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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Elwood, Illinois
    Posts
    38

    Default Queenless hive rejects grafts

    I have a hive I have been through twice now and inspected all frames. It consist of two brood boxes and one super. There is some (very little) scattered drone brood, but no worker brood, or queen cells or laying workers. In short nobody is laying. I did not see a queen either time. The hive has a medium amount of workers which I believe should be more at this time of the year. In any event last Wednesday I grafted six plastic queen cell cups and checked the progress yesterday. Not only did they not accept them, they cleaned out the queen cups. I grafted the right age larve, very small c-shaped, like a comma. I am baffled why they would not build out the queen cups. Don't they realize no queen, no future??? Anyone have any insight about why the grafts were rejected and what should I do now. Thanks.
    Last edited by Salesi; 07-13-2013 at 04:17 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    East Windsor, CT
    Posts
    276

    Default Re: Queenless hive rejects grafts

    It sounds to me like there is a virgin queen, which could be difficult to find. Is there a patch of cells that do not have any nectar and pollen in them in what would look like would be a brood nest? Often if there is a virgin they will clean out or cease using certain areas of cells so when the queen returns from her mating flight she can start to lay a few days later. To be sure I would give that hive a frame of eggs and see what they do with it. Good luck,
    -Dave

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    San Francisco, CA
    Posts
    2,477

    Default Re: Queenless hive rejects grafts

    I agree with Mosherd1. It sounds to me like they've recently swarmed and that could be why your bee population is down. The virgin either hasn't mated yet, or has mated but not very well, or has mated and hasn't started laying yet.
    President, San Francisco Beekeepers Association
    www.habitatforhoneybees.org

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Auckland,Auckland,New Zealand
    Posts
    6,127

    Default Re: Queenless hive rejects grafts

    As per above, but also, grafts are not always accepted even in the best prepared cell starting colonies. If the plastic cells are brand new and have never been in a hive, you will get better results after they have been in a hive and cleaned by the bees for a while.

    The way forward will be to find out for certain if this colony will build queen cells by giving them a frame of eggs / young larvae & seeing what happens. If they don't build queen cells you have a queen or laying workers. If they do build queen cells, kill them and continue you grafting efforts till you succeed.
    44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Reno, NV
    Posts
    3,178

    Default Re: Queenless hive rejects grafts

    One other thought I had from those above. How old are the queenless bees. last I read indicates that the bees are nurser bees form 8 to 18 days of age. I had a problem with one 5 frame nuc this year not building queen cells and I concluded that it was because the population was to old. after a week anda half of adding frames of sealed brood they took to accepting cells much better.

    I will also say that I eventually abandoned the idea of producing queens by grafting so to a long list of reasons. I am in the process of getting the queens I need with more of a walk away split method. It has it benefits and it's draw backs. having queen cells spread out over a 6 day range of development is one big negative. Having queen cells drawn is a plus. I will have to comment later on the quality of queens. they start emerging tomorrow. 47 cells when I need 14 queens. I am so gun shy about now I am not calling anything good enough even now. I seem to loose a ton of queens to mating flights.
    Stand for what you believe, even if you stand alone.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    Buderim, Queensland, Australia
    Posts
    187

    Default Re: Queenless hive rejects grafts

    Quote Originally Posted by Daniel Y View Post
    One other thought I had from those above. How old are the queenless bees. last I read indicates that the bees are nurser bees form 8 to 18 days of age. I had a problem with one 5 frame nuc this year not building queen cells and I concluded that it was because the population was to old. after a week anda half of adding frames of sealed brood they took to accepting cells much better.

    I will also say that I eventually abandoned the idea of producing queens by grafting so to a long list of reasons. I am in the process of getting the queens I need with more of a walk away split method. It has it benefits and it's draw backs. having queen cells spread out over a 6 day range of development is one big negative. Having queen cells drawn is a plus. I will have to comment later on the quality of queens. they start emerging tomorrow. 47 cells when I need 14 queens. I am so gun shy about now I am not calling anything good enough even now. I seem to loose a ton of queens to mating flights.
    RE nurse bees. I thought I have read that older bees can revert back to previous duties if required.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Reno, NV
    Posts
    3,178

    Default Re: Queenless hive rejects grafts

    I have heard that also. but in the context of an abundance of brood in the colony. I am not sure how well they woudl convert when given one chance to produce queen cells in a 6 day period. 6 days is what they would have if they had an egg for 3 days and a potential larva for 3 days. I am not saying they can't But I will say they didn't in my case. I also read that a single queen cell requires 400 nurse bees to be properly attended. Might still be beyond the ability of a reconverted forager. Just to may factors changing in it for me to count any info I have read applicable.
    Stand for what you believe, even if you stand alone.

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