Queen Cells

You have just gotten your bees, either in the mail or you have gone and picked them up in person. Now what do you do? Covers from installation in your hive until the end of the first winter and the first blooms of spring.
Max
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Queen Cells

Postby Max » Sun Apr 17, 2016 11:15 pm

These two cells were found in my #2 hive during inspection today. This was a NUC that was put in the hive 2 1/2 weeks ago. I never was able to find the queen but racked that up to it being my first year. I did spot emerging brood. This hive has been calm and easy to work, what should my next steps be?

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lharder
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Re: Queen Cells

Postby lharder » Tue Apr 19, 2016 2:50 pm

No eggs or open brood? Only one or 2 of these structures? Probably queenless if so.

Question is, is there a queen in that queen cell? Its not capped, and in my experience, a hopelessly queenless hive will sometimes build a structure like that. Or its not yet capped, or you have an emerged queen already.

You can put in a frame with eggs/young larvae from your other hive (shake bees off it if you can't find its queen) and put it in the middle of the broodnest. Check it in a few days and see if they build queen cells or not. If they do, they needed it, if not, then there may be a capped cell or virgin in your nuc.

Max
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Re: Queen Cells

Postby Max » Wed Apr 20, 2016 1:44 am

You know I thought they were capped but seeing as how I'm completely new I didn't check thoroughly enough. Another lesson learned. This hive is very calm and just plugging along, I will inspect more closely Saturday. Thanks for the advice.

lharder
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Re: Queen Cells

Postby lharder » Wed Apr 20, 2016 2:21 pm

Look at the entrance. If its ragged and empty, then it was likely never occupied. When queen emerges, the exit hole is more precisely cut. A queen that didn't make it will often have a cell with a big gash along its side.

Hopefully you have enough drones and decent weather for mating.

I have a nuc that went queenless as well. Put in a frame of eggs from one of my more successful hives and they have built 2 beautiful queen cells. Question is, should I make another nuc out of the extra cell?

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Dustymunky
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Re: Queen Cells

Postby Dustymunky » Sun Jun 19, 2016 2:54 am

I split my TBH by moving queen and 4 frames of capped brood/honey to a nuc. TBH now has 12 full frames left, lots of bees, and they made 6 nice looking queen cells. I'm gonna move one of the cells to a queen castle but I don't need the rest of the surplus cells. The TBH is queenless and I'm wondering how many cells I should leave in the hive. I've heard just leave one and I've heard to leave 2 as insurance. My concern is the possibility of creating a swarm situation if I leave multiple cells in the hive. Is it likely this 12 frame queenless hive swarm if I leave multiple cells?

lharder
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Re: Queen Cells

Postby lharder » Tue Jun 21, 2016 2:01 pm

Was this split done as swarm prevention or for a brood break?

Generally speaking I like give the hive with the most resources the queen and the hives waiting for their queen to emerge, mature and mate less.

In your case its ok to take away the queen and let the strong hive raise the queen cells because they will do a good job, but once that job is done, I would give the big hive its queen back and let small hives get their new queens going. But I don't do brood breaks. 2 cells is what I would do.

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Dustymunky
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Re: Queen Cells

Postby Dustymunky » Tue Jun 21, 2016 7:20 pm

The purpose of the split was to create a new hive and a few queen cells. I moved frames from a TBH to a standard nuc....rubber bands and pissed off bees. I plan on leaving the established queen in the nuc. I don't plan on moving the queen back because I don't want to disrupt the hives more than I already have. If everything works out I will get 2 nucs and TBH laying queens. I'm thinking it's pretty remote that the TBH will swarm when the queen emerges. The other cells are on the same frame. Thx for the reply :).

P.S. Having TBH and langs is kinda a headache when you want to share resources or move stuff around.

lharder
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Re: Queen Cells

Postby lharder » Wed Jun 22, 2016 2:04 pm

I have a bit of a lazy streak that embraces the one type of box. Even so the rate of expansion keeps me hopping. I'm going to have to put together a bunch of lids and bottom boards soon. This after working all winter on equipment. I have a bunch of nucs I'm making up today and tomorrow and later on this week. I can't imagine trying this with frames that weren't interchangeable.

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Dustymunky
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Re: Queen Cells

Postby Dustymunky » Wed Jun 29, 2016 10:47 pm

I left 4 cells intact that were clustered in one area of a comb and I'm pretty sure the hive swarmed. I was out of town for a week and now the population of the hive is considerably smaller. I found a nice looking black queen in the hive :). I also found 2 new queen cells which is puzzling. I'm surprised my new queen didn't destroy them. I tore them out. New queen should be going on mating flights this week.
She was making a loud rhythmic noise that sounded like a cross between a cricket and a car alarm. It was very distinct and it was actually how I spotted her. She was rubbing her wings together repeatedly to make the noise. Has anyone else seen/heard this behavior?

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Dustymunky
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Re: Queen Cells

Postby Dustymunky » Thu Jun 30, 2016 3:40 am

I found out the noise I heard was the queen piping. Bees are so fascinating!

lharder
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Re: Queen Cells

Postby lharder » Thu Jun 30, 2016 3:42 pm

Did get all your nucs and hives queen right?

I did a quick check on some mating nucs yesterday. Found a couple that decided to make their own. It almost killed me to remove them and combine them. But I don't know which hives the frames came from and I have my own bad ideas about which hives the queens should come from. I gave them a frame with eggs from a hive I want more queens from. They will make a few, then will make some more from cut cells in a few days, allowing them to get a queen mated after this.

But overall not quite enough bees, didn't see many virgin queens but the cells look emerged. Had so many cells that I stretched things a bit thin I guess. Some bees shaken in obviously left.

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Dustymunky
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Re: Queen Cells

Postby Dustymunky » Thu Jun 30, 2016 4:32 pm

I now have 3 hives, 3 nucs and 2 compartments of queen castle with queens. 3 of the queens are still virgins so I don't know if they are "queenright" until queen lays. Weather has been very cooperative so I expect good things. Time will tell if they will all be ready for winter. I have been feeding all colonies syrup since I pushed them pretty hard this year with splits. I will be happy with 3 solid hives and 3 solid nucs for overwinter.

lharder
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Re: Queen Cells

Postby lharder » Fri Jul 01, 2016 1:18 pm

Sounds like you are likely to get enough queens going and have a successful year.

My nucs are at a new site. So far its been excellent in terms of nectar flow, with irrigated alfalfa, some not cut, and within flying distance of urban gardens. However our summers are hot and dry and I am preparing to feed them if necessary to build them in time for winter. We generally have a rabbit brush fall nectar and pollen in September that should top them off. I'm making hive top feeders fat bee man style just in case I need them. Last years late summer/fall prep didn't quite cut it.


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