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  1. #1
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    Apr 2011
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    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
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    Dec 2010
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    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
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    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
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    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
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    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
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    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
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    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

  8. #8
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    Apr 2011
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    greer south carolina USA
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    Default Re: Here is one for the expert queen raisers

    what i think happened was i pulled 1 queen from a 2 queen hive and this somehow triggered the queen cells. i wanted to know if the queen stings through the cell. i have not started grafting yet i bought a nicot system but i have not set it in a hive yet

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Here is one for the expert queen raisers

    Unfortunately, for me, on more than one occasion, while recycling a cell starter/finisher. I added some bars of new grafts, then I check them the next day and when I noticed that none were accepted. That's when I start searching that colony for a rogue virgin. Each time I thought to check the cell bars first, which is where I located the virgin in the process of removing larvae from the cups. I've seen this behavior now about three times.
    48 years - 50 hives - TF
    Joseph Clemens -- Website Under Constructioni

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Here is one for the expert queen raisers

    Quote Originally Posted by Joseph Clemens View Post
    Unfortunately, for me, on more than one occasion, while recycling a cell starter/finisher. I added some bars of new grafts, then I check them the next day and when I noticed that none were accepted. That's when I start searching that colony for a rogue virgin. Each time I thought to check the cell bars first, which is where I located the virgin in the process of removing larvae from the cups. I've seen this behavior now about three times.
    For sure, I have seen that a lot as well. I misunderstood and thought you were talking about larvae that had initially been accepted and were already being fed royal jelly
    "People will generally accept facts as truth only if the facts agree with what they already believe."- Andy Rooney

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Here is one for the expert queen raisers

    Thanks, guys! Do you know how many queen rearing man-hours the rest of us would have had to spend to learn that? The ladies with the long abdomens really don't like competition, do they?

  12. #12
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    Apr 2011
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    Default Re: Here is one for the expert queen raisers

    I put those queen cells in a mini mating nuc and 3 of them had the sides ripped open. one had a hole in the bottom did not see a queen but maybe she was of mating?

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Here is one for the expert queen raisers

    The cell that has the nice symmetrical hole in the bottom was the first to emerge, she then got rid of the competition and you can bet she is around somewhere.
    "People will generally accept facts as truth only if the facts agree with what they already believe."- Andy Rooney

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Here is one for the expert queen raisers

    I just wish you had put them into 4 different mating nucs. You likely would have gotten 4 colonies.

  15. #15
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    Feb 2011
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    Dos Palos, Ca. USA
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    Default Re: Here is one for the expert queen raisers

    Joseph I put a queen excluder on my cell builder if it is free flying and also keep one on top so that stray rouge queens can't come in and make themselves at home. Nothing can upset your plans than having a virgin or rouge queen run amuc thru a cell builder or finisher. My Buddy and I have also used queen cages which we drill out the hole to make it larger if we are not sure of timing and to protect the cell after they are sealed it is easy to do. This protects cell from early virgins.

  16. #16
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    Mar 2006
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    Heavener Oklahoma
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    Default Re: Here is one for the expert queen raisers

    Had a 10 frame deep cell starter/finisher placed in the 2nd graft of about 30 cells it had 2 cell bars capped 2 cell bars new grafted cells checked in 24 hrs all was great 27 started then in about on the 3 day after graft i noticed they were no bees banking on the front when i raised the lid 1/2 or more of the bees had left.

    So pulled out the cell bar frame expecting them to be tore down all was still there cell cups were filled full of royal jelly but not near enought bees to complete them so place them into another cell builder.

    There was another queen in the cell starter/finisher it had been about 10 days when the laying queen was taken out ond was on there 2nd graft

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