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  1. #101
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
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    Iowa
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    507

    Default Re: Clustering/Festooning on "honey bars"

    Quote Originally Posted by shannonswyatt View Post
    When I got the first big batch of brood in the spring I had two drone cells in there. At the same time I expanded the nest with a new bar. They drew it out as drone comb and filled it up.
    Will bees only draw roughly the amount of comb that they can cover? It seems like comb building as *almost* stopped. Or is this a function of brood requiring the bees attention now vs. there being nothing to do but build comb before?

    They have quite a bit of syrup/nectar stored (didn't notice any capped, but it's hard to tell just peaking at the bars quickly. I think we might have filled the syrup for the last time yesterday afternoon. I'd rather they use the cells for brood instead of putting sugar water in them because "it's there". Plus I don't want them to suddenly feel cramped.

  2. #102
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Roanoke, VA
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    1,429

    Default Re: Clustering/Festooning on "honey bars"

    Young bees are needed to draw comb. Their wax glands only work for so long.

  3. #103
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
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    Iowa
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    507

    Default Re: Clustering/Festooning on "honey bars"

    Quote Originally Posted by shannonswyatt View Post
    Young bees are needed to draw comb. Their wax glands only work for so long.
    Thanks for reminding me that my bees are getting old.



    I only require their services for another 10-12 days before some reinforcements arrive.

  4. #104
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    May 2012
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    Roanoke, VA
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    1,429

    Default Re: Clustering/Festooning on "honey bars"

    That's ok. Having the extra comb doesn't get you anything right now. The can only raise as much brood as they can take care of. Just a little longer and you will have some young bees.

  5. #105
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    45,322

    Default Re: Clustering/Festooning on "honey bars"

    >Will bees only draw roughly the amount of comb that they can cover? It seems like comb building as *almost* stopped. Or is this a function of brood requiring the bees attention now vs. there being nothing to do but build comb before?

    They only build what they need now. Now they are busy rearing brood.

    >Young bees are needed to draw comb. Their wax glands only work for so long.

    Old bee can make wax and do when needed. They are not as efficient at it, but they can always do it...
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  6. #106
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Location
    Iowa
    Posts
    507

    Default Re: Clustering/Festooning on "honey bars"

    Are these queen cups and should I be worried?
    queencups.jpg

    If it isn't raining this afternoon I might pop this bar out and make sure there isn't larva in it.
    If there is, what do I do? And if it's capped, what do I do?

  7. #107
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Gaithersburg, MD
    Posts
    363

    Default Re: Clustering/Festooning on "honey bars"

    Looks like they may be. I'd leave them alone if there is anything in them--I wouldn't even bother them to check. If they are cups they are supercedure cups, not swarm cell cups. Packages often supercede their queen and they may be detecting a future problem w/ her that you can't see.

  8. #108
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    45,322

    Default Re: Clustering/Festooning on "honey bars"

    >Are these queen cups and should I be worried?

    They are not oriented correctly for queen cells.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  9. #109
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Gaithersburg, MD
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    363

    Default Re: Clustering/Festooning on "honey bars"

    Good point--should be facing down. I have often wondered, if bees were making emergency supercedure cells from cells that already had eggs/young larvae (say the queen was rolled or something), would they re-orient the cell floor downward w/ the chosen egg in it, or would they simply make the cell facing out as in the pic above and then build the remainder downward (leaving the developing queen pupa in an awkward position, I presume)?

  10. #110
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
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    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    45,322

    Default Re: Clustering/Festooning on "honey bars"

    In an emergency, they float the larvae out with food and build a cell down from the face of the comb...
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  11. #111
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Location
    Iowa
    Posts
    507

    Default Re: Clustering/Festooning on "honey bars"

    I think this hive is toast



    Zero eggs, only saw one larva and it was in the process of being capped. Lots of empty comb. Depressing.

    I have two packages coming Monday. Should I cut out the queen cells and split the comb between them?
    Last edited by jwcarlson; 05-03-2014 at 04:36 PM.

  12. #112
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Location
    Springfield, MO
    Posts
    81

    Default Re: Clustering/Festooning on "honey bars"

    Sorry man that sucks. You still have a lot of summer left though.

  13. #113
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Location
    Iowa
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    507

    Default Re: Clustering/Festooning on "honey bars"

    Quote Originally Posted by onesojourner View Post
    Sorry man that sucks. You still have a lot of summer left though.
    She only laid a small bit of worker brood. There is a bunch of drone brood in the hive, though. Outnumbers worker brood 5:1 or more. They have been installed a month this coming Monday.

    I'm really hoping these two packages on Monday are good ones. I'm looking for suggestions on what to do with this hive. Wish I had a hive with some brood to donate.

  14. #114
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Gaithersburg, MD
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    363

    Default Re: Clustering/Festooning on "honey bars"

    Sounds like a drone laying queen. I hope your other packages are from a different supplier. Seems like strike two for this supplier, to me.

    I'd hive the other two packages as you planned and leave this one alone to do it's thing. Worst case is you will end up w/ some extra comb for next year. Sometimes trying to help too much actually hurts. If the other two packages are from the same supplier I'd consider getting queens from elsewhere--and would pay up for good genetics.

  15. #115
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Location
    Iowa
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    507

    Default Re: Clustering/Festooning on "honey bars"

    Quote Originally Posted by JClark View Post
    Sounds like a drone laying queen. I hope your other packages are from a different supplier. Seems like strike two for this supplier, to me.

    I'd hive the other two packages as you planned and leave this one alone to do it's thing. Worst case is you will end up w/ some extra comb for next year. Sometimes trying to help too much actually hurts. If the other two packages are from the same supplier I'd consider getting queens from elsewhere--and would pay up for good genetics.
    They are from the same supplier. CF Koehnen through a third party here in Iowa. I looked on here and results seemed to be largely positive with their packages. I will say that I ordered a Carni queen and got an Italian. And when I got a replacement... another Italian. I found that strange, but that is more of a middleman issue as I never dealt with Koehnen directly.

    These will be coming from a different distributor, however. It's strange because I ordered a package through a friend's dad who was already heading out there. He ordered Carniolan queens as well and he said all of his were black. He had six packages in his car and I happened to pick the one with an Italian queen... AND was shipped an Italian queen as a replacement even after specifying that she should have been a Carniolan. Obviously the queen's race has nothing to do with the issue here, it's just extremely strange to me.
    Last edited by jwcarlson; 05-04-2014 at 07:06 AM.

  16. #116
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Tucson, Arizona, USA
    Posts
    5,297

    Default Re: Clustering/Festooning on "honey bars"

    Those are capped queen cells. And if they actually contain young queens and not drones, you may soon have a young virgin in that hive.

    I would leave these queen cells alone, and see if they can get themselves a viable queen from them.

    Don't forget, if you have multiple colonies, and some of them are working out fine. You can always take resources from the healthier colonies to bolster the weaker ones. Sometimes this is a waste of resources, but sometimes it quickly provides you with more stronger colonies. It's good to start practicing this, early, it can be a beekeeper's valuable tool.
    Last edited by Joseph Clemens; 05-04-2014 at 08:31 AM.
    48 years - 50 hives - TF
    Joseph Clemens -- Website Under Constructioni

  17. #117
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Location
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    Posts
    54

    Default Re: Clustering/Festooning on "honey bars"

    Quote Originally Posted by jwcarlson View Post
    Would you do that even it it meant breaking the cluster/festooning mass and shaking them off to the bottom of the hive? There is such a tight pack of bees it is tough to tell if there is comb underneath all that mass.
    If you're having trouble seeing if comb is being built in a festooning cluster a judicious puff of smoke should be enough to clear the bar to make it visible without shaking the bar off.

  18. #118
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Location
    Iowa
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    507

    Default Re: Clustering/Festooning on "honey bars"

    Quote Originally Posted by Joseph Clemens View Post
    Those are capped queen cells. And if they actually contain young queens and not drones, you may soon have a young virgin in that hive.

    I would leave these queen cells alone, and see if they can get themselves a viable queen from them.

    Don't forget, if you have multiple colonies, and some of them are working out fine. You can always take resources from the healthier colonies to bolster the weaker ones. Sometimes this is a waste of resources, but sometimes it quickly provides you with more stronger colonies. It's good to start practicing this, early, it can be a beekeeper's valuable tool.
    What are the chances of having no new brood and them being able to rear a queen and survive until she is laying and surviving a brood cycle? Best case it will be 60 days since install before they would get any new brood right? I do not have any other colonies now, two new packages coming tomorrow. Two three pound packages w/ queen.

    This is probably a silly question to ask but could I "split" some off from the new packages to bolster this one? Feels like that's a horrible idea.

  19. #119
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Gaithersburg, MD
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    363

    Default Re: Clustering/Festooning on "honey bars"

    Just set up the two packages and leave alone. I had one hive that went queenless probably in feb timeframe. Interestingly, this was my only carni hive and the queen was from Noble Apiaries--close to where your bees are coming from. Have heard somewhere that some CA queens are having a harder time surviving winters possibly due to potential exposure to almond ag treatments (can't remember where I heard this so take w/ a BIG grain of salt). Anyway, my CA carni was a first year queen that went into winter strong, no mites, and plenty of bees/stores. All my Italians from GA survived their second/third winter just fine (minus one that was "varroa resistant", which succumbed to varroa in Dec--was a first year hive as well).

    Anyway, my carni hive went queenless in Feb and, w/ no brood production at the time, eventually became a laying worker hive. Finally got a queen from Ridge Top Apiaries introduced two weeks ago and they are still doing fine. Brood nest is on 2 deep frames and they will start emerging next week-end. I did add two deep frames of brood over two weeks during the first half of Apr to suppress the laying workers.

    My point is that bees have a drive to survive so, if they rear a good queen, they will do okay. Just leave them to grow and don't plan to get anything from them and they may surprise you. I would look at re-queening your packages though. Ridge-top's queens are from Glenn Apiaries and VP queen stock (VP queens are bred just up the road from me but a breeder queen is $200).

    Chances are, though, the bees may re-queen anyway. If not, I'd re-queen at least one in a few months when they are established for insurance. Plus CA bred bees may struggle a little more in the IA winters. My CA carni sure couldn't take it here (and it's a tad warmer here).

  20. #120
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Location
    Iowa
    Posts
    507

    Default Re: Clustering/Festooning on "honey bars"

    Quote Originally Posted by JClark View Post
    Just set up the two packages and leave alone. I had one hive that went queenless probably in feb timeframe. Interestingly, this was my only carni hive and the queen was from Noble Apiaries--close to where your bees are coming from. Have heard somewhere that some CA queens are having a harder time surviving winters possibly due to potential exposure to almond ag treatments (can't remember where I heard this so take w/ a BIG grain of salt). Anyway, my CA carni was a first year queen that went into winter strong, no mites, and plenty of bees/stores. All my Italians from GA survived their second/third winter just fine (minus one that was "varroa resistant", which succumbed to varroa in Dec--was a first year hive as well).

    Anyway, my carni hive went queenless in Feb and, w/ no brood production at the time, eventually became a laying worker hive. Finally got a queen from Ridge Top Apiaries introduced two weeks ago and they are still doing fine. Brood nest is on 2 deep frames and they will start emerging next week-end. I did add two deep frames of brood over two weeks during the first half of Apr to suppress the laying workers.

    My point is that bees have a drive to survive so, if they rear a good queen, they will do okay. Just leave them to grow and don't plan to get anything from them and they may surprise you. I would look at re-queening your packages though. Ridge-top's queens are from Glenn Apiaries and VP queen stock (VP queens are bred just up the road from me but a breeder queen is $200).

    Chances are, though, the bees may re-queen anyway. If not, I'd re-queen at least one in a few months when they are established for insurance. Plus CA bred bees may struggle a little more in the IA winters. My CA carni sure couldn't take it here (and it's a tad warmer here).
    I'm praying we catch a swarm or two this year.

    That's good news on your hive surviving that long, and pretty amazing. I just hope that these packages do somewhat better than this one did. I'm certainly not expecting them to even survive at this point, so if they did that would be cool.

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