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  1. #1
    Join Date
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    Default Virgin queen in hive?

    Pretty strong hive, overwintered fine.
    I went thru them the other day - skipped the top boxes of honey and found the brood boxes empty. Next box up, empty. Finally top box, lots of bees, but terrible pattern and just drones. I thought I had a laying worker but I found the queen. There were empty queen cells on the bottom box that weren't there in the late fall.
    So, I'm assuming they superceded the queen, but it was too cold for her to mate.

    Does this happen often?
    I assume there's nothing to do but get a new queen or get them some brood, right?
    btw, I saw some drones already flying!

    Thanks!
    Kurt

  2. #2
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    Dec 2012
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    Default Re: Virgin queen in hive?

    If you are not sure about your virgin queen then it is better to get a new laying queen.
    The more you wait then there is a chance the workers become drone layers if they aren't now.
    A strong hive with DL is hard to combat so I heard. When in doubt put a frame of eggs and open
    larvae to see. Hopefully they will make you a nice queen.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Virgin queen in hive?

    beepro,
    Be careful. Some unsuspecting beginner, based on your screen name, might take you seriously and implement your advice. Heaven forbid.

    In this case, the OP knows more about the situation than you do. He will likely ignore your rantings. All you did was paraphrase his question. No help.

    Since I have no experience with that specific situation, I can only address the question on "happen often?" Have seen a lot of overwintered colonies and not seen one case of it.

    Walt

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Atlanta GA
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    296

    Default Re: Virgin queen in hive?

    Quote Originally Posted by beepro View Post
    If you are not sure about your virgin queen then it is better to get a new laying queen.
    The more you wait then there is a chance the workers become drone layers if they aren't now.
    A strong hive with DL is hard to combat so I heard. When in doubt put a frame of eggs and open
    larvae to see. Hopefully they will make you a nice queen.
    What is DL?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
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    jackson county, alabama, usa
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    Default Re: Virgin queen in hive?

    kurt i had 4 out of 18 end up that way in late winter this year, too early for them to mate or for me to buy a replacement queen. there weren't a lot of bees anyway so i just shook them out and gave what honey was left to my other hives.

    queen failure seems to be reportedly higher this year for some reason.

    if you have other hives and they are making brood already then by all means put a frame of open brood with eggs and check it back in a week for queen cells.

    it might not be a bad idea to reduce them down a box or two until they get going again.
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2012
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    Default Re: Virgin queen in hive?

    What's wrong with Beepro's advice? If I were to open up a hive early spring and see a crappy drone pattern and hatched queencells from winter I wouldn't care if there's a queen in there or not. Obviously the old queen met her demise and the hive is done or needs to get a mated queen or combined with another hive to save what's left. I lost a queen in Dec., probably through no fault of my own, I found 3 hatched cells in the hive in February, no queen to be found, and laying workers. They had a nice tight brood pattern though....

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
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    Battle Ground, Washington, USA
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    Default Re: Virgin queen in hive?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kurt S View Post
    ....I assume there's nothing to do but get a new queen or get them some brood, right?....
    No disrespect here Walt, but maybe you should read the entire OP before jumping Beepro? I have to say, I'm a little taken a back by the response, what are you suggesting he do then? I'm not being defensive here, I'd just like to learn from someone as experienced as yourself, honestly??

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
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    Wausau, WI, USA
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    Default Re: Virgin queen in hive?

    SallyD, DL = Drone Layer

    Wisnewbee

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
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    Tucson, Arizona, USA
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    Default Re: Virgin queen in hive?

    Unfortunately -> DL (Drone Layer) is commonly a queen that only lays drones, being unfertilized and incapable of laying fertilized eggs.

    More likely what are being called, "DL" in this thread are LW, or laying workers.
    48 years - 50 hives - TF
    Joseph Clemens -- Website Under Constructioni

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Virgin queen in hive?

    How do we differentiate the LW and the queen DL? I know that the LW has multiple eggs.
    Does th QDL also lay multiple eggs too or just one? And is it common in the spring time to
    get the QDL after the hive overwintered?

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Virgin queen in hive?

    Virtually all hives have laying workers. Most laying worker eggs are eaten by nurse bees when the hive is queenright and the hive balance is within normal parameters. Laying workers' eggs, laid in worker cells, hatch and develop into drone brood after a colony has been broodless for an extended period of time.See.

    How drone laying queens develop is not as clearly defined, though some may argue that point. I have seen queens that once performed nicely, at some point, fail to lay fertilized eggs, hence become a drone layer.

    Both DL and LW can deposit muitiple eggs per cell, as can many young queens, but it is more common for LW to deposit multiple eggs in each cell.

    It is, however, redundant (such as "water is wet") to say, "drone laying worker", since, outside of thelytoky, such as that in Apis mellifera capensis, worker honey bees do not lay fertile eggs. Hence all eggs produced from worker honey bees could be considered unfertilized or drone eggs.
    48 years - 50 hives - TF
    Joseph Clemens -- Website Under Constructioni

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
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    Ann Arbor, MI
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    Default Re: Virgin queen in hive?

    Interesting, some people have never seen this and squarepeg had 4 out of 18.

    If I put a frame of brood in (problematic cause I lost my other hive in the late fall - was pretty strong and then there were few bees, not enough to overwinter - CCD?) and didn't kill the queen first, would they draw out queen cells? Would the virgin queen relinquish her throne?

    Of course, it's better to remove the queen so there aren't these issues....
    I have a cut-out that's waiting to do - that may be my queen/brood source.

  13. #13
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    Jul 2010
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    jackson county, alabama, usa
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    Default Re: Virgin queen in hive?

    yep, went into winter with 18 colonies. queen failure cost me 4, mites cost me one, and the sixth was probably a combination.

    the long winter and late spring made it impossible for the bees to supercede in time.

    plus, this was the third winter without mite treatments for some of those colonies so the mites have had time to build up.

    i thought i was really cool having zero losses in my first two overwinterings. third winter got me though as some others have experienced and has been discussed on the forum.

    although 33% is about average for the u.s., my past three year average is 11%.

    i've got some really nice survivors left that have a 16 year lineage without mite treatments. they are feral mutts that are reared by a supplier that has never used any treatments.

    i don't mourn the losses because i think i've learned a thing or two.

    luckily i had exactly six spare hives that were splits and caught swarms from last year to fill the spaces and i have my target number of twelve hives primed and ready hit the main flow here.

    going forward, i'll keep a handful of nucs (spare queens) on reserve going into winter.
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Virgin queen in hive?

    If the queen's a dud, they'll probably supercede her but best to get rid of her, the drone comb will just ruin your frames also. First hive sounds like classic mite collapse which may have caused this hive to go queenless as well.

  15. #15
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    Default Re: Virgin queen in hive?

    What is unique to Kurt's situation is laying workers in the presence of a queen. The brood of laying workers is quite distinctive, and once you've seen it, it's obvious at arms length. What's distinctive about it is that it's normally a tight patch of brood of all ages - larvae of all ages and some capped pupae scattered at random in the solid patch of worker comb. The random capped cells are domed.
    Note that queen layed drone brood is also a soliid patch of cells of drone-rearing, larger size. The queen lays the whole patch in one pass and they are roughly the same age - all larvae or all capped. The cappings of deliberate drone rearing are often flat like worker brood when the cells are sized for drones.

    We took Kurt's "terrible pattern" as his desciption of the effort of laying workers. We had never seen laying workers with a queen in residence, but then of course with laying workers, we wouldn't be looking for a queen. They generally develope in the absence of a queen. So, we considered the indications conflicting and outside our experience base.

    And we have never had a non-laying queen. We did have one case of a queen firing a blank occaionally with a drone in worker brood, but the bees had supersedure in work. Outside our experience base, time to abstain.

    I think Kurt had a pretty good interpretation of the condition. What he was asking was a choice of two options. The first order of business is to remove the suspect queen. Then, either of the options is more likely to be successful. He can choose the option that best suits him.

    About my out-of-character blast at beepro. I had hinted a couple times earlier that his experience base did not support either his choice of screen name or his view of himself as a consultant on beekeeping. He must have agreed because he made no response to those hints. But it made no change in the profusion of posts here. Will come back to this subject when I have more time.

    Walt
    Last edited by wcubed; 04-22-2013 at 12:21 PM.

  16. #16
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    Dec 2011
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    Lottsburg, Virginia USA
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    Default Re: Virgin queen in hive?

    I have had two hives this spring with drone laying queens, the first failed to requeen a number of times after casting a swarm which I captured. This hive eventually raised a queen from a given cell in November, I monitored this hive to see if the queen had mated but eventually saw eggs that became drones. This queen was seen on a number of occasions with an egg protruding from the abdoman, Put her in the freezer, gave them another cell and now have a laying queen ( worker brood). The second hive unfortunately a breeder queen was found to be missing in mid January leaving behind a small patch of brood and two emergency cells which raised a queenwhich was also monitored eggs were seen in small patches which turned out to be drones so she went into the freezer yesterday funny thing is that there was a queen cell on one of the frames with the biggest larvae I have ever seen in a queen cell, Its got to be a drone larvae but you would think that the workers would know that. The second hive is due to get a queen cell on Wednesday so I will remove the frame with the queen cell and see what emerges maybe a giant drone that has been fed on royal jelly LOL
    Johno

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
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    Lottsburg, Virginia USA
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    206

    Default Re: Virgin queen in hive?

    I have had two hives this spring with drone laying queens, the first failed to requeen a number of times after casting a swarm which I captured. This hive eventually raised a queen from a given cell in November, I monitored this hive to see if the queen had mated but eventually saw eggs that became drones. This queen was seen on a number of occasions with an egg protruding from the abdoman, Put her in the freezer, gave them another cell and now have a laying queen ( worker brood). The second hive unfortunately a breeder queen was found to be missing in mid January leaving behind a small patch of brood and two emergency cells which raised a queenwhich was also monitored eggs were seen in small patches which turned out to be drones so she went into the freezer yesterday funny thing is that there was a queen cell on one of the frames with the biggest larvae I have ever seen in a queen cell, Its got to be a drone larvae but you would think that the workers would know that. The second hive is due to get a queen cell on Wednesday so I will remove the frame with the queen cell and see what emerges maybe a giant drone that has been fed on royal jelly LOL
    Johno

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
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    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    Default Re: Virgin queen in hive?

    If I was sure it was a drone laying queen and I found her, I would dispose of her and give them a frame of eggs and open brood.

    http://bushfarms.com/beespanacea.htm

    If I wasn't sure what was going on, I would give them some eggs and open brood every week for the next three weeks and they should resolve things one way or the other.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  19. #19
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    Default Re: Virgin queen in hive?

    More on the beepro thing.
    I may lose my licence to post here, but I feel strongly about this situation. I believe that beepro is a well-read beginner - maybe a year or two. He even asks some questions to learn, but not as many as posts to advise. I have no problem with beginners passing on info, as long as they identify themselves as doing just that. That's probably a good thing for all. But notice that beepro asks a question later in this thread after having "advised" in the first post. I believe that calling himself beepro is an outright misrepresentation.

    JRG13 asks what's wrong with his first post. IMO not recognizing that laying workers already were present distorted his whole response. Of course, I could be wrong there.
    Kurt hasn't said yet that he had indication of laying workers. I'm betting he already regrets opening this can of worms.
    He also said later that the drone brood would "ruin" the comb. Have to disagree with that. Drones raised in worker cells do no damage to the comb.

    CircleBee suggested I read the whole post. Because it wasn't something in my experience base, I read it several times before responding. What did I miss?

    I have no malice toward beepro. Here on beesource everybody gets to have their say. But he is a nuisance to me. I read all the threads on both the general and 101 to look for those cases where I think I might help. Nearly a full-time job. He is not too careful about sentence structure or word selection. Sometimes have to read it twice to get the sense.

    Walt

  20. #20
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    Default Re: Virgin queen in hive?

    Walt,

    Thanks for those responses, I see where you're coming from now. I just assumed dud queen since Kurt said he found a queen, but if it's laying worker it does represent a different situation. As far as the comb issue, I was told that by more than one member here in the chatroom, all of them fairly respectable as far as experience and offering sound advice, I was just passing it along, perhaps I should've clarified it was something as "told to me". If I had to guess, I would say where my patches of done brood were, the comb was distorted slightly but still usable as decent brood comb.

    I also see you point on posts, I think Beepro has good intentions for the most part. I too am guilty of not checking sentence structure etc.. at times and maybe come off in a manner I did not intend to. For example, I believe on a post with questionable queen cells I may have come off a little flippant where I did not mean too and I know you replied to my post. The way I worded my post when I re read it, I could see I was in error, but I did not intend it to be so. It's also kind of funny because I just took a picture we could probably discuss the exact same scenario, is this a qc or drone....

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