First Time Requeening. Possibly a complete failure...
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2014
    Location
    Johnson City, TN
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    257

    Sad First Time Requeening. Possibly a complete failure...

    So after a couple months of spotty queen laying I decided to heed the advice of the internet and to requeen my hive. This is my first year beekeeping and I originally bought a caged queen and box of bees. After she was installed and made it out of her cage, I never saw her again. The brood was spotty and then by my last inspection I saw mostly nectar (I think) and honey, no stored pollen and the old capped brood was sunken or pinholed and there was no new larva.

    When I tried to requeen I took all the frames out and couldn't find my existing marked queen anywhere. As a last resort I shook out as many bees as I could and never found her. There were still a lot of bees inside but there was no sign of my obviously marked queen. So I did what was possibly a death sentence for my new caged queen--I went ahead and installed her in her cage, with her attendants and closed up. At that point I had been in the hive for 45 minutes and the tone of my hive had risen to a roar and they were running all over the hive in waves. The heat was unbearable in my suit and I just gave up.

    Tomorrow I need to check to be sure she has been released from the cage (tomorrow makes 3 days since installation) but I don't know what to look for at this stage. My bees are not aggressive. They've never been aggressive but I suppose I expected this event to change their behavior. When I visit them now they behave like they did just days before: they let me walk up to the hive, they're foraging like they always have and there's no signs of fighting or...anything.

    What should I be looking for? Have I committed the worst beginners mistake ever?

    For a full backstory you can check out my original post (with PICS): https://www.beesource.com/forums/show...y-August/page1

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
    Location
    Mt. Pleasant, Iowa, USA
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    183

    Default Re: First Time Requeening. Possibly a complete failure...

    How did the bees respond to the caged queen? Did they start to attack, or just investigate? One would suspect the colony to be queen right if they did not respond well to the new queen. Possibly just wasted the time and money on the queen, and interrupting the hive for a few days due to the shake down/inspection.
    Regards,
    KGB-8Fmed

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Blacksburg, VA
    Posts
    665

    Default Re: First Time Requeening. Possibly a complete failure...

    It's a little hard to say for sure whether the hive was queenright since it can be hard to find a queen sometimes. Did you have eggs anywhere in the hive? Use some reading glasses or magnifying glass to find them. This tells you there was a laying queen within the last three days.

    Another item to note is that your bees likely will not accept a new queen if there is a virgin present or if they have queen cells. It can be difficult for a beginner to find either. In that case, try to get a seasoned beekeeper to go through the hive with you.

    Good luck.

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2014
    Location
    Johnson City, TN
    Posts
    257

    Default Re: First Time Requeening. Possibly a complete failure...

    Quote Originally Posted by KGB View Post
    How did the bees respond to the caged queen? Did they start to attack, or just investigate? One would suspect the colony to be queen right if they did not respond well to the new queen. Possibly just wasted the time and money on the queen, and interrupting the hive for a few days due to the shake down/inspection.
    While I was watching very few of them noticed her but the few that did seemed to just be investigating. They didn't ball the cage while I was there anyway. I expected a dramatic response lol but a couple of them just crawled around the cage.

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2014
    Location
    Johnson City, TN
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    257

    Default Re: First Time Requeening. Possibly a complete failure...

    Quote Originally Posted by rkereid View Post
    It's a little hard to say for sure whether the hive was queenright since it can be hard to find a queen sometimes. Did you have eggs anywhere in the hive? Use some reading glasses or magnifying glass to find them. This tells you there was a laying queen within the last three days.

    Another item to note is that your bees likely will not accept a new queen if there is a virgin present or if they have queen cells. It can be difficult for a beginner to find either. In that case, try to get a seasoned beekeeper to go through the hive with you.

    Good luck.
    I did not see any eggs in there. A month ago I did see many larva and eggs. It was all just open cells with nectar in them this time (so far as I could tell). No pollen stores anymore that I could see. There aren't any queen cells in this hive so far and there hasn't been any time I've inspected so I thought maybe I could rule that out? I know for certain that if there were a virgin queen in the hive I would NEVER be able to notice lol. But I can say there have been no queen cells.

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
    Location
    Mt. Pleasant, Iowa, USA
    Posts
    183

    Default Re: First Time Requeening. Possibly a complete failure...

    Hopefully a good sign! You will want to check 7-10 days from her release for eggs/larva. Is the new queen marked? If not there will not be a way to tell who the laying queen is(purchased or raised & the bees removed the purchased queen), but all I care is if there is a good pattern, not who she is.
    Time to wait...
    Regards,
    KGB-8Fmed

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2014
    Location
    Johnson City, TN
    Posts
    257

    Default Re: First Time Requeening. Possibly a complete failure...

    Quote Originally Posted by KGB View Post
    Hopefully a good sign! You will want to check 7-10 days from her release for eggs/larva. Is the new queen marked? If not there will not be a way to tell who the laying queen is(purchased or raised & the bees removed the purchased queen), but all I care is if there is a good pattern, not who she is.
    Time to wait...
    She is marked thank goodness. She has a bright white spot on her back. Is it a good sign if I see that bees are still foraging and are generally calm around the hive? I'm trying to get an idea of what to expect when I open the hive tomorrow to make sure she's been released lol.

  9. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2014
    Location
    Johnson City, TN
    Posts
    257

    Default Re: First Time Requeening. Possibly a complete failure...

    UPDATE: I opened up the hive yesterday evening and saw that the queen had been released and was playing around on the comb! She has been accepted! I'm so relieved!

  10. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Paulding County, GA
    Posts
    147

    Default Re: First Time Requeening. Possibly a complete failure...

    Sounds like you did an excellent job introducing the new queen!!! Congratulations!!
    Donny

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