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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    san leandro, CA, USA
    Posts
    7

    Default check my bee math, please

    28 days ago I opened my hive for an inspection: 2 brood boxes and a honey super. I never spotted the queen but I did aggressively remove drone comb from the outside bottoms of several frames. By the time I was finished I had not seen the queen and started to worry I had knocked her off.

    Yesterday I opened it up again and found lots of capped brood, pollen, honey, and very few larva. I didn't see eggs, but my old eyes are not so good. I did find about 6 queen cells, which I left alone

    Am I right to think my queen is still there since any egg she laid 28 days ago is already hatched, so the sight of capped brood shows she survived my first inspection: the oldest capped brood is 20 days, new bees emerge on day 21, right?

    Some other math I enjoy: 21 days ago I harvested 1 1/2 gallons from a full medium honey super, yesterday it was 95% full again - time to get more honey!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Herrick, SD USA
    Posts
    4,446

    Default Re: check my bee math, please

    Your assumptions are correct. The fact, though, that they have been on a good flow, you aren't seeing eggs and you have spotted some cells most likely indicates the hive is preparing to swarm.
    "People will generally accept facts as truth only if the facts agree with what they already believe."- Andy Rooney

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    Denver, Colorado
    Posts
    5,113

    Default Re: check my bee math, please

    Or has very recently swarmed. Or may be swarming right now!
    Solomon Parker, Parker Farms, ParkerFarms.biz
    11 Years Treatment-Free, ~25 Colony Baseline

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Calvert, Md,USA
    Posts
    1,701

    Default Re: check my bee math, please

    The bees with hold food to trim the Q down to flying/swarm weight. That also stops egg laying as well. Once the Q cells are capped, if they haven't swarmed, it will be soon unless there is an intervention. . So, now until your new queen starts to lay, (more bee math) no brood to feed. More honey too.
    Rick

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    Victoria, Australia
    Posts
    660

    Default Re: check my bee math, please

    Sorry to get off topic, but Rick the withholding food from the queen when there is more nectar and pollen coming in than any other time of the year doesn't make sense. More likely the brood nest is full of nectar so the queen has less and less cells to lay in. So her ovaries shrink. Makes it a good time to swarm.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    san leandro, CA, USA
    Posts
    7

    Default Re: check my bee math, please

    Some good info here, thanks

    There were a LOT of bees in the hive when I last opened it. 2 deeps and a medium honey super with bees on every frame. Does this suggest that a swarm has not happened? After a swarm I would expect about 1/2 as many bees.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Calvert, Md,USA
    Posts
    1,701

    Default Re: check my bee math, please

    Thanks Matt,
    I read that some where in my bee readings. What you state makes sense. I believe the end result is the same. She drops to flying weight.
    Rick

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,316

    Default Re: check my bee math, please

    If you have capped brood, there was a queen there 8 or 9 days ago for sure.

    http://www.bushfarms.com/beesmath.htm
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Ojai, California
    Posts
    966

    Default Re: check my bee math, please

    Matt - It does make sense if you understand swarming response. The early sign is the presence of drone cells and drone brood. It gets too crowded, the nectar flow is going crazy, some swarm queen cells get stated, the nurse bees are humming this warbling sound at an ever-increasing volume, the bees lollygag around the porch a lot, the fly-out volume of traffic goes way down, they stop feeding the queen and start to chase her all over the hive for a day or two to get her in shape for flying - she does indeed drop weight.

    If the weather permits, the day after the Q-cells are capped, a tornado of bees alights from the box, cruises a ways (the queen is not all that good at flying), and lands on a limb or other good resting place. The scouts seek a new home, and try to convince the others that it's a good hole by doing a somewhat modified figure 8 and waggle dance. When the committee decides on the best home, the queen gets talked into a check-out flight, and if she likes it, they start building comb.

    Grumpy - check very carefully to see if there is a capped or already-opened queen cell. You can determine about where in the process they are. From the number of bees you mention, they have not swarmed yet. By the math, mama is probably still there, but the virgin queen could be about to go out and mate - usually about a week after emergence, but can happen much later, depending on weather and a lot of other factors. Sometimes there is an overlap between Mama Queen's reign and Daughter Queen's reign. It is not always by the math book.
    Last edited by kilocharlie; 04-17-2013 at 03:42 PM.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Phoenixville, PA
    Posts
    579

    Default Re: check my bee math, please

    Capped queen cells in a full colony? For me that means time to move those frames with attached bees to a new home for free nucs!

    If I found the queen, I'd even put her in a nuc and let the original colony use a queen cell. IMHO, its a better bet than any other anti-swarm effort.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Ojai, California
    Posts
    966

    Default Re: check my bee math, please

    Thanks for mentioning that, throrope. I forgot to say that

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