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Re: Is your expansion successful?

Posted: Sat May 20, 2017 4:33 pm
by lharder
I have 23 mating nucs that I am waiting for laying queens. The question is with the not great weather, how many queen cells made it and how many will be successful with mating flights. I've checked 2 so far. Both had queens emerge, saw one virgin. We are getting decent queen flying weather just in time for these queens. Hope to see eggs soon. I'm getting quite a bit of interest so hope for a sale of 10 to 15 nucs. I've modified my techniques moving any queen cells to the top of the brood nest between brood frames, where they are better looked after than one left on the bottom of a frame. I have my first grafted queens as well and the cells looked good and well fed. Will be an interesting comparison with emergency queens using a snelgrove board (I have to say I am well pleased with the snelgrove board queens from last year).

The unsuccessful nucs will be combined, fed frames of brood and will become a cell builder and learning to graft will begin in earnest.

Re: Is your expansion successful?

Posted: Sat May 20, 2017 8:51 pm
by moebees
I know what you mean on the weather. I have a package that was just getting going and went queenless. They make lots of emergency cells but all we have is cold, rain, and wind. I don't know how a queen could get mated. The only way my return to beekeeping could be any bigger of a disaster is if it kills me. Anyone in Illinois interested in bees and 6 frame polystyrene equipment?

Re: Is your expansion successful?

Posted: Mon May 22, 2017 5:56 am
by lharder
I think that is when you go looking for queens, any queens, not just one but a couple for a couple of nucs.

Keep the bees going until you get the queens you want. With just one package I think you need to get them as backup.

I'm in a real good location for queen rearing. I'm in a rain shadow. From here on out its extremely rare to get a week of non flying weather.

Re: Is your expansion successful?

Posted: Mon May 22, 2017 11:36 am
by Dustymunky
Hang in there moe. Tough getting started. A good friend of mine ran into same situation. New package queen started laying some then petered out. Guessing it was poorly mated. Tons of emergency cells. The brood that was layed is almost all drone. Every emergency cell was capped then chewed out from the side. To top it off the retailer she bought from just went out of business so no recourse. Just gotta shell out more $$$


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Re: Is your expansion successful?

Posted: Tue May 23, 2017 2:32 am
by moebees
One of the e-cells hatched out. Problem is we never get any decent flying weather for her to get mated.

Re: Is your expansion successful?

Posted: Tue May 23, 2017 2:53 am
by Dustymunky
Yeah that wont work. U buying another queen?


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Re: Is your expansion successful?

Posted: Tue May 23, 2017 2:18 pm
by moebees
Probably not.

Re: Is your expansion successful?

Posted: Tue May 23, 2017 2:26 pm
by Nordak
Every emergency cell was capped then chewed out from the side.


Not sure what time frame we're talking, but post emergence, it is very common for cells to have been chewed out. The virgin that emerges will often sting the unemerged through their cells, then the bees will work on removing them.

My guess, Moe, is within a week you'll have a laying queen. It works out most of the time. Don't lose hope.

Re: Is your expansion successful?

Posted: Tue May 23, 2017 7:42 pm
by moebees
Every emergency cell was capped then chewed out from the side.



Not sure what time frame we're talking, but post emergence, it is very common for cells to have been chewed out. The virgin that emerges will often sting the unemerged through their cells, then the bees will work on removing them.

My guess, Moe, is within a week you'll have a laying queen. It works out most of the time. Don't lose hope.


I'm not sure who you are quoting Nordak because I didn't say that. What I found was a single queen cell with a perfectly round cap chewed out and still attached at one spot to the cell like it was hinged. A little hinged door. The rest of the e cells were gone. Like they had never existed gone. Like if I hadn't seen them a week earlier I would have never suspected there had been any there. I wouldn't give up hope except that the weather has been abysmal ever since she emerged. Highs in the 40s, 50s, rain, high winds. Monday, the day I inspected is the only have decent day. High about 66 sunshine in the morning but cold and 25 mile an hour winds. Rain in the afternoon. That's by far the best day we have had since emergence. Today it has rained all day.

Re: Is your expansion successful?

Posted: Tue May 23, 2017 7:47 pm
by Nordak
I was quoting Dustymunky, regarding his friend's situation. A virgin stays viable to mate quite a while. From what I've read, 20 or so days from emergence. A good weather day here and there is all she needs.

Re: Is your expansion successful?

Posted: Wed May 24, 2017 5:09 am
by Dustymunky
Thx Nordak. I suppose if some of the very first eggs laid were used to make the queen cells then it could have just barely had time for the 16 day time frame. She has a new queen arriving tomorrow. It would suck if there was a newly mated queen when we go to introduce the new queen. Wonder if we should put the caged queen in the hive for a few days and just cover the candy plug so they cant release her. Then see if theres eggs and/or see if they are aggressive toward the caged queen. Got me thinking ;)


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Re: Is your expansion successful?

Posted: Wed May 24, 2017 5:39 am
by Nordak
Hey Dusty,

By your description, I would think there is most likely a virgin or mated queen in the hive depending on the time frame again. If it were me, I'd make up a small nuc, it could even be a couple of frames and a good shake of bees, and introduce the new queen in it. If later you find no queen in the original hive, you could then combine the nuc back with newspaper to make them queenright. Perhaps you could loan your friend a couple of frames for this purpose if she doesn't have the resources. A mixed frame of honey/pollen and a frame of capped brood would suffice.

Re: Is your expansion successful?

Posted: Wed May 24, 2017 5:48 am
by Dustymunky
Unfortunately she has a single top bar hive and mine are all Langs. Do u think a caged queen would be safe in the hive if there is another queen in there or will they injure her?


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Re: Is your expansion successful?

Posted: Wed May 24, 2017 5:53 am
by Nordak
Ok, then do this. Make a nuc for her for holding the queen until you find out if the hive has a queen or not. If later you find it doesn't, cage the queen again and introduce. At that point, they would most likely be begging for a queen and she could be directly released.

I would not want to put the queen in there if it were me. I can't be positive they would harm her, but wouldn't want to risk it.

Re: Is your expansion successful?

Posted: Wed May 24, 2017 6:03 am
by Dustymunky
Sounds like a good plan, thats what ill do. Thx again. You may have saved a poor queens life :)


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Re: Is your expansion successful?

Posted: Wed May 24, 2017 6:11 am
by Nordak
Glad I could help! Let us know how things go.

I was curious about your question regarding aggressive bees and queen cages. Here's MB's thoughts on it from a Beesource post:

The biggest problem with aggressive bees and a queen in a cage is them pulling at her feet and damaging them. The JZBZ cage is designed to prevent this.


My worry as well would be the potential virgin queen stinging her through the cage. Maybe not likely, but possible I would think. Knowing my luck, it would happen!

Re: Is your expansion successful?

Posted: Wed May 24, 2017 6:21 am
by Ferdi
moebees wrote:
...The rest of the e cells were gone. Like they had never existed gone. Like if I hadn't seen them a week earlier I would have never suspected there had been any there...


Hi Moe, this is so normal. Shortly after emergence, the first thing the virgin queen would do is to destroy other cells. I see it all the time.

On the other hand, do not lose hope, as @Nordak stated virgin queens can last up to 20 days before they lose their mating abilities.

Re: Is your expansion successful?

Posted: Sat May 27, 2017 4:57 pm
by Solomon
How do you make a sugar brick?

Re: Is your expansion successful?

Posted: Sun May 28, 2017 5:06 am
by SiWolKe
Solomon wrote:How do you make a sugar brick?


I don´t know who the question is directed to but
if we have to feed, what we try to avoid rather using honey combs,

we use 3 parts of organic powder-grated sugar ( grated ourselves, we don´t use commercial powdered sugar because of the starch part) and one part of honey from the hive in need ( if you don´t want to risk brood disease).
Warm the honey and knead it with the sugar, put it into a plastic bag and let it rest a while.
Put it on top. It can become more liquid under heat so be careful not to let it drop onto the bees. Therefore use a bag with some holes at the sides.
The bag allows it not to become too dry too.

Re: Is your expansion successful?

Posted: Wed Jun 14, 2017 4:20 pm
by lharder
So a small update.

From the 35 hives I had coming out of spring, I have sold 7 nucs, and have about 40 nucs that are coming online with queens that are just beginning to lay or have queen cells. I expect to place another 15 or so cells next week. That spring queen rearing poses problems with poor weather. Sometimes its just too cold to handle queen cells, and I have had variable success depending on the weather. The climate here is generally good as far as mating flight windows, but the cell placement timing is less flexible. Now the weather is more dependable.

I also has my apiary inspected prior to nuc sales. The inspector really liked what she saw, she took some samples and I came back clean. Chalkbrood is my only obvious issue besides of course mites and viruses.

With my queen raising, I have been using a snelgrove board on my strongest hives. I harvest emergency cells from this setup and have mostly really good looking queens. An experienced bee keeper who bought my nucs thought they looked great and wants some queens from me. I have lots of resources coming in as the queen rearing part has most of the foragers. After the first set of cells I have 2 boxes packed with bees, nurse bees and resources, so I have been using them to make queen cells using grafting and the cut cell method. I have been using the cut cell method in conjunction with grafting as my grafting take isn't that great. One bar of grafts, one bar of cut cells. My grafting take was less than 25 % the first time. Almost 50 % the second. Yesterday I did another set of cells. When I went through the donor hive, the only frame with suitable young larvae was a plastic frame. So only grafting. But just maybe I am getting the hang of handling tiny larvae, so baring a rogue queen cell in the setup, I should get a few nice queen cells out of it. I should mention that the cells I do get are very nice and packed with food. So I am pleased.

The next part of the learning curve is handling queens and attendants. People are interested in my bees and want some of my queens. I think this may be the direction I am drifting towards.

Re: Is your expansion successful?

Posted: Wed Jun 14, 2017 7:38 pm
by SiWolKe
Very nice Iharder!

Seems like you are getting to be famous :D

My own grafting attempt was a mess and made me loose a good survivor queen maybe.

I don't really know what happened, they started queen cells but when I combined the two parts to be the finisher the queen was maybe crossing the excluder. They build supercedure cells instead in both parts on the comb and did not finish the queencells.

I took them apart and hoped the queen was still somewhere but maybe I killed her with the managements. Bee density was just too high not to squish some bees.
Now in one part I saw eggs. I will recognize the queen if she`s still there. Totally black.
The other had a destroyed qc but no eggs and I will give them an egg comb. I plan to do the miller method with the elgons, use this queen to lay the eggs and give them to the queenless, hoping they will raise a number of cells.

Re: Is your expansion successful?

Posted: Thu Jun 15, 2017 3:45 pm
by lharder
I've had that happen. Getting better with more attention to detail as I do my manipulations. The worse is when you have to do things in a hurry and some steps have to be missed. The risk of transferring the queen when you don't want to is great. I won't do this with an important queen.

Re: Is your expansion successful?

Posted: Fri Jun 23, 2017 1:38 pm
by lharder
I was going to replace a queen of a hive that was having trouble with chalkbrood. I opened them up and the pile of mummies on the bottom board was gone. They just may be getting it under control after a supercedure last year. They overwintered in a tiny cluster and are now in 5 boxes. Spotted the queen and she is huge and beautiful.

So I left her alone.

But it may be a lesson that it takes a while for a bees to knock the innoculum load down even if they are resistant. Any body else with experience replacing queens with chalk brood problems?