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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi not much info to go on as it is early days but I received some bees into my newly made topbar hive on Wednesday. The bees came from a national hive on the same family property from a local beek. He shook a few frames of bees, added a chop n cropped frame from the national as it was damaged anyway. The frame contained capped drone brood, unsure of what else as I did not handle it, and was placed into the tbh to try and keep them from absconding. They were also given 7 bars to build on then a follower board. The beek had removed queen cells from the old hive the previous evening and captured a virgin queen which he then uncaged it and let walk into the entrance ( he had also added a queen excluder the evening before, the hive swarmed that next morning but went back inside and we made the split later same day)

Unfortunately he is away a lot at the moment and won't be back for 10 days but left instructions to feed them next day, and he would check them in 2 weeks. I went to do this next day and the bees were very unsettled, lots of head knocking and a resonant hum / roar when opening hive follower to add feeder. lots of bees pouring out and flying too. I went back a couple of days later to check feeder and it was untouched so I went to remove it and same behaviour. lots of unsettled bees. They at least appear to be doing something ( fine wax flakes under hive , a crackling popping sound too)
and I was able to look into the first couple of bars from the edge and see they had chewed off the foundation strips he had me put onto the semicircle comb guides and started building comb! I dared not go any further though as I am a novice and they seemed upset again as well as busy building.

Perhaps it is a case of over worrying but they may well have no queen and no eggs to make one. The other hive is still there ( it was moved away a bit and the new tbh took its place so flying bees returned to new hive) but I'm not sure I have the experience to cut out eggs from it and it might be a little disrespectful too?! I could also get in touch with a local breeder which I found online with old queens for £45 but I really like these bees despite them being a bit on the aggressive side, they are very productive and resistant to disease.

Realistically how long can I wait and see about the virgin queen before it is too late for them to recover? and should I upset them further in order to check whether they have/had eggs to make a new queen or virgin was accepted and mated (unlikely?)

Thanks, Charlie.
 

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It takes a bit sometimes for them to settle in.If he set you up right, there probably is still larvae of age for them to build some queen cells .If he gave you the wrong frames from a hive that just swarmed there might not be brood the right age for queen cells.We all make mistakes.If you paid good money for them it already sounds to me he'll make it right.Be patient either way they'll be okay.If you buy another queen and there's a queen already the workers will ball her.I'd hate to see you lose money on her.Curious are they British Black Bees?If so I'm envious,very fond of black and dark bees I am.Remember be patient,most beekeepers suffer some kind of anxiety with their fist hive I know I did.Good luck be patient and welome to the world of beekeeping.
 

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It is much too early to assume that the virgin has failed. It could take as much as three weeks for her to become mated and begin laying (though it often happens earlier). And too, it takes a few days after the virgin has emerged from her cell, before she starts producing adult queen pheromones, so they may still be behaving as if they were queenless, their virgin may not be mature enough yet to be recognized as a queen.

While virgins are maturing, and before they mate and begin laying, the workers of the hive, will "rough them up". Apparently a way for them to become conditioned/trained for their excursions from the hive, and preparatory for the rigors of their mating flights. Sometimes this conditioning might be misconstrued by a beekeeper unaware of this, though it can also be difficult to know when a virgin is being "conditioned" or when she is being balled to death. I wanted to give you a heads-up, in case you are examining your new hive, to find the queen, and perhaps discover she is being conditioned by the workers (not to panic).
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks for your kind replies I will try to remain patient and keep my clumsy bear hands off them for some days! Although I must say a great part of me wants to secure a frame of eggs & larva from the old into new as an insurance policy ( I don't think he paid much attention to what was on the frame, only drone brood was noted) :shhhh:

Curious are they British Black Bees?
The bees are of unknown origin as they had swarmed into an empty super the previous season. They are certainly quite dark, the queen was almost all black other than a very fine banding. The fact that they swarmed after one of the worst winters in recent memory as well as their crazy love for comb (&burr) building as well as propolis is what initially attracted me to them. They seem very hygienic, already carrying out dead bees even though the new hive is quite chaotic...

See what you think...



I wanted to give you a heads-up, in case you are examining your new hive, to find the queen, and perhaps discover she is being conditioned by the workers (not to panic).
Thanks and noted. One less thing to worry over is appreciated, I'm usually quite a relaxed sort of person but they certainly got me going! I swear I can hear their strained buzzing when the room goes quiet !!

Thank you, Is this page in your wonderful book ? would love an index!
Week 3 seems so far away..
 

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>Although I must say a great part of me wants to secure a frame of eggs & larva from the old into new as an insurance policy

That would do no harm.

>Thank you, Is this page in your wonderful book ?

Of course. Pg 437. It is it's own chapter called "Bee Math" oddly enough...

>would love an index!

Someone is working on it.
 

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Absolutely beautiful bees.Not blacks but look very much like some of my bees which are Buckfast carniolan Italian cross.I also have some Russian carniolan italian cross I believe crossed with the Buckfast.Some of my rci's have black bee in them,look very much alike.I call them pedigree mutts but they produce very well,are very gentle to work with,but don't get them riled they settle down just not to quickly.I can tell when they have queen cells going, they'll let me know I'm invading their privacy.I don't care if a bee is pure bred or not only that they are resistant to what nature throws at them,that they're gentle and they produce.Color really hasn't any significance but I truly am infatuated with all races of dark bees.We do still have black bees in are area they not extinct like most think.These are quite defensive for the most part but I had some when I was a kid(50 yrs. or so ago)that were quite gentle.Michael Bush might be able to I.D. them.My bees winter well and winter in a small cluster.Thanks for posting the picture it very much pleases me!
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Of course. Pg 437. It is it's own chapter called "Bee Math" oddly enough...
Oops. This doesn't bode well for my queen spotting abilities does it..

Absolutely beautiful bees
Glad you enjoyed the photo:) They actually look a lot darker in action/ from above if that makes sense! I must say your description of their behaviour is uncannily accurate according to the beekeepers and my limited experience. I was bemused that my BK called them bad tempered as I had used to watch them not 10 feet from the hive without even any notice. Since an inspection....different story! Loving the mongrels though :) Coincidentally, The page after bee math in Michaels book is bee breeds and I definitely see what your saying some Russian and English/ German in them from the descriptions given, not sure about Italian though, they seem lazy!
 

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I study beekeeping all over the world.I'm not a narrow minded individual.I'll learn from anyone that I can.I believe in the UK most bees are more docile than what we keep across the pond from you.In general what I've learned is what we consider docile other countries consider the opposite.Some countries have bees they consider docile we think the opposite.It's amazing to me how the tempermant of bees and their behavior can change so much geographically.Caucasian and Carniolan always appear lazy to me,but I think they're just kind of laid back(chilin if you will)Italians work quite nicely when crossed with most.Hope to chat again take care and enjoy!:banana:
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Hi I went through the hive again on Wednesday (day 21). Bees were hot again! Lots of Nectar and Pollen, a little capped honey but only a lone capped drone cell to be found. This is the last bar put in about 1 week before..



I was pretty worried by then, so i closed it up, and began to review the pictures and found this beauty!



full picture http://www.beesource.com/forums/attachment.php?attachmentid=10889&d=1400317608

Any ideas how old the brood might be? any queen in sight!? looking healthy? when would you next inspect?

Thanks :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Day 28 and a picture of capped brood at last. If someone could confirm it as worker brood it would make my day! The reason I ask is it is a bit domed when viewed from the side, perhaps 2-3mm above the face of the comb at the centre point...



other than that they now have 20 bars to play with ( drawn 14 in 28 days without feeding!) so I will leave them be for a month and make another TBH. Clear to proceed :scratch:??
 

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Momma is layin' just fine! Worker brood indeed. Now let them do their thing...lol

Edited to add...drone brood looks like you put a pea on the top edge of a cell, and they covered it with a wax capping. (Don't know if you have Kix cereal over there, but that's exactly what drone brood looks like.)

Lots of uncapped brood, too...see the cells with shiny white? Congrats!
 

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Sorry I didn't get back sooner, been busy in the queen yard(taking a break right now) Looks like drones and a few workers. As you describe would be drone cells that are domed. Workers are capped flat. In foundationless you'll see a lot of drone cells at first then it'll taper off to more worker cells. You can measure the cells from flat to flat across ten cells. Example 5.4 centimeters divided by ten would be 5.4 millimeters. Worker cells are smaller than drone cells. I really enjoy your pictures! Beautiful dark bees I really like those dark bees:thumbsup: How many frames wih larvae? 14 frames in 28 days :applause: I run foundationless langs and find they draw comb quicker without foundation. Check on them in about a week to see how much worker cells are capped. Let us know. I'll keep an eye out for you around 5 AM your time.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Lovely to hear,thank you for confirming :applause:

All that worrying for nothing lol. Lesson learned!
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I think that was the 9th or 10th bar slowdrone so quite a lot. I will get some more beeporn for you soon ! I don't wanna disturb em too much though unless necessary. when I say they were domed it was very gentle dome, and all cells the same rather than the classic flat and then 'pea dome' if that makes sense. I should have taken a side shot really..and a ruler too..next time! Thanks for the reply. hope those dark queens of yours are well :)
 

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More than likely well fed workers. The dome on a drone cell would look like a 7mm ball cut in half. Second look I'd say more worker than drone cells. Queens are keeping me busier than a one legged man on a rollerskate! They're good sized queens, trying to figure out what went so right. Mating success is way above average so far. Have to finish going through mating nucs after supper. The only difference is that I'm using frames I've built using ideas I've gotten from UK beekeepers. I think they're more efficient than the standard lang frames.:thumbsup:
 
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