What's happening with these cells?
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  1. #1

    Default What's happening with these cells?

    Hi!
    New beekeeper here, currently in my second year of attempting to keep bees in the mojave desert. Last year I bought a whole hive kit from a reputable breeder but unfortunately they did not make it, possibly because of lack of food as it was a very dry year last year. I'm trying to better understand what went wrong so as to hopefully have more success this year (I was able to capture a wild swarm!) so I was hoping to get some information on what is happening with these queen cells I found in the hive. I understand that these are either swarm or supercedure cells but in looking around online I haven't seen much that look like them. I'm guessing these are supercedure cells since there would have been no reason to swarm as the colony was having trouble surviving, not exactly running out of room. All in all I made a ton of mistakes my first year out so I'm just hoping to use it as a learning experience and move forward, any help would be appreciated!

    Thanks!
    IMG_2798.jpgIMG_2797.jpg

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2016
    Location
    Rutland County, Vermont,USA
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    2,013

    Default Re: What's happening with these cells?

    Wow. Never saw anything like that. Its odd that they would make cells on a frame that is not drawn. Were the other frames drawn? Looks like total desperation. Why didn't you feed? J

  4. #3

    Default Re: What's happening with these cells?

    Like I said, a lot of mistakes! But the main answer is that the colony collapsed really fast. I thought I wouldn't need to feed until mid summer but with the non existent spring, no rain, very small amount of flowering plants I think they just couldn't handle the environment. They were Italians, one of the few other beekeepers I've met out there said he had no luck with them either, only native swarms which seem to be able to handle the environment better.

  5. #4

    Default Re: What's happening with these cells?

    And yes, about 6 of the 10 frames were drawn out when I got the kit from the breeder.

  6. #5
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Location
    San Mateo, CA
    Posts
    6,738

    Default Re: What's happening with these cells?

    Mann Lake small cell frames. Hard to get drawn by the bees. You have to wax them before use and feed feed feed. Switch to Acorn, Ritecell or all wax foundation. Charlie gave me a whole box of these for free, as soon as I tried them I knew why....
    Common problem, even with a genius beekeeper like me:


  7. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Auckland,Auckland,New Zealand
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    9,889

    Default Re: What's happening with these cells?

    They are queen cells that have hatched, to me they look pre planned rather than emergency cells, so it could be your hive swarmed. Although on that type burr comb it's hard to know if they are pre planned for sure.

    In harsh conditions with little or no feed, wether or not the bees survivie is entirely over to the beekeeper. If there is no natural feed, the beekeeper can ignore that and let them starve to death, or he can feed them to keep them alive so they can make honey when the right time comes.

    Basically it is necessary to manage the hive, ie, look in it regularly to see if they need feeding, are making preperations to swarm, need treating for varroa mites, that type of thing. Don't do those and most likely you will end up with a dead hive.

    It's not that Italian bees cannot survive in a desert, it's that some other bees are more thrifty, and tolerate a lack of care better. However those bees will most likely make you less honey than a properly cared for Italian hive would.
    "Thinking Inside The Box"

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    53,550

    Default Re: What's happening with these cells?

    You have fins (comb at right angles to the frame), which are often a problem with any plastic foundation. Then they build queen cells on the fins. Then the queens emerged...
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 42y 40h 39yTF

  9. #8

    Default Re: What's happening with these cells?

    Ok! So basically it's a combo of bad beekeeping and bad frames. I will be much more hands on with this years hive and will start feeding as soon as the bloom dies off, looks like I need to invest in some new equipment as well. Thanks for the hlp everyone!

  10. #9
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    San Francisco, CA
    Posts
    3,139

    Default Re: What's happening with these cells?

    Quote Originally Posted by odfrank View Post
    Mann Lake small cell frames. Hard to get drawn by the bees. You have to wax them before use and feed feed feed. Switch to Acorn, Ritecell or all wax foundation. Charlie gave me a whole box of these for free, as soon as I tried them I knew why....
    Common problem, even with a genius beekeeper like me:

    Beginners beware!!! Don’t get these Mann Lake PF small cell frames. Being a beginner 9 years ago and stupid, I fell for the small cell BS and ordered a ton of these. I finally got rid of my last case giving them to Ollie!

  11. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2017
    Location
    Aylett, Virginia
    Posts
    3,246

    Default Re: What's happening with these cells?

    Quote Originally Posted by Charlie B View Post
    Beginners beware!!! Donít get these Mann Lake PF small cell frames. Being a beginner 9 years ago and stupid, I fell for the small cell BS and ordered a ton of these. I finally got rid of my last case giving them to Ollie!
    That is messed up on so many levels.
    Thankfully, the bees are smarter than I am. They are doing well, in spite of my efforts to help them.

  12. #11
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    53,550

    Default Re: What's happening with these cells?

    I've used all cell sizes of plastic from Mann Lake 5.4mm, Pierco 5.2mm and PF100 4.9mm, as well as DuraComb 5.4mm and seen fins on all of them at about the same rate. I've also seen them use all of those fine some of the time. The trigger for the problem is plastic. The DuraComb was even covered in wax but the plastic in the middle seems to discourage the bees.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 42y 40h 39yTF

  13. #12
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Location
    San Mateo, CA
    Posts
    6,738

    Default

    Test test
    All of my opinions and suggestions are based on my five decades of actual beekeeping,
    not so much on book learning, watching YouTube videos nor reading internet sites.

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