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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Huntsville, TX
    Posts
    4

    Default Is my queen dead?

    Hi All,

    This is probably a very common question, so please be patient with me.

    I went out to do my first hive check today, 10 days after installing my package and queen.

    From what I could see, the frames that the bees have been working on are all filled with clear comb, and I couldn't see any capped cells at all.

    I checked the queen cage and it was empty, but I'm not sure how long she has been out.

    I am working with an 8-frame medium box, and about 6 and a quarter worth of frames were covered with comb.

    I also realized that I had forgotten to poke a hole in the candy plug of the queen cage. Perhaps she has just recently gotten out and hasn't started laying yet?

    Of course, this is my first time doing this, so I'm not exactly sure what I'm looking for.

    Any advice is greatly appreciated.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Milwaukee, WI
    Posts
    378

    Default Re: Is my queen dead?

    Sounds like everything is going well. Is this your only hive or do you have another?

    It can take queens a little while to start laying and you may have eggs or even small larva in the cells that you were not able to see. What you should see on your next inspection is some capped cells or uncapped larva. If those cells are grouped together, chances are you have a good queen and will have a successful hive. If the cells are scattered all over, then you might have a problem.

    In the meantime, you might start looking for another local beekeeper who could help you out and provide some invaluable local information. (This will help you a lot whether you have a good queen or a dead one!)

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Huntsville, TX
    Posts
    4

    Default Re: Is my queen dead?

    That's encouraging, thanks!

    This is my only hive. I know it's best to start with two so they can be compared, but I figured I'd start with one to see how it went.

    Should I avoid revisiting the hive with smoke on consecutive days? What is the minimum time I should wait before I open the hive again to inspect?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Milwaukee, WI
    Posts
    378

    Default Re: Is my queen dead?

    Well, I'm probably the wrong one to ask! My theory is that your first set of bees are just there to absorb all of your mistakes and the price of the package is just part of the cost of learning. So check them whenever you feel you need to.

    The standard reply, of course, is to wait a week between inspections.

    By the way, you might want to get another box ready as fast as they are building comb! If nothing else, they sound like excellent comb builders.

    One more question I should have asked: are they storing pollen and nectar?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Huntsville, TX
    Posts
    4

    Default Re: Is my queen dead?

    I have another box ready to go. I don't think I saw much pollen/nectar at all. Almost all of the comb was very clear.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    El Sobrante, California, USA
    Posts
    148

    Default Re: Is my queen dead?

    With 6 frames drawn in the first brood chamber, I would put the second brood chamber on top, NOW! Don't wait for space to become scarce and the colony swarm.... I am using 8 frame medium boxes as well and kept barely ahead of the colonies growth last year; my first year in beekeeping.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Wood county, WV, USA
    Posts
    11

    Default Re: Is my queen dead?

    Just give the hive a little more time, wait a week to reinspect hive. Sounds like she just has not got started yet or you can not see eggs. Eggs are hard to see on new comb. Does the hive roar when you open it? A queen less hive will tell you they are queen less by the way they act. if the hive is quiet when you open it after a little smoke, she is most likely in there.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Huntsville, TX
    Posts
    4

    Default Re: Is my queen dead?

    Thanks Rex, I will put another box of frames on tonight.

    Steve -I actually received my new hive-top feeder yesterday and went out to replace the pale feeder I had been using.

    They didn't seem to mind at all when I took the inner cover off to put the hive-top feeder in it's place. I did not use smoke, just misted a bit of sugar water over the hole in the inner cover before taking it off.

    I will give them a few more days and go back and do a thorough check with smoke on Sunday.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    San Jose, Ca
    Posts
    372

    Default Re: Is my queen dead?

    This is my first year also, but if the hive is acting really nice, I wouldn't bother with the smoke. I think the smoke gets into the honey and delays them a bit. Every time you smoke them they gorge on honey. If you have a full suit or if you are sure you won't get stung, try it without. DO keep one lit next to the hive in case you do need it though. But I think especially the first few months when they don't have anything to guard and have a small hive, that they are really calm. IMHO.

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