1 - 11 of 11 Posts

Michael Bush

·
Vendor
Local feral survivors in eight frame medium boxes.
Joined
·
54,120 Posts
Discussion Starter · ·
Bee Math

All of the numbers for a bee life cycle may seem irrelevant, so lets put them in a chart here and talk about some of what they are useful for.

Caste Hatch Cap Emerge
Queen 3½ days 8 days +-1 16 days +-1 Laying 28 days +-5
Worker 3½ days 9 days +-1 20 days +-1 Foraging 42 days +- 7
Drone 3½ days 10 days +-1 24 days +-1 Flying to DCA 38 days +-5

If you find eggs, and no queen how long ago do you KNOW there was a queen? At least there was one three days ago and possibly is one now. If you find just hatched larvae and open brood but no eggs when was there a queen? Four days.

If you put an excluder between two boxes and come back in four days and find eggs in one and not the other, what do you know? That the queen is in the one with eggs.

If you find a capped queen cell, how long before it should have emerged for sure? 9 days, but probably 8.

If you find a capped queen cell, how long before you should see eggs from that queen? 20 days.

If you killed or lost a queen, how long before youll have a laying queen again? 24 days because the bees will start from a just hatched larvae.

If you start from larvae and graft, how long before you need to transfer the larvae to a mating nuc? 10 days. (day 14)

If you confine the queen to get the larvae how long before you graft? Four days because some wont have hatched at the beginning for day 3.

If you confined the queen to get the larvae how long before we have a laying queen? 28 days.

If a queen is killed and the bees raise a new one how much brood will be left in the hive just before the new queen starts to lay? None. It will take 24 or 25 days for the new queen (raised from a four day old) to be laying and in 21 days all the workers will have emerged and in 24 days all the drones will have emerged.

If the queens starts laying today how long before that brood will be foraging for honey? 42 days.

You can see how knowing how long things take helps you predict where things are going or where things have been.

FordGuy

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,434 Posts
excellent post. thanks.

Sundance

·
Joined
·
9,105 Posts
MB, may I do a cut and paste to Word so I can print this out???

Valuable stuff.... Thanks I agree that a MB and Bees book should be in the works.

PA Pete

·
Registered
Joined
·
585 Posts
There's a nice graphic of a honey bee worker's lifecycle on page 12 in the "Beekeeping in Tennessee" document put out by the University of Tennessee Extension down at the bottom of this page. Not so helpful for understanding the Queen lifecycle, but good for workers
The doc seems reasonably good too considering it's only 43 pages - it also has some nice color photos.

Jeffrey Todd

·
Registered
Joined
·
922 Posts
Michael,

Thanks for that post. It is very helpful to know these things when doing a split and letting the bees raise their own queen or timing things in accordance with a honeyflow.
How long do you think it takes a queen to get up to full capacity on laying - perhaps not a question with one answer since other factors (nurse bees available, honey and pollen availability etc.) come into play. But assuming she has all the resources she needs, how long after either mating or introduction from a cage?
Further, how long would it be before the hive reaches full strength? Assuming a worker bee lives for 6 weeks after hatching (during the height of the season) then the first of her progeny start to die 9 weeks after the eggs are laid. If it took her a week to get up to full speed, then it would be 10 weeks until the hive is at full strength with her offspring - again making the assumption that all the other factors are in place. Is that right?

Michael Bush

·
Vendor
Local feral survivors in eight frame medium boxes.
Joined
·
54,120 Posts
Discussion Starter · ·
>How long do you think it takes a queen to get up to full capacity on laying - perhaps not a question with one answer since other factors (nurse bees available, honey and pollen availability etc.) come into play. But assuming she has all the resources she needs, how long after either mating or introduction from a cage?

I'd say from experience, about two weeks.

>Further, how long would it be before the hive reaches full strength?

They all build at different rates at different times and even more so by race. There is no way to predict this. It depends on how much the queen lays and how much brood the bees raise and that depends on too many things.

allrawpaul

·
Registered
Joined
·
348 Posts
How soon do you get a swarm after queen cups are constructed in abundance? How often do they swarm before queen cells are capped? Thanks, Paul.

Michael Bush

·
Vendor
Local feral survivors in eight frame medium boxes.
Joined
·
54,120 Posts
Discussion Starter · ·
>How soon do you get a swarm after queen cups are constructed in abundance?

Assuming you open a hive and find queen cells in abundance and they are not capped yet, they could be 4 day old larvae to 8 day old larvae. So they will get capped either the following day or the day within four days, depending on how old they are.
>How often do they swarm before queen cells are capped?

In my observation, usually they swarm right after they are capped and occasionally just before they are capped.

So if you find capped swarm cells, they probably have already swarmed.

allrawpaul

·
Registered
Joined
·
348 Posts
Thanks Michael! It helps a lot to know how long the various hive activities take! How long does it usually take for a secondary swarm queen to start laying after the swarm is hived? If its been a while and you still see no eggs, at what point do you know your queen is a dud? If the bees start hanging out on the landing pad, looking listless and testy, do you give a frame of eggs immediately? Thanks!

Michael Bush

·
Vendor
Local feral survivors in eight frame medium boxes.
Joined
·
54,120 Posts
Discussion Starter · ·
>How long does it usually take for a secondary swarm queen to start laying after the swarm is hived?

Two weeks.

>If its been a while and you still see no eggs, at what point do you know your queen is a dud?

Often she's not laying either because of a dearth or because there aren't enough bees to rear brood or it's After October or so because it's fall, or it's early spring and she's hasn't kicked back in or because she's been banked and hasn't kicked back in. Make sure they have bees and food and it's not late in the year and she's had two weeks to get going. If there's no brood, then I'd get rid of her.

>If the bees start hanging out on the landing pad, looking listless and testy, do you give a frame of eggs immediately?

That's always a good failsafe plan. Then they can replace the queen if she's failing.

allrawpaul

·
Registered
Joined
·
348 Posts
Its only been 10 days since I hived the swarm and split the original hive, so I wont panic yet, thanks. Is it normal for the bees to hang out on the landing pad while they wait for the queen to start laying, or is it possibly due to robbing or a nectar dearth? It isnt a huge number of bees, maybe only 50 at both hives. Thanks.

1 - 11 of 11 Posts