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Thread: Queenless?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Chesapeake, VA
    Posts
    36

    Default Queenless?

    Hello all,

    First thanks so much to everyone who responded to my last post about defensive bees. They settled down. I also bought a jacket, veil and gloves from Brushy Mountain. Best money I have spent in quite some time as I went through both hives today frame by frame and they were not very happy.

    Thus the reason I am posting now: I did not see any eggs or young larvae in one hive but had capped brood in both with uncapped larvae, maybe 20, in one hive. Both hives are drawing nice straight comb on foundationless frames and ripening honey. I have drone brood in some of the honey supers but I use a top entrance and no excluder. The drone brood is not scattered but is on multiple frames and is grouped tightly together in the middle third of each frame with nectar both above and below it in the frame.

    The bees are drawing brood comb and comb in the supers.
    As I said I saw no eggs and very few young larvae which leads me to think I am queenless. But each hive has tons of bees.

    Related to this - I have to move the hives soon 6 hours west to Giles County, VA. If I am queenless should I wait to get to the new location prior to introducing the queen?

    Thank you!
    Brent

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    Pinellass County, Florida
    Posts
    1,105

    Default Re: Queenless?

    The bees are drawing brood comb and comb in the supers.
    As I said I saw no eggs and very few young larvae which leads me to think I am queenless. But each hive has tons of bees.
    Re-read your post
    You have VERY Young Larva

    Your ok for now
    You may have to replace your queen if she doesn't show good
    Patterns,but you also state
    But each hive has tons of bees
    I'd wait a week and look again

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    45,827

    Default Re: Queenless?

    http://www.bushfarms.com/beesmath.htm

    If you have open larvae at all, you had a queen at least 8 days ago. If they are small you had one 5 days ago. Odds are you have a queen.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Rogue River, OR
    Posts
    36

    Default Re: Queenless?

    If I may piggyback onto this thread:

    New to hobby.

    We got a swarm into our TBH this past weekend (four days ago). The beekeeper who gave us the swarm provided a frame of capped brood comb that we cut to fit the hive as an incentive for the bees to stick around. Bees seemed to like their current digs. They are a calm bunch that just go about their business. Everything seems to have gone very well, no horror stories. We only have this one concern so far.

    We waited three days and then reinspected the comb and adjacent bars. There's a bit of fresh comb being made. The existing broodcomb has pretty much all hatched and most of cells look be full of nectar (very wet look, uncapped). We weren't able to find the queen and did not see any eggs, and I don't recall a lot of empty cells without nectar in them. We did see some of the drones marching around.

    Are we being overanxious to expect the queen to have got to work already? How often should we be checking for eggs/queen? How long should we give things before obtaining a replacement queen (we can do this locally)?

    We don't want to second guess everything, but we also don't want to make the mistake of waiting too long if queenless and letting this nice big swarm die. It was probably 6lbs of bees!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    45,827

    Default Re: Queenless?

    A swarm with a laying queen will take a few days to start laying. A swarm with a virgin queen usually will take two weeks to start laying. If they had eggs when you started, they would have started a queen if they were queenless.

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

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Rogue River, OR
    Posts
    36

    Default Re: Queenless?

    I don't know that there were any existing eggs in this piece of brood comb we were given. I didn't see any larva when we cut it down to fit the TBH. Just capped brood (drone and worker), a bit of honey, and a few hatching bees wiggling their way out.

    I just went out and looked at the two trimmed off pieces of brood comb from the original frame. Carefully looked at them and found three eggs (tiny grains of rice, they weren't in the slight "c" position), two at the bottom of cells and one in a cell that was halfway full of some other substance.

    The bees spent about three-four days in a five frame nuc prior to being put into the TBH with that brood comb from another hive. (Thursday - Sunday afternoon) They had made some burr comb, which we also kept for poking at. That comb had nothing in it (smells great, though!).

    If I'm reading Mr. Bush's reply correctly and using bee math:

    a) Those eggs could have been laid by the queen in the hive that the broodcomb came from *or* by a laying queen in the swarm. The timing seems such that it could be either/or.
    b) If those eggs came from the brood comb donation hive, but there also IS a laying queen in the new hive, she should start laying again really soon now.
    c) If we do not see eggs/new brood in the next few days, wait another 10 days or so to see if a virgin queen started laying
    d) If no eggs after that period, requeen

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Rogue River, OR
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    36

    Default Re: Queenless?

    Follow up: we did a check of the broodcomb today. Didn't see any eggs, lots of nectar and pollen and some uncapped larvae that doesn't look very far along. So there must have been eggs in the comb and/or there's a laying queen (right)? Bees very patient with us, calm and building comb.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    Pinellass County, Florida
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    1,105

    Default Re: Queenless?

    Quote Originally Posted by dixieswife View Post
    So there must have been eggs in the comb and/or there's a laying queen (right)? .
    Correct

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Rogue River, OR
    Posts
    36

    Default Re: Queenless?

    If there were eggs in the comb and the swarm had NO queen to start with, we'd be seeing queen cell construction by now?

    I'm thinking the thing to do is be patient, let the bees do their thing and check back in at the 2 week mark to see what's going on.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    Pinellass County, Florida
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    1,105

    Default Re: Queenless?

    If there were eggs in the comb and the swarm had NO queen to start with, we'd be seeing queen cell construction by now?
    Correct
    If they are queen less and have eggs
    The bees will make queens from the hatched egg
    If they are queen right they will just care for the eggs larva,brood

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    KC, MO, USA
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    1,152

    Default Re: Queenless?

    New eggs can be hard to see, look for empty groups of cells in the center of frames that look clean and polished. Try a magnified glass and look again.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Rogue River, OR
    Posts
    36

    Default Re: Queenless?

    Just following up: we checked Sunday and found new comb on five bars in differing degrees of amount, and spotted eggs. I can see them with the naked eye if the comb is at the right angle to the sun; husband dug out a magnifying glass and confirmed it. The eggs were sitting down at the bottom of the cells, not on the side and not multiples. So we think we do have a queen in there. It took her about a week but she is getting down to business. We're going to leave them alone for another week other and let them do their thing. Weather here is gorgeous right now (summery really), with lots of stuff (fruit trees, dogwood, lilacs, etc.) in bloom.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
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    Pinellass County, Florida
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    Default Re: Queenless?

    Quote Originally Posted by dixieswife View Post
    Just following up: we checked Sunday and found new comb on five bars in differing degrees of amount, and spotted eggs. I can see them with the naked eye if the comb is at the right angle to the sun; husband dug out a magnifying glass and confirmed it. The eggs were sitting down at the bottom of the cells, not on the side and not multiples. So we think we do have a queen in there. It took her about a week but she is getting down to business. We're going to leave them alone for another week other and let them do their thing. Weather here is gorgeous right now (summery really), with lots of stuff (fruit trees, dogwood, lilacs, etc.) in bloom.
    Very good choice to leave them be for a bit
    All the best to you

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Eugene, Oregon USA
    Posts
    323

    Default Re: Queenless?

    Quote Originally Posted by dixieswife View Post
    Just following up: we checked Sunday and found new comb on five bars in differing degrees of amount, and spotted eggs. I can see them with the naked eye if the comb is at the right angle to the sun; husband dug out a magnifying glass and confirmed it. The eggs were sitting down at the bottom of the cells, not on the side and not multiples. So we think we do have a queen in there. It took her about a week but she is getting down to business. We're going to leave them alone for another week other and let them do their thing. Weather here is gorgeous right now (summery really), with lots of stuff (fruit trees, dogwood, lilacs, etc.) in bloom.
    Just wanted to say 'Hi" I'm just up the road from you in Eugene and I lived in the R. Valley for 10 years......I too am just getting started and am anxious to know if my queen is laying or not. They're building comb nicely (5 frames about 2/3 built out after 10 days) and I see nectar and pollen but no eggs, larvae, or capped cells just yet. I'm going to get a magnifying glass and/or try my Optivisor and see if I can see eggs any better.......

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