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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Hopewell Junction, NY
    Posts
    63

    Default Q's about Nucs, Queens, and Small Cell Foundation

    I've just done a pretty thorough review of a June 12 split population, and while on June 19 (12 days before today) there were 4-7 capped queen cells, today those cells have been eradicated ... it even looks like the tops have been ripped off. I'm taking this as a hint that the potential queens inside have emerged, or at least one has and has practiced regicide on the others.

    Now, as thoroughly as I looked, I found no remaining queen, and (because it's almost certainly too early, using calculations based on Michael Bush's "Bee Math" page), no brood.

    A few q's, then, if you don't mind:

    1) While it's always possible that she scooted out of sight, might I have missed identifying a newly emerged, potentially virgin queen, perhaps mistaking her for a drone? Would her size increase that much after mating?

    2) Would it make sense to drop another frame of brood into the box to give them a boost, and perhaps have the means to raise another queen if they need one?

    The bees themselves are calm and orderly, which to me indicates their comfort at being queenright. They're drawing out small cell comb beautifully (in the original hive, as well).

    And speaking of which ...

    3) In the original hive, I replaced the split frames with small cell foundation. While the bees are drawing it out perfectly, the queen has moved up to the next box, a medium super where there was ready space to lay: it's filled with eggs, larvae, and capped brood. I don't mind that, but would it be in my best interest, once the small cell comb is fully drawn, to move the queen to the deep bottom box, and install an excluder temporarily to confine her there to "encourage" her to use it?


    Many thanks,


    Mig
    Last edited by mignolan; 07-01-2011 at 04:23 AM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    Fayetteville, Arkansas
    Posts
    5,012

    Default Re: Q's about Nucs, Queens, and Small Cell Foundation

    1, yes and yes.

    2, yes.

    3, not necessary.
    Solomon Parker, Parker Farms, ParkerFarms.biz
    11 Years Treatment-Free, ~25 Colony Baseline

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    creek county oklahoma
    Posts
    62

    Default Re: Q's about Nucs, Queens, and Small Cell Foundation

    If they are acting queenright, they probably are. I have learned that lesson more than once. Here is the recent saga:

    I had a hive that was trying to make a queen since april. I should have combined a long time ago, but it was interesting to watch the process. I saw a pitiful-looking tiny queen emerging from a cell in April. I never saw her again. She evidently managed to mate and lay a few eggs but never really got going. I kept adding frames with young brood for queen material, capped brood for nurse bees, etc. They had a cell in late May that they were ready to cap, and then they tore it down before capping it. I gave them one frame with eggs and brood of all agees on June 5. On June 12, there were queen cells on _2_ frames, one on a frame I added (recently emerged), and 2 small ones on another frame. But no eggs and no young larvae anywhere??. So they had a laying queen of some sort, or maybe the bees really do move larvae to queen cups to start them. They acted queenright the whole summer, but I never saw a queen no matter how hard I looked. June 27, no sign of a queen but happy and "acting queenright". Granted, not really enough time had elapsed since I saw the emerged queen cell, but they had pulled this stunt before. I decided the bees had become quite happy and comfortable, getting free workers and free food, and didn't have to work. So I gave them an actual mated queen, a 2 year old marked queen that I had in a nuc "just in case". I just put a push-in cage over her, and stuck frame and all into the "queenless" hive.

    I went in 3 days later to release her, and lo and behold, a nice dark young unmarked queen and a few eggs were on another frame, and the old queen was still in her push-in cage. Workers were biting the cage and trying to tunnel under. So, either the June 12 queen cell had survived, or there was a young queen hitchhiking on the frame with the old queen that I pulled from the nuc. Whatever, I didn't see a queen on the 12th or the 27th.

    So, yeah, "If they are acting queenright they probably are". (Doesn't mean it's a good queen..)
    And, "just because I don't see a queen doesn't mean there isn't one".
    And, "just because I can see eggs doesn't mean I can see a queen."

    By the way, the nuc that I pulled the 2 year old queen from is still quite happy. They have not started any queen cells, so presumably they have one. I couldn't find her. But I left them alone.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    Fayetteville, Arkansas
    Posts
    5,012

    Default Re: Of Nucs, Queens, and Small Cell Foundation

    No matter what's going on, it's always a good idea to add one frame of open brood once a week for at least three weeks. It will solve most queen problems and can't hurt anything. The benefits are many and the risks are zero.
    Solomon Parker, Parker Farms, ParkerFarms.biz
    11 Years Treatment-Free, ~25 Colony Baseline

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Indiana, Clay County
    Posts
    555

    Default Re: Of Nucs, Queens, and Small Cell Foundation

    I am under the impression just because a type of foundation is labeled small cell ; the bees will draw out the cells they feel they need, right. I tried introducing normal size bees to small cell drawn frames and they just put up honey in them and drew the size they needed. I shoulda kept more of those Mann lake frames I had and measured them ????

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    Fayetteville, Arkansas
    Posts
    5,012

    Default Re: Of Nucs, Queens, and Small Cell Foundation

    Quote Originally Posted by spunky View Post
    the bees will draw out the cells they feel they need, right.
    This is not entirely accurate. The fact is, bees will often times build comb however the foundation says to. In the case of regression, they may not be physically able to build comb that small. They will build drone comb or honey comb at will however. But it's not precisely true that they will build whatever size they need. That statement only applies to brood vs. drone vs. honey and with the deep base of Mann Lake PF series frames, most of the time they will build what the frame says to. They can't rework it so they don't really have a choice. At least, that is the way it appears.
    Solomon Parker, Parker Farms, ParkerFarms.biz
    11 Years Treatment-Free, ~25 Colony Baseline

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