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Hi - I'm a first time beekeeper. I installed two locally purchased Italian packages about eight days ago. I put them in new eight frame Langstroth hives with medium supers. I'm trying to go foundationless. The bees looked good and the queens were alive and seemed fine but they were fairly small. I put the queens between two frames and pulled the cork from the candy end. I checked them three days later and they had been released.

I've been feeding them syrup with a jar over the opening on the inner cover in an empty super. They've been taking about 1/2 to 1 pint per day per hive. The bees seem to be doing okay and seem to have been actively foraging. I've noticed them bringing quite a bit of pollen in.

I did an inspection of one of the hives today. They were drawing the comb out nice and straight. They had drawn out about 1/3 of the frame space. Bees were covering the comb and seemed busy working. I could see a lot of the syrup in the comb and some pollen. None of it was capped.

I didn't see the queen or any evidence she was laying. Given her relatively small size, it could very well be that I overlooked her. What confused me is I saw about 6-7 queen cups. Unfortunately I didn't think to see what was in them. Some of the cups were in the middle of the frame and some were toward the bottom.

Any advice on what's going on and what I should do? Should I order a new queen or take a "wait and see" approach? Could they even make a new queen if the old queen is no longer alive?

Any advice would be greatly appreciated! Thank in advance.
 

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Hello,

New beek myself, with a similar start as you. I noticed very small eggs in the cells in about a week of installing, and around Day 12 from install date the very first larvae were swimming in jelly. The eggs were very difficult to see. Are you sure nothing in the bottom of that comb? You have to almost let light shine with the comb straight out in front of your face down to get a glimpse of them. With foundationless, its all virgin wax and not much contrast to see the eggs.

I would let it sit for a few more days and let them do what they do. A new queen can only be made from a fertilized egg. No queen or fertilized egg to grow into a larvae = no new queen potential. I would not bother with the queen cups unless its inhibiting their ability to draw out good comb. They may just tear it down on their own.

You mentioned it in the plural sense, as you have more than one hive. Are both hives looking the same?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for responding Zbee.

That's a good point about the eggs being difficult to spot. I could clearly see a lot of syrup in the cell. I'll look more carefully for eggs next time I inspect it. I really hope the queen is okay and laying! I didn't like finding those queen cups.

Yes I have two hives but only had time to inspect one tonight. I'll try to get the other tomorrow night. They seem to be behaving similarly (from outside perspective alone).

I read your "Day 14" post. Yours look like they're doing well. Nice job.
 

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With ALL due respect, we were all new at one time, some longer ago than others. Some input I will give... eggs are hard to spot initially! You will develop "eyes" for eggs, just as you will develop "queen eyes". It takes time. Look for little larvae...little shiny white "C"s in the cup. I am curious about the "queen cups"... Usually, they are like a security blanket for the bees, and only used when they need to. Think of them as kind of a head start on queen rearing. Eight days is very soon to see much change, especially if they had to draw out new foundation. Give it another week before you bust in again. JMO. I also will recommend a pair of "reader glasses"...nothing strong...1.25 or 1.5...wear them on the end of your nose, so you can just tilt your head up a bit to get a better look into the cells. The 'readers' helped me SO much when I was beginning! Also, I don't know why you would deduce that the queens are small....especially if these are your first hives. Queens are not HUGE in size, in ANY hive. They have an elongated abdomen, but they are still smaller than drones in appearance. The size of your queen is not nearly as relevant as you may think. Give them some time! They are just setting up shop... Good luck to you, and your new addiction...errr...bees!!! ;)
 

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It's not uncommon for a new package to practice building queen cups.Unless there are larvae in royal jelly(white stuff shouldn't be to hard to see)in the queen cups,Iwouldn't worry.They'll tear them down when they're done practicing.Now if they cap them that's a supercedure.I agree with everything else Bees In Miami has stated, good advice!
 

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leave the bees alone as much as you can, inspect in a week as stated above. avoid the new beekeeper sins of too much inspecting and killing or damaging the queen by mistake. go slow and gentle during inspections, do not search for the queen just check for brood. the bees are good at hive management. keep syrup available for a month or more unless the bees started with drawn comb then at least a couple of weeks... you will do fine.
 

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Think of yourself as a nurse bee along with thousands of your fellow nurse bees, The foragers immediately have a job to do find and return Pollen and nectar to the hive. You However can only do a portion of your job, Build comb, Your natural instinct tells you that you should be caring for brood. however there is insufficient brood for but a small portion of the nurse bees to care for. It does not take long before you begin to worry. Oh No! OUR QUEEN IS FAILING!!! hurry quick build a replacement before it is too late we cannot survive without brood. Sometimes the replacements supersede the queen in a new package, sometimes the reining queen catches up and the girls realize they need not replace her, they tear down the queen cells and go about pleasant hive life. some breeds constantly build and tear down queen cells their entire existence.

Give them time and see what they do. Through observation you can often learn an awful lot.
 

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Hi - I'm a first time beekeeper. I installed two locally purchased Italian packages about eight days ago. I put them in new eight frame Langstroth hives with medium supers. I'm trying to go foundationless. The bees looked good and the queens were alive and seemed fine but they were fairly small. I put the queens between two frames and pulled the cork from the candy end. I checked them three days later and they had been released.

I've been feeding them syrup with a jar over the opening on the inner cover in an empty super. They've been taking about 1/2 to 1 pint per day per hive. The bees seem to be doing okay and seem to have been actively foraging. I've noticed them bringing quite a bit of pollen in.

I did an inspection of one of the hives today. They were drawing the comb out nice and straight. They had drawn out about 1/3 of the frame space. Bees were covering the comb and seemed busy working. I could see a lot of the syrup in the comb and some pollen. None of it was capped.

I didn't see the queen or any evidence she was laying. Given her relatively small size, it could very well be that I overlooked her. What confused me is I saw about 6-7 queen cups. Unfortunately I didn't think to see what was in them. Some of the cups were in the middle of the frame and some were toward the bottom.

Any advice on what's going on and what I should do? Should I order a new queen or take a "wait and see" approach? Could they even make a new queen if the old queen is no longer alive?

Any advice would be greatly appreciated! Thank in advance.
Below is a link to a video by Michael Palmer about package bees, although you are farther south than him you may find it interesting.
http://youtu.be/N_-jNK18aYY
 
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