these pictures. Of course she may be elsewhere.
    https://picasaweb.google.com/1037315...LTI8Zvy4cfdeQ#

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Los Altos, CA
    Posts
    121

    Default Re: Another multiple cell question

    Looks at your first set of pics, you have laying workers for sure. Even a newly mated queen wouldn't do a job like that!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Portland, OR, USA
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    637

    Default Re: Another multiple cell question

    Definitely looks like a laying worker to me...

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Phillipston, MA
    Posts
    19

    Default Re: Another multiple cell question

    So if I have a queenless hive with laying workers, I can't introduce a new queen then right ?(remember, newbie here). What options do I have then ? It is my only hive, it is a topbar hive and there isn't anyone around me who might have a bar of brood nor does my supplier do topbar and all packages are sold out months ago. Have I just lost my chance to do bees this year?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Hawke's Bay, New Zealand
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    189

    Default Re: Another multiple cell question

    In evaluating this I think there are a couple of differences to consider with a package hived in a new foundationless hive vs a hive with foundation or drawn comb.

    First, how much comb - how many cells - do they have to work with vs standard frames of foundation or drawn comb.

    As much as the bees like to draw their own comb, when it comes to starting completely from scratch they do have a headstart even with foundation because they can use some wax from the foundation itself to draw the start of the walls. As you're no doubt seeing, they don't have to have the walls drawn out to depth before they use the cell either - they will use them for nectar or brood and continue to build the walls as they go. I have seen busting new queens lay on foundation that has barely started to be drawn - the walls of the cell were barely deeper than the eggs in them.

    In short, it might be more likely that you will see multiple eggs in a this situation because of the restricted comb availability. So maybe they are queen laid.

    On the other hand, the other indicator of laying worker eggs, aside from their being multiple, is that they tend to be on the walls of the cell instead of center base, simply because the worker's abdomen isn't long enough to reach. With new, shallow comb such as this, however, a laying worker can reach base easily, so maybe they are laying worker.

    In favour of it not being a laying worker, in the cases I've seen it takes quite some time queenless for a worker to turn layer. Usually more than a couple of weeks queenless. But, again, that is coming from established hives where the queen was strongly laying and the hive well-supplied with her pheremones. In a new hive with no existing pheremone load and a queen of unknown status... well, maybe it could be quicker?

    Didn't help much, did I? Welcome to beekeeping.

    What you were thinking is supercedure cell is just a queen cup. They build these here and there and just keep them in reserve. Doesn't mean anything until you see an egg or larvae in it, or the cup is being drawn down to where it is longer than it is wide.

    Give it another week. At that point you will either have capped brood or not. And that capped brood will either be worker - meaning you have a queen laying, or drone, which could be from a laying worker. If you have the nice flat worker caps you're ok. If you only have bullet shaped drone caps, then it's time to act. In the meantime, line up some resources, just in case. Do you have a local beek you can get some frames of eggs and brood from?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    Pinellass County, Florida
    Posts
    1,105

    Default Re: Another multiple cell question

    1. Should I just hang tight and wait another week for capped brood?


    Also look at #11 on the second set of Pictures I think I see her
    If she is too new as you wrote the eggs would not be in the center they would be everywhere she will get it together soon
    Also way to soon to be a laying worker hive

    If no one else posts PM one of the pro's

    Good luck

    Tommyt


    BTW Nice Pic's

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Phillipston, MA
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    19

    Default Re: Another multiple cell question

    Thank you for your thoughtful responses. Must. Be. Patient.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
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    Hawke's Bay, New Zealand
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    189

    Default Re: Another multiple cell question

    See you've replied while I was writing.

    It doesn't have to be brood on a topbar. you can chop and crop a frame of brood down to fit if that is the only option.

    Here' s a radical solution though that doesn't rely on repeated injections of brood.

    With a following board, split your bees and comb in half within your top bar. Make sure each half has an entrance available, as far away from each other as possible. Likely there is just one laying worker, so she is now in one side or the other.

    Immediately put a queen cell with a protector in each side. The laying worker pheremones should fade quickly from the side she's not in, and the hatching queen cell should be well accepted by the time she emerges.

    Maybe the laying worker side will accept the emerging queen, maybe they won't. Doesn't matter so much because you have a functional colony building on the other side of the divide.

    Once the queenright side is settled and the queen is laying, you can do a newspaper combine or similar to let the hives come back together. - by that time the new queen's pheremones should be strongly enough distributed to overcome the laying worker. Or for a slower but lower risk method, you can just move supplies and comb, without bees, from the laying worker side to the queenright, compress down that area as much as possible, and move your hive again so the queenright entrance is now between the two entrances - foragers from the queenless side will migrate fairly easily to the queenright.

    If supplies/bees become too unevenly distributed during the process you can also do a staged newspaper combine to move reserves by steps. In a standard newspaper combine you would put a sheet or two of newspaper between two langstroth boxes to allow the bees to get used to each other with the time delay of chewing through the newspaper. In a staged combine I slide a frame of bees and brood into a folded sheet of newspaper, put a couple of nicks in the paper, and slide the loosely but completed covered frame into the side of the box I want to introduce it to. Kind of a vertical combine. Obviously you want to be sure at this point that you are moving things in the right direction - which may not be apparent for a while.

    Two important things: In the first step, move the hive a couple feet to disorient the returning foragers so they have an equal chance of finding the two different sides. Feed syrup and pollen - you're weakening what is already a weak colony, so make sure they don't have to work to eat.

    I don't have topbars, but I do have some foundationless and I have done the equivalent procedure to this in a Lang. Works nicely.

    Caveat: I don't work with packages. Maybe splitting them would just make them too-too weak. Others with package experience would have to comment on this.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
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    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    45,379

    Default Re: Another multiple cell question

    All the eggs are in the bottom. The queen is just getting started, and that sometimes leads to multiple eggs, and she has limited space which also leads to multiple eggs. I've wait a week and see what you have. In about a week you should have some nice capped worker brood. If it looks like Kix cereal, then you have a problem.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    North Tazewell, Virginia
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    345

    Default Re: Another multiple cell question

    Pic 7 of 8 looks like your laying worker is laying eggs no abdomin in the pic. Caught in the act to me. I would requeen if it was me. Later

  11. #11
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Herriman, Utah, USA
    Posts
    23

    Default Re: Another multiple cell question

    Look at pic 12 of 21 from your second link (day 8 inspection). Top left corner has a semi-circle of bees surrounding (and facing) 3 others. I believe the queen is partially obscured by one of the other 2 in the circle. She is clearly much larger and slightly darker.

  12. #12
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    Apr 2008
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    Hawke's Bay, New Zealand
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    189

    Default Re: Another multiple cell question

    good eyes, ealldredge - I'd go with that being her too.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Los Altos, CA
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    121

    Default Re: Another multiple cell question

    Ok, I think it's time for a thorough inspection to really see if the queen is there. I see the semi-circle of bees but didn't notice the queen there. This is a package install right? They sell packages with mated queen, or supposed to.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Phillipston, MA
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    19

    Default Re: Another multiple cell question

    You guys are the best. After looking again at photo 12 Ė boy, itís pretty much screaming right at me. And I do see a bee thatís darker and a little bigger underneath. So thereís promise and hope just yet. Iím so new Iím not attuned to recognizing behavior around the queen. Now I have a clue. Iíve been too preoccupied with looking for a white spot.

    This is fun. I knew the bees would be teaching me but I didnít think so soon outa the chute. Iíve since found a video on chop and crop and read up more on newspaper combines too.

    I havenít inspected again yet. Iím being patient and giving them their week. Thereís also been a drop in temperature this week with gloomy weather so Iím hoping this weekend thereíll be a break.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Phillipston, MA
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    19

    Default new inspection after multiple eggs found

    It's been 7 days since I last inspected, when I had found multiple eggs per cell. (Reminder: hived 1 pkg on April 24 in topbar, newly made). I checked today for capped brood and there were none. All eggs and larvae. And, I checked and checked for the queen 3X each bar. Sigh. I still have not seen the queen. I am new so I am certain she could be parading around right in front of me and I might not see her. (How come I can recognize her in other folks pictures). I have long since given up on focusing on the white mark. I tried looking for bee-near-queen behavior yet I didn't see anything. I did see the bee dance on the older larger combs. I also heard a piping noise that I recall someone else noting. Now, I think it could be considered piping - I compared it to a video online of a piping bee and it sounded similar. Also the bees are not aggressive.

    Regardless, there might be one last bright spot. As of last inspection only 4 bars had comb. The fifth bar had brand new comb and the cells had one egg per cell.

    So:

    1. Do laying workers lay one egg per cell then circle 'round to lay another egg in the cell at some point later (and I've just inspected midstream)? Or do they lay more than one egg in the cell in one sitting?

    2. I guess I still have to wait until I see the capped brood, yes? Since I don't have an answer to anything yet. I'm still not knowing if I have to act.

    I suppose since only 7 days has passed since I actually first saw eggs (although they may have been there before then), there's a chance I am too soon. Or it takes a day or so longer for drone to be capped?

    3. Can you sometimes have brood that never gets capped if your hive has no queen?
    Last edited by staythirsty; 05-13-2011 at 12:42 PM.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Los Altos, CA
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    121

    Default Re: new inspection after multiple eggs found

    Hey, maybe there is hope. Once they cap the brood then you will know if they are worker or drone.
    Don't focus on the white mark as it could have gotten cleaned off or something. Look for a larger bee. Usually her legs are thicker too.
    Sometimes the queens are golden and sometimes dark colored. I was so focused on looking for golden queen that I missed one in a swarm but good thing my dad saw her.
    Will wait for your next inspection report. Hope to see capped worker brood!

  17. #17
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Phillipston, MA
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    19

    Default looking at brood

    Darn! This does not look good. Spotty Kix cereal.

    Ok, so I have no other hives. I will have to do a shake out and requeen I guess.

    I may not have access to other brood, I'm still checking locally. I may only be able to get it once and not be able to add 1 bar for 3 weeks as others advised.

    1. Can I do a shake out AND add a brood bar, with the attempt to requeen rather than wait for them to make their own? Would adding a brood bar do anything to help this be successful?

    2. Would putting 1 brood bar in at least add enough pheremone to supress laying workers in the event they do find their way back, and also ensure queen acceptance?

    3. When I do my shake out, what do I do with the old comb with drone? Keep comb, remove drone cells?

    4. We've had rainy, cold weather. The apple blossoms have just started to emerge. I've also had this package for 24 days now. I didn't see eggs until Day 9. Am I really running out of time?

    5. I'm still assuming this is laying workers. Could I also just have a bad queen? I suppose if lay the queen cage on top of the bars and see how they react before I do a shake out I'll have my answer?

    6. There are no queen cells. They made one around May 1st but it looks like they took it down. What does that mean?

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    45,379

    Default Re: looking at brood

    >1. Can I do a shake out AND add a brood bar, with the attempt to requeen rather than wait for them to make their own?

    I would just wait for them to raise their own. It is the most reliable method.

    > Would adding a brood bar do anything to help this be successful?

    Yes. It always helps.

    >2. Would putting 1 brood bar in at least add enough pheremone to supress laying workers in the event they do find their way back, and also ensure queen acceptance?

    They WILL find their way back. There is no "in the event". Yes, it will help suppress the laying workers and improve the odds of acceptance. But not enough that I would spend the money for a queen. If you add a frame every week for three weeks the evidence that the laying workers are suppressed they are wanting a queen are the queen cells. By the time you have those, you may as well let them finish.

    >3. When I do my shake out, what do I do with the old comb with drone? Keep comb, remove drone cells?

    If I were doing a shake out, I would move the equipment, shake them out and forget it. The only real advantage is that you are done and don't have to mess with them anymore. THEN I would give all the comb to other hives and leave the drones. They will raise them or dispose of them as the need for drones is met in that hive. I would NOT shake them out if I was trying to save the hive. I would do a frame of open brood every week. Shaking out won't accomplish anything if that is your goal. It's a lot of work, a lot of bees in the air and no real benefit.

    >4. We've had rainy, cold weather. The apple blossoms have just started to emerge. I've also had this package for 24 days now. I didn't see eggs until Day 9. Am I really running out of time?

    They are already laying workers. But if you give them a frame of brood every week for three weeks, they will have, by week three, emerging brood from that first frame, capped brood from the second frame and open brood from the third frame. They may not have as much as they would have, but they will have some brood emerging and that will keep them going.

    >5. I'm still assuming this is laying workers. Could I also just have a bad queen? I suppose if lay the queen cage on top of the bars and see how they react before I do a shake out I'll have my answer?

    Spotty drone brood and multiple eggs is laying workers. Whole solid frames of drones is a drone laying queen.

    >6. There are no queen cells. They made one around May 1st but it looks like they took it down. What does that mean?

    They will start one from an unfertilized egg even though it's hopeless. They tear them down, because it's hopeless.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  19. #19
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Phillipston, MA
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    19

    Default update late May

    In reading above, I have a laying worker hive. It is also my only hive and it is topbar. Over the week Iíve received no responses back with help of brood (offering to buy a bar or so) after contacting the county bee association and two local apiaries. However, just recently I was able to find someone who would sell me a nuc, so I grabbed it. He said bring my box and heíd put the frames in. I told him I have topbar with no other equipment (couldnít get mail order in time and bee supply places around here arenít open on weekdays) so he said heíd throw it in a medium super that he had around and set me up to transport home. He was great.

    So now I have this nuc, and my failing topbar colony. At first I thought Iíd do a chop and crop, but why ruin a perfectly good nuc? Because of the nuc though, I have a lot of options now.

    The reason for the topbar hive was that it cost me $10 to build and it will save my back. Lessons learned, I will make sure I have more than one hive from now on. So the obvious thing since I already have one medium super would be to just suck it up and get equipment for a typical Langstroth to expand this hive. Or, maybe put the medium brood box over the existing TBH and do a newspaper combine. The problem is I want the bees to move down. Wonít the failing colony actually want to move up because thatís what they like to do, plus they would want to go to the stronger colony of the two?

    But hereí s what I decided to do. I would like to try to save the old failing top bar hive, and be able to expand the nuc colony I just got so I can get 2 colonies out of this. Please advise and offer your opinions.

    1. Is it too late to try to get 2 healthy colonies from this? The laying worker TBH is already on week 4.5.

    2. I decided to stick with top bar hives. I will make a new 48 inch TBH and since I already have the medium super, put it on top like this - except it would be a top bar instead of a long hive.

    3. Right now, I put 3 top bars with extensions in the medium super so theyíd have something to work with right away. They are drawing comb really fast. Comb is straight. I also saw new eggs laid already. Single egg per cell! As soon as one top bar is drawn and has more brood, Iíll transfer it over to the top bar hive and put another one in its place. Iíll do this 3 weeks in a row. Then, Iíll buy 5 more medium frames to fill out the rest of the 10 frame super. By this point Iíll have made the new 48 inch TBH and will put the super over that and do a newspaper combine.

    In the meantime I canít get to the lumber yard because of a broken car and it might be several days until I can get lumber to build the TBH. I did have enough scrap wood to make a top bar nuc, so that I DO have something they can move up into. See pictures.

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