Beesource Beekeeping Forums banner
1 - 11 of 11 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
244 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
It's been 10 days since I've had a chance to even peek at my hive -- the perfect combination of bad or too-hot weather, work and family! Now that our normal summer pattern has established itself, most mornings are sunny, warm, and not raining -- good hive checking weather. I don't know why, but I've been thinking about queen cells a lot the last few days, feeling very itchy about getting out to the hive to check. I did so quickly this morning -- just a peek through the observation window, and sure enough, there are several queen cell cups hanging down from the second and third-to-last bars. The hum of the hive seemed pretty normal, so I am thinking this is probably swarming. I'll actually get the bars out to check whether there are larvae later today (weather permitting) or tomorrow morning. The biggest issue if there are larvae? I haven't yet built the second hive:eek:! My husband is in LA, but I do have sufficient top bars cut to start a new hive, and I'm thinking that I can build a simpler hive than our first on my own. Otherwise, it'll have to wait a few days, or all the way to next weekend.

My neighbor who also just started bees (keeping Lang hives) had his package supercede the queen AND create a split hive already. I believe I need to see whether the old queen is still in the hive before I make a split (she's clipped, so not going anywhere). The queen cells are on on two different bars, so I could split the colony (providing there are larvae) -- Or, should I just leave them all in this hive? The hive is only about 16 bars strong -- that seems light for creating another colony. July and August are tough months for local forage (from what local beekeepers tell me), but autumn is excellent. Pics are below -- maybe they'll tell the more experienced something I don't see!

Queen cups up front (near the window)
Bee Honeybee Insect Membrane-winged insect Nose

Pics from cups in the "back" (nearer the side entrance)
Insect Bee Membrane-winged insect Honeybee Beehive
Neck Fashion accessory Necklace Jaw Beige
Bee Insect Honeybee Membrane-winged insect Beehive
 

·
Registered
About 40 Colonies
Joined
·
6,445 Posts
They look like they may have already emerged and some look stung through on the sides or partially torn down?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
244 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
They look like they may have already emerged and some look stung through on the sides or partially torn down?
Yes, when I got a closer look with the camera, I wondered about that, too. Didn't know if those were "practice" cups (I've read that the bees will build then tear down queen cups) or if that meant supercedure/swarming had already happened. There doesn't seem to be a drastic reduction in the number of bees in the hive, so I'm hoping it was the former and didn't miss preventing a swarm. (I clearly need to figure out a management strategy that works better with my work/family schedule. Maybe it's time for family to realize momma's new hobby needs more of her attention:applause:).

We are already starting to cloud over today, and the thunder started about a half hour ago, so I'm reluctant to start checking now, but tomorrow morning, I'm going to do a bar-by-bar check to see if there are new eggs/larvae, maybe even spot a new queen? (honestly, thus far, I've pretty much sucked at spotting the queen, even with her green spot!). Thanks for taking a look and responding!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
92 Posts
I agree with JW. Those cells have already hatched. Don't expect to find any eggs for at least another couple weeks. The new virgin queen will need to get mated and return before laying eggs.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
369 Posts
Didn't know if those were "practice" cups (I've read that the bees will build then tear down queen cups) or if that meant supercedure/swarming had already happened. There doesn't seem to be a drastic reduction in the number of bees in the hive, so I'm hoping it was the former and didn't miss preventing a swarm.
I agree, looks like they've emerged already. BTW, queen cups look very different from queen cells. Queen cups are big cup-like cells. Queen cells look like peanuts. I've found that my bees like to have lots of queen cells on hand, but it doesn't necessarily mean anything except that they like queen cups.

If this was a supersedure, though, and not a swarm, you may not experience a brood break at all. My bees superseded last year, and for a while, I had two queens running around. It was really cool.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,291 Posts
not cups, those are hatched swarm cells. As an emerging virgin chews a circular cut around the bottom of her cell, she sticks her tongue out thru the cut and is fed by workers, so she is energized. Once out she then proceeds to chew a hole in every unhatched cell. That is the first thing she does within minutes out. I have never seen them sting thru the cell.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
244 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks, everyone. I'll check tomorrow morning and see what's up.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
244 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Well, I'm not sure what to think. Just in case, I built a quick 2 foot hive this morning. Pretty basic design, no fancy windows or floors, but did it in an hour, which was pretty good on my own. It's 1:00 p.m. here, and our first storm of the day just got started. I closed the hive up about 15 minutes before the rain, when I heard the first real close clap of thunder.

The queen cups in the hive were all broken open. It did seem as though the density of bees is lower, which is worrisome. The queen that came with the package was clipped as well as marked, and if they swarmed, they didn't take her with them. I pulled out 6 bars, including some of the slightly-crosscombed ones that constitute the brood nest. I saw a few cells of capped brood, but no eggs and no larvae. The two outer bars were well drawn (they are even straight!) and capped with honey, so there's no lack of food. The inner bars (about 15 total) were well covered with bees, and it looked like a bit of new comb was being drawn, but I saw no queen (which doesn't mean one isn't there).

Behaviorally, the bees seemed to be doing bee-things. There were workers pulling out dead bees (not many, just a couple, including one drone) and bees that were on the comb, though there were no bees at the top entrance where they usually fly in and out, one guard at the circle entrance (half plugged by cork, so easier to defend), and the usual contingent at the bottom entrance. (in case you're wondering, the bottom and top entrances were unintended -- spaces left by inaccurate measurements). They didn't seem overly aggressive or passive; in fact, they seemed about the same as they've been every other time I've checked the hive. The only odd thing I saw was a bee pulling out and flying away with a big glob of gooey stuff. So, if that what was left of the mating flight, then my timing couldn't have been worse for checking the hive, or maybe it won't matter, or maybe it was just bee goo from a squished bee. The bees had built a big piece of burr comb on the bottom which I cut out. The bees on that comb were not happy with this action, but when I checked, the comb had no eggs, larvae, nectar or pollen. It wasn't pearly white, though, so had been used for something.

I guess now it's time to wait. I will check next weekend to see if there's any sign of eggs and larvae. If not, then it's time to think about re-queening.

Clearly Empty


A 2 foot small, basic hive
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
244 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I'll keep an eye on this -- it's the same dimensions as my main hive, about 11" deep w/ 17" bars (so, about 1.25" deeper than Les Crowder with bars 2" shorter). Thus far, I've had no problems with comb collapse, and we've had a month of temps in the mid 90s with high humidity. The hive is placed along the tree line, facing south, which means it gets dappled shade for the summer and 4-5 hours of direct sun during winter.

I don't pull comb in the middle of the day -- so far, I've only taken bars out when temps are still in the 70s to low/mid 80s. I've not seen the bees bearding, so it looks like the inside of the hive is maintaining a steady enough temperature.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
244 Posts
Discussion Starter · #11 ·
A final note on the queen cups: I checked the hive this evening, watching for 20 minutes, looking in the observation window twice. The queen cups are pretty much gone! There is another comb started, the next one had only a few bees (1/4 built, and still very white), then next one in was about 1/2 built and already yellow/brown, and covered with bees, as was every other comb I could see without opening it up. The bees at the bottom entrance looked like the usual crowd -- 8-10 that say hello to everyone coming in, chase off ants (I saw one tackle a flying beetle in mid-air, tumble to the ground, and fly back up about a minute later -- aerial battle!), and seem to be the guard contingent. About 5 bees per minute arrived, most with legs packed with light yellow pollen, and just as many left. The bees were humming quietly, and as usual, seemed not a bit concerned about my presence. The bees at the top entrance were downright cute -- I'm guessing these are young bees, since none left and no bee returned to that entrance. They were still quite fuzzy, too, and if I had to write speech bubbles for them, I'd guess they were double-dog daring each other to go just a little further out:).
 
1 - 11 of 11 Posts
Top