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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Brownsburg, IN
    Posts
    56

    Default Bees in cage with queen?

    Ok,

    I'm a novice's novice at this. Picked up my first package of bees today and installed them in my hive when I got home. I took out the queen cage, and she was alive and kicking in there... along with two workers? I checked her little cage carefully, and no one found a way in. Is it possible that they shipped her with a couple of workers by mistake? Anyway, I pulled the cork out to expose the candy and and installed the package into the hive. Just wondering if anyone has seen this before.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Johnson City, TN
    Posts
    380

    Default Re: Bees in cage with queen?

    They are nurse bees, they do that on purpose they feed her and take car of her.
    All beekeepers can agree on one thing, and that one thing is, that all beekeepers can't agree on one thing.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    Park City Ky
    Posts
    1,936

    Default Re: Bees in cage with queen?

    Most package suppliers put 5 or more nurse bees in the cage with the queen.

    There is a lot of disagreement as to whether to leave the nurse bees in the cage, with the queen, when you install her. I normally do, but, I know of several big, commercial beekeepers who let the nurse bees out before hanging the queen.

    Anyway, as beehonest said, it is completely normal.

    cchoganjr

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Spicewood, Texas, USA
    Posts
    232

    Default Re: Bees in cage with queen?

    I just installed a queen cage that had what I believe was way too many attendants in with the queen. (Five or six) I removed the corks, but it looked like a few of the attendants were dead and were blocking the exits. I had to remove the screen on the cage to get all of the bees out.

    The candy plug was so huge that it took up a third of the queen cage. I can't imagine how long it would have taken for the bees to chew an exit through there.

    Sondra

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Brownsburg, IN
    Posts
    56

    Default Re: Bees in cage with queen?

    The candy plug is pretty big. I'm going to err on the side of caution and give them a couple days before I release her. Put a feed bag in hive this morning, I'll check the queen on Wednesday.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    Park City Ky
    Posts
    1,936

    Default Re: Bees in cage with queen?

    Dead attendant bees in the cage is not normally a problem. As the bees chew out the candy, they will remove the dead bees and the queen will crawl out. If you keep the queens for an extended period of time before installing them, you will get dead attendants in the cages. Not normally a problem. If you are concerned about the dead bees, remove the cork on the opposite end from the candy and shake the dead bees out. Just be careful not to allow the queen to come out with the dead bees. If one or all of the attendants do come out, not a problem. Lots of people let the attendants out before installing the queen.

    How long it takes the bees to chew out the candy is dependent upon how strong the hive is, and whether or not you punched a hole through the candy before installing the queen.

    cchoganjr

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Spicewood, Texas, USA
    Posts
    232

    Default Re: Bees in cage with queen?

    I waited two days. Before putting the cage in, I dropped some water on the candy plug since the bees endured two days' shipping.

    Sondra

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    Park City Ky
    Posts
    1,936

    Default Re: Bees in cage with queen?

    SRBrooks... Two days or ten days is not a problem. In fact, I often have queens for two weeks or more, before they are installed, and it is not uncommon for all the attendants to be dead at the time of installation. I don't bother removing the dead attendants. The colony will remove them and get the queen out.

    cchoganjr

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Spicewood, Texas, USA
    Posts
    232

    Default Re: Bees in cage with queen?

    I'll keep that in mind in the future. This was a new package that had gone queenless, so I moved things along a bit.

    Thanks!

    Sondra

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Delhi, New York, USA
    Posts
    352

    Default Re: Bees in cage with queen?

    I have a question...I received a package of bees and I thought the queen was alive in her cage...installed the package on 5/9 and went in today to release the queen and she was dead in her cage. Can I allow the workers to become laying workers so a new queen might be made, or just order a new one? I also have another package that I installed with the queen (successfully) on May 2...should I take a frame of brood from that hive and put it into the new one with the dead queen hoping for a queen from that frame? Thanks; I am new to this, my first packages this year.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    Park City Ky
    Posts
    1,936

    Default Re: Bees in cage with queen?

    Order a new one ASAP. Try not to ever let workers become laying workers. Often it is hard to get them to stop laying and accept a new queen.

    Yes, you can take a frame from your other package, and let them make a queen from some uncapped brood, but, you are looking at 45 days for the emergence of new worker bees. By that time your package will begin to dwindle.

    cchoganjr

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Marshall county, AL
    Posts
    792

    Default Re: Bees in cage with queen?

    Quote Originally Posted by Cloverdale View Post
    Can I allow the workers to become laying workers so a new queen might be made, or just order a new one?
    Laying workers can't create a new queen on their own. A laying worker has never mated so they will only lay unfertilized eggs. All offspring will be drones.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Delhi, New York, USA
    Posts
    352

    Default Re: Bees in cage with queen?

    thanks, the company offered to send a new one at no charge...and I didn't have enough new brood to give to the hive...

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Delhi, New York, USA
    Posts
    352

    Default Re: Bees in cage with queen?

    Brad Bee, I realized that they would probably bee drones because of no fertilization; on the other hand, the company offered to send a new queen free of charge, thank the Lord! I expect her Tuesday....thanks for the reply.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Brownsburg, IN
    Posts
    56

    Default Re: Bees in cage with queen?

    Had a big scare this morning. My wife comes to me and tells me she could not see a single bee, even through the observation window. I looked, sure enough, I did not either! I thought they had absconded as we did Install on Saturday evening and every morning they have been clustered around entrance to hive. I took off the cover and started removing top bars and found them all clumped at the far end of the hive, dangling from one of the top bars. I did not check any further, since I was not wearing any protective gear. My guess is they are drawing comb.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Spicewood, Texas, USA
    Posts
    232

    Default Re: Bees in cage with queen?

    Dear Kilted:
    The package you installed could all hang from one bar? Are you sure the entire package still occupies the hive?

    Maybe I am misunderstanding your description.

    Sondra

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Brownsburg, IN
    Posts
    56

    Default Re: Bees in cage with queen?

    Yeah, bad description, they were clumped on bars 1-4 or 5, i was in a t shirt and no veil so I got a little skittish about exploring further. lol.

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