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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2011
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    Hummelstown, PA, USA
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    7

    Default Do I have a queen or not?

    Hi, I just started beekeeping this summer. I had to start a little late because the supplier I had ordered from canceled on me. So I went looking online, found a package on ebay and installed it June 8th.

    Everything was going great, until 9 days ago, I opened the hive up to do an inspection and there was only a little bit of capped brood on a few frames in the bottom box. I had not checked it for 10 days, and 10 days before it, the hive was full of brood on all the frames. I have 2 8-frame mediums on it right now.

    So, 9 days ago, when I opened and saw that there was barely any brood, I ordered a new queen. Four days ago, I opened it up and checked the top brood box to see if there was any brood and there wasn't, so I closed it back up and waited for my new queen.

    Today, the queen arrived and when I went to put it in the bottom box, there was one frame with a very patchy brood pattern and some uncapped larvae. I'm not sure what to do, or if this is the same brood from 9 days ago. The uncapped larvae is what surprised me the most. I don't think they were drone cells. Also, this whole time, I haven't seen any queen cells at all. Thanks for any help!

    Liz

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Perry, Florida, USA
    Posts
    226

    Default Re: Do I have a queen or not?

    Sounds like you queen slowed down due to a dearth, or your hive swarmed and your new queen is now laying. You only probable solution is the split the hive and put your new queen in the split. The hive will most likely kill her if you put her in with them being queen-right.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Hummelstown, PA, USA
    Posts
    7

    Default Re: Do I have a queen or not?

    Let me be a little clearer: it went from about 10 FULL frames of brood to maybe 1. Is that a normal slow down?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Danbury, CT
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    2,887

    Default Re: Do I have a queen or not?

    Sounds queen right to me. Easiest test is to lay the new queen in the safety of her cage across the top bars and see how they react to her. If workers come up to the cage and stick their butts up and fan, then they need a queen, if they attack the cage, they don't.
    Always question Conventional Wisdom.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Hummelstown, PA, USA
    Posts
    7

    Default Re: Do I have a queen or not?

    I went outside to do the queen test but they looked like they were getting robbed so I focused on that instead. There were bees swarming around the entrance and they appeared to be fighting to the death. I closed off the entrance and am going to go out in a little bit and check on them.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Franklin Co, PA, USA
    Posts
    170

    Default Re: Do I have a queen or not?

    Who is robbing if you only have one hive? Are you feeding? Have you looked for a queen in your hive?

    You might have bees to split, but do you enough honeycomb if you only have 2 x 8-frame mediums (or are these on top of a deep brood chamber)? Will be hard to get them to build honeycomb this late in the year. Good luck.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Hummelstown, PA, USA
    Posts
    7

    Default Re: Do I have a queen or not?

    I put a hive top feeder on about 2 days after noticing the queen was gone. About an hour later I noticed tons of bees swarming around and fighting on the landing board and thought robbing. So, I covered the entrance with grass and took the feeder off. I thought that fixed it but today when I went out to do the queen test, I thought I saw more robbing. I'm no longer feeding. I have looked for the queen a lot in my hive and have yet to see her. She's not marked.

    I don't have equipment to do a split, unfortunately, but am ordering some soon so this doesn't happen again.

    I called the supplier, Mikes Bees and Honey (good service), and the woman I spoke to said that I might have a laying worker and not realize it, or since I didn't see any eggs, what I was seeing might be from the old queen. She recommended looking hard for a queen and if I find one, to kill it and put my new queen in. How long can I keep the queen in the cage? She was shipped out last night and I received her this morning.
    Last edited by honeyman46408; 08-23-2011 at 06:08 PM. Reason: UNQuote

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Hummelstown, PA, USA
    Posts
    7

    Default Re: Do I have a queen or not?

    Quote Originally Posted by bluegrass View Post
    Sounds queen right to me. Easiest test is to lay the new queen in the safety of her cage across the top bars and see how they react to her. If workers come up to the cage and stick their butts up and fan, then they need a queen, if they attack the cage, they don't.
    I did the queen test and my bees seemed fairly uninterested in the cage. They walked across it a little bit but I couldn't really tell what they were doing. They seemed to just move away from it.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Sacramento, California
    Posts
    9

    Default Re: Do I have a queen or not?

    If you're a beginner alwayys get a marked queen. I had to re-queen my weaker hive as it seemed the queen was not very prolific. The previous hive had died out and a swarm moved in in the space of a week, hence the poor performing queen. I had the advantage of having two hives and I swapped the hives around so the workers from the more vigorous hive took to the weaker hive and now I have two flourishing hives. Some bees are more genetically vigorous and worth making splits from. Starting so late in the year is a big disadvantage. You'll probably get no honey this year. Hopefully it'll be strong enough to make through the winter.It happened to me! Having the marked queen helps you to find her in minutes rather than half an hour until you are able to spot an unmarked queen.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Danbury, CT
    Posts
    2,887

    Default Re: Do I have a queen or not?

    I still don't think your hive is Q-. I would go through it and find the queen and then split the hive in half and introduce your new queen to half of it.
    Always question Conventional Wisdom.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Galt, CA
    Posts
    881

    Default Re: Do I have a queen or not?

    Quote Originally Posted by Il Postino View Post
    If you're a beginner always get a marked queen.
    I disagree with that philosophy. Train yourself to find her on your own instead of taking the lazy way out right from the gate.

    C2

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Stilwell, KS
    Posts
    1,918

    Default Re: Do I have a queen or not?

    I made the mistake of thinking my queen was gone my first year. It was late September and the honey flow had completely shut down for the year and I only saw a few capped larva, while earlier in the summer, I had always found several frames of capped brood. I freaked out and ordered a queen in the internet. When I went to install the new queen a week later, there was more brood (and eggs) and I found the old queen. That was a $60 mistake that I wont be repeating. I was too new to know anything about splitting the hive.

    I vote for getting a marked queen. It's a lot easier to train yourself to find the queen when you know what you are looking for.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    Allegany County, MD
    Posts
    125

    Default Re: Do I have a queen or not?

    Quote Originally Posted by Batman View Post
    I disagree with that philosophy. Train yourself to find her on your own instead of taking the lazy way out right from the gate.

    C2
    Lazy? Really? I'd rather scan and find the queen quickly so I can get the frame back in the hive rather than risk something happening. I'd hardly call it lazy...your comment on the other hand is a bit...ignorant.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,742

    Default Re: Do I have a queen or not?

    I always take the lazy way out...

    But back to the subject of queenlessness. I would say by far the majority of the time when some beekeeper believes a hive to be queenless it is either a shutdown on brood rearing because of a dearth or the time of year or they already swarmed or superseded and the new queen isn't laying yet. When you think a hive is queenless you are almost always wrong. But, of course, occasionally you are correct. So what do you do?

    http://www.bushfarms.com/beespanacea.htm
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Galt, CA
    Posts
    881

    Default Re: Do I have a queen or not?

    Quote Originally Posted by TattooedBeek View Post
    your comment on the other hand is a bit...ignorant.
    I highly doubt I would call it ignorant, I call it "helping someone learn". Encouraging someone to learn to find the queen on their own, without a mark is NOT a bad thing. If people don't learn to find her without a mark on her, they are cheating themselves out of learning to find her, something that is apart of keeping bees. Now in a commercial operation such as Michael Bush, then yes, I say by all means, marking will speed things up GREATLY, since he is going through A LOT of hives and needs to be able to do it quickly and I am all for it, but in a hobby setting, you should learn to find her on your own without a visual aid. I am entitled to my opinion and if you disagree with it, that is your opinion and you are entitled to it as well. I was trying to help someone learn, you blasting it like that by calling it ingnorant, only shows negativity, there is enough of that on this forum already, which is not what I was going for.

    C2

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Elkton, Giles, Tennessee, USA
    Posts
    1,356

    Default Re: Do I have a queen or not?

    Back to the question at hand: I seriously doubt that the colony is QX. If you really had 2 med of brood and that's all the boxes they had, they needed space at that time. A med of brood will generate in excess of 4000 bees. They had already overshot population for the space available. They did exactly what their instincts directed - shut down brood rearing. Note that the colony regulates population by brood volume adjustment.

    Walt

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Danbury, CT
    Posts
    2,887

    Default Re: Do I have a queen or not?

    Quote Originally Posted by wcubed View Post
    Back to the question at hand: I seriously doubt that the colony is QX.

    Walt
    QX stands for queen excluder
    Always question Conventional Wisdom.

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Westford, MA, USA
    Posts
    479

    Default Re: Do I have a queen or not?

    Quote Originally Posted by Nabber86 View Post
    That was a $60 mistake that I wont be repeating.
    That was some kind of speciality queen? Paid $22 for last Carniolan queen, unmarked, I got a few weeks back.
    I've never really gone looking for the queen though sometimes do spot them by accident. The presence of brood and eggs is enough to convince me that there is a queen there somewhere. That being said the Carni queen mentioned above was used to start a split and after 2+ weeks when I could see no brood or eggs I did search the frames for the queen. Couldn't find here so gave them another 2 weeks and inspected again. This time I found capped and uncapped brood but still no queen, however in the middle of one of the frames was a very large single capped queen cell. Bit late in year here now to start again but have left it now for a week and will check again in about 7 days time to see whether she made it and if not then I guess combine with the split next to it. Did notice yesterday that they are bringing in lots of pollen and also that there were some drones in the box.
    Of course all this is dependant on what survives the passage of Irene on Sunday which on the current track appears as if the eye will pass just west of us, the worst possible scenario for wind damage I believe.

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Stilwell, KS
    Posts
    1,918

    Default Re: Do I have a queen or not?

    $60, yes. It seems like a lot of people forget to include the shipping costs when they talk about the price of a new queen. Unless of course you can pick up locally, which I can't.

    I cant see spending that kind of money when my bees have proved very cabable of raising their own queens.

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    Allegany County, MD
    Posts
    125

    Default Re: Do I have a queen or not?

    Quote Originally Posted by Batman View Post
    I highly doubt I would call it ignorant, I call it "helping someone learn". Encouraging someone to learn to find the queen on their own, without a mark is NOT a bad thing. If people don't learn to find her without a mark on her, they are cheating themselves out of learning to find her, something that is apart of keeping bees. Now in a commercial operation such as Michael Bush, then yes, I say by all means, marking will speed things up GREATLY, since he is going through A LOT of hives and needs to be able to do it quickly and I am all for it, but in a hobby setting, you should learn to find her on your own without a visual aid. I am entitled to my opinion and if you disagree with it, that is your opinion and you are entitled to it as well. I was trying to help someone learn, you blasting it like that by calling it ingnorant, only shows negativity, there is enough of that on this forum already, which is not what I was going for.

    C2
    But to call it the lazy way...that comment is uncalled for IMO. I am anything but lazy but I feel that having a marked queen is a benefit because it allows me to quickly scan my frames, find the queen, and get the frame back in the hive. Less risk of something happening. It also can tell me if my queen has been replaced. I can find an unmarked queen...only issue is sometime I can do it in a few seconds, sometimes it takes several minutes, sometimes I don't find her at all and I have to go by eggs in cells to know she is still around. So whether someone is commercial or hobbyist level, there is nothing lazy about having a marked queen. IMO, while not necessary, it is smart to do.

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