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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
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    fairfield, sc
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    Question queen cells and characters

    Hello all.
    I have a strange situation, or perhaps just strange to me. Here's where I've gotten, and what's going on. I hope some more experienced beeks can assist with some suggestions on what to do.

    3/31 - got 2 new packages
    the packages have been doing well, especially the 1 i'm discussing here. about a month ago I added another deep super (actually 2 4-frame) nuc boxes on top in hopes that i could create a split or 2 either off of the hive or from another hive this year. I know i might have to over-winter, but will deal with that if this happens.
    last friday, in anticipation of needed to split another hive (which wasn't ready yet) i decided to split this hive as i had several queen cells in the middle area's of several frames. I took, from the bottom deep and the 2-upper 4-frame nuc boxes 6 frames of different types (capped brood, honey, pollen, and some eggs) along with the frame that had the queen cells on them in hopes that they'd take/move some eggs over (if there wasn't any actual larva in the queen cups-too hard to actually tell, and my error probably) and created a new, single-deep box about 100 yards away. I gave them some sugar water but quickly noticed that i'd created a 'robbing' situation from other bees, even though i'd reduced the entrance to about 1/2 inch. I quickly closed everthing up till monday and whenever things had settled down, i removed the cover and left the entrance at approx 1/2 inch. over the last couple of days i've noticed 'normal' activity and upon inspection of the hive - i have 3 queen cells that have been capped over - which are on the same frame that I moved. things appear good - but the queen cells are really 'smooth' and not very 'lumpy' like typical queen cells should appear to be. I also inspected my 'donor' hive and noticed that i have a typical (lumpy or pok-marked) cell in it, that is already sealed too. this was probably a cell i left, but not exactly sure. It's located just under the center line of one of the frame.

    so, my questions are..

    1. in the new box, with the 3 new queen cells - if the queen cup is 'smooth' in appearance, does that indicate anything - or something I need to worrry about? I'd thought if i hadn't moved enough eggs over, i was going to transfer another frame yesterday - but didn't because of the 3 new queen cells.

    2. from my donor colony - what's going on there? i didn't look for the queen, but was real careful in gathering/moving frames around so to 'not' crush her in the process. I think I should try and create another nuc, as i have a queen cell almost 'ready' - but not sure. if the cell was one i left, it wasn't fully developed - so that should make the 'new' queen cell about 9 to 11 days old - which should be almost the right time to move.

    3. If i remove the capped queen cell from the orignal donar colony, and it indeed still has a queen - she should 'continue on' as normal - right? if not, will i have to either re-queen, or wait for them to create one on their own?

    I want to make some queens, from my own stock and hopefully have enough time for them to 'fully develop' into standard 10-frame boxes before the winter, if possible. In SC the flow has already gone and most people are collecting their honey now, so there won't be too much pollen for them for the rest of the year but I think I still have enough time to get several brood cycles in place and have some strong hives going into winter. I have another hive I was wanting to raise 'more' queens from, but will take what I can for now. I say that only because in approx 6 weeks time my nuc has gone from a nuc to 3-deep boxes and is almost full and ready to split.


    thanks for all the suggestions anybody has ..

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    45,379

    Default Re: queen cells and characters

    >1. in the new box, with the 3 new queen cells - if the queen cup is 'smooth' in appearance, does that indicate anything - or something I need to worrry about?

    They all start out smooth. They are "filligreed" later on.

    "They had resumed their usual occupations on the third : they attended to the young, worked within the open royal cells and also watched on those that were shut. They made a waved work on them, not by applying wax cordons, but by removing wax from the surface. Towards the top this waved work is almost imperceptible; it becomes deeper above, and the workers excavate it still more from thence to the base of the pyramid. The cell, when once shut, also becomes thinner; and is so much so, immediately preceding the queen's metamorphosis from a nymph, that all its motions are perceptible through the thin covering of wax on which the waved work is founded. It is a very remarkable circumstance, that in making the cells thinner, from the moment they are enclosed, the bees know to regulate their labor so that it terminates only when the nymph is ready to undergo its last metamorphosis.

    On the seventh day the coccoon is almost completely unwaxed, if I may use the expression, at the part next to the head and thorax of the queen. This operation facilitates her exit; for she has nothing to do but cut the silk that forms the coccoon. Most probably the object is to promote evaporation of the superabundant fluids of the nymph. I have made some direct experiments to ascertain the fact, but they are yet unfinished."--François Huber, New Observations on the Natural History Of Bees Volume I Letter XI
    http://bushfarms.com/huber.htm#letter9

    >2. from my donor colony - what's going on there? i didn't look for the queen, but was real careful in gathering/moving frames around so to 'not' crush her in the process. I think I should try and create another nuc, as i have a queen cell almost 'ready' - but not sure. if the cell was one i left, it wasn't fully developed - so that should make the 'new' queen cell about 9 to 11 days old - which should be almost the right time to move.

    You can move them anytime. Just be gentle.

    >3. If i remove the capped queen cell from the orignal donar colony, and it indeed still has a queen - she should 'continue on' as normal - right?

    Yes.

    >if not, will i have to either re-queen, or wait for them to create one on their own?

    If they don't have one, and there are larvae of the correct age, they will raise one. But why wouldn't they have one? I think you worry too much...
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    fairfield, sc
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    115

    Default Re: queen cells and characters

    Thanks Michael, for the info.

    Yes, as being totally new to this enviroment, I'm probably worrying much ado about nothing .. but I'm used to seeing pictures which typically show the queen cells as 'fillagreed' and guess I'd never thought of them as being 'smooth' - and then changing their structure later. If you know, does this happen at a certain 'date timeline' during the process - meaning 2 days after capped, 3 days? If I knew this, then perhaps it'd be a better judge of the timeline as to when the cell was originally 'capped'.

    I think I'll try to make another split from my 'donor' hive tonight which has the queen capped. There's probably enough stuff (brood,eggs,larva) all within those 4 frames to just pick it up, and move it to the new location. Whenever I do this, I presume that feeding sugar water and using a reduced entrance would be considered - wise and 'normal'?


    I'll also take some pictures of the queen cells and post an update later tonight so that you and anyone else that follows this post will be able to actually 'see' what I'm referring to.

  4. #4
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    Mar 2013
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    fairfield, sc
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    Default Re: queen cells and characters

    1image.jpg2image.jpg3.jpg4.jpg5.jpg5.jpg7.jpg5.jpg7.jpgI checked the 'new' hive today, and indeed the cells had transformed from a smooth appearance to one of being 'fillagreed'. I'm attaching some pictures I took earlier. I also noticed, in that same hive on almost every other frame there were allot of other queen cells also. guess these are some pretty excited bees - to have another queen. hope all the pictures are clear enough for you to review. the 'cluster' (4) of cells are the ones that were 'smooth' yesterday.

    I also created another nuc today from the hive mentioned above that had a queen cell on one of the frames. I also, since this nuc had 6 frames with queen cells on them - robbed a frame with a couple of queen cells and added it to the 'new' nuc. I'll update as things progress in the next couple of weeks.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    Default Re: queen cells and characters

    >Yes, as being totally new to this enviroment, I'm probably worrying much ado about nothing .. but I'm used to seeing pictures which typically show the queen cells as 'fillagreed' and guess I'd never thought of them as being 'smooth' - and then changing their structure later. If you know, does this happen at a certain 'date timeline' during the process - meaning 2 days after capped, 3 days? If I knew this, then perhaps it'd be a better judge of the timeline as to when the cell was originally 'capped'.

    I would expect them to start the filigree shortly after they are capped. The bigger thing to watch is if the cells you think are queens are vertical or horizontal. Sometimes an errant drone cell will be by itself sticking out at some angle from the midrid and you might mistake it for a queen cell, when it's actually a drone cell. These stay smooth. They are also usually smaller than a queen cell but most importantly they are horizontal.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    fairfield, sc
    Posts
    115

    Default Re: queen cells and characters

    Thanks for all the info provided.
    I'd decided to make 2 splits, and got a 50% success rate. Not too good, but seems like a good # considering it was my first attempt. I had to 'shake' one of the 'box bees' back into their respective hives - but on the other one, I have a good queen and she's laying up a storm now. I'd peaked into the boxes after moving them, and did notice the 'fillagreed' process - which is pretty cool - and I also believe a indication that they might actually be making a new queen. I'll see, as I made another split last Friday and hopefully whenever I check it tonight, the bees have decided to drawn down and complete that queen cell and i'll have some type of 'timeline' on whenever to expect a new arrival.

    As Michael quickly states ... "everything works, if you let it". good advice and thanks again ...

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