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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Salt Lake City, Utah
    Posts
    24

    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
    Posts
    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
    Location
    Hudson, WI USA
    Posts
    2,267

    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
    Posts
    4,149

    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
    Location
    Rader, Greene County, Tennessee, USA
    Posts
    6,702

    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
    Graham
    USDA Zone 7A Elevation 1400 ft

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    West Bath, Maine, United States
    Posts
    1,143

    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
    Location
    Salt Lake City, Utah
    Posts
    24

    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
    Location
    Salt Lake City, Utah
    Posts
    24

    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.

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