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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Inspected exploding hive 2 wks ago. Lots of eggs. Queen seen. One week ago, she was gone. Hive still loaded with bees. Handful of supercedure cells seen. Perhaps I killed her during prior inspection. End of rookie year coming up.

Purchased a new queen from regional dealer day after finding prior queen gone. Followed his advice for introducing her by placing queen cage in between frames for 2 days and then, if no aggressive balling around queen cage, releasing her. Did so. Just reinspected 5 days later. No queen, no eggs, no larvae. 10-12 supercedure cells and 1 swarm cell. Did I goof on the intro technique? Does it make a difference if the queen cage is placed at the top of the food chamber rather than at the top of the brood chamber below?

Should I requeen again now?

Also noted 12-15 capped drone cells at the bottom of the lowest of 2 honey supers despite queen excluder between food chamber and supers. Do the workers ever move eggs? Or had they likely been laid prior to all these shananigans?

What a learning curve.
 

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A hive with superecedure cells is percieved as queenright by the bees, those cells are queens. You would first have to remove all queen cells, wait a bit then add the caged queen.
 
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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks for the feedback. One question is whether I ought to order a new queen or take the time to have a new one home grown (since we're just on the verge of the main part of the nectar flow here in Maryland). In other words, do I risk reducing the honey harvest by letting them grow their own?

Also, when introducing a new queen: (1) does it matter whether the queen cage is placed in the lowest box (brood) versus the 2nd lowest (food), and (2) did I blow it by releasing her from the cage after only 2 days?

Just trying to learn from my mistakes.

P.S. Michael, what do you do when you get a handful of supercedure cells?
 

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>Thanks for the feedback. One question is whether I ought to order a new queen or take the time to have a new one home grown (since we're just on the verge of the main part of the nectar flow here in Maryland).

A new queen now will no help your harvest on the main flow. By the time she gets there, starts laying and there is any significant increase in the work force it will be a month at least.

>In other words, do I risk reducing the honey harvest by letting them grow their own?

You will actually INCREASE the harvest by letting them raise their own because there will be less brood to care for while they raise the new queen and she mates and then starts to lay and these nurse bees will become foragers increasing your actual harvest.

Timing is everything.

>Also, when introducing a new queen: (1) does it matter whether the queen cage is placed in the lowest box (brood) versus the 2nd lowest (food), and

I always put her over the brood because there are more nurse bees and they are more accepting of a new queen.

>(2) did I blow it by releasing her from the cage after only 2 days?

If a hive is queenless SOMETIMES you can get away with releasing directly. I play it by ear and watch the bees on the cage. If they are just calmly trying to feed and reach the queen or they seem to be biting and attacking the screen. Also how is the queen responding. Is she being fed through the screen or cowering in the corner. It's hard to predict if you blew it without seeing the bees responding when she was in the cage.

>Just trying to learn from my mistakes.

Always a good idea.

>P.S. Michael, what do you do when you get a handful of supercedure cells?

Well, first, if I really don't want more queens (or more splits) then depending on how far along it is, I'll scrape the royal jelly out and put it in a little jar (like about a 1 oz jar) that I keep for doing queens to prime cups with.

But usually it's nice to do splits with them or use them to requeen.
 
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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Now that's a cool thing...when the answer is the opposite of what you expected (volume of honey with purchased queen vs. with a homegrown queen) but it makes sense from your explanation!

Are the foragers as motivated/busy without a laying queen in the colony?
 

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As Clinton says above, the bees percieve themselves to be queenright as long as there are queen cells. They start acting queenless when there are no cells and no larvae to raise any from. Then they may lose their sense of purpose.
 
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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
That makes sense. I wondered though, b/c the bees are still jumpier and a tad more aggressive than before the loss of the queen 2-3 weeks ago. Perhaps "queenright" with queen cells is not quite the same as "queenright" with a laying queen. Maybe they're more idle and can pay more attention to the inspecting beekeeper?
 
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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Inspected today the hive described above with no queen, no eggs, loads of bees, and a handful of supercedure cells. Last week all the supercedure cells were capped. Today, all the supercedure cells were uncapped, but still no queen, no eggs, no uncapped larvae, and a listless inactivity from the hive in general despite being in the miiddle of nectar flow.

Should I order a new queen?
 

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It takes 12 days from emergence before you'll see eggs. She needs several days to mature, several days to mate and several days before she starts to lay. It's VERY difficult to find a virgin queen. They are very shy and run and hide well. They are smaller than a laying queen and they are faster. They don't stand around like a laying queen does or walk slowly like a laying queen. They run and hide.

If the queen cells look like they emerged then you probably have a queen.
 

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>Inspected today the hive described above with no queen, no eggs, loads of bees, and a handful of supercedure cells. Last week all the supercedure cells were capped. Today, all the supercedure cells were uncapped, but still no queen, no eggs, no uncapped larvae, and a listless inactivity from the hive in general despite being in the miiddle of nectar flow.
Should I order a new queen?

From when she emerges until she starts laying is about 12 days. If your eyesight isn't so good for seeing eggs you may not see larvae for another 4 or 5 days. If you can find a virgin queen, you're either lucky or VERY good. She is small, fast and afraid of the light. I'm pretty sure you have a virgin in there and if you order a new queen they will just kill it anyway, unless you find the virgin (extremely unlikely) and kill her.
 
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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Reinspected again today. now ~4 weeks without a queen or eggs. no more capped brood. nectar stored abundantly in brood and food chamber, but no progress with wax production or additional nectar collection in 2 supers (one nearly filled, one nearly empty). decent viewing skills. saw eggs and new, running queen in separate colony.

decided there was something wierd about this perpetually queenless and listless hive and pulled a frame with fresh eggs from another hive and placed it into this hive. hoping they'll bathe one or more eggs in royal jelly and make a new queen. Major nectar flow is apparently about over in another 2 weeks, so opportunity for big honey harvest this year mostly gone.

Would you have done the same?

Thanks,

David in Baltimore
 
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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Still a problem hive. Inspected yesterday. Saw a few empty swarm cells under production and the single frame of mostly capped brood that I pulled form another hive last week with fresh eggs on it at that time. I had expected this queenless hive to make a queencell out of one of the fresh eggs or to move one or more of the eggs into a queen cell, but wouldn't I have seen a capped queen cell yesterday if either of those two guesses were right?

Should I just bite the bullet and order a new queen at this point?

Thanks (Michael),

David in Baltimore
 

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I have a somewhat related problem. I requeens a hive 3 weeks ago. Check the hive recently and found no queen, no eggs, larva. So, I bought a queen in an attempt to save the hive. I placed the queen on the top bars for 5 minutes but no one was interested. I placed the queen cage in the entrance and watched the bees crawl over the queen cage to get inside. I placed her between two frames and left. Will check back today. Is this a lost cause, should I try a frame of brood and eggs, or should I combine them with a 4 frame nuc that I made up a week ago?

Bruce
 

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You guys can do you own math, but here's the schedule for a supercedure when the queen is killed or lost. Basically it takes them bees a little while to realize they are queenless. A little while to decide they need to start raising a queen and a little while to organize the effort. And that could take from 24 to 48 hours (2 days) Now they will start with a 3 day old larvae (which was only a 1 day old egg when the queen disappeared) and build some queen cells. These will be capped five days later (7 days from the loss of the queen), emerge on the 15th day from the queen loss, possibly fly on the 21st day from the queen loss, possibly mate (depending on the weather etc.) on the 24th day from the queen loss. I wouldn't EXPECT to see any eggs until a minimum of 27 days from the queen loss and by now there is no brood at all. Capped, open or otherwise. Even the drones have emerged.

So for 12 days you have no brood, no queen that is easily found (because virgins are fast and shy), no eggs, no queen cells. So you buy a queen and install it and they bees reject it and a few days later you find eggs.

If you don't have a laying worker and the bees are not building a queen cell from eggs/brood you give them and they are ignoring a queen you are trying to give them these are all signs that there is probably a queen or queen cell in the hive, but she's just not laying yet.

I can't say what anyone's particular situation is, but do the math. If in doubt I always check for multiple eggs and I always give a frame of open brood with eggs to see if they NEED a queen. If they don't have a laying worker and they don't build a queen cell then my guess is they HAVE a queen.

In a typical supercedure the queen may be around while all of this is going on and so there may BE eggs and larvae and capped brood depending on when the bees decide to dispose of the old queen.
 

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There are several ways to re-queen a colony. When buying a queen you should go the save way and take no risk loosing your queen.

1. Inspect the colony and remove the old queen. Screw a queen cage under the top bar from an empty frame with a strip of foundation on each side and put the new queen in the cage. Close the cage with a plug and put the frame in the middle of your hive between two brood frames where young bees hatching. Wait 3 days and as soon as bees starting building combs on the strips of foundation remove the plug form the cage and close the hole with a candy (mixture honey and icy sugar). This method is almost 100% save, which mean I never lost a queen this way.
2. Inspect you colony and if your not sure about a queen and no sign of eggs in the hive put a frame with new eggs right in the middle of the colony. After 3 days inspect the frame and if there are queen cells remove the frame and put a new queen in the hive like I described on number one. If there are no queen cells you should wait at least 12 days and inspect for new eggs / brood. If there is nothing even after two weeks try it again with an egg frame.
3. When finding several eggs in one cell you probably have some bees laying eggs. There is ONLY one way to save the rest of the colony. Remove everything from the hive and put empty combs, two frame with eggs and a new queen in a cage like I described in 1, and shake all bees at least 100 meter / 300ft from the hive. The bees flying back and most excepting the new queen. All egg laying bees haven bin outside for a longer time than 3 days and can’t find the way home.

Herbert
 
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