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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
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    Marshall county, AL
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    756

    Exclamation Dead queen from package? Need some help.

    I installed 2 packages of bees into new equipment on Monday afternoon. I was supposed to check yesterday to see if the queen had been released from her cage but the weather was cold and windy so I waited until this afternoon.

    Hive one: Bees were very loud and fussy when I first started checking the hive, the longer I stayed the louder they got. Queen cage empty. Lots of nectar and some pollen in the frame of drawn comb that I put in the hive when I housed the bees. Comb being drawn on a couple more frames. Lot's of bees flying around the hive entrance while I was in the box, and I was in it for a while checking for the queen.

    Hive two: Bees were very calm, queen cage empty, frame of drawn comb full of nectar and pollen. Queen was located, but no eggs seen. There were 3 queen cells being made on the frame of drawn comb. I removed them. Some comb being drawn on a couple more frames.

    The hive I got from a swarm, seems okay but I don't fully understand much about all this. There are 2 frames that have been fully drawn. Eggs are in less than 20% of the cells. The others are full of nectar, pollen and it looks like they are making honey in some too. There were eggs in cells on one of the frames on Tuesday. I thought there would be larvae in those cells today (4 days later) but they still looked like eggs. A few of the cells had 2 eggs right in the center, but the vast majority had one.

    Questions:

    Is the queen still in hive one? That was the first hive I checked, and I didn't see her. I rechecked it after checking the other two and still didn't see her. I know it would be possible to miss seeing her.

    Hive 2: Why the queen cells? I didn't see an egg in those cells, but they looked to have nectar in them like most of the others. Do they put nectar in cells with eggs? I wouldn't think so, but I have no idea about this.

    Hive 3, the captured swarm hive. Why so few cells with eggs in the frames or is it normal to have the majority of a frame be nectar, pollen and honey with maybe 15% egg cells?

    Trying not to panic.........

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Calhoun Co, Texas, USA
    Posts
    1,310

    Default Re: Dead queen from package? Need some help.

    Quote Originally Posted by Brad Bee View Post
    Hive one: Bees were very loud and fussy when I first started checking the hive, the longer I stayed the louder they got. Queen cage empty. Lots of nectar and some pollen in the frame of drawn comb that I put in the hive when I housed the bees. Comb being drawn on a couple more frames. Lot's of bees flying around the hive entrance while I was in the box, and I was in it for a while checking for the queen.
    There could still be a queen, or there could not; check on them again in, say, 4-5 days & see if there are any eggs, if not, then it'll be time for some form of intervention.

    Hive two: Bees were very calm, queen cage empty, frame of drawn comb full of nectar and pollen. Queen was located, but no eggs seen. There were 3 queen cells being made on the frame of drawn comb. I removed them. Some comb being drawn on a couple more frames.
    Probably best NOT to smash Queen cells, the bees will tear them down themselves if they decide the queen they have is "adequate" ... and if they decide the other way, they'll supercede her anywise & you might end up leaving them queenless that way.

    The hive I got from a swarm, seems okay but I don't fully understand much about all this. There are 2 frames that have been fully drawn. Eggs are in less than 20% of the cells. The others are full of nectar, pollen and it looks like they are making honey in some too. There were eggs in cells on one of the frames on Tuesday. I thought there would be larvae in those cells today (4 days later) but they still looked like eggs. A few of the cells had 2 eggs right in the center, but the vast majority had one.
    If you're in a good, strong flow, the bees will sometimes fill the cells before the queen gets a chance to lay in them; just keep them supplied with frames/bars to keep drawing out new comb on & they'll work things out to where she can lay as many eggs as they need (BTW, the nectar is honey...just hasn't been evaporated down yet)

    One thing to think about: If Hive two makes queen cells again, and you're still not 100% sure that Hive one has a live, viable queen, you could always cut one of the Q cells out & place it in Hive one so they can raise themselves a new queen that way

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Marshall county, AL
    Posts
    756

    Default Re: Dead queen from package? Need some help.

    Thanks for the detailed reply, that's the kind of info I need.

    Ok, so I've been reading on queen cells. See if this sounds right..... If the cell is at the bottom of the frame it's a swarm cell, if it's up on the frame built up on the normal comb, it's a supercedere (sp?) cell. Is that right? These were up on the side of the comb.

    The caught swarm hive where the nectar/eggs/and honey are all on one frame seems dead set on staying on the left side of that box. They aren't moving towards the center much. That may be because there aren't enough bees to do so yet, and I know I asked this question earlier but I wonder if it would help stimulate them to spread out more if I moved the filled frames to the center of the brood chamber?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Calhoun Co, Texas, USA
    Posts
    1,310

    Default Re: Dead queen from package? Need some help.

    Ok, on supercedure vs swarm, for Q cells....my personal opinion (or, "the facts as best I can figure them out"):
    Swarm cells are nearly always along the bottoms of the frames, and almost EXCLUSIVELY come in bunches (i.e. more than 6 in the hive; sometimes dozens)
    Supersedure cells can be anywhere on the comb/frame, but usually only come in 2-4 total.
    Also, there are "Emergency cells" they're sorta in between on numbers (I've seen my bees make a dozen in one queenless hive), can be anywhere on the frame, but ONLY occur in a hive that's queenless.
    One last "queen cell" type are "Queen Cups" these are Q cells that the bees start, usually at the bottom of a frame, that are shallow, like a normal cell, but point down, and they DO NOT have eggs or larvae in them; the bees just seem to keep a few of these around most of the time "just in case"

    Now, for your Queen cells, if you saw a liquid in them, that's probably the Royal Jelly; if they build Queen Cells in the middle of a comb, they'll often try to "float" the larva out into the portion of the cell that points down on a pool of Royal Jelly (literally: queen food), so it can develop better in the head-down position.

    About the swarm hive, if there are a limited number of bees, I'd pretty much leave them to decide when/where to move in the hive on their own; as the queen lays eggs, and the brood mature/emerge to build up the numbers, they'll most likely expand into the rest of the box for you

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Greene, Missouri, USA
    Posts
    529

    Default Re: Dead queen from package? Need some help.

    Brad Bee;
    robherc is correct. There could still be a queen. I installed three new packages this year, and one hive acted the same way; very anxious and easily disturbed. I thought it was queenless for a few days, as I looked and could not see her anywhere. On the third attempt, I was going to look for eggs, but I was able to find her. Cells were filled with nectar and pollen and I could not see any eggs at this time, yet she is there.
    No one famous.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Greene, Missouri, USA
    Posts
    529

    Default Re: Dead queen from package? Need some help.

    My biggest rooky errors were from not being patient and letting the bees work things out for themselves. Being patient and knowing when to step in is a maturing process.
    No one famous.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Marshall county, AL
    Posts
    756

    Default Re: Dead queen from package? Need some help.

    Thanks for the replies. I will let them do their thing and see what happens. I will check on them middle of the week and see if there are eggs and/or larvae. Thanks again.

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