Beesource Beekeeping Forums banner

1 - 13 of 13 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
7 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Recently one of my hives superseded a failing queen. When I first noticed there were several queen cells over a few frames. I checked on them last week when they were due to emerge, and found all but 2 had been taken down from the sides.
I'm worried that the old queen has been tearing down these cells, as I have heard no piping whatsoever from the hive from emerged virgins. I believe she is still in the hive as I saw a queen that looked too large to be a virgin (my queen was unmarked).

So my question is whether this is a possibility and if there is any action I should take, or I should just give them some more time in the hope there is indeed a new queen in there?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,121 Posts
Recently one of my hives superseded a failing queen. When I first noticed there were several queen cells over a few frames. I checked on them last week when they were due to emerge, and found all but 2 had been taken down from the sides.
I'm worried that the old queen has been tearing down these cells, as I have heard no piping whatsoever from the hive from emerged virgins. I believe she is still in the hive as I saw a queen that looked too large to be a virgin (my queen was unmarked).

So my question is whether this is a possibility and if there is any action I should take, or I should just give them some more time in the hope there is indeed a new queen in there?

I would love to hear one pipe, but I never have. So I can't imagine that not hearing piping is a sign that you can count on. The bees know what they are doing, if they are supersededing they won't let the old queen tear the cells down. More likely they either changed their minds, or the first virgin out tore the sides out of the other cells.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,794 Posts
In my experience it is common to have queen cells appear and vanish in a colony.

1 are you certain they where cells and not just queen cups?
2. bees may start a queen and change their mind. I watch for a queen that has just started laying to get superseded from the first brood she produces. the bees are still in full bore queen making mode from being queenless.

This one is actually obvious to me. And beekeepers know it but then go brain dead because the source of the brood was from a different place they think giving the bees brood will have a different result.

If a hive is queenless and you give it brood what will the bees do? Make a queen. In the process of making that queen those bees are still queenless and broodless. So what happens when a mated queen returns and starts laying. she just provided a queenless colony with brood. So what are the bees going to do? I think it takes a while for the effect of having a queen to settle in on the colony and in the mean time it is a dangerous time to be a queen providing brood to recently queenless bees. Sometimes they start queen cells then tear them down. at other times they follow through and the newly mated queen is superseded before she even got much of a start.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
They were definitely queen cells as they had larvae inside in a pool of royal jelly, some were also capped when I saw them.
Do you think its worth having a look inside? I was planning on leaving them alone for another week.
The virgin queen, if there is one, should be on day 6-8 of emergence.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,794 Posts
Looking at this time will do no good but satisfy curiosity. I gave a suspected virgin 3 weeks to get mated than I check. It is the worst three weeks of beekeeping for me. Be strong you have 2 week to go. If it makes you fell any better realize I still have that same 2 weeks to wait on 82 virgins. If you still have your mated queen all is well and it still makes no difference if you check.

Save the disruption for doing something that actually counts. If in two weeks there is not sign of a queen you need to give them young open brood. that is a reason to disrupt a hive. If all is well you know it and can let the bees do their thing.

Now here is my counter argument to myself. I will add another frame of open brood now just as insurance to them getting a queen reared and mated. Perfect excuse to get into the hive. and while I am there. well why not look for evidence of a virgin or mated queen? At the very least if you look in the hive make it something more than just satisfying curiosity and concern. The relief of concern only last about 24 hours anyway.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,978 Posts
Virgins are very good at hiding among the other bees so it's not unusual not to find them. With the other cells torn down I would think the workers are convinced that they have a new queen. Are the workers "nervous" on the comb? I would give it another week before I went into the hive...this should give the virgin sufficient time to mate and start laying. New queens have been known to leave the hive when intruded upon too soon. Once she has a patch of brood she is pretty much dedicated to the colony.

Sounds like you're on the right track.
Best wishes,
Ed
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,869 Posts
Going thru the same thing, Had a queen return, laying great and they decided to superscede, in 2 hives, saw virgin on day or day after hatch in one. Was actually going in to rob the cell and start a nuc, showed up a day, or hours late. Now I am Making myself wait. Ive heard leave the virgin alone and give her time and space. Good Luck. G
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
309 Posts
Going thru the same thing, Had a queen return, laying great and they decided to superscede, in 2 hives, saw virgin on day or day after hatch in one. Was actually going in to rob the cell and start a nuc, showed up a day, or hours late. Now I am Making myself wait. Ive heard leave the virgin alone and give her time and space. Good Luck. G
I typically check grafted cells or cells on the frame a couple days after to see if they hatched. It doesn't seem like this affected my mated queen return success rate. I check because I want to know if the cell was a dud, so I can redistribute resources. Are you all saying you don't?

I don't do a frame by frame check, but I do pull the frames if needed to see the status of a QC

I typically don't smoke for this check, and am in and out as smoothly as I can. I also do this check to see the status of the bees and comb in my mating nuc.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
Thanks for the advice guys.
I'll give it another couple of weeks to check on them. Hopefully the bees know better than me.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,208 Posts
So if virgin Queens are hard to find how long after they are mated should they plump up and look like a mature Queen?

I ask as had a QC in a nuc, there was an opened QC a week later. It has now been 3 weeks. I gave the hive some open brood and they haven't made a QC. I haven't found a Queen but there are a few cells with eggs in the bottom of the cells. I am hoping this nuc is now getting sorted.

I would feel a lot better if I could see the Queen.

Thanks for starting this thread...it has answered several of my questions.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,794 Posts
I check because I want to know if the cell was a dud, so I can redistribute resources. Are you all saying you don't?

I don't do a frame by frame check, but I do pull the frames if needed to see the status of a QC

I typically don't smoke for this check, and am in and out as smoothly as I can. I also do this check to see the status of the bees and comb in my mating nuc.
This for me woudl be getting in the compartment for a reason. if you find the cell was a dud you replace it reducing the time for getting a virgin emerged in that compartment. Now you need to decide if you are causing more harm than good.

If I have queen cells to replace with and I am short on compartments I will do this also. In this latest round of 82 cells I placed every cell in a compartment an for the most part left them alone. We had a compartment or two I had concerns about for one reason or another so we checked them and made corrections as necessary. One got moved to a 5 frame nuc for example.

With our first queen rearing attempt this past spring we placed all cells in an incubator and only introduced them once the queen had emerged. This was interesting because it showed us we had a 40 % failure rate of the cells. I suspect that was due to cold weather at the time we where removing them. Introduction of virgin queens to the compartments did not go well either. This is a large part of the reason to go with just placing cells in the compartments this time.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,794 Posts
So if virgin Queens are hard to find how long after they are mated should they plump up and look like a mature Queen?
I usually have to give them at least three weeks past emergence. Wait another week and those eggs will be capped and you will know you have a queen if you have capped worker brood.

From emergence. Day 1 to day7 the virgin is finishing her development and gaining strength. She may begin orientation flights during this time. From day 7 to day 14 she will most likely make her mating flights during this week. Weather and other conditions permitting. Day 14 to day 21 (third week) If you have a queen still it is most likely she is mated and actually laying. But because she is a newly mated queen and space may be limited by this time evidence of her may be difficult to find.

If you give it another week even a slow layer will have produced enough brood for you to be able to find it. Open but nearly capped brood will be present and in a few days the first cells will be getting capped.

This past spring we may have mistaken young queen laying as laying worker. I am now concerned with how many newly mated queens we may have lost due to this. So now we allow any virgin time to mate lay and for her first brood to be capped.

We made the compartment to produce queens in. and if that process requires 4 weeks or a bit more. then that is what those compartments will be tied up doing for 4 weeks or more.

It is sometimes hard to keep a tiny two frame compartment going for 4 weeks. if there is capped brood on the frame at the time it is set up the compartment easily becomes over populated. if there was no brood on the frames the population begins to dwindle to much. This is one reason I am looking at a slightly larger compartment being the minimum size I will use.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
309 Posts
I usually have to give them at least three weeks past emergence. Wait another week and those eggs will be capped and you will know you have a queen if you have capped worker brood.

From emergence. Day 1 to day7 the virgin is finishing her development and gaining strength. She may begin orientation flights during this time. From day 7 to day 14 she will most likely make her mating flights during this week. Weather and other conditions permitting. Day 14 to day 21 (third week) If you have a queen still it is most likely she is mated and actually laying. But because she is a newly mated queen and space may be limited by this time evidence of her may be difficult to find.
if emergence = day1, I have had proof of laying on day 12 [or day 28 if you use the system where day one = egg laid by queen]. While eggs are nice I like to wait until her capped brood has occurred for final verification). I get antsy and like to check for eggs. However I never look for the queen until I see capped brood, largely because for me there is no compelling reason to. I only mark a queen once she is a confirmed worker brood layer.

We made the compartment to produce queens in. and if that process requires 4 weeks or a bit more. then that is what those compartments will be tied up doing for 4 weeks or more.

It is sometimes hard to keep a tiny two frame compartment going for 4 weeks. if there is capped brood on the frame at the time it is set up the compartment easily becomes over populated. if there was no brood on the frames the population begins to dwindle to much. This is one reason I am looking at a slightly larger compartment being the minimum size I will use.
This was my experience too. Two frames compartments (and I am using mediums), are too much work to maintain IMO. I now switched to 5 frame boxes for mating nucs (decoates nucs modified for mediums) with 2 frames (brood and honey +QC). I then add in three more frames for them to work on if they get board in the next 28 days while I wait to confirm a mated queen. At the least this saves me burr and bracer comb clean up. And it usually gets me some drawn comb out of the deal.



we had a 40 % failure rate of the cells. I suspect that was due to cold weather at the time we where removing them. Introduction of virgin queens to the compartments did not go well either. This is a large part of the reason to go with just placing cells in the compartments this time.
That number to me is pretty incredible. I would think it must be process/weather versus anything else. I have only done a little grafting, but this year I grafted 18, 15 were accepted, I dropped two when adding to nucs (they were duds probably by my fault). All the cells that were added to nucs hatched except 1, and that was likely a kill by a queen who found her way out of my cell cage. So of the 13 I did not drop, all others hatched but one. Now we will see how many get well mated, don't get eaten by a bird :) I will find out in the coming weeks.
 
1 - 13 of 13 Posts
Top