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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    Walnut ridge, Arkansas, USA
    Posts
    4

    Exclamation Advice on if my queen is still present.

    Hello everyone,
    This is my first year as a beekeeper and so far I love it. However, I am having trouble determining if my queen is present or not and was hoping someone could help me out.

    Ok, I hived my bees a little over 3 weeks ago. However, due to my inexperience and excitement when preparing the queen cage I wasn't sure which end to remove the cork from and I removed it from the wrong end. I quickly realized my mistake and pluged the hole with a piece of marshmellow and placed it into the hive. After 3 days I checked and she had been released. (Three days was much sooner than I wanted but due to an unusual cold front that came threw the area I was afraid if I didn't remove it then it my be two weeks before I could check up on them. And I was afraid they may make a mess of things inside the hive with the cage present.)

    So I inspected the hive today and they have built up quite a bit of comb ( about two frames) but very little is drawn up to full hight. I do see bees with pollen on there legs and comb with pollen stored. I also seen that many of the cells have water or the sugar water that I am feeding them in the cells (couldnt tell which it was). The bees seem very dosile and I seen a couple of cells capped off. However, I looked and looked and couldn't see any eggs or the queen. So now I am nervous.

    Between the marshmellow, the cold weather, and only waiting three days to remove the queen cage I am afraid something has happened to the queen. So with all of that said I was hoping some of you might have some opinions or suggestions.

    I was also wondering... Does the queen lay eggs in every cell? Should I bee looking in the cells that have the water or sugar water, honey, and the once with the pollen? Also, I thought about Ordering a new queen but what if my queen is in there and I'm just too "green" to know it. Help!!!

    Thanks in advance.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    Port Angeles, Washington, USA
    Posts
    2

    Default Re: Advice on if my queen is still present.

    I am very new, but went to a bee keepers meeting today where this was discussed. If I understood it right, a healthy queen will begin laying eggs in cells near the center of a frame and continue working outward in a circular fashion. So if you see an ongoing buildup of cells in that pattern you have a functioning and healthy queen. An older queen who is beginning to stop functioning well will do a more random pattern of laying an egg in a cell here and another over there.

    Someone will correct or add to this, I'm sure. At the meeting the speaker also warned about messing with the frames too much, warning that it is easy to harm the queen pulling frames in and out. He suggested not pulling the frame more than once a week, and only if the temperature is 55 or above. I'm sure its warmer than that in Arkansas, more a warning for our area where it can be quite chilly.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    Billerica, MA
    Posts
    298

    Default Re: Advice on if my queen is still present.

    I heard that sometimes the best thing we can do is nothing. I know it's hard not to peak in, but give the gal a chance to settle in, put her house in order, and start laying things up. Three weeks sound like a good time frame to get up and running but it can take longer.

    If the cappings you saw were white they're just ripened (sugar water) nectar. If the cappings were a light tan/brown they are sealed brood, and a good thing. Eggs are tough to see, larvae easier, and capped brood is the proof in the pudding.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Big Stone Gap, VA
    Posts
    992

    Default Re: Advice on if my queen is still present.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jburdin1982 View Post
    So I inspected the hive today and they have built up quite a bit of comb ( about two frames) but very little is drawn up to full hight. I do see bees with pollen on there legs and comb with pollen stored. I also seen that many of the cells have water or the sugar water that I am feeding them in the cells (couldnt tell which it was). The bees seem very dosile and I seen a couple of cells capped off. However, I looked and looked and couldn't see any eggs or the queen. So now I am nervous.

    Between the marshmellow, the cold weather, and only waiting three days to remove the queen cage I am afraid something has happened to the queen. So with all of that said I was hoping some of you might have some opinions or suggestions.

    I was also wondering... Does the queen lay eggs in every cell? Should I bee looking in the cells that have the water or sugar water, honey, and the once with the pollen? Also, I thought about Ordering a new queen but what if my queen is in there and I'm just too "green" to know it. Help!!!
    My bees came from swarms, nucs and splits, so my experience with packages is limited. Earlier this year, we installed a package for a friend. These bees went on drawn comb. So they had a huge head start. Even then, it was a few weeks before we saw larvae. My eyes are not that good, and I have a hard time seeing new eggs.

    The queen typically lays eggs in the center of frames that are located in the brood nest. Towards the edges of these frames, it is typical to see pollen and honey. Seems like it takes packages some time to get things organized and moving. On the package my friend and I hived, there would be stored nectar in the middle of a patch of brood. They eventually got everything organized.

    If you order another queen, and there is a queen in your hive, the bees will ball and kill the new queen.

    A lot of times you can tell if a hive is queenless by sound. When you listen outside the hive, you will here a "low roar". Some people call it the queenless roar.

    All this said, I would be concerned, but not in panic mode. See if you can find an experienced beek that would come give you some advice. If your queen is damaged/killed/missing, you don't have a lot of time to get things fixed.

    Shane

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Spencer,MA USA
    Posts
    10

    Default Re: Advice on if my queen is still present.

    If they seem docile and are drawing out the foundation it sounds like the hive is queen right, give it another week and take a peek in there, the should have capped brood by then which is a good sign.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    Halfway, Oregon, USA
    Posts
    160

    Default Re: Advice on if my queen is still present.

    I am going through my own queen drama right now, so good luck to you... I agree with how docile they are being an indication of 'queen-right' and sounds like they are being productive. I am assuming this was a mated queen? Waiting is hard, I suggest a cup of tea. If there is no capped brood(darker caps, starting in the center of the frame and spiraling outward) within a week, consider a new queen. Also, when checking for eggs and tiny larvae, hold the frame with the sun to your back, so that it will shine into the cells.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    Walnut ridge, Arkansas, USA
    Posts
    4

    Default Re: Advice on if my queen is still present.

    Thank you all for your help. I will look again this weekend for the things you have mentioned.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Spicewood, Texas, USA
    Posts
    232

    Default Re: Advice on if my queen is still present.

    Sounds like great advice. My hives pretty much ignore me when they're queenright.

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