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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    greer south carolina USA
    Posts
    156

    Default Here is one for the expert queen raisers

    I took a couple of brood boxes from a Michael Palmer Queen descendant I bought from him in 2009 with the queen to a bee yard 5 miles away, very nice queens Michael! I went back 12 days later to get queen cells. I found several cells ripped open, some with the dead queen still inside, some empty. I thought that the other unmolested cells would have queens still alive in them. I looked for a virgin queen and found one looking into cells like a mated queen, she was not that big but easy to spot. I marked her but now my question is this. Can a queen sting a cell without ripping it open. I brought frames with queen cells home to distribute them into mini mating nucs. When I was cutting them out I opened the side of one and saw a nearly fully developed queen inside with no movement, she looked dead. The cells I put in the nucs the bees attached to the comb but now I am thinking that the queen I marked was MATED QUEEN and she killed what was live and left the others alone? What do you think? Thank you Jim Donovan

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Ojai, California
    Posts
    960

    Default Re: Here is one for the expert queen raisers

    It would not surprise me at all if an emerged queen, mated or otherwise, can determine if a queen cell has a live pupa inside. I can usually tell if a cell is alive just by holding it a few minutes - they often make a clicking feeling in my hand, or in the last day before emergence they start piping.

    If she can tell, she will often kill her sister queen candidates by ripping their cells open on the side and stinging them. If she thinks one is already dead in the cell, she might indeed leave it alone, but she might also rip and sting just to be sure. The pupa in the other QC's may have died from other causes previously. She may have known this and not felt threatened nor challenged by them, and thus left them be. I'm pretty certain her preference is to kill with a pre-emptive first strike than to wait and duke it out with an emerged sister queen.

    Another possibility is that she just was not yet finished finding and killing all the other QC's.

    I am only offering guesses, here - opinions, not facts! If anyone has observations to the contrary, please correct me!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Tucson, Arizona, USA
    Posts
    5,385

    Default Re: Here is one for the expert queen raisers

    Virgin queens don't always, if ever, tear a hole in queen cells (I haven't seen them do that, yet), they simply sting the pupae through the cell, then the bees tear the cells open, and remove the dead/dying queen pupae.

    Their may be different techniques among different virgin queens. But, I've watched a few times as a virgin queen will go down rows of sealed cells, and seem to sniff out the "tender spot", then sting that spot, then go on to the next. I've also seen them go down a row of unsealed cells and pluck the larvae out. They are extremely and annoyingly efficient at both tasks.
    48 years - 50 hives - TF
    Joseph Clemens -- Website Under Constructioni

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Ojai, California
    Posts
    960

    Default Re: Here is one for the expert queen raisers

    Thanks for that, Joseph! I missed the action earlier this season when I got back to the hives a day late. The last 2 were facing off ready to fight (I salvaged these). I didn't get to see the cell stinging. I think most of them emerged at about the same time, as only 2 cells were left, the rest were dead, stuck in the queen excluder.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Herrick, SD USA
    Posts
    4,395

    Default Re: Here is one for the expert queen raisers

    I would concur in that the virgins smell out and sting the unhatched virgins while the workers do most of the heavy lifting in tearing them open and cleaning them out. I haven't seen the removal of larvae from uncapped cells, not saying that it dosent happen, I suppose if they are the only threat to them in the hive they may well. I will say that I have many times had mature cells destroyed while in the same builder cells that are 5 or more days away from emergence are completely ignored.
    "People will generally accept facts as truth only if the facts agree with what they already believe."- Andy Rooney

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Ojai, California
    Posts
    960

    Default Re: Here is one for the expert queen raisers

    Quote Originally Posted by jim lyon View Post
    ... I will say that I have many times had mature cells destroyed while in the same builder cells that are 5 or more days away from emergence are completely ignored.
    Jim - I think I understand what you are saying, but could you expand on that for clarity? Did you have more than one grafting frame from different days in the finisher? Which response was being encouraged...emergency, supercedure, or swarm?

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Herrick, SD USA
    Posts
    4,395

    Default Re: Here is one for the expert queen raisers

    Quote Originally Posted by kilocharlie View Post
    Jim - I think I understand what you are saying, but could you expand on that for clarity? Did you have more than one grafting frame from different days in the finisher? Which response was being encouraged...emergency, supercedure, or swarm?
    Yeah we will often reuse a builder as early as 5 days after a previous graft. We occasionally get a rogue virgin in a builder (yeah, stuff happens sometimes) and they will systematically destroy the mature cells and I don't recall ever seeing any damage in the less mature cells.
    "People will generally accept facts as truth only if the facts agree with what they already believe."- Andy Rooney

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