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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
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    Default If Queen cells are now gone does that mean I have a Queen?

    My hive has been queen less for about 3 weeks so I was letting them raise their own. A few weeks ago I gave them more space by adding another box and checker boarding. On some of the frames there were a few Queen cells. If I remember right I saw at least 5 Queen cells.

    Today I checked on them and all of the Queen cells are gone? Does this mean that I have a Queen inside? Do they tear down the cells once a Queen has hatched?

    I did notice that a few cells had multiple eggs in them? Also there were eggs on top of pollen cells and on the sides of the cells? Does this mean I have a laying worker and no Queen?

    Or could I have a virgin Queen that's not laying yet and a laying worker?

    Not sure what to do? Should I buy a new Queen or just hope that I have a virgin Queen in there somewhere?
    Follow my new beekeeping adventure HERE.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Taylor County, Georgia, USA
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    713

    Default Re: If Queen cells are now gone does that mean I have a Queen?

    Do they tear down the cells once a Queen has hatched?
    Yes

    I did notice that a few cells had multiple eggs in them? Also there were eggs on top of pollen cells and on the sides of the cells? Does this mean I have a laying worker and no Queen?
    It's possible. It's also possible that you have a new queen that has not gotten the hang of laying yet. Freshly mated queens with no practice can get trigger happy with eggs. However, the eggs on the sides could be a red flag.

    Not sure what to do? Should I buy a new Queen or just hope that I have a virgin Queen in there somewhere?
    Don't buy a new queen. If they have a laying worker in there they will kill her. This is what Michael Bush suggests: Put in a frame of open brood and eggs from another hive into that hive. Do this once a week for three weeks. This will do a few things. First, it will suppress the laying worker if you have one. Second, it will boost their population. Third, it will let you know if you're queenless or not as the bees will draw out queen cells if they don't have one. If you only have one hive, Mr. Bush offers other solutions at the link below.

    Your timeline was not super clear, but if I understand it right you might just have a queen in there. Still, throwing in a frame of brood won't hurt them any.

    http://www.bushfarms.com/beeslayingworkers.htm
    Try it. What could happen?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
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    Hudson, WI USA
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    2,174

    Default Re: If Queen cells are now gone does that mean I have a Queen?

    The multiple egg thing can be confusing. A new queen, when she first starts laying often lays more than one egg in a cell at first. Have you noticed a change in their demeanour? If there is a queen in there the buzz will be of contentment, and the bees are calmer. A queenless hive is grumpy.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Cookeville, TN, USA
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    3,968

    Default Re: If Queen cells are now gone does that mean I have a Queen?

    The best way to be sure other than seeing the queen or fresh brood is to give them a frame of brood from another hive - young brood and eggs that is. If they are queenless they will build cells on it. In three days you will be able to tell. Also if they are queenless the fresh brood will put off laying worker for a few more days. Do you have another hive?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
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    Rader, Greene County, Tennessee, USA
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    5,877

    Default Re: If Queen cells are now gone does that mean I have a Queen?

    JStinson offers good advice. But note that the concept of a single laying worker is somewhat off-kilter. From the same Michael Bush page linked above:

    There are always multiple laying workers even in a queenright hive

    "Anarchistic bees" are ever present but usually in small enough numbers to not cause a problem and are simply policed by the workers UNLESS they need drones. The number is always small as long as ovary development is suppressed.

    See page 9 of "The Wisdom of the Hive"
    "Although worker honey bees cannot mate, they do possess ovaries and can produce viable eggs; hence they do have the potential to have male offspring (in bees and other Hymenoptera, fertilized eggs produce females while unfertilized eggs produce males). It is now clear, however, that this potential is exceedingly rarely realized as long as a colony contains a queen (in queenless colonies, workers eventually lay large numbers of male eggs; see the review in Page and Erickson 1988). One supporting piece of evidence comes from studies of worker ovary development in queenright colonies, which have consistently revealed extremely low levels of development. All studies to date report far fewer than 1 % of workers have ovaries developed sufficiently to lay eggs (reviewed in Ratnieks 1993; see also Visscher 1995a). For example, Ratnieks dissected 10,634 worker bees from 21 colonies and found that only 7 had moderately developed egg (half the size of a completed egg) and that just one had a fully developed egg in her body."

    If you do the math, in a normal booming queenright hive of 100,000 bees that's 70 laying workers. In a laying worker hive it's much higher.

    http://www.bushfarms.com/beeslayingworkers.htm
    ultracrepidarian >> noting or pertaining to a person who criticizes, judges, or gives advice outside of his expertise

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
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    West Bath, Maine, United States
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    Default Re: If Queen cells are now gone does that mean I have a Queen?

    Quote Originally Posted by Adrian Quiney WI View Post
    A queenless hive is grumpy.
    The exception to the rule is a hive that is mellow, almost bored with life.
    4 yrs, Peak 14, back to zip, T lite; godfather to brother's 3.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
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    Salt Lake City, Utah
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    Default Re: If Queen cells are now gone does that mean I have a Queen?

    Wow, some good info here. Thanks.

    As far as timeline, I saw a few capped Queen cells 16 days ago.

    I never noticed the hive being "grumpy" or any different activity. In fact they were busy bringing in pollen and there has been a lot of activity at the entrance.

    Yes I do have one other hive, so it sounds like the best thing to do is to take some brood from my good hive and put it in this one. So that's what I'll do today. I'll check in a couple of days to see if they are building any queen cells on it.
    Follow my new beekeeping adventure HERE.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
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    Salt Lake City, Utah
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    Default Re: If Queen cells are now gone does that mean I have a Queen?

    Thought I would give everyone an update. I have been adding a frame of brood every week for the last 3 weeks, with hope of them raising their own Queen.

    I haven't seen much change in the last few weeks. Today when I looked all of the capped brood was capped drone comb. Except for the frames that I've been putting in from my other hive of course.

    I saw some eggs, but they were the same as I've seen before. Multiple eggs in one cell, and very sporadic laying.

    They still have not tried to build a Queen cell? I thought they would have done this by now?

    This is my last week of taking frames from my good hive and giving to this one. So if this 3rd frame doesn't work, what are my options?

    Should I try buying a Queen and introducing her? If I do this, would I need to get rid of the laying worker first?
    Follow my new beekeeping adventure HERE.

  9. #9
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    Feb 2012
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    West Bath, Maine, United States
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    Default Re: If Queen cells are now gone does that mean I have a Queen?

    Myself I would remove the capped worker brood without bees and add a new frame with bees from your good hive into a new nuc. You can either do the raise new queen route or add a bought queen. A banked queen can be nearly as slow as a raised queen to get going.

    Finding the queen from the good hive and removing her with some brood frames/bees to a new nuc at a new spot is the most likely to work. Feels wrong, but it is the right way.
    4 yrs, Peak 14, back to zip, T lite; godfather to brother's 3.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Location
    Tigerton WI USA
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    22

    Default Re: If Queen cells are now gone does that mean I have a Queen?

    Can laying workers fly?

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
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    Mtn. View, Arkansas, USA
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    1,260

    Default Re: If Queen cells are now gone does that mean I have a Queen?

    Yes, laying workers can fly.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
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    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    Default Re: If Queen cells are now gone does that mean I have a Queen?

    >Yes, laying workers can fly.

    And they can find their way home...

    If you've been adding brood every week for three weeks and they haven't built a queen cell, I'd say there is a laying queen in the hive.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  13. #13
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    Feb 2012
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    Default Re: If Queen cells are now gone does that mean I have a Queen?

    Eggs on the bottom or on the sides of the cell?

    Most drone laying queens will lay enough workers to start superceder cells. If you truely have NO worker brood layed by a resident queen and resident drone brood run the bee through an excluder and off the queen.

    Michael Bush's bee's are well trained and will start queen cells. Not all of mine are that well trained. OK, maybe I am not that well trained.
    4 yrs, Peak 14, back to zip, T lite; godfather to brother's 3.

  14. #14
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    May 2013
    Location
    Heiskell,Tennessee (Anderson County)
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    17

    Default Re: If Queen cells are now gone does that mean I have a Queen?

    I added a frame of eggs and larvae and a frame of capped brood with bees on it to my laying worker hive and I now have a queen cell and it looks like the laying workers are no longer laying eggs.
    Good luck
    Jeff

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
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    Salt Lake City, Utah
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    Default Re: If Queen cells are now gone does that mean I have a Queen?

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Bush View Post
    >If you've been adding brood every week for three weeks and they haven't built a queen cell, I'd say there is a laying queen in the hive.
    So it has been a week since I added the last frame of brood. I checked on them again today to see if they had started a queen cell. Still no queen cell?

    I saw a few eggs again, but they are sporadic and there are usually multiple eggs in one cell. And I didn't see any worker brood. All of the brood that I am seeing is drone brood.

    Do you still think I have a laying queen in there? If so, what is the best way to know for sure?

    I'm thinking about buying a local queen tomorrow as a last ditch effort to save my hive. But will wait to hear all of your responses first.
    Follow my new beekeeping adventure HERE.

  16. #16
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    Feb 2012
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    Default Re: If Queen cells are now gone does that mean I have a Queen?

    Quote Originally Posted by livefree88 View Post

    Should I try buying a Queen and introducing her? If I do this, would I need to get rid of the laying worker first?
    It is not "a" laying worker. There are many of them. You will not rid the hive of them. They will kill your introduced queen. You need to start a new hive or combine with the good hive. Ask what you need to know to choose one path or the other.

    Are the eggs on the bottom or on the wall of the cell? It is ok if they are on the edge of the bottom against the wall. Not ok on the wall.
    You need to find out where those eggs are. Without that you and all of us are guessing. New queen getting started or laying workers. Yes they could have a queen that you missed the cell.
    4 yrs, Peak 14, back to zip, T lite; godfather to brother's 3.

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
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    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    Default Re: If Queen cells are now gone does that mean I have a Queen?

    >>If you've been adding brood every week for three weeks and they haven't built a queen cell, I'd say there is a laying queen in the hive.

    >So it has been a week since I added the last frame of brood. I checked on them again today to see if they had started a queen cell. Still no queen cell?

    And this was the third time you put a frame of open brood in the hive?

    >I saw a few eggs again, but they are sporadic and there are usually multiple eggs in one cell. And I didn't see any worker brood. All of the brood that I am seeing is drone brood.

    Laying workers.

    >Do you still think I have a laying queen in there? If so, what is the best way to know for sure?

    Keep putting in a frame of open brood and eggs every week until they make queen cells, then you can either let them raise the queen or introduce a queen AT THAT POINT because at that point they are wanting a queen and know they need one.

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

  18. #18
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    Mar 2013
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    Salt Lake City, Utah
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    Default Re: If Queen cells are now gone does that mean I have a Queen?

    @Saltybee All of the eggs that I saw were on the bottom of the cells.

    @Michael This was the third week in a row that I have added a frame of open brood. So a total of 3 frames of open brood so far. How long should I keep putting open brood in? I only have one other hive and don't want to weaken that hive by taking from it every week.

    Would it be better to shake out the bees and try to get rid of the laying workers first and then add open brood?
    Follow my new beekeeping adventure HERE.

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
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    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    Default Re: If Queen cells are now gone does that mean I have a Queen?

    >This was the third week in a row that I have added a frame of open brood. So a total of 3 frames of open brood so far. How long should I keep putting open brood in?

    a frame a week for three weeks is usually exactly how long it takes to get them to raise queen cells. If you wait for those queens to be laying it will take another three to four weeks to have a laying queen.

    > I only have one other hive and don't want to weaken that hive by taking from it every week.

    If you are concerned about taking eggs from another new package or small colony, keep in mind that bees have little invested in eggs and the queen can lay far more eggs than a small colony can warm, feed and raise. Taking a frame of eggs from a small struggling new hive and swapping it for an empty comb or any drawn comb will have little impact on the donor colony and may save the recipient if they are indeed queenless. If the recipient didn't need a queen it will fill in the gap while the new queen gets mated and not interfere with things.

    >Would it be better to shake out the bees and try to get rid of the laying workers first and then add open brood?

    Shaking them out will not get rid of any laying workers. That is a total myth. It MAY create some confusion and get them thinking, but all in all I think it's a waste of time to shake them out unless you are writing off the hive and you give the frames to the other hives as you shake them out.

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

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
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    Salt Lake City, Utah
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    Default Re: If Queen cells are now gone does that mean I have a Queen?

    @Michael so basically you are saying just keep adding open brood on a weekly basis until they build a queen cell?

    Do I need to brush off the bees from the donor frame? Or just put it in the recipient hive as is?

    One last thought: Would I be better off starting a new colony by taking 2-3 frames from my strong hive and letting them raise a queen and then adding those bees to my weak hive? Basically doing a split with my stronger hive and then adding them later to my weak hive?

    Thanks again to everyone who has given their input. I have learned a lot through this process.
    Follow my new beekeeping adventure HERE.

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