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  1. #21
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Lucasville, OH, USA
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    119

    Default Re: Hive 1: Queen-right to queen-less in less than a week!

    She's beautiful, Colleen! Congratulations!

    We took a quick walk through of the hive today because I saw what looked like capped queen cells through the window. Turned out they weren’t capped; it was just the angle at which I was viewing them. Turned out that there is virtually nothing left in the cells throughout the hive. No brood at all, of course. Almost all of the cells in the hive have been cleaned out. No capped honey, some uncapped nectar, some pollen, very little of both. No sign of a queen. I believe that I've seen posted around here that the bees will polish up the cells when they expect the queen to start laying, but in this case it looks like they not only polished up the cells but decided to start almost completely fresh!

    We went through Hive 2 looking for young larvae and eggs. Saw the queen, found young larvae, but eggs eluded our eyesight. We decided to move one of the newer combs with young larvae and some capped brood to Hive 1 on the basis of it couldn’t hurt and if they don’t have a queen they may still be able to make one.

    We’re heading out Wednesday and will be gone the rest of the week, so when we come back we hope to either see evidence of a laying queen or new supercedure cells.

    Hive 2 was also fairly cleaned out of their capped honey, so we’re concerned there may not be enough of a nectar flow around here at the moment. We’re going to put feeders into both hives this evening after our syrup (left over from when we first got the bees) thaws out. And then we’ll see what happens when we get back.

    Cheers,
    Tom

  2. #22
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    St. Louis, Missouri, USA
    Posts
    627

    Default Re: Hive 1: Queen-right to queen-less in less than a week!

    I took a look through my other hive and nuc tonight. Saw the new nuc queen Black Queen.JPG but no evidence of eggs. She still looks fairly slender so she might not be mated yet but she moves slower like she is. I didn't see a queen or eggs in the regular hive but I did see empty queen cells so she may have been out mating or I missed her in the melee. The cells look shiny in both so hopefully you are right and they get laying. All of them are busy putting up nectar and capping honey so I think the flow is going okay, sorry to hear yours has slowed. Not much pollen coming in now but they already have a lot stored.

    I'm happy because now even if the queens I ordered don't show I have at least two queens. Once the nuc fills out I will move them into the hive and be back at two hives but for the price of just one package this time.

    Hope you come back to see eggs and larvae in your Hive 1!
    Last edited by Colleen O.; 06-18-2013 at 11:40 PM.

  3. #23
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Lucasville, OH, USA
    Posts
    119

    Default Re: Hive 1: Queen-right to queen-less in less than a week!

    Well, we came back Sunday evening but the weather has been such that we haven't gone into the hives until this evening, and that was a quick look without the camera so no photos. As it is, we got things closed up and ourselves back into the house before a thunderstorm opened up!

    So, Hive 1... no queen. All the brood on the comb we brought over is capped (some emerging as we were looking at it), and there are a number of capped queen cells on it now so they have gone ahead with trying again with raising a queen. They have also started loading up a couple of combs with nectar and a bit of pollen, so I guess they're still optimistic!

    Our question now is... should we wait again and see whether or not they're able to raise a new queen, or go ahead and order one? They seem to be hard to find at the moment, but BeeWeaver is booking for queens to be shipped on the first of July or later. That would get us a queen a week from now.

    I'd like to give the girls a chance to raise their own again, but feel that time is against them.

    Thanks,
    Tom

  4. #24
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    St. Louis, Missouri, USA
    Posts
    627

    Default Re: Hive 1: Queen-right to queen-less in less than a week!

    Hi Tom! What does the timeline look like on this new queen? Have you checked out Michael Bush's website for his beemath?

    I started my nuc on the 19th of May, checked a week later and didn't like the one queen cell they made so gave them a new bar on the 25th and culled the puny cell. The new queen had hatched by the 8th of June, and was mated and laying by the 16th. Given that timeline it took just over three weeks. The other nuc and hive had a similar timeline (little longer at three and a half weeks) with the hive taking longest to have a laying queen. When I inspected on the 25th of May there were no queen cells. I spotted one thru the window the morning of the 4th of June (I think they swarmed later that day or early the next). I split the nuc off on the 8th, the cells looked ripe and one had a papery tip. I saw a queen in the nuc on the 18th, evidence of laying by the 23rd. The original hive also had a mated laying queen by the 23rd.

    Did your queen cells look ripe and have thinned caps? If they are ready to hatch you may be just a short time away from a mated and laying queen.

    Have you read the FAQ section on the BeeWeaver site?

  5. #25
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Lucasville, OH, USA
    Posts
    119

    Default Re: Hive 1: Queen-right to queen-less in less than a week!

    Hi, Colleen!

    Yes, I tend to keep a web page open to Michael's Beemath page!

    We moved the comb with brood on it from Hive 2 to Hive 1 on the 17th. If they started working on building the queen cells immediately then the cells have been capped maybe 5 days now? Hard to say since we weren't here to keep an eye on them. And we don't know for sure whether they started from already-hatched larvae or from new eggs; we couldn't see eggs at the time but we hoped some would be there and judging from the fact that most of the queen cells are on the outer edges of the comb where I don't think there was hatched larvae they could have been capped even more recently. We could have up to another week before emerging in that case, then another 10+ days before we have a laying queen. That's starting to feel like a long time to me at this point.

    I have read BeeWeaver's FAQs, don't recall readying anything that gave me pause. Anything in particular to think about there?

    Cheers,
    Tom

  6. #26
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Lucasville, OH, USA
    Posts
    119

    Default Re: Hive 1: Queen-right to queen-less in less than a week!

    Deleted; double post.
    Last edited by Tango Yankee; 06-27-2013 at 10:48 AM.

  7. #27
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    St. Louis, Missouri, USA
    Posts
    627

    Default Re: Hive 1: Queen-right to queen-less in less than a week!

    The thing that worried me most was having the queen hatch but not make it back and ending up with laying workers, that was part of why I made that nuc when I saw the swarm cells. I can understand why you want to err on the side of caution. Are you at all worried about southern bees not being acclimated to your winters?

  8. #28
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Lucasville, OH, USA
    Posts
    119

    Default Re: Hive 1: Queen-right to queen-less in less than a week!

    We never did see a new queen in ours, just the queen cells and then the remains of the queen cells after the bees started tearing them down. No idea what may have happened to her. We still have no evidence of a laying working. I think that our putting in the brood comb from Hive 2 may have helped with avoiding that.

    That brood is from a Georgia package, which is doing very well. No idea how they will winter, but the seller is a beekeeper from the local association who brings the packages up to sell each year. They seem to do OK.

    The failing colony is from a northern apiary. small cell and chemical-free. I'd hoped it would do better, of course, but they never have drawn large combs and of course they superceded their queen after the first found of emerging bees. If I do let them finish raising a queen rather than buy one they'll still have a southern queen since she'll be from the southern package. I have been looking for northern sources, but so far haven't had any luck. I'm going to check with our association president; he raises queens but I don't know if he has any available. Right now my biggest concern is trying to get this hive to a viable point. I'd like to have two colonies going in to winter and at the moment the jury seems to be out on whether or not that's doable.

    Cheers,
    Tom

  9. #29
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Lucasville, OH, USA
    Posts
    119

    Default Re: Hive 1: Queen-right to queen-less in less than a week!

    Well… When we got back from our trip we had to wait a few days before we could get into the hive due to weather. We found that there were no new larvae, just capped larvae on the donor comb and a few queen cells. This was June 26th or so. We thought about and looked into buying a replacement queen but decided to wait. The bees had been taking some syrup, but as fast as a package, for instance. We did notice nectar and some pollen on some comb. Today a brief look at the donor comb revealed that most of the brood has emerge and the bees have backfilled the center of the comb with nectar. There are still some capped brood around the outer perimeter. The queen cells have been opened. When I saw that I put the comb back and told Rhonda we’re not going into the hive other than to refill the feeders as needed. Since it had been two weeks since we put the syrup in and it was just now emptied I figure we won’t be going in for at least a week and a half, two weeks, unless something prompts us to go in sooner. I had thought of pulling another donor comb from Hive 2 but opted not to go that route.

    We’ll just have to wait and see.

    Cheers,
    Tom

  10. #30
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    St. Louis, Missouri, USA
    Posts
    627

    Default Re: Hive 1: Queen-right to queen-less in less than a week!

    I've got my fingers crossed! Based on when you put that comb in you MAY see eggs by the 14th but more likely by the 21st. (As I am sure you know, I'm just looking it up so I know how long I have to wait for the rest of the story!)

    I really hope this one comes back and really turns that hive around for you! All three of mine made it back but living in an urban area may have helped with that. I seem to recall someone on here saying that they had trouble with queens from one yard making it back and they thought it might be dragonfly? predation.

    I looked in my first split nuc the other day and I have lots of capped brood, larvae, eggs (every cell had something in it), nectar, and some pollen. The bees started drawing comb again and all 8 bars are now fully drawn so I will have to do something fast or they may decide to leave on me.

  11. #31
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Lucasville, OH, USA
    Posts
    119

    Default Re: Hive 1: Queen-right to queen-less in less than a week!

    Thanks, Colleen!

    We've had a couple of days of rain, and the 10-day forecast is for another week of rainy days. If we do have a virgin queen in there I hope she's able to get her mating flight(s) in between bouts of rain!

    Odd weather all the way around this year. Not a very cold winter with little snow, long, cool, wet spring, and now over a week of rain predicted in July. On the plus side, a red delicious apple tree that has never had more than three apples on it is fully laden down, as are the other two apple trees (Granny Smiths) and our peach tree. Lots of grapes and raspberries and blackberries, too. Since the trees bloomed before we had the bees I can't credit them with the high output--we're thinking it was the weather.

    Cheers,
    Tom

  12. #32
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    St. Louis, Missouri, USA
    Posts
    627

    Default Re: Hive 1: Queen-right to queen-less in less than a week!

    Hi Tom,

    Did you look into the hive to see if you have a laying queen or are you waiting another week?

  13. #33
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Lucasville, OH, USA
    Posts
    119

    Default Re: Hive 1: Queen-right to queen-less in less than a week!

    Hi, Colleen,

    No, we haven't looked yet. We've been feeding, but that's it. We're going to giver it a bit more time, then check. If we have a laying queen, then great! We'll keep on eye on things and see how it goes. If not, we may just do a newspaper combine with the remaining bees into the other hive. Strengthen it up a bit, and if it survives winter do a split from it in the spring.

    Cheers,
    Tom

  14. #34
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Lucasville, OH, USA
    Posts
    119

    Default We have a queen, and she's been busy as a, well, bee!!!



    We're all smiles here!!! We have a laying queen!!!

    It took some self-discipline, but we managed to not go into the hive for a couple of weeks. We've not laid eyes on Her Majesty yet nor have I spotted her in the photos I've taken today. But take a look at her work!!!















    There's capped honey and pollen along with the brood and larvae. We have been feeding and they've been taking the syrup. A couple of weeks ago at our Association's meeting we were relieved to hear that we're not the only ones feeding right now. We're excited with this latest development! We were almost convinced that we would lose the hive.

    So, off to do more happy dancing!!! (Well, not really... I need to replace the starter in my wife's car, but I will be happy dancing on the inside while I do it!

    Cheers,
    Tom

  15. #35
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    St. Louis, Missouri, USA
    Posts
    627

    Default Re: We have a queen, and she's been busy as a, well, bee!!!

    Yay!!! So happy to hear that! Beautiful brood pattern, looks like they are well on their way to recovery.

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