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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    Fort Walton Beach, Florida
    Posts
    1,256

    Default Queen cells 3 weeks after package install

    I seem to have developed my first serious beekeeping problem.

    This package appeared to be doing well for the first couple of weeks, and in fact, there were eggs just 4 days after the install.

    A week ago all seemed well. Today there were capped queen cells on both sides of a couple frames. I doubt that they are thinking of swarming-- there really don't seem to be enough bees. Maybe I squashed the queen the last time I was in the hive. I didn't see anything but a fringe of capped brood on some of the comb.

    I'd like to preserve the genetics of this hive, as these were small cells bees from Wolf Creek. I'm wondering if there's any way I can take a couple frames of bees from my boomer hive, and a frame with queen cells from the package hive, and put them in a nuc with a frame of honey, and double my chances of getting a queen successfully mated.

    I'll be grateful for any advice.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Evansville, IN
    Posts
    2,489

    Default Re: Queen cells 3 weeks after package install

    That will work just fine. Also put a frame of capped brood and the bees on it into the package hive to replace the frame you take out. DO NOT shake the bees off the frame with the queen cells, you will damage the queens!

    With a bit of luck you will have a two new hives and the bees in the package will stop trying to supersede the queen when new bees start to emerge.

    Peter

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Menomonee Falls, Wis.
    Posts
    2,674

    Default Re: Queen cells 3 weeks after package install

    Do what Fred said.

    Crazy Roland

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Herrick, SD USA
    Posts
    4,332

    Default Re: Queen cells 3 weeks after package install

    Sounds like you are getting some good advice Ray IF the eggs you saw initially were fertile eggs and not the result of a laying worker and a resulting futile attempt to raise a queen from infertile eggs. Is there, in fact, some normal, smooth looking worker brood in the hive?
    "People will generally accept facts as truth only if the facts agree with what they already believe."- Andy Rooney

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    Fort Walton Beach, Florida
    Posts
    1,256

    Default Re: Queen cells 3 weeks after package install

    Quote Originally Posted by jim lyon View Post
    Sounds like you are getting some good advice Ray IF the eggs you saw initially were fertile eggs and not the result of a laying worker and a resulting futile attempt to raise a queen from infertile eggs. Is there, in fact, some normal, smooth looking worker brood in the hive?
    Yes, there's some remaining worker capped brood. A week ago, there was quite a bit of worker brood. I haven't seen any drone brood yet in this hive. The package was installed April 10, according to my log, so I guess it's actually 4 weeks old.

    I'd been hoping that this hive was about to take off, because workers were starting to emerge, and the hive population seemed to be up some from what it was the first three weeks. The last several days I saw bees orienting in front of the hive. That's why I think it must be my fault, and that I must have injured the queen the last time I was in the hive. It's a little strange, because this is a long hive, so I was able to move back the divider, and give myself plenty of space to move the frames apart before lifting them, to avoid rolling the queen.

    Ah well. I'm a beginner, so I have to expect I'll make a lot of mistakes. I'll just have to learn from the experience.

    Thanks, everyone, for the advice. I'm reassured that I may be able to salvage something.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Nashville, TN
    Posts
    320

    Default Re: Queen cells 3 weeks after package install

    It is very common for package bees to supersede their queen in the first month--it seems that often they just don't like her or she didn't get well mated, particularly common this year with all the inclement mating weather in the South. So you might not have done anything wrong--just bees knowing what is best for the hive. Don't worry, chances are very good you'll come out ok.

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