Strange spherical cells on new hive - Page 2
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  1. #21
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    Apr 2020
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    Chicago, Illinois, USA
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    Default Re: Strange spherical cells on new hive

    A quick update on this hive.

    We did in fact find and mark the queen after inspecting 3 times, using the smoker technique mentioned here with the queen excluder and using the Dummy's guide technique of getting rid of laying workers. See image below.
    queen-bee.jpg

    One more question. Would laying workers kill the queen 100% of the time? If so, I'm assuming that the issues with the crazy high drone and drone cell count, means that there were never laying workers and that the queen is unmated, since the queen is alive.

    Thanks for all the help with this hive, it has been a crazy ride with it.

    Michael

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  3. #22
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    May 2020
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    Westphalia, Michigan, USA
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    Default Re: Strange spherical cells on new hive

    I notice something from your pictures that causes a question. What exactly is the cell size of the foundation? To me it looks larger that what I would expect for worker cell size. Could it actually be drone sized foundation? Manufacturers make plastic foundation in different cell sizes with a standard they choose....meaning that there is no real set standard, at least as far as the manufacturers go. I think 5.2mm is standard worker cell but? I have had some success with plastic foundation but the bees seem to not draw it out as quickly. Since I still have some I plan on giving it a good coating of bee wax. Maybe overkill it a bit. Just to see if it makes a difference.

    Also something looks 'off'' with the plastic foundation cells as far as the extrusion or however it is made. Could be just the picture..........

  4. #23
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    Default Re: Strange spherical cells on new hive

    Quote Originally Posted by Trin View Post
    I notice something from your pictures that causes a question. What exactly is the cell size of the foundation? To me it looks larger that what I would expect for worker cell size. Could it actually be drone sized foundation? Manufacturers make plastic foundation in different cell sizes with a standard they choose....meaning that there is no real set standard, at least as far as the manufacturers go. I think 5.2mm is standard worker cell but? I have had some success with plastic foundation but the bees seem to not draw it out as quickly. Since I still have some I plan on giving it a good coating of bee wax. Maybe overkill it a bit. Just to see if it makes a difference.

    Also something looks 'off'' with the plastic foundation cells as far as the extrusion or however it is made. Could be just the picture..........
    Trin:
    Wow, you've honestly blown my mind with this comment.

    I bought all of my hives from the same company. The plastic foundation kept falling out of the brood frames. I contacted the company and they said, "We have gotten a few complaints saying that the foundation are to short by a 1/8 in.". I wonder if they're defective in more than just the length?!? They sent me a few replacement foundations, but only a sixth of the ones that we needed. We made do with the 1/8 inch short frames out of necessity and used pins to secure them in place.

    I knew that the size of cells guides the queen to lay certain types of eggs, but I didn't realize that manufacturers would produce plastic for drones specifically (I just can't imagine why a beekeeper would want a full frame of drones?!?). But if the plastic was designed for drones, or was defective in the sizing and is instructing the queen to lay drones it could explain it. The queen could be like, "OMG, not another drone cell!!!"

    I have put a few foundationless frames in with popcycle sticks glued to the top and wires for structure and then coated with wax into this hive to see if the bees take to it. This first month of beekeeping has convinced me to replace all of my plastic foundation in my apiary. I'm sure some people do OK with it, but I'm experimenting with alternatives.

    Keep the great insights coming!

  5. #24
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    Feb 2016
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    Mooresville, NC
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    323

    Default Re: Strange spherical cells on new hive

    Quote Originally Posted by Erpenbeck View Post
    Trin:
    Wow, you've honestly blown my mind with this comment.

    I bought all of my hives from the same company. The plastic foundation kept falling out of the brood frames. I contacted the company and they said, "We have gotten a few complaints saying that the foundation are to short by a 1/8 in.". I wonder if they're defective in more than just the length?!? They sent me a few replacement foundations, but only a sixth of the ones that we needed. We made do with the 1/8 inch short frames out of necessity and used pins to secure them in place.

    I knew that the size of cells guides the queen to lay certain types of eggs, but I didn't realize that manufacturers would produce plastic for drones specifically (I just can't imagine why a beekeeper would want a full frame of drones?!?). But if the plastic was designed for drones, or was defective in the sizing and is instructing the queen to lay drones it could explain it. The queen could be like, "OMG, not another drone cell!!!"

    I have put a few foundationless frames in with popcycle sticks glued to the top and wires for structure and then coated with wax into this hive to see if the bees take to it. This first month of beekeeping has convinced me to replace all of my plastic foundation in my apiary. I'm sure some people do OK with it, but I'm experimenting with alternatives.

    Keep the great insights coming!
    It is absolutely fascinating what you do with drone sized foundation. It has to do with the fact that the mites are more likely to lay in drone cells because they take longer to pupate and that is good for them. So what people will do is put in a drone frame, and when it gets laid and capped, they pull it out and either feed it to the chickens, or freeze it and put it back for the bees to clean out. Thus reducing your mites... Fun thing is that if you are not meticulous in your timing... you get huge increase in mite population by missing pulling it out in time.

  6. #25
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    Oct 2019
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    Portland, OR
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    91

    Default Re: Strange spherical cells on new hive

    Hi Michael,

    I had a similar issue with a drone layer but unlike you I could never find the queen so I had to just shake out the colony and will lose a lot of them as a result.

    Did the smoker technique help you isolate and find the queen?

    Kevin

  7. #26
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    Apr 2020
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    Chicago, Illinois, USA
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    Default Re: Strange spherical cells on new hive

    Quote Originally Posted by Absinthe View Post
    It is absolutely fascinating what you do with drone sized foundation. It has to do with the fact that the mites are more likely to lay in drone cells because they take longer to pupate and that is good for them. So what people will do is put in a drone frame, and when it gets laid and capped, they pull it out and either feed it to the chickens, or freeze it and put it back for the bees to clean out. Thus reducing your mites... Fun thing is that if you are not meticulous in your timing... you get huge increase in mite population by missing pulling it out in time.
    Absinthe:
    That is very interesting. The drones become a trap for the pests, fascinating and a little disturbing.

  8. #27
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    Apr 2020
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    Default Re: Strange spherical cells on new hive

    Quote Originally Posted by Kevinf View Post
    Hi Michael,

    I had a similar issue with a drone layer but unlike you I could never find the queen so I had to just shake out the colony and will lose a lot of them as a result.

    Did the smoker technique help you isolate and find the queen?

    Kevin
    Kevin:I started with the smoker technique and a queen excluder. Most of the workers refused to go through the excluder and just sat on top of it. That is when I did the shake out the colony technique for the Beekeeping for Dummies book. It was pretty rough and I ended up getting stung three times through my clothes (well-deserved though). I looked at every bee in the hive before doing it, and couldn't find the queen.

    I must be the world's worst at finding the queen, because the next day, many of them were still hanging out in the same spot in a swarming pattern and I suspected the queen may be there. I looked at the clump and didn't see the queen anywhere and I was late for an appointment, so I left. I came back the next day and they were all gone...I was like, "oh, crap, am I going to get a call from the neighbors that there's a swarm on their back porch?!?".

    The next day while inspecting our last frame, we saw the swarm above the hive on the brick wall and the queen right in the middle. I think that this picture below is after we caught the queen and marked her. I suspect that the queen realized that life outside of the hive sucks and it was time to get back to the comfort of the hive after I so rudely dumped her out into the grass.

    It is weird, both my nephew and I inspected each frame 3+ times and found no queen at all. I'll keep working on getting better at identifying the queen and in the mean-time, I'm marking every queen I see.


    swarm.jpg

  9. #28
    Join Date
    Apr 2020
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    Chicago, Illinois, USA
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    Default Re: Strange spherical cells on new hive

    Quote Originally Posted by Kevinf View Post
    Hi Michael,

    I had a similar issue with a drone layer but unlike you I could never find the queen so I had to just shake out the colony and will lose a lot of them as a result.

    Did the smoker technique help you isolate and find the queen?

    Kevin
    Kevin:I started with the smoker technique and a queen excluder. Most of the workers refused to go through the excluder and just sat on top of it. That is when I did the "shake out the colony" technique for the Beekeeping for Dummies book. It was pretty rough and I ended up getting stung three times through my clothes (well-deserved though). I looked at every bee in the hive before doing it, and couldn't find the queen.

    I must be the world's worst at finding the queen, because the next day, many of them were still hanging out in the same spot in a swarming pattern and I suspected the queen may be there. I looked at the clump and didn't see the queen anywhere and I was late for an appointment, so I left. I came back the next day and they were all gone...I was like, "oh, crap, am I going to get a call from the neighbors that there's a swarm on their back porch?!?".

    The next day while inspecting our last frame, we saw the swarm above the hive on the brick wall and the queen right in the middle. I think that this picture below is after we caught the queen and marked her. I suspect that the queen realized that life outside of the hive sucks and it was time to get back to the comfort of the hive after I so rudely dumped her out into the grass.

    It is weird, both my nephew and I inspected each frame 3+ times and found no queen at all before the "shake out" technique. I'll keep working on getting better at identifying the queen and in the mean-time, I'm marking every queen I see.


    swarm.jpg

  10. #29
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    Jan 2013
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    Lumpkin County, GA
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    926

    Default Re: Strange spherical cells on new hive

    Are your frames pushed tightly together? If there is no room the bees will draw flat comb (most of the time). I would scrape off the errant comb, push the frames together and let them redraw. Since it is drone comb, you will not hurt your hive if you remove the comb.

  11. #30
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    May 2011
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    Algoma District Northern Ontario, Canada
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    Default Re: Strange spherical cells on new hive

    I remember something from four years or so ago about some offshore foundation that had a high adulteration with other than genuine bees wax.
    Frank

  12. #31
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    Default Re: Strange spherical cells on new hive

    Quote Originally Posted by ericweller View Post
    Are your frames pushed tightly together? If there is no room the bees will draw flat comb (most of the time). I would scrape off the errant comb, push the frames together and let them redraw. Since it is drone comb, you will not hurt your hive if you remove the comb.
    Eric:
    Yes the frames are pushed together. I did end up scraping off all of the comb that looked like the picture earlier. I melted it all down and strained it and then reused it to paint some frames with some extra wax.

  13. #32
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    Default Re: Strange spherical cells on new hive

    Quote Originally Posted by crofter View Post
    I remember something from four years or so ago about some offshore foundation that had a high adulteration with other than genuine bees wax.
    Frank:
    So are you saying that some of the wax on foundation isn't good wax? I could believe that for sure.

  14. #33
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    Default Re: Strange spherical cells on new hive

    Quote Originally Posted by Erpenbeck View Post
    Frank:
    So are you saying that some of the wax on foundation isn't good wax? I could believe that for sure.
    It is a long shot but if a particular batch of foundation just wont get accepted no way, no how, I would consider it. Can you find a link to that Amazon purchase. Is it name brand or other Someone had purchased foundation that was under spec for height and kept falling out of the frames. If such basic things are overlooked perhaps other omissions are possible.
    Frank

  15. #34
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    Default Re: Strange spherical cells on new hive

    Quote Originally Posted by crofter View Post
    It is a long shot but if a particular batch of foundation just wont get accepted no way, no how, I would consider it. Can you find a link to that Amazon purchase. Is it name brand or other Someone had purchased foundation that was under spec for height and kept falling out of the frames. If such basic things are overlooked perhaps other omissions are possible.
    Frank:
    Thanks. I bout it from a company on Amazon. I'll see in the next inspection if they take to it. I've also tried some foundationless. Hopefully they're happy now.

  16. #35
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    Apr 2016
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    North Missouri, USA
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    138

    Default Re: Strange spherical cells on new hive

    This has been an interesting read! I'm sorry for your troubles, but thank you for sharing. I think it is interesting how some nuc just seem like they arrive with a personality and keep to it. I have only bought one nuc so far and several packages. The nuc just refused to get bigger and they didn't want to sock up their hives at all. They eventually disappeared but I don't remember if that was one of my failed re-queening or if combined it or of if it swarmed...but I didn't mind losing it. I've never had problems with my own nucs and have never bought once since.

  17. #36
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    Default Re: Strange spherical cells on new hive

    When I was just starting beekeeping, I had my sister take pictures of each frame I would hold up. Because they were high-def, I would study these pictures later and play "spot the queen." I rather enjoy this game and I get to study the brood better and familiarize myself with them.

    Might help you find her more easily. I don't mark my queens because I have small hands and biger gloves and I am clumsy and have bad luck. Once I marked one of my queens, and then squished her 5 minutes after returning her to her box because I wanted to see how much easier it is to find a marked queen. I set a frame right on top of her. So I just learned to find them so I didn't need to worry about marking them.

  18. #37
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    Sep 2019
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    Jasper, Georgia, USA
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    Default Re: Strange spherical cells on new hive

    Quote Originally Posted by niki.nicole View Post
    When I was just starting beekeeping, I had my sister take pictures of each frame I would hold up. Because they were high-def, I would study these pictures later and play "spot the queen." I rather enjoy this game and I get to study the brood better and familiarize myself with them.
    Did this for my very first inspection at the two week mark. Highly recommend it! Regret not doing it since.

    Hard to take pictures wearing gloves so plan to build a rig that will hold my smart phone and a frame at the ideal distance. Set phone to audible 'cheese' mode... Stay tuned, might be months before it gets to the top of my to-do list.

  19. #38
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    Default Re: Strange spherical cells on new hive

    Quote Originally Posted by niki.nicole View Post
    When I was just starting beekeeping, I had my sister take pictures of each frame I would hold up. Because they were high-def, I would study these pictures later and play "spot the queen." I rather enjoy this game and I get to study the brood better and familiarize myself with them.

    Might help you find her more easily. I don't mark my queens because I have small hands and biger gloves and I am clumsy and have bad luck. Once I marked one of my queens, and then squished her 5 minutes after returning her to her box because I wanted to see how much easier it is to find a marked queen. I set a frame right on top of her. So I just learned to find them so I didn't need to worry about marking them.
    Ha, not to laugh at your misfortune of squishing the queen, but it is a good story.

    For catching the queen we used the following queen catcher. I highly recommend it. It keeps her contained while you mark her between a soft cushion and elastic strips on the top while you mark her. Additionally, you can keep her in there during the rest of the inspection, you don't need to worry about hurting her. Then we placed her back into the middle of the brood box before closing it up. She quickly found a dark area and was safe when we closed up the box.
    https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

    It is a poor picture, but you can see her in the catcher here. Similar to a queen excluder, the striped cage above is big enough that the other bees can get out, but she is trapped.
    IMG_2114.jpg

    We have also been taking pictures of each frame. My nephew's phone is pretty low resolution, so we've changed over a decent camera. We are also considering building a rig like William as it gets tedious with two brood boxes and multiple hives.

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