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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2014
    Location
    Ocala, Florida, USA
    Posts
    15

    Default Capped queen cell in new nuc

    This is my first season, and I just hived my nucs this past weekend. Two of the three seem OK, but one had fewer frames of bees than the others and a fully capped queen cell.

    I don't know if there's a queen or not (I didn't see it, but I'm inexperienced, so...). There was some sealed brood. I don't remember if there was larvae (I was a bit overwhelmed). I want to go back in and check it out again, but I wanted to let them settle for a day or two after the transfer.

    I called the apiary where I bought them and they said (paraphrasing) that they went through the nucs before delivery and all the colonies were strong, and that I could cut out the queen cell or leave it - it didn't matter.

    This answer concerns me, because from what I understand that hive has a problem - either it swarmed before I picked it up meaning there's no queen currently, or they're replacing/superceding a missing/bad queen. If I cut the cell out, aren't I risking making the hive queenless? If I leave it, then the new queen is going to have to open mate, which is discouraged by the state due to AHB. In fact, since I'm in a non-agricultural area, the state requires me to have mated queens from an EHB source, and not raise my own.

    I guess I'm going to have to cut out the cell, and if I can't find the queen, buy another one and introduce it. Though, I feel like if the nuc wasn't queen right to begin with, maybe the nuc supplier should be providing another queen. Or is that not how it works?

    Does my assessment of the situation seem accurate or have I misunderstood/missed something? Does anyone more experienced have advice for a newbee in this situation?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2014
    Location
    Springdale, Arkansas
    Posts
    207

    Default Re: Capped queen cell in new nuc

    Someone more experienced will come along and give you good advice but I would look for eggs or uncapped brood indicating a queen is in your nuc. If there isn't one, I would have a discussion with the folks you bought the nuc from as they should have ensured the queen was laying to sell this as a nuc instead of a package that was just thrown together.

    Per your laws, if you find new, open brood or eggs......then tare out the new queen cell.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Location
    Louisville, KY
    Posts
    1,966

    Default Re: Capped queen cell in new nuc

    i would ask someone more experienced too.

    Make sure the queen cell is closed.. Look for eggs and larvae, if none you may have a problem.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Location
    Dickson TN
    Posts
    583

    Default Re: Capped queen cell in new nuc

    When did you get the nucs? If less than 8 days ago there was a queen issue before you picked the nuc up. The supplier should not have a problem making it right but then again it doesn't sound like they were when you talked with them. At a minimum they should give you another mated queen. Remember a queen cell isn't capped until it's 8 days old.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
    Location
    Bellflower, Montgomery,Mo,USA
    Posts
    324

    Default Re: Capped queen cell in new nuc

    If you have a capped queen cell you have a virgin queen on her way. If you look and see drone cells or hatched drones then she can mate. Ask someone in your club if they have flying drones yet. If they came from some where further away from you, your area may not be ready to mate queens. If that is the case you will need to get a laying queen for that nuc.

    I just reread your post and saw that Florida requires mated queens because of Africanised bees. Talk to your supplier and ask for a new queen.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
    Location
    Trousdale County, Tennessee
    Posts
    531

    Default Re: Capped queen cell in new nuc

    Slo drone gave great info. Call your supplier back since you're not supposed to open mate

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2014
    Location
    Ocala, Florida, USA
    Posts
    15

    Default Re: Capped queen cell in new nuc

    Thanks everyone for the responses.

    The queen cell was definitely capped, and I found it about a day and a half after I took possession of the nucs, so it sounds like there was indeed an issue with the nuc before I picked it up.

    I will be going back into that hive tomorrow (weather permitting) to get a better look - specifically to look for open brood and/or eggs. If I find some, I'll cut out the cell and see what happens. If I find none, then I'll be going back to the supplier and arguing my case again to try to get another queen.

    Thanks again.

    Bill

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Benton, KY
    Posts
    233

    Default Re: Capped queen cell in new nuc

    Too ways to look at this one is a good nuc should be packed with bees and almost in a swarm condition. That's the sign of a healthy hive. The second issue is the queen cell is capped and the hive may have already reached the tipping point to swarm. Queen may or not still be in box. You need to talk to an experienced keeper that can find the queen and advise you

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
    Location
    N.E. KY
    Posts
    489

    Default Re: Capped queen cell in new nuc

    I thought, once a hive decided to swarm it will. If you cut out the cell, won't they just make another, if queen right? And another thing, so, according to your law, you can't raise queens or do any splits, unless you AI?

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Jacksonville, Florida
    Posts
    1,964

    Default Re: Capped queen cell in new nuc

    Leave the cell alone and don't go back into the hive for two weeks. The State only requires that the queen mother hive is European. If you bought the hive from a reputable person I can assure you they are using European stock. No one runs AHB on purpose.

    The weather is going to get cold in a couple days. There is absolutely nothing good that can come from you going back into the hive right now. Leave them a lone for now. Check back on them in about 14 days. Keep the feeder full except for Thursday and Friday. Once this cold front passes you can go back to feeding again. Chances are your nuc is trying to super cede. Leave them a lone for the next couple weeks and most likely they will work it out. In about 14-20 days if you don't have a laying queen that would be the time to step in a take some steps to correct the problem.

    Getting a mated queen (if you can even get one this time of year) is really not going to help you out much. By the time you get one and get her introduced your gonna be atleast 7-10 days into it. In no more than two weeks your queen cell will have hatched and hopefully mated. Timing depends on how far a long your cell is since you can't know when it was capped. I know this is not ideal but, at this point I think leaving the cell alone is going to be your best bet.

    Marion County is on the Northern boarder for AHB, that just means at one time Marion County did have a confirmed case of AHB, I don't think they are near as pevelant in your area as they are further south. I'm not sure where you got nucs from this time of year but, my guess would be they came from South Florida somewhere and without a doubt have open mated queens. So don't get too hung up on AHB. That's my advice I hope it helps.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Aug 2014
    Location
    Ocala, Florida, USA
    Posts
    15

    Default Re: Capped queen cell in new nuc

    Quote Originally Posted by rookie2531 View Post
    I thought, once a hive decided to swarm it will. If you cut out the cell, won't they just make another, if queen right? And another thing, so, according to your law, you can't raise queens or do any splits, unless you AI?
    My bees aren't on agricultural land, so I have to acquire my queens from elsewhere. As I understand it, apiaries with enough colonies (and enough drones) in agricultural areas can raise queens without running afoul of the best management practices.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    Casey, Il, USA
    Posts
    2,274

    Default Re: Capped queen cell in new nuc

    sounds like it already swarmed if it now has half the bees as the others.. was their more than one cell? I brought a nuc home last yr than I knew was choc full of bees let them settle for about 3 days before I checked on them and they had already swarmed.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Aug 2014
    Location
    Ocala, Florida, USA
    Posts
    15

    Default Re: Capped queen cell in new nuc

    Quote Originally Posted by johng View Post
    Leave the cell alone and don't go back into the hive for two weeks. The State only requires that the queen mother hive is European. If you bought the hive from a reputable person I can assure you they are using European stock. No one runs AHB on purpose.
    Sure, I know they're coming from EHB stock. But based on the stuff I read that was put out by the state, it sounds like they're worried about EHB queens mating with AHB drones, especially for bees kept in residential areas. Do you have a citation/reference for the state only requiring the queen be EHB? If that applies to me, then that will make my life a lot easier.


    Quote Originally Posted by johng View Post
    The weather is going to get cold in a couple days. There is absolutely nothing good that can come from you going back into the hive right now. Leave them a lone for now. Check back on them in about 14 days. Keep the feeder full except for Thursday and Friday. Once this cold front passes you can go back to feeding again. Chances are your nuc is trying to super cede. Leave them a lone for the next couple weeks and most likely they will work it out. In about 14-20 days if you don't have a laying queen that would be the time to step in a take some steps to correct the problem.
    We've got a storm coming in soon, and I wanted to get them checked out before it gets here, so I've already opened them up and checked. So, unfortunately it's too late to leave them alone

    As for what I found - the one queen cell (I didn't find any others). A little sealed brood, and no eggs or open brood that I can see. So I believe they've been queenless since before I picked up the nuc. I left the queen cell as is for the time being. I guess I'll see what happens.

    Also, I've been feeding them since I installed them this weekend, and while they're building out comb, they're also storing a lot of syrup in/around the brood frames. I know that backfilling the brood nest is often a precursor to swarming, but considering the current condition of the hive, I'm not sure if I should be concerned about it.

    Quote Originally Posted by johng View Post
    Marion County is on the Northern boarder for AHB, that just means at one time Marion County did have a confirmed case of AHB, I don't think they are near as pevelant in your area as they are further south. I'm not sure where you got nucs from this time of year but, my guess would be they came from South Florida somewhere and without a doubt have open mated queens. So don't get too hung up on AHB.
    Honestly, I'm not too concerned about the bees - I'm more worried about staying compliant with what the state requires.

    Quote Originally Posted by johng View Post
    That's my advice I hope it helps.
    It does, thanks! I appreciate it.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Benton, KY
    Posts
    233

    Default Re: Capped queen cell in new nuc

    eventually we are all going to deal with AHB. their genetics will just be incorporated into the areas. you will just have to eliminate hives that become too hot, and mate replacements earlier in the year. winter will then be the equailizer

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    Casey, Il, USA
    Posts
    2,274

    Default Re: Capped queen cell in new nuc

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave1958 View Post
    eventually we are all going to deal with AHB. their genetics will just be incorporated into the areas. you will just have to eliminate hives that become too hot, and mate replacements earlier in the year. winter will then be the equailizer

    Or instead of everyone in the north getting southern queens for an early start, southern states will be getting northern queens to replace local one before the colony gets too big and aggressive.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Jan 2015
    Location
    Penobscot County, ME, USA
    Posts
    386

    Default Re: Capped queen cell in new nuc

    As for what I found - the one queen cell (I didn't find any others). A little sealed brood, and no eggs or open brood that I can see. So I believe they've been queenless since before I picked up the nuc. I left the queen cell as is for the time being. I guess I'll see what happens.
    Was it a swarm cell or a supercedure cell?
    Zone 4a/b

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Aug 2014
    Location
    Ocala, Florida, USA
    Posts
    15

    Default Re: Capped queen cell in new nuc

    Quote Originally Posted by BadBeeKeeper View Post
    Was it a swarm cell or a supercedure cell?
    I've heard conflicting things as to how to tell them apart, so I don't know.

    It's on the face of the comb pointing downwards, in the middle third horizontally and lower half vertically.

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
    Location
    Trousdale County, Tennessee
    Posts
    531

    Default Re: Capped queen cell in new nuc

    Sounds like Bill B is just trying yi get started correctly and follow the state guidelines. Yes his queen cell may get mated but his point is according to him he can't open mate. So whether he leaves the cell alone or not is irrelevant. He's new at this and trying to follow the rules by having the approved Queen.

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Location
    Dickson TN
    Posts
    583

    Default Re: Capped queen cell in new nuc

    Sounds more like an emergency queen cell to me.

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    48,776

    Default Re: Capped queen cell in new nuc

    >I've heard conflicting things as to how to tell them apart, so I don't know.

    Swarm cells are numerous in comparison to the number of bees. Swarm cells are different ages (not all the same age e.g. some are eggs, some are larvae, some are white freshly capped, some might even be brown and papery on the mouth). Swarm cells are in hives that are rapidly expanding in population.

    Supersedure cells are few. Supersedure cells are all about the same age (e.g. all capped or all uncapped, or a few capped and the rest really large larvae that are about to be capped). Supersedure cells are in hives that are languishing or shrinking.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

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