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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello all,

Got into my hive for inspection #2 today. Had installed into a medium 8 frame box on on 4/17, and last checked on the 27th to make sure they were laying and playing. All looked good then -- spotted eggs, some pollen, and even the queen. Plus they had about 85% of the comb drawn out. About 4 days later, I added another 8 frame medium, and have left them be.

Today, weather and time cooperated, so I got in again to check up. Tons of capped cells this time around, which was awesome. There were quite a few larger, erratic looking cells though, so I grew a bit concerned. I looked through my books and online to try to identify if they were drone or queen. They have the domed look of drone, but to me, they seem a lot larger, so I'd appreciate some extra eyes.

Other interesting things I saw:
- A nurse feeding a very large larvae outside of its cell? (or maybe a drone or queen that had not yet been capped?)
- A couple black cells -- normal infant mortality yet to be cleaned?
- A decent amount of bridge comb between the edge frames and the box
- Very little work done on the new box -- 1 or 2 frame sides drawn to half depth maybe?

http://imgur.com/a/PxhbB

Thanks!

Keith
 

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You wrote:

A nurse feeding a very large larvae outside of its cell? (or maybe a drone or queen that had not yet been capped?)
- A couple black cells -- normal infant mortality yet to be cleaned?
- A decent amount of bridge comb between the edge frames and the box
- Very little work done on the new box -- 1 or 2 frame sides drawn to half depth maybe?
A couple of comments:

- Nurse bees don't feed very large larvae outside of their cells. The larvae never leave their cells. The nurse bee may have been removing it, or even consuming it if it was pulled out of its cell due to your frame manipulations. (That's quite common, don't worry about having done that. In fact it offers a good opportunity to examine turfed-out pupae for evidence of varroa in your hive. I collect all of them and look at them closely when I am through for the day.)

- Actual black cells, especially any with goop in them, would be very worrying, but dry empty cells that just appear dark not so much, as long as there aren't too many of them within the swathe of brood. They can occur when the nurse bees removed diseased larvae, for instance in the case of foul brood. They can occur when the first round of bees has hatched and the cell has not been relaid. They can also occur if the queen was mated to drones that are too genetically identical to her, with the result that the some of the brood won't develop properly and are removed by the bees. Empty cells are referred to as "spotty brood", and while they are sometimes indicators of bad problems, especially when there are more spots than brood, most of the time the reason for them is much less worrrying, but they should always to be noticed by a good beekeeper.

- Lumps of comb drawn against the box sides and the outermost frames are not a particularly useful trait and make removing the outside frames awkward and risky. I am fairly assertive in removing those pieces. It is more common in 8-frame boxes than in 10-frame ones because there is more space at the edges. It may also mean that you don't have your brood combs pushed together closely enough which, in turn, will lead to other issues.

You are obviously studying your bees closely to have observed these things, so I wanted to connect what you are seeing with the natural history of bees and bee biology.

Have fun with your bees!

Enj.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks all!

And Enj, that's exactly what I was looking for, so I appreciate the point by point. The larva thing seemed the oddest to me , and its the first time i was able to see the proboscis, so it really caught my eye. The second time in, I think I managed to kill more bees than the first, so I'll need to make some improvement there, but on the upside, I got to taste a little honey from the burr comb, and at three weeks in, the population curve should be about to turnaround.

Thanks again,

Keith
 
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