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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Either my Bee Math Sucks OR ... well the bees are messing with me!
I have spent a lot of time reading books and forums about bees they could at least pretend to go along with things.

Picture here as wouldn't upload http://augustcottageapiary.wordpress.com/2014/06/09/either-my-bee-math-sucks-or/

So, the story goes....

On the 17th May I split the hive (22 days prior). So from this day on no queen was present, all brood was either capped, larvae, or eggs.

On the 31st May (14 days later) I inspected. On this day there was a beautiful capped queen cell. I thought wonderful this queen cell must have been made from an egg, if it had been made from a young larva it would already have emerged. Queens take 16 days to emerge from the egg being laid, eggs remain eggs for just 3.5 days. Since this is 14 days after the queen was removed an egg MUST have been used. This being a Saturday the queen would therefore be born on the Sunday, Monday or maybe Tuesday. She takes a week to then become sexually mature so may make her mating flight the following weekend.

On the 8th June (22 days later) I inspected. The beautiful queen cell had hatched as expected. But HANG ON, there is another one right next to it! Go on look at the picture, tell me my eyes are deceiving me! Surely this isn't possible! For there to be a capped queen cell present there MUST have been a queen in there laying within the last 16 days. This is 22 days after the split. I am very confused if anyone knows what is going on please do tell me.

It surely cannot be that the queen has emerged, mated, and starting laying already. The weather last week was awful and she will not have been sexually mature, and even then it would take 8 days before the cell is capped. The only option I can see is that there must have been another queen cell that I missed. The new queen has managed to get mated and has started laying. Then the bees have decided to make another queen cells anyway. So maybe my eyes are the problem!
 

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I've read accounts of queenless colonies stealing an egg from another colony. Perhaps? Otherwise, you would have brood (& another queen). IDK. Your bee math seems sound.
 

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Do a search on Thelytoky. I had a tough to explain queen cell in my hybrid KTBH/Lang/Warre nuc that I wrote about in that thread on the top bar forum. It did hatch but if it was a viable queen I don't know. I didn't see it and since I was worried about laying workers I put a ripe queen cell in the colony from a split of my Buckfast colony. I now have a queen in there but I think it is a Buckfast daughter.
 

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That is strange. Were there any queen cells in the other side of your split? Did you remove the second queen cell? If not, that virgin might kill off your mated queen. It's possible that you didn't see the second queen cell originally, and that one turned out to be a dud.
 

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Perhaps if you had an old queen that had been superseded, but not yet kicked out or killed, then the old one would have been left after you removed the young one to lay a few eggs. Still, it sounds like an unusual circumstance.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I performed a near equal split. This was the queenless side of the split. The queenright part of the split remained queenright as far as I can tell because there continued to be brood etc. I am extremely confused, the only thing I can think is that there was a queen cell which hatched before this one and the queen started laying. Then this extra queen cell would be a supercedure cell. Some new queens "can" I believe be replaced before the rest of their brood is even capped. I will check this weekend and if there is some capped brood I know there was a queen laying there at some point. If not, I am inclined to give them a brood comb from the queenright side of the split. The only problem being I can never spot this queen... ever... so I don't want to move her with the brood :s
 

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>On the 17th May I split the hive (22 days prior). So from this day on no queen was present, all brood was either capped, larvae, or eggs.

25 days ago you did a split. They would start with a four day old larvae. It would be capped by 21st of May, emerge by the 29th of May, and start laying somewhere between the 2nd of June and the 19th of June with the 12th (tomorrow) being most likely.

> On the 31st May (14 days later) I inspected. On this day there was a beautiful capped queen cell. I thought wonderful this queen cell must have been made from an egg, if it had been made from a young larva it would already have emerged. Queens take 16 days to emerge from the egg being laid, eggs remain eggs for just 3.5 days. Since this is 14 days after the queen was removed an egg MUST have been used.

Not impossible, but unlikely. More likely it's not viable and won't emerge. But also possible that the weather has been cold and the queen is emerging late.

>This being a Saturday the queen would therefore be born on the Sunday, Monday or maybe Tuesday. She takes a week to then become sexually mature so may make her mating flight the following weekend.

Possibly.

>On the 8th June (22 days later) I inspected. The beautiful queen cell had hatched as expected. But HANG ON, there is another one right next to it! Go on look at the picture, tell me my eyes are deceiving me! Surely this isn't possible! For there to be a capped queen cell present there MUST have been a queen in there laying within the last 16 days. This is 22 days after the split. I am very confused if anyone knows what is going on please do tell me.

A queen from your split could be laying as early as the 2nd (not uncommon) or even a couple of days earlier (uncommon) of June (9 days ago and six days before the 8th) and if they decided to raise a queen from one of those that day it would be capped eight days later on the 10th.

>It surely cannot be that the queen has emerged, mated, and starting laying already.

It can. Yes. But that may not be the best explanation...

>The weather last week was awful and she will not have been sexually mature

This varies a lot.

>and even then it would take 8 days before the cell is capped. The only option I can see is that there must have been another queen cell that I missed.

Yes.

>The new queen has managed to get mated and has started laying. Then the bees have decided to make another queen cells anyway. So maybe my eyes are the problem!

Or it's just an old queen cell that wasn't viable so the virgin didn't bother to tear it down. There are several possible explanations.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thank Michael.
Factoring in the 4 day old larva makes the presence of a laying queen make much more sense.
I will inspect again at the weekend (15th June, a full month after the physical split). If there is no obvious brood I will consider giving them a bar's worth as insurance.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
So Michael.
I think I have got my head round this now. When I saw that first capped queen cell there was already a new queen present, probably a virgin having emerged about 3 days previous. The capped cell I found was an "extra" emergency queen cell and "may" have resulted in a swarm. The second capped queen cell I found would then have been a supercedure cell made from eggs laid by the first queen that had emerged.
So on sunday, when I next inspect, I will hopefully have a new,new queen who may or may not have mated. ?!?!? Anywhere close?
 

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It's hard to say the exact sequence of events, but keep in mind sometimes they leave a nonviable queen cell around a while and sometimes they destroy all evidence it existed very quickly. It's hard to say how old a queen cell is. It's also hard to say that there is or is not a virgin queen running around at any given moment. They are difficult to spot and they don't leave evidence (eggs and larvae). But it's not hard to come up with possible scenarios...
 
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