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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello all,
First I am so happy to find this forum and hope to get some great advice and use it to better my beekeeping. I got my first hive from a good friend last spring (2013). As the hive increased last summer, the bees were only able to get one super of honey stored, so I left that for them to winter on. As I inspected the hive today, I notice that there was uncapped larva curled horizontily at the bottom of several cells in the honey super. I am using a excluder so my assumption is that the queen could not get through it to lay eggs there. Is my hive in trouble? Since I am new to all of this, I apologize for any stupid questions I might ask here or in the future. I also notice what appear to be queen cells build and open, not capped, that are empy. What do I do to fix this problem or is there a problem to worry about? I have another super to add, but don't want to add it until I figure this out first. Thank you all in advance for reading and any advice you can offer would be greatly appreciated! Thanks!!

Jeff
 

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Need more info.
Were the empty queen cells above or below the excluder?
Do you have eggs/larva/capped brood above or below?
How many, what size boxes is your brood nest.
Did you leave the excluder on all winter?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Wolfer - Queen Cells were above excluder ( I assume they are queen cells, just larger than a worker cell). I did not see eggs though I need to look more closely, Larva did exist above the excluder and the cells with larva were uncapped. Larva was white, and curled laying at the bottom of the cells that were uncapped, not upright. I have one deep hive body on bottom, then one medium super above that, both 10 frames, then an excluder, then a medium honey super, inner cover, then outer cover. Yes I left the excluder on all winter.
 

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If you have eggs/ larva/ brood below the excluder I'd suspect your queen got thru somehow. In MS. You might get by leaving the excluder on. Here as the bees move up the queen will be left behind to freeze.

I personally don't use excluders myself. The queen will only go as high as she need to. However I run two deeps as a brood nest and occasionly there will be a small patch of brood above that in the early spring.
Lots of people run excluders though but I think there's a learning curve.
Woody roberts
 

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the queen must be above the qx. either put the queen down or pull the qx off and let the bees push the queen down by filling the top super with honey. a qx should never be left on during winter as usually the queen gets left and starves as bees move toward their honey supply.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks Woody, So do I have a problem at all? Will I still be able to extract honey from a frame that has both Honey and brood? Is there something that I need to do at this point? Thank you for your replies!
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
beeware10 - That is good to know, and certainly news to me. I have not heard that before, lesson learned! Should i just move the qx above all of the boxes, let the queen have them and place another box on top of the excluder for broodless honey?
 

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Once the flow slows the queen will move down, the brood hatches and the bees will fill the cells with honey. If she keeps laying in it it's because she needs it.

I've extracted frames with brood on them before. I just didn't scratch the cappings off the brood and they all stayed in the comb just fine. I just ran out and put em in a hive. I don't know if they survived or not.
 

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do not add a super until you get the queen down. you have to pull the qx so she can get back to the bottom. then put the qx back on. as soon as the brood in the top hatches you can extract. no problem. good luck
 

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Gotta decide what to do about the excluders are you gonna run them or not? Some folks run them some don't. Some don't like brood being laid in the same supers as their honey. Some dislike the cocoons the hatched larvae leave behind in the cell and dislike extracting from frames that have had brood in them. To me it is a no never mind. I let the brood hatch and then extract. Now doing comb you probably want an excluder.

Me I let the queen go where she may. They (excluders) can cause swarming issues if you don't supply the queen with expansion space but of course that is also true without excluders. Are you already hurting for space? If so swarming is just around the corner.
 

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Had larvae above the excluder twice. Thought the queen got up there, but found too much brood and eggs in the deeps for that. The cells were larger than worker, but drone, not queen. Cells for stores also appear larger than worker for me. I can only imagine laying workers. Since I crush and strain, I pulled the frames, cut out the honey and left all cells with drone and cells that looked dark suspecting prior use for drone next to the hive. The girls reclaimed the honey and birds made off with the larvae.

Queen cells are like fishing blues. If you have to ask, you don't have a fish.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I'm finding out that a lot of you don't use excluders. I'm not opposed to doing away with the excluder, just had not learned that you could do without it. I will tell you that the lower hive body is very, very, full. Not sure you could get another be in there, so I may be suffering from space problems. I will remove the excluder. I wonder if this would work (because of space)......place another box on top of the hive body, place all of the frames that have any brood at all in that box plus foundation to fill the rest of the box, then the excuder, then the remaining frames that have only honey in another box above the excluder. Would that work?
 

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I see you are in Ms. If you are pushed for space already I imagine you are flirting with swarms already. Need to check for queen cells if temps allow and split if you have cells.

Also if you are not opposed to running without excluders...... ditch them. Just one more thing to worry about :)
 

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Are you queenright? Find your queen. One possibility to consider is that your queen died (possibly caught below the excluder and froze) and now you have a laying worker(s) hive. Does the hive have a real brood nest or just spotty laying? Lots of drones? The laying worker hives I've had tend to get an overabundance of honey since there's just a little drone brood to feed.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Chuck - All I pulled was the top box of frames, the one box above the excluder. I did notice that there were a good many drones, or what I understand to be drones. I also noticed what may have been a queen, dragging her abdomin around, was not fully detached, but it sure looked damaged. I have never seen my queen. When my friend got me started, all I had was a regular brood box and one medium super and the cover. I let them get aclimated for a week or so last spring, then put on the excluder and a medium super with foundation for them to fill with honey to winter on. I checked thier progress all last summer and the were multipling pretty quickly so I know the queen was there and productive. I let them be over the winter, though I did feed them every couple of weeks just in case them had not collected enough to winter on. It being my first winter, I was not sure how much they would consume and how fast. As the weather has warmed up in MS, they have been quite active. I know they are colleting pollen already because I notice several with full saddle bags. I'm just wondering if that "longer" bee was the damaged queen, hence the appearance on queen cells......

I am going to remove the excluder and let the bees go where they may. If I have laying workers, what should my course of action be? Will they raise a new queen at this point?
 

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You are going to have to get in there and accurately access what you've got - either with someone experienced or post up some pictures. It's tough to diagnose at distance and I find newbees use a word to describe what they think they saw so I don't know if the "queen cells" you see are just cups, old cells, new capped cells or feeble attempts by workers to requeen themselves. Sounds like that might be a queen who damaged herself when forcing thru the excluder...

If you aren't good at finding a queen, you've got to learn to read the brood nest (or at least post clear pictures). The condition of the brood nest is a good indicator of the level of problem you have. A laying worker hive can't raise it's own queen.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Gotcha Chuck. I know timing here is going to be a great issue, but probably will not be able to get back in the hive until the weekend. I will tear it apart to the brood box and get some good pictures for all to assess, and some pics of the thing I tried to describe. I understand how difficult it is to advise from a distance. Thanks so much for the help so far. I'll get back to 'ya!
 

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You mentioned queen cell with nothing inside. Well its really not a queen cell until it has been laid in. Some bee will keep anticipation cell around that you may mistake for a quuen cell. In my experience they are not as elongated and usually short and nubby with an almost perfectly round opening. You also mentioned curled up larvae. Well, after a certain age it will be curled up in the bottom of the cell in a sort of C shape. The only way you should have larvae in the top is if the queen somehow by-passed the excluder. Or as said above she is gone and you have a laying worker. If indeed queen cells you should have no laying worker as the pheromone should repress a laying worker, especially in a small hive.

Can you spot the difference from worker brood and drone brood? If not do an image google search "worker brood" and then "drone brood". Compare the two. Just because of pollen coming in does not necessarily mean they are queen right. Some folks think it does, good indicator but not always true. As said above you really need to get in the brood chamber for a look. Look for eggs in the cells or eggs in the cells of the top chamber. If more than one egg in a cell not in the bottom of the cell usually a dead give away to a laying worker.
 
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