New Hives
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Thread: New Hives

  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2018
    Location
    Hillsborough, Central NJ
    Posts
    128

    Default New Hives

    Hello, new member and brand new bee keeper here. I was glad to find this forum, and I've read a lot and have found good info, thank you.

    I set up two new hives about three weeks ago. After the install, at the 4 day check, one of my queens was dead in her box. I got a new queen from my very friendly bee supplier, and after a few days she was out of her cage. Two amateur questions;

    Both hives have good activity, but I cannot find the queen in either. In the hive without reintroduced queen I have some worker brood and larva, so I know that queen is alive. In the hive with the reintroduced queen I assume she is in there, but on my last inspection I didn't find any brood. Any tips on finding the queen for a beginner? One is marked, the other is not. I can't believe it is so hard to find her????

    I am worried I am inspecting my hives too much. It's not that I mind inspecting, in fact it is absolutely AWESOME to me to look around inside the hive, but I have read I shouldn't overdo it. I really want to go back in today or tomorrow to try to find the queens and check for developments. Is going in every few days at this point okay? Or should I relax a bit and let them do their thing.

    Thanks in advance.

    Alan

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2016
    Location
    Woodbridge, VA (But planning to move to NW Louisiana soon)
    Posts
    286

    Default Re: New Hives

    On my second year here, but FWIW...
    I seldom spot queens. I still keep an eye out for them, but have resorted to ensuring she's laying eggs. I think it's too disruptive, especially when they're building up in a new hive, to go in more than every 10 days or so. If you have eggs, relax and let them do their thing.
    I have six hives now with laying queens, and I thought I'd be much better at spotting them by now, or at least the law of averages would be tipping in my favor.
    Nope, still almost never see a queen.

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Location
    Solon, OH, USA
    Posts
    29

    Default Re: New Hives

    Some tips:

    * Lightly smoke to help keep her from running down deeper
    * Move quickly but gently, the calmer the bees are, the better
    * Move into the brood nest and look for just laid eggs and then start your search in earnest
    * Scan the outer edges first and then move to middle, looking for bare thorax and pointed tail; she moves differently too
    * Flip frame and repeat. Trust your eyes and move to next frame if you don't see her
    * Once you hit pollen/honey/no eggs, move to next box lower (if applicable) or try again

    Note: this is a learned skill and takes several years to really nail down. But, it's worth the effort, and a requirement really to be an exceptional keeper.

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    Rensselaer County, NY, USA
    Posts
    5,536

    Default Re: New Hives

    Shoot, I didn't see any queen in my three hives from June of the first year until May of the second year. Almost dropped the frame I was holding when I finally saw her. She wasn't anything like what I was expecting, and searching for - she was much bigger, almost like a different kind of bug!

    If you haven't had the foresight to get a marked queen to start out - don't sweat it. Just look for these: in order from the most noticeable to hardest to see:

    capped brood (queen there at least nine days ago)

    fat white larvae completely filling the cell (queen laid the egg a bit more than a week ago)

    smaller larvae partially filling the cell (queen laid the egg 4 to 6 days ago)

    tiny iridescent pools of royal jelly (these have very small larvae swimming in them)

    eggs laying down (2 and 3 day old eggs)

    eggs standing straight out from the back of the cell - hey, you just missed the queen who was there within the last 24 hours, maybe even just minutes ago!

    When I want to make my beginning students sweat, I wait until they finally spot eggs or small larvae on a frame. And I ask them, "So what does that tell you? Right answer: You didn't kill the queen last week!

    Nancy

  6. #5
    Join Date
    May 2018
    Location
    Hillsborough, Central NJ
    Posts
    128

    Default Re: New Hives

    Thanks All. It makes me feel better that I am not the only one who has struggled with this. I am going to wait until later this week to take another look just to be sure everything is looking good. I definitely have larva in the one hive along with capped brood. It's the second hive with the new queen I am not sure about just yet. I have to add some sugar water to the frame feeders anyway.

    Yes Nancy, hoping I didn't kill the queen.....yet.

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2015
    Location
    Bergen County, NJ
    Posts
    904

    Default Re: New Hives

    How long ago did you introduce the new (second) queen ? My first year, I went in a many times as I wanted, always being very careful. Queens are often in the middle of the broodnest, middle of the frame. They do venture to outside frame and can get squished but being gentle, slow but deliberate goes long way.

    Next time you go in, practice looking for eggs. And dont focus too close trying to find queen... zoom yours eyes out and you will see her. Often she is on the frames with young brood and eggs.

  8. #7
    Join Date
    May 2018
    Location
    Hillsborough, Central NJ
    Posts
    128

    Default Re: New Hives

    The second queen has been out of her cage for 6-7 days now. Thanks for the advice. I will give that a try.

  9. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
    Location
    Mt. Pleasant, Iowa, USA
    Posts
    183

    Default Re: New Hives

    Quote Originally Posted by AlanInNJ View Post
    The second queen has been out of her cage for 6-7 days now.
    I would leave them alone for 7-10 days.

    Try to limit inspections to once per week for the bees sake, but practice makes perfect. Get in those hives and enjoy, get frustrated, get confused, get stung, etc...learn.
    Regards,
    KGB-8Fmed

  10. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2016
    Location
    Deerfield, Illinois
    Posts
    406

    Default Re: New Hives

    Great Advice for all beekeepers as most of us can not locate all queens. I am older and don't see all. that well so i look for larvae.
    Quote Originally Posted by enjambres View Post
    Shoot, I didn't see any queen in my three hives from June of the first year until May of the second year. Almost dropped the frame I was holding when I finally saw her. She wasn't anything like what I was expecting, and searching for - she was much bigger, almost like a different kind of bug!

    If you haven't had the foresight to get a marked queen to start out - don't sweat it. Just look for these: in order from the most noticeable to hardest to see:

    capped brood (queen there at least nine days ago)

    fat white larvae completely filling the cell (queen laid the egg a bit more than a week ago)

    smaller larvae partially filling the cell (queen laid the egg 4 to 6 days ago)

    tiny iridescent pools of royal jelly (these have very small larvae swimming in them)

    eggs laying down (2 and 3 day old eggs)

    eggs standing straight out from the back of the cell - hey, you just missed the queen who was there within the last 24 hours, maybe even just minutes ago!

    When I want to make my beginning students sweat, I wait until they finally spot eggs or small larvae on a frame. And I ask them, "So what does that tell you? Right answer: You didn't kill the queen last week!

    Nancy

  11. #10
    Join Date
    May 2018
    Location
    Hillsborough, Central NJ
    Posts
    128

    Default Re: New Hives

    The hive inspections are so amazing. My 13 year old son and I are having a blast with all of this. And yes KGB, I have been stung, frustrated and confused, all part of the learning process

    We have rain predicted here for the next 4 days. I am going to let them sit tight until Sunday, and then we will go in and take a look. I'll post an update.

    Thanks for all the comments and support!

    Alan

  12. #11
    Join Date
    Jul 2017
    Location
    NW Florida
    Posts
    1,150

    Default Re: New Hives

    I have probably checked mine too much this year, but they are in a flow and I'm excited about my splits. Don't worry about not seeing the queen. It seems that if I go through wanting specifically to find the queen, I can't. I have a nicot to collect eggs for queen rearing and keep striking out on finding the queen I want. Yesterday, I was moving a nuc into a full medium. I had to run and get another box to take into account the deep frames (switching everything to mediums). Two frames were left leaning against the entrance. Sure enough, the queen was on one of them. Thankfully she is the daughter of the queen I wanted to use, so she was moved into the nicot. Bonus!
    Beek since 2016: Hardiness Zone 9a: in NW Florida

  13. #12
    Join Date
    May 2018
    Location
    Hillsborough, Central NJ
    Posts
    128

    Default Re: New Hives

    Here in central New Jersey we are in our 3rd day of 6 days of rain. I am concerned my internal frame feeders are empty. Yes, I should have filled them last week, but I didn't. I do have external feeders as well. What say you? Go in now and fill the frame feeders? Or wait for a sunny day, likely Sunday ironically?

  14. #13
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    OKC, OK USA
    Posts
    2,940

    Default

    John hit the nail on the head in saying "she moves different" this is how I always find my queens.....she moves different and will draw your eye right to her. 🙂

  15. #14
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
    Location
    Mt. Pleasant, Iowa, USA
    Posts
    183

    Default Re: New Hives

    You can pop the top and fill in less than 20 seconds, can protect bees with inner cover over most of hive...I'd keep it full, just do it when not a complete down pour.
    Regards,
    KGB-8Fmed

  16. #15
    Join Date
    May 2018
    Location
    Hillsborough, Central NJ
    Posts
    128

    Default Re: New Hives

    Thanks KGB . I have the feeder frames furthest out in the box, so I should be able to just slide cover over, fill and be done quickly.

  17. #16
    Join Date
    May 2018
    Location
    Hillsborough, Central NJ
    Posts
    128

    Default Re: New Hives

    Filled the frame feeders, no issues at all, just a quick in and out. Hoping to get into the hives Sunday afternoon if it's nice here!

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