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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
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    Coatesville, Pa, USA
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    838

    Default queen cell question

    I have a quick question for you all, and I thought this section would be better to ask it. I did a cut-out last Saturday, was in the hive tonight and couldn't find the queen. ( I thought she wasn't doing well when I found her on Saturday) I did find some queen cells as it appears to me. I'd like to get your thoughts as to what you think I should do. I'll copy a post I wrote earlier.

    Ok guys. I welt out to the hive tonight after work and couldn't find the queen. I did however find queen cells which made me VERY excited!!! I think at least 2 cells if not more. The bees wouldn't leave them open for very long (I had to smoke them away to get this picture) so I could get a good look. In this picture there's one larva that you can see. Right below that (the next square down) there's what seems to be a capped queen cell. (Is this correct?) It's hard for me to see the capped queen cell in this picture. The bees were quick to get back on them. There are also at least 2 other queen cells that could have larva in them I'm not sure. I think one of them I did look at and there was larva with royal honey in it which is also a great sign.

    http://i1176.photobucket.com/albums/.../queencell.jpg

    So my question for you all tonight is what should I do? Should I let them go and do whatever they want or do you think I should try to go back and cut out that capped queen cell? I'd love to get 2 hives from this one, but I don't know about it because they don't have a ton of bees. They fill up one deep body fairly well so I thought I could split it, but I'm not sure. What are your thoughts?
    Last edited by Barry; 04-14-2011 at 08:32 PM. Reason: image too large

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    orange, virginia usa
    Posts
    79

    Default Re: queen cell question

    Both the cells in the picture aren't capped. you said there is one that is capped? An good old beek told me some time ago they (the bees) know better than we do. Let them do their thing. I see you are in Pa. tocold yet to split just one deep and have enough bees. let them go and feed them well and get them into two boxes and the weather will be warmer by then and then split them.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Clay Count, Missouri, USA
    Posts
    819

    Default Re: queen cell question

    I will never ever cut out a queen cell again. Is the worst advise I have ever received. Lost hives going into winter because they were replacing the queen and I stopped them and then they would not take a new installed queen. I'll use the swarm cells to stock nucs and let them raise their own queen. I'll leave the supersedure cells to let them replace a queen on their own.

    I could not tell from the picture if there is a larva in those queen cups. They build empty cups just in case they need to start a queen later so I don't cut them out either. I may live long enough for someone to convince me to cut out queen cells again, or not. I'm looking forward to capped queen cells to use to start new nucs!

    From the position of those cells I'd think if they have larva in them then they are supersedure cells. That's a ton of bees on that frame to be a failing queen. Beat ya there is no larva in those cells and they are just keeping them around just in case.
    Try living life with the attitude it's not about what you want to do but what you should do!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
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    Coatesville, Pa, USA
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    838

    Default Re: queen cell question

    If you see in the picture the larva that is there. (using the mesh that's holding the comb in as a grid. . . starting at the upper right if you go to the left 3 squares and down 4 you'll see the larva that I'm talking about. The capped cell is in the square below that one) The capped cell is in the square right below it. There's a bee on it the capped one makes it hard to see.

    Sorry barry for the large picture. I don't know how to make it smaller.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Posts
    151

    Default Re: queen cell question

    Looks like it may be a drone cell to me. There is no downward position of the cell and that larvae is big with very little (if any at all) royal jelly. A queen larvae that size would be floating in a nice bed of royal jelly. id say its a drone cell....

    whoops...looking at wrong cell yup, its hard to see if there are eggs or larvae in those two cells... maybe just play or maybe supercedure. Ive sometimes seen when I do removals, that it cause enough disturbance to the colony taht they think they lost their queen but they really havent....thy figure it out a couple of days later...especially if your queen is safe and unharmed. If she didnt look well when you removed he from the cutout then they may be trying to supercede her.
    Last edited by honeyman46408; 04-15-2011 at 07:55 AM. Reason: UNQ

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    Okeechobee FL
    Posts
    43

    Default Re: queen cell question

    Wait till its warmer then take the frame with the capped cell put that into a nuc along with a honey frame and pollen and brood leaving behind the rest. Add foundation or if you use foundationless frames to your old hive to makeup frames you took out.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    Suffolk, VA
    Posts
    2,671

    Default Re: queen cell question

    Definitely leave the queen cells alone. Chances are very good that they are replacing the queen. She could have been injured in the cutout. Let the bees sort this out.

    BTW, please let us know what this green grid material is, and where can it be purchased? Looks like a really neat solution to holding comb from a cutout. Thanks

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Palm Bay, FL, USA
    Posts
    2,297

    Default Re: queen cell question

    Let the dang bees take care of the situation! You just cut out and hived this bunch last Sat and thinking about splitting them before they're established? They need a queen or they wouldn't be building cells.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Coatesville, Pa, USA
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    838

    Default Re: queen cell question

    Quote Originally Posted by AstroBee View Post
    BTW, please let us know what this green grid material is, and where can it be purchased? Looks like a really neat solution to holding comb from a cutout. Thanks
    The green mesh I got from Home Depot. It's 1" mesh that I cut to fit the frames. So far it has worked out very well. I took a "free course" on bees-on-the-net.com and got the idea from him. It was super easy and fast to staple the comb in. I prepared them the night before I did the cut-out so I could just lay them in, staple the other side and put it in the box. The whole cut-out I had done in about 2.5 hours. Granted I could have done it quicker if I wasn't a new beekeeper, but hey I think that's pretty good.

    Thanks for all your responses guys. I appreciate it more than you know. I'll leave them alone and let them to their own devices. I must say beekeeping is totally fun!! (accept for the stings that you take) I guess I need to keep my new beekeeping enthusiasm in check. I'll keep you all posted as to how things go. Thanks again.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
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    Coatesville, Pa, USA
    Posts
    838

    Re: queen cell question

    Ok I have some new questions for you all. . .I was out there on Thursday Because I figured that if the queen had "made it" she would have hatched out by Sunday at the latest. I was surprised to find capped drone cells, some eggs (only 1 per cell, but very spotty) and some small larva, but it was only in drone cells. They were already starting the cappings a little and it was drone. So my questions. . .If the queen would have made it could she have laid some drone cells before going out on her mating flights? I took pictures of every frame yesterday (Saturday 4/30) and have looked over them and I can't find any trace of a queen, but my thought before Thursday was that I wouldn't see any brood so I was surprised. Could this hive have gone "laying worker" and that would be the reason for only drones? Would the laying workers have killed their own q-cells? I know that if you introduce a q-cell or a queen to a laying worker hive they will ball it, but to do it to their own? Do you all have any other thoughts? The down side is that I only have this one hive right now. I know that if I had another hive I could introduce eggs / small larva to the hive to get them back on track, but what do I do with this? Do I just wait another week and see? They are drawing out comb fairly nicely, but it does seem like it's a little large to be worker brood. But I haven't measured it yet though.

  11. #11
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    Dec 2010
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    Coatesville, Pa, USA
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    838

    Default Re: queen cell question

    Bumping this to try to get some answers to my last post. Thanks

  12. #12
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Brandon, MS USA
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    1,585

    Default Re: queen cell question

    Being pressed for time, I haven't read all of the posts, just skimmed over them, so excuse me if you have already answered my questions... did you see any worker brood during your most recent inspection... and did you see the queen or any more queen cells?

    If not, you need to find some brood (eggs and small larvae) from another hive to give them to reverse the laying worker status... cells will usually work if you can find someone with a few in your area... if you cannot find cells, you will need to get a queen from someone quickly (if you have to buy one, you could find that there may be a while to wait for an opening)... once the laying worker status has been reversed, you can install you new queen after killing the e-queen that they make from the eggs and larvae. Good luck.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
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    Coatesville, Pa, USA
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    838

    Default Re: queen cell question

    > did you see any worker brood during your most recent inspection...

    The only thing I saw was capped drone. I did see workers w/ their abdomen in the cells though. There was some small larva that on Thursday were eggs.

    > and did you see the queen or any more queen cells?

    This is my concern. I know that as a new beek it often goes that they can't find the queen. I took the time to look as carefully as I could and took pictures of every frame and can't find her. The old queen that was injured in the cut-out was italian so I thought it would have been easier to find a "new" queen at least in the pictures if I couldn't as I was there.

    I looked into the time frame of the Q-cells that they had and the queen should have emerged a week ago. That being the case I wasn't expecting to see any brood at all. I was surprised to see capped drone, a newly drawn out frame w/ eggs and small larva in a haphazzard pattern. This is why I'm concerned.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Nelson, South Island, New Zealand
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    532

    Default Re: queen cell question

    If I've got your time line right you took the photo of the queencells on the 14th they look to be about 2 day old cells so add another 7/8 days till they hatch brings you to the 21/22. today is the 3rd for me, might be the 2nd for you I dont know, so thats only 10 or 11 days after hatching, If your weather has been fabulous with temps at least 20 Celcius and not much wind she might have been out to mate by now add a few days before she lays and you could expect lavae before the weekend. If the weather has been cool or windy you may not have a laying queen for another week to 10 days.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
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    Coatesville, Pa, USA
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    838

    Default Re: queen cell question

    Frazzled this is exactly what I was expecting. This is why I am concerned. I wasn't expecting to see any brood at all and when I saw capped drone cells and some sporatic larva (3 -5 per deep frame) I was doubly concerned. I thought laying worker.

    Could it be possible that a worker laid some cells to create drones for the new queen to mate with? (That would be some incredible bees I'd say) Would / could that explain it? Do you all have any other ideas or things to look for? I spent 1.5 hours looking through the frames (they haven't filled 1 deep yet but are close. I may add a second one Saturday) this past Saturday for the queen and couldn't find one.

    Thanks for all your thoughts guys.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    46,384

    Default Re: queen cell question

    >I wasn't expecting to see any brood at all and when I saw capped drone cells and some sporatic larva (3 -5 per deep frame) I was doubly concerned. I thought laying worker.

    http://bushfarms.com/beeslayingworkers.htm

    >Could it be possible that a worker laid some cells to create drones for the new queen to mate with?

    This assumes a sense of purpose on the part of a laying worker. I'm certain they have no sense of purpose. No hive is creating drones "for the new queen to mate with". The odds of those drones mating with their new queen would be very low. They raise drones because it's their instinct to do so and it meets a need probably for a queen from another hive.

    You also seem to assume both a soon to be queen and laying workers. The two for all practical purposes never occur together. A laying worker develops because of a lack of brood for two or three weeks. If there has been no open brood for two or three weeks, there is no hope to raise a queen.

    > (That would be some incredible bees I'd say) Would / could that explain it? Do you all have any other ideas or things to look for? I spent 1.5 hours looking through the frames (they haven't filled 1 deep yet but are close. I may add a second one Saturday) this past Saturday for the queen and couldn't find one.

    The most likely cause of not finding a queen and brood is that she is a virgin and runs and hides and is small enough that she's hard to tell and does not move "regally" like a queen, but fast like a worker. But you may be queenless.

    There are few solutions as universal in their application and their success than adding a frame of open brood every week for three weeks. It is a virtual panacea for any queen issues. It gives the bees the pheromones to suppress laying workers. It gives them more workers coming in during a period where there is no laying queen. It does not interfere if there is a virgin queen. It gives them the resources to rear a queen. It is virtually foolproof and does not require finding a queen or seeing eggs. If you have any issue with queenrightness, no brood, worried that there is no queen, this is the simple solution that requires no worrying, no waiting, no hoping. You just give them what they need to resolve the situation. If you have any doubts about the queenrightness of a hive, give them some open brood and sleep well. Repeat once a week for two more weeks if you still aren't sure. By then things will be fine.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Clay Count, Missouri, USA
    Posts
    819

    Default Re: queen cell question

    Michael,

    Thank you for taking the time for the last post. Impressive that you must have recalled the answer to the question and posted what appears to be the definitive answer.

    You are leading by example. I'm learning so much about things I've yet to experience. I hope my memory works as well.
    Try living life with the attitude it's not about what you want to do but what you should do!

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Coatesville, Pa, USA
    Posts
    838

    Default Re: queen cell question

    Michael,
    Thanks so much for your time and help. I was hoping that either you or "oldtimer" or someone that I know with more experience would reply. My problem is that I only have 1 hive. (this one) So giving "open brood" isn't a possibility unless I get it from someone else.

    In doing my math I may have gotten the timing wrong by a few days. I'll wait and see if they have worked themselves out. If they did have a "new queen" the pattern would have been spotty also. Perhaps on Saturday I'll be going back and I'm going to try to not use smoke to see if I can find a queen. I know that they do run from smoke and that makes it hard for sure. I'll keep you all posted. Thanks again to all of you. I greatly appreciate your help!!!!

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,384

    Default Re: queen cell question

    And now you know why you should always have at least two hives. Maybe you can talk a fellow beekeeper into parting with a frame of eggs.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Coatesville, Pa, USA
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    838

    Re: queen cell question

    Ok Guys I have some new news and questions. I did find a queen today. This may not be the best picture but here's a link to it. . .
    http://i1176.photobucket.com/albums/...ber2/Queen.jpg
    http://i1176.photobucket.com/albums/...er2/Queen2.jpg
    I watched her for some time and she seemed to act like I've heard virgin queens do. She was "hiding" from me. When I first spotted her she had her head in a cell and other bees were covering her. My first thought was well maby it's too cold for her. Well that didn't make sense because the temp is about 60 today, sunny and little to no wind. As I watched further it was like the other workers were trying to get her out of the cell. She came out, went over a little and then went back into hiding. Is this normal? She didn't give me the impression of a queen that knows what she's to do and is doing it.
    I also have some capped brood.
    http://i1176.photobucket.com/albums/...ber2/brood.jpg
    This is a concern to me. (especially in light of my queen thoughts) What do you all think? What I've seen "worker" brood is usually flatter while drone is more rounded. I'm thinking that because this is new comb that this may not be a issue, but I wanted to throw it out to get your thoughts. Does this brood look Ok?
    In doing a complete inspection today I didn't see any eggs or any other small larva or anything. Would you be concerned? It may be that they're just waiting until this new brood hatches before rearing more I don't know. Seems odd to me though that they'd not be rearing more and that the queen wouldn't be laying more. Does it seem odd to you? I'd appreciate any thoughts you have.

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