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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
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    Cookeville, TN, USA
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    4,071

    Default Trouble finding new queens

    Today is the 14th day since the last time that I planted cells, and I have a new batch that I need to plant into mating nucs tomorrow. So we've had marvelous weather all week (good for mating) but it's turning rainy today and tomorrow (of course) so I got out first thing this morning to see how many queens I have and which nucs need to get a cell tomorrow.

    Before I got rained out I went through about a dozen of my 4 frame medium nucs, and only found eggs in one. Maybe I just had really bad luck this time, but it would be by far the worst percentage yet. I suspect that my 50 year old eyes are betraying me, and if I could wait 3 more days then open brood would be more apparent. I have trouble seeing eggs through a veil and without reading glasses. Getting old sucks.

    Anyway, I guess I just need to time my grafting to give me a few more days next time until I get better at spotting eggs. It would probably also help to use smaller mating nucs, but I'm really liking all of the drawn comb, and brood frames that these produce once they get going - like a frame of each per week per queenright nuc.

    I'd welcome advice if anyone has any - otherwise I guess I'm just singing the beginner queen raising blues.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    Auburn, Washington, USA
    Posts
    312

    Default Re: Trouble finding new queens

    I am yet to see my queen, but I can see her handy work in capped brood and larvae.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Philadelphia, MS, USA
    Posts
    632

    Default Re: Trouble finding new queens

    I am running a 21 day cycle on my mating nucs. I have checked several at 14 days and some have eggs and some don't. At 21 days you have eggs, larva, and capped brood. Even if you see some eggs at 14 days, its hard to see how her pattern will look. At 21 she is really going great and goes right back to laying after being caged a cpl days. Even though it takes more resources, I plan to stay at 21 days with full sized medium frames.

    Johnny
    "Suppose you were an idiot and suppose you were a member of Congress. But I repeat myself." - Mark Twain

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
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    Cookeville, TN, USA
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    4,071

    Default Re: Trouble finding new queens

    I'm not looking to pull queens, i just want to put cells in any that did't make one. But still waiting a little longer to even look is what I need to do. I think what I need to do is graft more often.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    Hays NC
    Posts
    36

    Default Re: Trouble finding new queens

    Just look for eggs not the queen.If you need on a rainy take a light with you.I do when i need it.
    Jim

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Cookeville, TN, USA
    Posts
    4,071

    Default Re: Trouble finding new queens

    After it stopped raining and I got back to it I ended up with 33% laying queens - not good, but better than one out of 12. My 10 day old cells were really ready - one was visibly chewing her way out when I got them out of the finisher - due to temps in the 90s I guess. I'll have to watch that.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Woodlawn, Tennessee, USA
    Posts
    327

    Default Re: Trouble finding new queens

    David, you might try Ross' queen cell incubator to stretch your time a few days. It looks pretty simple to build, and could allow you to handle those "early arrivals" while avoiding the bad weather.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,125

    Default Re: Trouble finding new queens

    I don't EXPECT any eggs until 14 days. I sometimes don't get any until 21 days. Spotting a virgin is difficult, but often the clue is a space they have cleared for her to lay in the center of the comb.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
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    Cookeville, TN, USA
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    4,071

    Default Re: Trouble finding new queens

    Quote Originally Posted by standman View Post
    David, you might try Ross' queen cell incubator to stretch your time a few days. It looks pretty simple to build, and could allow you to handle those "early arrivals" while avoiding the bad weather.
    That might be a good idea - or at least get some hair roller cages or something like that to use when the weather is hot (always in the south) on the last day or two. That temperature controller Ross sells would be useful for all kinds of applications - making cheese, beer, or cured meats along with incubating poultry eggs.

    I'm pretty confident that the larva I grafted were of consistently young age, and yesterday was in fact day 10 after grafting, but if I had been an hour or two later it would have been too late. The upside is that I'm pretty confident that I have a bunch of newly emerged virgin queens in my nucs today.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
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    Cookeville, TN, USA
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    4,071

    Default Re: Trouble finding new queens

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Bush View Post
    I don't EXPECT any eggs until 14 days. I sometimes don't get any until 21 days. Spotting a virgin is difficult, but often the clue is a space they have cleared for her to lay in the center of the comb.
    I think I'm going to adjust the timing of my grafts so that I'm not looking for queens until day 19-20. I suspect that I doomed a few just-laying queens yesterday by putting cells in with them. I hate that, but the main reason I'm doing this the way I am is to get a bit of experience in managing the whole ongoing process, but on a small scale. It's a fun learning experience, and I'm getting some (I hope) good queens out of it.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Louisa, VA
    Posts
    68

    Default Re: Trouble finding new queens

    Virgin queens can be a little tricky to spot on the comb before they start laying! Young queens tend to be very nervous. The first time I raised a batch, I checked on the queens while they were still virgin queens and had one fly off the comb and get lost. If you do check on them while they are virgins you have to be very mindful of this. Queens definitely vary with beginning egg laying....Best of luck!

  12. #12
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Durban, South Africa
    Posts
    3

    Default Re: Trouble finding new queens

    ow Long Before New Queen Lays Eggs?

    Beekeepers surely are confused about how long the new daughter queen of a swarm queen begins laying eggs; and so many dash off, purchase a new queen, install it, and it is killed, because there is already a new queen in their hive. Let me explain why this might take as long as 16-23 days before the new queen lays her first egg, or 25-32 days before those eggs are capped so that "tired, old beekeeper's eyes" can see proof of the queen laying.

    Assuming that a colony is "hot" to swarm and the weather is warm and sunny, the swarm might occur on the day the first queen cell is capped, which we will call DAY 0. A queen cell is capped about 8th day after the egg was laid, and the new virgin queen emerges 8 days later, DAY 8, which is the 16th day after the swarm queen laid this egg. Queens do not become sexually mature until they are 6 days old, and if the weather is warm and sunny she flies out to a drone congregation area and mates in the air with several drones, or about 7-17 different drones. This is now DAY 14. She lays her first egg about 2 days later or DAY 16! Worker bee eggs remain as eggs for 3 days, DAY 19, hatch into a larva which is heavily fed by the nurse bees for about 6 days until the cell is capped on the 9th day, now DAY 25, and finally emerges as an adult worker bee 12 days later, which is DAY 37 from the day the swarm left. Suppose that the weather was chilly and rainy and the virgin queen could not go out and mate for a week; and this would increase the date of laying her first egg to DAY 23 and the first capped worker bee cell to 32 days.

    A beekeeper inspects a colony and determines that the colony has recently swarmed, and orders a new queen. The new queen is introduced via the queen cage method to the colony, but it is killed. WHY? There was already a queen in the colony, maybe still a virgin, but was accepted already by the worker bees as the queen of that colony, and the fancy, new queen in the introduction cage is an "interloper". Remember the Chinese adage: Two women in the same house is WAR.

    Of course, if you are installing a new, laying queen in a new split or a new package of bees, that queen will lay her first eggs about 5 days after installation, using up about 3 days to escape from the introduction cage and 2 days "getting-to-know" her subjects, and a "tire, old beekeeper" should see the first capped worker bee cells on DAY 14.

    I hope I have helped you!

    These are notes from the late George Imirie.(Master bee keeper)

    The above will answer many of your concerns
    Jasco

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Orinda, California, USA
    Posts
    99

    Default Re: Trouble finding new queens

    I tend to notice that the 2 frame mating nucs that have mated queens that are laying eggs also tend to have nice new white wax being laid down. If you see that there is a good chance there is a good queen.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
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    Cookeville, TN, USA
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    4,071

    Default Re: Trouble finding new queens

    Do you like 2 frame nucs? I can see that one advantage would be that it only takes half as long to examine it. Is it hard to keep them from over crowding? Do they produce drawn comb and brood like my 4 frame nucs?

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Cookeville, TN, USA
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    Default Re: Trouble finding new queens

    Quote Originally Posted by enchplant View Post
    I tend to notice that the 2 frame mating nucs that have mated queens that are laying eggs also tend to have nice new white wax being laid down. If you see that there is a good chance there is a good queen.
    Thanks, i'll watch for that. I think i've also observed what Michael Bush mentioned that they clean out some space to lay eggs in.

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