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  1. #1
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    Aug 2011
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    Default Do I definitely, absolutely, 100% for SURE have a queen bees?

    Today is April 7. Monday evening and Tuesday morning of April 1, 2013, in freezing weather I installed three three-pound packages into three top bar hives. At the same time, I released the queens once the bees had been shaken down into the hives. The freezing-temperature installations were all three an absolute nightmare with every going wrong, e.g., bees flying anywhere, everywhere, etc. They did finally settle down that evening and clustered under my top feeder, BUT I have never felt/been SURE that the queens were in the hives and alive.
    QUESTION: For two day, all three hives have been bring in some pollen, not loads but some. Does that mean that I definitely, absolutely, 100% for SURE have a queen bee in ALL three hives?
    Thanks, Worry Wart

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
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    Athens, OH
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    Default Re: Do I definitely, absolutely, 100% for SURE have a queen bees?

    Check them for eggs.
    Go to Heaven for the climate, go to Hell for the company. -Mark Twain

  3. #3
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    Rader, Greene County, Tennessee, USA
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    Default Re: Do I definitely, absolutely, 100% for SURE have a queen bees?

    The only sure indicator that you have a viable queen is the presence of worker (not drone) brood. If you see eggs/larva, that may suggest the presence of a queen, but I don't know any way to be sure that those are worker eggs until those cells get capped, looking like worker brood (not drone brood).
    Last edited by Rader Sidetrack; 04-07-2013 at 07:04 PM. Reason: clarification, thanks to dnichols
    Graham
    -- The real problem is not precise language, it's clear language. - Richard Feynman

  4. #4
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    May 2012
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    Litchfield, CT, USA
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    Default Re: Do I definitely, absolutely, 100% for SURE have a queen bees?

    +1 check for eggs. Bad idea to release queen right away. I think there is an epidemic. This is the forth thread I have read where the queen was released to soon. Oh well. Good luck though.
    "Someday we will look back and realize someone was right...and conveniently forget we were the ones that were wrong."

  5. #5
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    May 2012
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    Litchfield, CT, USA
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    Default Re: Do I definitely, absolutely, 100% for SURE have a queen bees?

    Quote Originally Posted by Rader Sidetrack View Post
    The only sure indicator that you have a viable queen is the presence of worker (not drone) eggs. But if you have a hard time seeing eggs/larva, you may need to wait til you see capped worker brood to be sure.
    Hey Rader how do you tell the difference between worker eggs and drone eggs?
    "Someday we will look back and realize someone was right...and conveniently forget we were the ones that were wrong."

  6. #6
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    Jun 2010
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    Calvert, Md,USA
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    Default Re: Do I definitely, absolutely, 100% for SURE have a queen bees?

    Bees will bring in pollen with out a queen. Once the demand, brood rearing commences, it really rolls in in contrast. JMHO, I would leave the new queens alone a while longer. They are either ok or not. I have gone in after a week and had them ball (kill) the queen.
    Rick

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
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    Cookeville, TN, USA
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    4,110

    Default Re: Do I definitely, absolutely, 100% for SURE have a queen bees?

    A good settled queen will lay single eggs in worker comb - in a good pattern. If you are seeing multiple eggs or drones being raised in worker brood or a haphazard pattern with multiple eggs then you don't have a good settled queen.

    I'm hedging my words a little because sometimes a perfectly good queen will lay multiple eggs for a few days. She will not however lay drones in worker comb. At least I don't think so. A failing queen will sometimes.

    Saw a LOT of laying worker last spring, and really learned what it looked like.

    The only way to know for 100% sure you have a queen is to find her - finding single eggs layed in a good pattern in worker comb is 99%.
    Since '09-25H-T-Z6b

  8. #8
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    Nov 2011
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    Rader, Greene County, Tennessee, USA
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    Default Re: Do I definitely, absolutely, 100% for SURE have a queen bees?

    > Hey Rader how do you tell the difference between worker eggs and drone eggs?

    Good point! I don't know how to tell the difference except by looking at how they are capped. Obviously I didn't word my answer very well.


    I started out writing just eggs, then thought about a worker drone layer, and tried to include that thought as well. Oops!
    Graham
    -- The real problem is not precise language, it's clear language. - Richard Feynman

  9. #9
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    Aug 2011
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    Greenwood, Indiana
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    Default Re: Do I definitely, absolutely, 100% for SURE have a queen bees?

    I have read so many that I've lost count of the posts on this and other forums and in popular "how to" bee books advising my releasing the queen(s) if she's been with the bees several days before installing them/her into a hive. NOW I'm getting the other side's opinions.
    To the repliers abover: Where should I have placed the caged queen to keep her warm during freezing weather since my bees needed to cluster under my feeder?
    Where is Michael Bush, et al, whose advise I followed?

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
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    Tucson, Arizona, USA
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    5,400

    Default Re: Do I definitely, absolutely, 100% for SURE have a queen bees?

    I think releasing a package queen, immediately after hiving the package, is more efficacious when the package is being hived on drawn comb, or at least foundation, rather than just plain top bars. And, it's important to know how long the bees and caged queen have been together. Three or more days would be my trigger for the possibility of immediate release. Also, I would consider keeping the queen caged, in a combless, foundationless hive, until the bees, at least begin to start comb. Most EHB colonies will stay with their brood, vs absconding, so if there is any comb for the queen to lay in, she most likely will, and then there is brood to anchor the colony.

    As far as positioning, if you place the queen cage where the bees can easily reach her and the feed, then you've done about all you can to ensure she's kept safe, and the bees, too.

    For me, the surest way to answer your question is to find her and observe her (watch her lay).
    Last edited by Joseph Clemens; 04-08-2013 at 06:57 AM.
    48 years - 50 hives - TF
    Joseph Clemens -- Website Under Constructioni

  11. #11
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    Greenwood, Indiana
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    Default Re: Do I definitely, absolutely, 100% for SURE have a queen bees?

    Thanks, ALL above.
    I think that I will wait another week or two to check the comb. I've had several bad experiences lifting the new combs loaded with bees. I'll just wait and hope for the best.
    That April 1, 2013, was the coldest for a hundred years in Indiana's weather history. Why ME, God!

  12. #12
    Join Date
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    Greenwood, Indiana
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    Default Re: Do I definitely, absolutely, 100% for SURE have a queen bees?

    Thanks, ALL above.
    I think that I will wait another week or two to check the comb. I've had several bad experiences lifting the new combs loaded with bees. I'll just wait and hope for the best.
    That April 1, 2013, was the coldest for a hundred years in Indiana's weather history. Why ME, God!

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
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    St. Louis, Missouri, USA
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    Default Re: Do I definitely, absolutely, 100% for SURE have a queen bees?

    Quote Originally Posted by Hoosier View Post
    I have read so many that I've lost count of the posts on this and other forums and in popular "how to" bee books advising my releasing the queen(s) if she's been with the bees several days before installing them/her into a hive. NOW I'm getting the other side's opinions.
    To the repliers abover: Where should I have placed the caged queen to keep her warm during freezing weather since my bees needed to cluster under my feeder?
    Where is Michael Bush, et al, whose advise I followed?
    Hoosier, I followed the same M. Bush advice you did both last year and this year. Last year my hive was new so no comb, but the package had traveled from GA so I figured they had spent enough time together to accept her. It worked like a charm. This year I had comb so I did the same release method because it worked last year and also I wanted her to be able to start laying right away in the comb. The bees were also nicely clustered around her cage in the package, so that was reassuring. So far it looks to have worked.

    When I re-queened last August I hung the cage and waited until they weren't biting the cage to release her. I read a lot of conflicting opinions on how long to leave the hive queenless before hanging the new queen in the hive, similar to direct release. I went with leaving them queenless for an hour so that they know the queen is gone but don't start queen cells to replace her. That worked out, they accepted her and never made any supersedure cells, but I am sure many will say it isn't the way to do it.

    It can be tough to figure out the way to do something when there are so many different methods. I usually pick the one that makes sense to me and hope I chose well.

    Hope it worked for you!

  14. #14
    Join Date
    May 2009
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    Flora,IL
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    Default Re: Do I definitely, absolutely, 100% for SURE have a queen bees?

    Quote Originally Posted by Hoosier View Post
    Thanks, ALL above.
    I think that I will wait another week or two to check the comb. I've had several bad experiences lifting the new combs loaded with bees. I'll just wait and hope for the best.
    That April 1, 2013, was the coldest for a hundred years in Indiana's weather history. Why ME, God!
    Clobal warming dontcha know!!! Michael is probably tending hives.. busy time of year for beeks...
    As for your hive give them at least 2 weeks to draw some comb and looked for capped breed. it takes a minimum if 14 days to a few capped cells and if they had no comb, she had to wait for that also.... I checked today for capped brood in new hives started the 28th and am just now seeing some capped brood.

  15. #15
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    Nov 2009
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    Belfast, Ireland
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    401

    Default Re: Do I definitely, absolutely, 100% for SURE have a queen bees?

    Pollen going in is a good sign but does not indicate for sure there is a laying queen. I have had queenless colonies fill up several frames with pollen.
    I don't like to release a queen until I have judged how the bees react to her through the cage and even then, I prefer to plug the cage and let the bees release the queen themselves in the dark of the hive without any disturbance.
    Sometimes it takes a week before the bees stop trying to kill the queen through the cage.

  16. #16
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    Aug 2011
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    Greenwood, Indiana
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    Default Re: Do I definitely, absolutely, 100% for SURE have a queen bees?

    Thanks to ALL for your replies. Seems I have a two-week waiting game; that will be no problem. I have a good supply of gin, vermouth, and olives. As long as that supply holds out for two weeks, so will I, i.e., in times like this... gin is the only answer.

  17. #17
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    Jun 2012
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    Default Re: Do I definitely, absolutely, 100% for SURE have a queen bees?

    Quote Originally Posted by Colleen O. View Post
    Hoosier, I followed the same M. Bush advice you did both last year and this year. Last year my hive was new so no comb, but the package had traveled from GA so I figured they had spent enough time together to accept her. It worked like a charm. This year I had comb so I did the same release method because it worked last year and also I wanted her to be able to start laying right away in the comb. The bees were also nicely clustered around her cage in the package, so that was reassuring. So far it looks to have worked.
    UPDATE - I inspected my hive yesterday and the direct release method seems to have worked out for me again this year. I even got to see a little patch of capped brood at day 8 after package install! I had comb for them this year so she must have gotten right to laying. I saw tons of larvae in all stages and some eggs on five of the bars. This hive is going to be booming in no time! I just hope the bees get calmer, these ones are much more territorial than last year's.

    Hoosier I hope your queen release worked out too and your supplies are lasting for your wait!

  18. #18
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    Dec 2012
    Location
    Fort Walton Beach, Florida
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    1,256

    Default Re: Do I definitely, absolutely, 100% for SURE have a queen bees?

    I recently installed a package, and also relied on Michael Bush's recommendation to direct release the queen. Worked like a charm. This was a long hive with foundationless deep frames, and I gave the package a frame that another hive had started a small comb on, just to get them started. After 4 days, they'd drawn out quite a bit of comb, and I saw eggs in a good pattern on these partial combs. Also on Michael's advice, I did not use a smoker when installing these bees, on the theory that the colony's pheromone system is not yet well-established and thus liable to disruption.

    I've wondered if some of the problems folks have had getting packages to accept a queen might be due to using smoke. If I'm remembering what Michael said correctly, he's never had a queen killed by a package.

  19. #19
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    Jun 2012
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    St. Louis, Missouri, USA
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    Default Re: Do I definitely, absolutely, 100% for SURE have a queen bees?

    Quote Originally Posted by rhaldridge View Post
    I've wondered if some of the problems folks have had getting packages to accept a queen might be due to using smoke. If I'm remembering what Michael said correctly, he's never had a queen killed by a package.
    I didn't use smoke during installation either. I did use it for my first inspection of the hive yesterday though, because they seem a bit defensive and I didn't want any problems.

  20. #20
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    Greenwood, Indiana
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    Default Re: Do I definitely, absolutely, 100% for SURE have a queen bees?

    Colleen O. and rhaldridge, a big THANKS for the reassurance from the two of you. I am 90% sure that my three hives all have their queens. They are bringing in pollen by the boatloads, so I am going to gamble that they're all okay because I don't want to gamble on lifting the new, fragile combs loaded with bees. They're all three taking the sugar water and seem content. This is my second year with these super-gentle Minnesota hygienic bees and I have NEVER once used smoke on them. Usually I work with their combs/bars, moving them around when necessary, in my shirt short sleeves only; it's rare that I get stung.
    Thanks again to you two and all other repliers above, Joe
    "ALL'S WELL THAT ENDS WELL."

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