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Discussion Starter #1
Hey Y'all

We are on week 4 of my first bee hive, which was a package of bees. They have been building comb well, and even have capped honey on their comb. However, last Thursday during my hive inspection I noticed that there was no brood and very little larva. Also, there was about 3-4 queen cells on the outside edges of the comb. I called Kelly Beekeeping (I got the bees from them), and they said they would send me a queen bee (shipping out 5/30), and all I had to pay was shipping. Today, I did another hive inspection, and found this: more capped honey, uncapped honey, some pollen, a ton of larva (uncapped and you can clearly see the larva), exactly two capped larva, 4-6 queen cells, some cells with one egg, and a number of cells with multiple eggs (I'd say 2-4 in each cell). I cant find the queen bee; she might be in there, but I can not find her. Also, I think that the colony size has fallen roughly 40% since day one.

Here is what I am thinking. The queen is dead, resulting in the workers laying eggs. Or, the queen is not dead, but the bees are still trying to replace her; hence the multiple eggs in a single cell and the queen cells.

The solution: destroy all queen cells, destroy the queen (assuming she is alive), and begin introducing the new queen.

Am I on the right track? Since there is alot of larva, does that mean that that the queen is still well? What if I cant find the queen, and still need to add the new one?

I live on the eastern shore on MD if that helps anything.

Thanks for any help, I am quite lost and confused at this point.
 

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Re: Quick held needed!!!!

Takes some photos and post them. Include whole frames and some close-ups.

If the original hive did have a laying queen that did produce some brood, then 4 weeks from the date of hiving the package is too soon to have laying workers.

Laying workers are not directly caused by the hive going queenless. LWs are caused by the absence of open brood for 4 or more weeks. Meaning, the hive can be queenless for about 5 weeks after losing the queen with no more eggs being laid before LWs kick in.

I'd hold off destroying anything, or introducing a new queen, until you can confirm whether the hive is queen-right, is in the process of re-queening itself, or has laying workers.
 

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Re: Quick held needed!!!!

I'd guess it is a supersedure; apparently it happens somewhat often with packages.
Have you seen the queen at all since installation? Try to find her.
 

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Re: Quick held needed!!!!

Once you have a laying worker hive it is almost impossible to introduce a new queen as they will kill her in most cases, I would think letting them raise their own queen best. I am only in my second year and others with more experience will surly offer their advise as well....
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Re: Quick held needed!!!!

Ill try to get some pictures in a few minutes, and post them.

I have not seen the queen since install, which went flawlessly. I can't find the queen, but I am tempted to go crazy searching for her. Just take everything out and find her.

My problem with letting them raise a queen is two things: 1. If the queen didn't lay, and the eggs and larva are from LWs, then I won't ever get a queen, just a drone. right? 2. The time for the queen to be born, mate, then lay is quite extensive; and I might not have a colony left by that time.

I was under the understanding that seeing queen cells means that they are not happy with the current queen (dead or alive), so re-queening is a must.
 

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Re: Quick held needed!!!!

I was under the understanding that seeing queen cells means that they are not happy with the current queen (dead or alive), so re-queening is a must.
Are you seeing "queen cups" (i.e. inactive queen cells with no egg or larvae in it), or are you seeing "queen cells" (i.e. active queen cell with egg or larvae in it)?

Bees can have a healthy functioning queen, and will still sometime build just queen cups and never use them.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Re: Quick held needed!!!!

I believe they are cups. I do not see a capping, larva, etc in them; however, one of the cups did have a thicker milky white substance in it. Royal jelly maybe?

I have the pics of the comb, working on uploading them.
 

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Re: Quick held needed!!!!

. . . however, one of the cups did have a thicker milky white substance in it. Royal Jelly, maybe?
Yes, royal jelly. That would make it an active queen cell. There is a larvae in there. This would imply the hive is in the process of re-queening itself.

And, in Photo #4, Post #8, it looks like 3 or 4 eggs in one cell, and eggs laid on the cell wall (rather than the cell bottom) in other cells, which, together, would imply a laying worker.

I am not sure how to interpret an apparently active queen cell in the presence of laying workers. Hopefully someone with more knowledge than me can comment.
 

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Re: Quick held needed!!!!

The pics with eggs in the cells point towards laying workers. Notice how most are on the side of the cell wall. Worker can't get their behind down far enough in the cell to place in the cell center.

A ton of posts lately regarding laying workers. If you do not have access to a frame of brood a week for the next 3 or 4 weeks, then the hive is doomed.

If the queen cells contain a viable queen, you may have lucked out.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Re: Quick held needed!!!!

Ok, so we can establish that whether the queen is dead or alive, the colony will be re-queening itself. Now if that larva is a drone larva, will they keep feeding it jelly? Just wondering in case the workers laid a egg in that cell.

Now if I want to continue with re-queening (with a new queen), I would need to destroy the queen (if shes alive) and the queen cells and cups, correct? I am concerned that by the time the queen becomes mature enough to lay, it might be to late.

Also, what does uncapped brood mean? Have they simply yet to cap it, or is that a bigger issue? Will the brood still hatch?
 

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Re: Quick held needed!!!!

Now if I want to continue with re-queening (with a new queen), I would need to destroy the queen (if shes alive) and the queen cells and cups, correct?
. . . and destroy the LWs, too. Unfortunately, this is impossible to do by hand because they look exactly the same as the 1000's of other bees in the hive, and there are multiple LWs doing their nasty mischief, as well.

You've got to suppress the LW with the pheromones from open brood, somehow. This is where the "one frame of open brood for 3 weeks" comes from. It is the presence of the open brood that eventually stops the LWs.

FlowerPlanter has a method of placing the LW hive over a queenright hive, separated by a screen, so that the open brood in the QR hive eventually stops the LWs in the LW hive. But, you still need a hive with open brood to do this.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Re: Quick held needed!!!!

I apologize for my inexperience, but I am a bit confused.

If the workers are laying, they will only produce drones (which do nothing) and then the hive will eventually die off. Now, they are are trying to make a queen; whether the larva is actually a fertile larva or not, we don't know. But nevertheless, they are trying to make a queen. So why wouldn't adding a new queen be beneficial? Aren't the laying workers already trying to make a queen?

Now what about this: Could the original queen be bad, and laying more then one egg in a cell? Perhaps their are no LWs, in this scenario?

Just trying to find SOMETHING positive out of this.
 

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Re: Quick held needed!!!!

My guess is that the queen was not accepted at the time of package installation and that is why you have laying workers now. I believe that the bees can make faux queen cells with laying workers in an attempt to raise a new queen but of course it is only drone brood in there. If you don't have access to another hive to place this one over or don't have brood frames to add weekly, then you would need to shake out the bees in the hive to eliminate the LW's and replace the frames if possible. Then if foragers come back to the empty hive you can wait a day and attempt re-queening with a better chance of acceptance.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Re: Quick held needed!!!!

So I do not have access to any other frames or brood or hives or nothing. lol Would the best thing to do be to essentially empty the hive, bees and comb and everything, and let the workers come back into the hive with a new queen in her cage for 3-4 days? Is that my best bet? Can I cut only the brood out of the frames, leaving the capped honey, or just get rid of it all?

Are you saying that the LWs won't fly back into the hive? or just less will?
 

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Re: Quick held needed!!!!

LW hive is generally doomed without access to fresh brood frame every week for several weeks in a row. I am sorry for your loss but you will have to try again with a new package or nuc.

People advise to always start beekeeping with 2 hives. You can save the troubled hive with resources (egg, larvae, honey) from the booming hive.
 

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Re: Quick held needed!!!!

It will be hard for them to accept a new queen as they think they are queenright from laying worker. Your best bet is to probably use a push in cage and release the queen with her attendants inside it and let her start to lay. Shaking the bees and letting them fly back may help somewhat, I would probably do that and have the queen in the push in cage already installed when ur shaking them out so when they're flying back she'll already be in there.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Re: Quick held needed!!!!

Greaaaatttt......

Ill have to try the shake and cage method. Maybe I'll get lucky..

How far away should I shake the bees out?
 

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Re: Quick held needed!!!!

Farther the better. I say 50+ yards. You don't want any young ones to find their way back to the hive.
 
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