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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
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    Otero County, New Mexico, USA
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    Default What makes queenless bees tear down queen cells?

    I recently had a small mating nuc with some just capped cells tear them all down a day after they capped them. It was only a frame and a feeder - from a larger queenless hive. Why would they do that? The entrance was closed with screen to prevent robbing until the cells were near hatching, so no usurpation would have taken place, nor mating if a loose queen was in there. They had plenty of food and pollen.

  2. #2

    Default Re: What makes queenless bees tear down queen cells?

    Did they tear everyone of the down? or most of them, leaving a few?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Coatesville, Pa, USA
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    839

    Default Re: What makes queenless bees tear down queen cells?

    First question is. . . How do you know they tore them down 1 day after they capped them? If you opened them up and looked then you killed the queens. Check out this calendar. . . http://www.thebeeyard.org/?page_id=621 If they were put in dead that would / could explain the reason. (On one frame I also killed 2 cells not knowing about how sensitive they really are. Thankfully they had another uncapped q-cell that they finished and she rocked!!!)

    Second question are you sure there wasn't a virgin queen in there also? Is there a possibility of that? Could one have emerged sooner than you thought?

    Lastly how long have they been queenless? Could there be a laying worker isssue? I have read of a laying worker hive tear down q-cells because they think they are queen right. The way to fix a laying worker hive ( I had to do this w/ 2 hives this year) is to give them a frame of open brood (1 per week) for up to 3 weeks. In my hives this year the first frame supressed the laying worker and the second (in both cases) they started q-cells. In one case 2 days after I put the second frame in I saw q-cells on the first frame.

    I hope this helps and may give you some ideas to consider.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
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    Otero County, New Mexico, USA
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    Default Re: What makes queenless bees tear down queen cells?

    These guys came from a hive that had been queenless for around a week after I did a cut-down split and moved the queen. It was right at the 8th day when I moved the this frame over to a nuc and the cells (3) were not totally capped. Well, one was capped, the other two were being capped. The hive in question had about 15 cells in it before I split them off. I wonder if it got too hot and the cells died. It is the only nuc/hive I have that does not have a metal sun shield to block afternoon sun. Pretty sure there wasn't a virgin, seems way too short a time for that to happen.

    And they tore all of them down and removed the larva. Would robbers do this? The entrance was screened off for the 24 hours after I made this nuc, except for a one hour period before I checked them. I was worried about opening it too soon due to robbers since they had a full division board feeder and were next to a much larger hive.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Ojai, California
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    1,018

    Default Re: What makes queenless bees tear down queen cells?

    One week queenless sounds a bit early for laying workers. That is usually week 3 or 4 queenless. There is another trick for laying workers. In the evening, move the hive 25 feet out in front of the usual location. Shake and blow ALL the bees out onto the ground, starting with the bottom box. Go put it back in its original place. Go back and shake / brush / blow all the bees out of the second box, then bring it back to the original stand and place it back on top of the bottom box. Continue the process with any supers. The bees fly back home, except the laying workers can't make it. If you time it right and the night gets cold suddenly, the laying workers die.
    Last edited by kilocharlie; 08-22-2012 at 02:39 PM.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
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    Otero County, New Mexico, USA
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    Default Re: What makes queenless bees tear down queen cells?

    These guys were NOT laying workers. They had only been split off for a short period and there were no eggs. I recombined them with the parent hive and split them off again with a different frames of cells. This time they let them live - only I think the cold night air might have been the culprit. I have noticed a lot of these queen cells are DOA. It has been getting down in the low 50's here on my mountain, and I don't think they can keep them all warm enough in their small nuc.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Ojai, California
    Posts
    1,018

    Default Re: What makes queenless bees tear down queen cells?

    Could be indeed chilled Q.C.'s. Hope you nest batch goes better!

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