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New beekeeper looking for comments...

2437 Views 19 Replies 15 Participants Last post by  printerman
Hi all,

I am a new beekeeper and was hoping to pick all of your brains, and maybe get some comments. I installed 2 packages almost a month ago. Things seem to be going pretty well, with maybe 6-7 drawn frames of plasticell in each hive. They are taking about 1/2 quart of syrup every 4 days or so. There is plenty of capped brood, pollen, syrup, eggs and larva visible. I have been able to spot the queen on a couple different occasions. I am happy about that as I was worried that I would struggle to find her. On the last couple inspections I have moved some frames around trying to encourage the girls to draw out more frames.

On today's inspection one hive looked normal, nothing out of the ordinary. The second one also looked good, except for a couple of cells that looked a little different than the rest. I tried to snap a couple pictures and posted them below. It doesn't really capture it as well as I had hoped, but the last pic is the one I thought may appear to be a queen cell. I found two cells that looked like this, and there seemed to be a lot of bees tending to them, taking turns nursing whatever is in there. Do I have drone and/or queen cells popping up? If I do, do I need to worry about it?

I appreciate any comments or criticisms you all might have...

Bee Honeycomb Insect Honeybee Beehive

Bee Honeybee Beehive Honeycomb Insect

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All i see is a few drone cells. Normal. The best way I can explain identifying different cells is, you will know when you see a queen cell. If you find yourself wanting to ask if its a drone cell or a queen cell, its not a queen cell. They are long and look like peanuts.
Criticisms?! Do you have a guilty conscience or do you see people savaged by grumpy old men on this site. It looks like a supercedure cell. Do nothing about it. Bees tend to supercede the caged queen that came in the package.

A couple of cautions. Bees know what they are doing. Often when we try to direct them by stretching out their brood chamber we stress the bees. An expanding package can only heat and feed so much brood. Feeding while the bees are drawing foundation is about all the encouragement one should give them. Putting pressure on the bees can cause them to become dissatisfied with the queen and cause them to decide to replace here. Too many visits into the colony also stresses the bees. I get the feeling you are hovering pretty close over these colonies. They are yours and that is your right. It is indeed a way to learn rapidly but that comes at a cost. Now, when a colony is working on frames seven and eight, I think it is a good idea to move them in so the bees draw them out and one does not end up with foundation on the cold side of the outside frames. Good luck with your bees.
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Those are just drone cells. Nothing to worry about. It looks like your queen is doing a good job!
it's hard to tell about the last picture, but the first two look good....only drone and workers and no queen cell. I also would leave them to work it out for themselves...I think they will be fine.
The last picture is probably a queen cup, just check it in a week and see what's up, they will build them time to time but usually remain empty.
Thanks everyone...I figured I was worrying a bit too much. It's taking a lot of restraint, but I'm only getting into the hives once a week...other than checking the syrup.

This beekeeping stuff really sucks you in doesn't it? That's all I think about lately!
That first package should come with a warning label: CAUTION: Exploring contents will be expensive, time consuming and TOTALLY habit-forming!!!
The expensive part is the things we bought that we thought we needed and will never use. I don't mind the things I need or use but I can't stand wasted money. Maybe we all open a thrift store of wasted money items. Of course we an keep them determined we will.use them for something.
Looks like you are off to a great start. Keep feeding and when they start workin on the last frames add another box.
It always nice to see brand new clean virgin wax.
Well...I think I may be queenless. When I checked the hives on Friday, I couldn't find the queen (although I don't know how good I am at it.), and I couldn't see any eggs, or larva. On the other hand, there was plenty of drone cells (at least a couple dozen), and 5 or 6 queen cells. Let's hope one of these new queens is good and strong. Now I'm worried that my popluation is going to drop to nothing by the time she gets mated and laying. Pictures are below...wish the girls luck!

Bee Honeybee Honeycomb Beehive Insect

Bee Beehive Honeycomb Honeybee Insect

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Fingers crossed they will make it. They won't be strong this year, but they have some rebound time.
you have capped worker brood in the first have had a queen sometime in the last 21 days that was laying
Looks like maybe a queen cup or cell in the first picture on the bottom right.
I like to do something with the bees every day. The tendency, as Vance described, is to be in the hives too often. I just visit one or two hives a day. With 8 or 10 hives it averages a visit to each hive in 7 to 9 days. Or, sometimes I really pick on one or two hives every day or two and let the rest go without harassment -hives left alone really do better, noticeably better. You can watch a lot of beekeeping on youtube, but don't believe everything you hear there. ;)

Good luck with your bees. :)

If you need a bee fix, watch jpthebeeman's youtube videos, you'll enjoy them.
I checked again yesterday and things seem to be working themselves out! I was unable to spot any queen, but I saw a lot of eggs in the cells. I'm guessing it's a little harder to spot the young queens? While they were queenless, they were busy drawing comb and filling/capping nectar. I am a little concerned that they are using up too much of their brood area with capped nectar. There are still 2-3 frames they can finish drawing out in this single deep. Again...I'll just bank on them figuring it out on their own. I will probably add a second deep with new plasticell above this one in the next couple days (but don't worry...I won't get into the frames...I'll just take the outer & inner cover off, as well as the feeder, and throw the new box & frames on, cover it up and be done with them until my next inspection after a week). Hopefully they will work it out and make it another 2 1/2 weeks till that new brood emerges. They've done pretty well up till now.
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