Who is Capping the Brood?
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  1. #1
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    Default Who is Capping the Brood?

    Simple question: Are the workers capping the brood or are the lava spinning their own cap?
    Beekeeping: "Know the Rules and Learn the Art"

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  3. #2
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    Default Re: Who is Capping the Brood?

    I was taught that the workers cap the brood. They use 'recycled' wax and they make sure to perforate it for air. That's why brood caps look like cardboard as opposed to the honey caps which are solid and slick. Wax is not spun, it is secreted from the wax glands on a bee's belly. The pupal husk is left behind when a bee emerges from her cell.

  4. #3
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    Default Re: Who is Capping the Brood?

    The brood cappings are spun from the larva. Wax cappings are made by works.

  5. #4
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    Default Re: Who is Capping the Brood?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brood_(honey_bee)

    This from Wikipedia, "Soon they begin to spin a cocoon, and their older sisters cap the cell as they go into the pupa stage. These cells collectively are called "capped brood.""

    Yes, the larvae spin a cocoon, but this is not the cap. The cap is created by the worker brood. So the larvae is in a cocoon inside of a capped cell that is capped by her sisters.

  6. #5
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    Default Re: Who is Capping the Brood?

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  7. #6
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    Default Re: Who is Capping the Brood?

    s1sweetser is correct. The USDA has a page with a nice series of photos and comments following the development of a bee from egg to emergence, here:
    http://www.ars.usda.gov/services/doc...d=2744&page=14

    The page is focused around the impact varroa have on the developing bee, but covers bee development as well.
    Graham
    USDA Zone 7A Elevation 1400 ft

  8. #7
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    Default Re: Who is Capping the Brood?

    Interesting. Learn something everyday.

  9. #8
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    Default Re: Who is Capping the Brood?

    The workers cap them. A newly swarmed hive uses pollen mixed with wax for brood cappings because they have to breathe. Once there are cocoons, they will chew out cocoons and mix with wax for brood cappings. This is why brood cappings are papery rather than waxy.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 42y 40h 39yTF

  10. #9
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    Default Re: Who is Capping the Brood?

    Yup, and it is a progression of workers based on age that do the capping.

    IIRC off the top of my head, just hatched bees go on comb building detail making wax. When they're a little older, they become nurse bees tending the brood. Only the oldest and most experienced bees go out and collect resources.
    Beekeeper since 2013. Read my bee blog at:
    http://harrisonbayhoney.blogspot.com

  11. #10
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    Default Re: Who is Capping the Brood?

    Thanks guys, all good information and good reading links. Michael, I had not heard that they use the cocoons before but it makes sense.
    Beekeeping: "Know the Rules and Learn the Art"

  12. #11
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    Default Re: Who is Capping the Brood?

    May I ask another question concerning capped brood? Do they need to maintain a certain temperature for proper development? The reason I ask is I plan to move 2 or 3 frames of capped brood to a box above the brood nest and replace them with empty frames to be drawn out. I am wondering if they will need to be covered with nurse bees to keep them at a certain temperature when I move them later this spring. The evenings can sometimes get pretty chilly here in Kansas and of course I wouldn't want to loose them. Thanks

  13. #12
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    Default Re: Who is Capping the Brood?

    The bees maintain the brood (attempt to) at a target temperature 94 degrees F. "Chilled brood" will result in dead brood, but I don't know at what temperature that occurs.
    Graham
    USDA Zone 7A Elevation 1400 ft

  14. #13
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    Default Re: Who is Capping the Brood?

    >I had not heard that they use the cocoons before but it makes sense.

    That's also why a newly hived swarm or package has cappings on brood that is yellow or almost white at first when they have no cocoons yet and brown later when they have cocoons.

    >D they need to maintain a certain temperature for proper development?

    Yes.

    >The reason I ask is I plan to move 2 or 3 frames of capped brood to a box above the brood nest and replace them with empty frames to be drawn out. I am wondering if they will need to be covered with nurse bees to keep them at a certain temperature when I move them later this spring. The evenings can sometimes get pretty chilly here in Kansas and of course I wouldn't want to loose them.

    Usually if they are capped and they get chilled briefly you end up with chalkbrood. Too long, of course, and they die.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 42y 40h 39yTF

  15. #14
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    Default Re: Who is Capping the Brood?

    Quote Originally Posted by Rader Sidetrack View Post
    The page is focused around the impact varroa have on the developing bee, but covers bee development as well.
    Interesting. The cocoon can trap the mite. I wonder if smaller bees have an advantage?
    Brian Cardinal
    Zone 5a, Practicing non-intervention beekeeping

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