Beesource Beekeeping Forums banner

1 - 20 of 30 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
62 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Howdy all,
I'm a first year beek and have been lurking on here gleaning a ton of good info for a little while. I haven't had reason to post up till now, but haven't found an old post with my particulars (though I'm sure it's out there), so here goes...

I ordered late, so I didn't get my package hived till June 7th (deep lang, plasitcell foundation from Dadant). Day 14 I inspected and 3-4 of the middle frames were drawn out enough to have pollen and capped syrup in them. I saw eggs too, but there were between 1 & 4 eggs per cell, and eggs in pollen, plus they were on the side of most cells.

I called up a local beek with my fears of a laying worker problem, and he said don't worry about it and let things progress for a couple weeks and then see. I inspected yesterday, and had 4-5 full frames of capped and uncapped drone comb/larvae. Some capped honey up top of the frames, and pollen. I only got the one hive (I know, rookie mistake), and don't have access to frames of eggs/larvae to encourage building a new queen.

Is there any way to save this colony? Would there be enough worker bees to bring up enough new generations to build adequate winter stores? Should I just donate the bees, honey, and pollen to a friend?

Thanks in advance,
Erik
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,136 Posts
I would guess that you have a faulty queen in there. I have been beekeeping since about 1986 and I have seen exactly one laying worker hive. I don't think that they are that common. I have seem many faulty queen hives.

I don't think that you could have capped drone brood from a laying worker one month after you installed a queen. My guess is that you need to find that queen and replace her.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
939 Posts
Its possible that they where in a hurry to fulfill your order and the queen was unmated. What you need to do is look for the queen. I'd call Dadant and request they send you a fertile queen replacement if you can't find her. Any new queens that I get have clipped wings and are marked to help keep them in the hive.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
62 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
Thanks for the replies. I'm learning more and more. Such a great forum/community!

So, what you're saying, is that since there are a bunch of capped drone cells, they probably came from the (unmated) queen because for laying workers to develop the ovaries it takes longer?

Do packaged queens not take a mating flight?

I got the package itself from Garnder Apiaries in GA. How likely would it be for them to send me a new, and mated, queen?

I'm in northern MI -is there enough time for the bees to gather up enough stores before winter hits?

Thanks again for the help.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,265 Posts
Do packaged queens not take a mating flight?
Queens shipped in packages are mated but yours had a problem...

I got the package itself from Garnder Apiaries in GA. How likely would it be for them to send me a new, and mated, queen?
Call them and ask. Explain that you asked others about your problem...


I'm in northern MI -is there enough time for the bees to gather up enough stores before winter hits?
You are going to need to feed. A 25# bag of sugar doesn't last long.

Also, contact any bee club and see if someone is near you and search for Beesource members. Click on the "Community" link on the top of this page.

Was your queen marked? Can you find her to remove her?

Good luck
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
62 Posts
Discussion Starter #8 (Edited)
Call them and ask. Explain that you asked others about your problem...

Also, contact any bee club and see if someone is near you and search for Beesource members. Click on the "Community" link on the top of this page.

Was your queen marked? Can you find her to remove her?
I'll call them up today and see if they'll replace her. That would be awesome if this could still be a viable hive. UPDATE: I just called Gardner's and they apologized and said they'll get a new queen in the mail today. +1 for Gardner's customer service!

I checked out the community link, and there's one person listed who's about an hour away. Next closest is 2+ hours. I know a couple beeks in the area, but when I asked about a club, they didn't know anything.

No, she wasn't marked. I found her during my Day 7 inspection, and she was sort of wandering around the bottom of a frame, sort of in a daze. She was walking wobbly, losing her grip. It looked like she was about to fall off, so I held the frame close to the rest of the frames, so she only fell an inch or two. She crawled back down, and I haven't seen her since.


New question: If I do get a new queen, what do I do about all the drone comb? Would I need to cut it off, and let them rebuild? Will they tear it down to make normal brood comb? Or possibly move the untouched outside frames to the middle for them to build up?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,548 Posts
I would freeze it.....shakem and toss in the freezer for a day, then throw it back on and they will clean it up. I have had a laying worker problem and its no fun. I shook my hive out and put it back at its origional location then added a 5 frame Nuc and it worked.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,265 Posts
UPDATE: I just called Gardner's and they apologized and said they'll get a new queen in the mail today. +1 for Gardner's customer service!
That's great!

I know a couple beeks in the area
Can you get a frame of open brood? It wouldn't hurt.

I haven't seen her since.
You might look one last time. (Or two last times :D)

New question: If I do get a new queen, what do I do about all the drone comb? Would I need to cut it off, and let them rebuild? Will they tear it down to make normal brood comb? Or possibly move the untouched outside frames to the middle for them to build up?
I would definitely move your good foundation to the center and I might just cut out and dump the drone comb to be done with it if you have a lot. Or possibly scratching open two and placing them to the sides for the bees to get the protein. I don't have the freezer space...

Remove the attendants before placing the new caged queen in the hive... (some of use do that)

And feed them.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
62 Posts
Discussion Starter #11
Thanks for all the great replies! So, here's my understanding of what the consensus of recommendations is... Let me know if you think I ought to tweak something with this plan.

1. Find, and kill, the existing queen, ASAP
2. Move the untouched foundations to the middle frame positions
3. Freeze 1-2 frames of the drone comb, and then put back
4. Cut the drone comb off the rest of the frames and put back in outside frame positions

When new queen comes:
5. Release her attendants
6. Put corked cage in hive for 2-3 days
7. When bees aren't biting the cage, poke a hole in the candy end and let them release her. (I'm not confident enough for a direct release yet)

Thanks a lot; this is a fantastic source of info (pun sort of intended). :D
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,265 Posts
I would expose the candy without piercing it and simply retrieve the cage in three days. If the queen isn't out by then just pull the cork and let her go.

I would feed them from the top if you can...

When is the queen scheduled to arrive? I hope she won't spend the weekend in a post office.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,136 Posts
I never kill a queen, even a bad one, until my new one has arrived alive. You will want to install the new queen on drawn comb in the center of the brood area, so I would wait on moving undrawn frames until later.

Drone comb is not necessarily a bad thing. As long as you have worker brood comb, I would leave the other comb for now. You are losing worker bees right now and they are the ones that draw comb. You want to make their jobs as easy as possible right now without extra work.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
62 Posts
Discussion Starter #14
I don't have any worker brood comb. Everything is drone comb. Is there any way for the bees to change drone to worker brood comb? Once there's drone brood in there, do those cells remain drone sized forever?

I'm thinking I would probably put the comb that's partially drawn in the middle with the undrawn outside of those.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,964 Posts
The description of many eggs per cell and eggs in pollen cells is classic laying worker. The possibility exists that you have laying workerS and an unmated queen. The drone brood may not be from the queen although a new queen can stutter a little in that way.

When there are laying workers, and there are many, the bees are no longer normal bees. They think they are queenright and will resist requeening. It is likely that they will kill the new queen. Evcen if you had another hive, the work to save these bees would barely be worth it. Better path would be to dump the bees out and dismantle the location. Some of them would be welcomed into the healthy hive. You would still have just as many bees.

Another consideration is that these bees are getting old. While they can operate out of the box in certain situations, they usually funtion as nurse bees in the first weeks of life. To ask them to raise brood at 4 weeks of age adds a factor that works against you.

Here's an idea. Contact some beekeepers and purchase 3 frames of brood with bees. Take the queen you have coming and add it to these frames and you have a new hive in a new box. Add some frames of honey and pollen. Locate next to current hive.

When that queen starts to lay place a double screen board over it's top bars and place your currrent colony over that. Provide an upper entrance to the rear. Now you have one tall box.

After a month, remove the screen. You'll have some honey, and a colony that may make it through the winter staffed by a young queen. Sorry to give bad news but better you don't create more. This is getting to be a popular time to make nucs. The brood cycle will be broken up, confusing the mites and there is time for the production of winter bees.

You are learning tons. Good luck with your bees. State bee club may send you to a beekeeper.

Dickm
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,548 Posts
Eric, I had a BAD laying worker problem and this is how i fixed it

http://www.beesource.com/forums/showthread.php?t=242551&highlight=Pheremone+reboot

and it worked. If they have a laying worker(s) they will ball and kill that queen. Since you do not have the resources from another hive, i would def see if you can find a beek to get you some eggs and capped brood. That is about the only way to get them to accept the new queen, and it will still take a while. You could take everything out but honey and pollen and take those frames that have purely drone and put them off to the side. If you could get the brood frames, you could add it and the new queen at the same time and your chances of acceptance would go up IMHO. If they think they have a queen, they will and can kill her through the screen. Already did that once this year by mistake!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,373 Posts
I don't have any worker brood comb. Everything is drone comb. Is there any way for the bees to change drone to worker brood comb? Once there's drone brood in there, do those cells remain drone sized forever?
It sounds like you just have worker comb that drones are being raised in. That does not make them "drone comb". It just makes lots of small drones. Once the situation is corrected the bees will once again use the worker comb to raise workers.

I've had a fair share of colonies that become over-run with laying workers. It sounds to me like your colony is in this status.

I highly recommend doing your best to implement a plan like dickm and devdog108 have described, your new replacement queen is otherwise in great jeopardy of failing to accomplish your goal of rescuing this colony.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
311 Posts
Hey Joseph Clemens.
I was wondering the same thing about the comb. I have a hive where the queen laid drone eggs in what was beautiful worker conb and now there are bullets all over. Will the bees clean this up back to decent worker comb or will I have to scrape it all off?
Perry
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,548 Posts
yes they will clean it up. After i killed all the drone larvae, i put it back as super frames, let them clean and straighten them up and they repaire dit no problem.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
62 Posts
Discussion Starter #20
Just checked my voicemail, and found the post office called this morning. I called them back (2:40 pm), and they told me they sent my queen with the carrier. She's sitting in my mailbox right now, at least the temps are only about 70.

So I put 3 frames of drone brood in the freezer last night, will reinstall those in positions 5, 6, &7 for them to remove the dead larvae. In the mean time, I'll put the queen (minus attendants, with cork in) in there after I do a thorough search for the existing queen to take her away. I'll see if I can get in touch with another beek in case I can get my mitts on some more brood. I'll feed her w/ a sugar water soaked Q-tip, and hope I find the existing queen. Does that sound reasonable?

Yeesh. Here's another fine mess I've gotten me into. If only I'd started with 2+ hives... Oh well. Live and learn. Gotta go save Queen Bee from her postal sauna.
 
1 - 20 of 30 Posts
Top