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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Humboldt, South Dakota
    Posts
    50

    Default Queen Introduction/Acceptance Concerns

    Hi everyone!

    I have two walkaway splits (one Italian, one Carni) in single medium 10 frame boxes that have struggled to make queens. The Italian hive made 2 or 3 queen cells after the initial split, but after a few weeks there were open queen cells and no queens. Iíve given them a frame of open brood twice since then they finally produced a small queen. She had been in the hive 3 weeks and was still not laying, so I decided to buy a queen and replace her. I removed the small queen two days ago and installed the new queen in her cage today. The initial reaction to her was somewhat aggressive (biting the screen), so I hope they take their time eating through the candy plug!

    My bigger concern is with the Carni split. It was started a couple of weeks later than the Italian split. They built a couple queen cells from the initial open brood, but two weeks after the queen cells were empty: no queen to be found. This split was started later than the Italian split, so I decided to order two queens and put the second one in the Carni split. I had read that hives tend to accept queens better when there is open brood in the hive. I put a frame of open brood in both hives 4 days ago. Neither had queen cells started on them. I expected that from the Italian hive since it had the non-laying queen. The Carni hive has me a little worried. I looked over every frame again and found no queen and no eggs anywhere in the hive. I went ahead and hung the new queen in her cage and she got a similar reception as in the new queen in the Italian hive.

    Should I be concerned that the Carni hive wasnít starting to make queen cells on the frame of open brood given to them 4 days ago? If there was an unproductive queen in there that I wasnít able to find (after going through every frame multiple times) is there any chance the newly introduced queen will be accepted, or is she as good as DOA?

    Thanks for any help or advice anyone can offer! If my longwinded post is still not providing enough info let me know.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Nassau County, New York, USA
    Posts
    275

    Default Re: Queen Introduction/Acceptance Concerns

    Quote Originally Posted by TheCompound View Post
    Hi everyone!

    Should I be concerned that the Carni hive wasnít starting to make queen cells on the frame of open brood given to them 4 days ago? If there was an unproductive queen in there that I wasnít able to find (after going through every frame multiple times) is there any chance the newly introduced queen will be accepted, or is she as good as DOA?
    I have been through a similar situation once. There was a non-laying queen in my hive and bees refused to make or accept any other queen. You have to be absolutely sure that there is no queen (even an unproductive one) in the hive before introducing a queen. As you have already put a queen in a cage, you may have to watch the hive for a few days and see if the bees are not aggressive towards her. Go through the hive one time and see if you can find a queen. Non laying queen can be hard to spot as her abdomen may not be much larger than that of a worker's.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Humboldt, South Dakota
    Posts
    50

    Default Re: Queen Introduction/Acceptance Concerns

    Thanks Will. I'm thinking I might go back to the hive now (it's only been a couple hours since I put the new queen in) and move all the frames one at a time into a different box just to make sure there isn't a small queen moving around on me. How long does it usually take them to eat through the candy plug? Does it happen faster/slower based on how the hive feels about the queen in the cage?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Nassau County, New York, USA
    Posts
    275

    Default Re: Queen Introduction/Acceptance Concerns

    Quote Originally Posted by TheCompound View Post
    How long does it usually take them to eat through the candy plug? Does it happen faster/slower based on how the hive feels about the queen in the cage?
    Usually bees will eat through the candy plug in about 3 days. I don't think it depends on how they feel about the queen. You can slow them down by putting the cork plug back or by sticking a piece of wood in to the hole. When I introduce a queen I don't remove the plug for 3 days there by delaying the release of the queen to about a week. This has worked well for me.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Humboldt, South Dakota
    Posts
    50

    Default Re: Queen Introduction/Acceptance Concerns

    Thanks again for the information. I went through the hive and moved the frames to a new box as I looked for a queen. Workers and drones, but no queen. The drones were brood from the frames originally given with the split - not a laying worker issue. I guess we'll see how it turns out. There may have been the starting of a cup on one or two cells from the last frame of brood given. That might be just wishful thinking as that would indicate a need for a queen.

    I'll give them a few days and see what happens. If there are queen cells next time and the caged queen has been released and not killed, do I need to remove/destroy the queen cells, or will the hive take care of that?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Winhall, VT
    Posts
    1,066

    Default Re: Queen Introduction/Acceptance Concerns

    If I put a queen cage on a hive and they want to kill her I assume there is a queen, a virgin queen or queen cells that they are happy with and don't want another queen. I bring out the shaker box and shake the whole hive through it inspecting every frame closely for anything that looks like a queen cell and destroy it. Just did this last week and noticed that I had missed three cells. Once I had destroyed those and let them sit for a few hours they loved the queen in the cage again.

    If they hate her you have to find out the reason why. A truly queenless or queen cell less colony should always embrace a new queen with love. If you ignore their warning it is likely she will be dead as soon as they eat through that candy.
    Raising Vermont Bees one mistake at a time.
    USDA Zone 5A

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