Bad Queen or Not?

Discussion in 'General Beekeeping' started by brooksbeefarm, Jul 23, 2013.

  1. brooksbeefarm

    brooksbeefarm New Member

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    Went through some hives yesterday and this one hive that i have put frames of brood and eggs in 3 different times doesn't have any sign of a queen or fresh eggs or brood? I had this happen to a hive last year and after going through the hive many times i finally found a small queen, probably a virgin that for some reason never got bred? There is a fair population in this hive (probably from the frames i've put in it?) and like last year, i can't find a queen? They have never made a queen cell from the frames i put in, and when i go into the hive they are noisy and run on the frames like they are queenless? The only thing that keeps it from being a laying worker hive, is the frames of brood i keep putting in it? Any ideas of what's going on?? Jack
     
  2. ApisBees

    ApisBees Active Member

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    The age of the bees in the hive are past their nurse bee time in life and have moved on to foraging and defending. Once a hive has been queenless it is harder to get it to start cell building. I would start 2 queens. Place one frame in the hive to see if they will raise a queen, but place a frame in a nuc and raise an additional queen in case the bees don't produce one in the hive, or somthing happens and she is lost in mating. You would have a laying queen that would be more readily excepted to combine with the hive. The worst that could happen is you would have an extra queen.
     

  3. DonMcJr

    DonMcJr New Member

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    Good Advice Apis! I think I am gonna start a Nuc from my strongest hive incase hive #3doesn't make their own Queen!
     
  4. riverrat

    riverrat New Member

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    Apis good point. I like the idea of making the nuc. I was always under the assumption foraging and guard bees will revert back to nursing and house keeping duties if the need arises and vise versa
     
  5. Wolfer

    Wolfer New Member

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    New guy here. Been a lurker for some time.
    ive got the same thing going on. A hive that swarmed leaving 5 capped cells. I put two in a nuc and left three in the hive. Both hatched but neither made it back from their mating flight. Third this year so far.
    I keep giving them eggs but they refuse to build a queen. The nuc when it hit its 30 day mark and no queen I just combined it with the nuc beside it whose queen did make it back.
    Last night I started another nuc hoping I'll get two or three cells started. At the same time I had another hive whose queendidn't make it back and I combined it with a weak hive whose queen just started laying but didn't have enough bees to cover much brood.
    I'm going to do the same thing with the swarm hive. When I get queen cells I'll pull some boxes from these combined hives and start over.
    My thoughts are since I combined and then pull a box off I'll have some younger bees in the box that might be more receptive. I have plenty of bees I just need more queens.

    This has been a rough year for me as far as queens go. I split two hives too early and both queens failed. Both were fine for a little while, long enough to build a pretty good population but one started laying drones and the other nearly stopped laying. She was superseded and her replacement made it back a couple weeks ago.
    hope this all works, I've had good luck in the past with queens born after the summer solstice. I guess I also had good luck with spring queens too as long as I don't split before the blackberries bloom, no matter what the calendar says.
    sorry for the long winded post guys/gals, I get started and can't find a stopping place.
    Woody
     
  6. riverrat

    riverrat New Member

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    dont want to hijack a very interesting thread but got to say welcome aboard wolfer
     
  7. brooksbeefarm

    brooksbeefarm New Member

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    Good post ApisBee, like riverrat i also thought the workers would revert back to the nurse bee stage. I started 5 nucs last week with eggs and they all have queen cells (one of them has 8 queen cells?) so i'll combine one of the nucs if they make to this queenless hive. Welcome to the forum Wolfer. Jack
     
  8. PerryBee

    PerryBee New Member

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    Hey Wolfer, nice to see a new member posting. :thumbsup:
    Welcome! :hi:
     
  9. srvfantexasflood

    srvfantexasflood New Member

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    So, do I understand correctly? You started nucs with out queens and let them make their own queen? If you wait for a queen, at this time of the year, will they be strong enough to make it through the winter in our part of the country?
     
  10. ApisBees

    ApisBees Active Member

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    They do to an extent when a swarm leaves the hive with mainly older forager bees they take up wax building and caring for the new brood. Also the young bees that have stayed in the hive will start foraging at a younger age. The problem is the bees that are the proper age to make the best royal jelly to feed the queens are bees that are about 2 weeks old. Queen breeders will run cell builder colonies and a support colony together. The support colony is ran with the queen confined in the bottom super, frames of eggs are pulled above the excluder and empty combs are diven back for the queen to lay in. This way the queen breeder has frames for capped brood that can be placed in the cell builder with no eggs or larva that could be drawn into a queen cell that could go undetected and emerge destroying other queen cells. A frame of capped brood that is ready to emerge is given to the cell starter every 2nd graft to ensure there are bees the proper age to produce the royal jelly to feed the bars of queen cells (about every 10 days). There is a certain age of the bees when they produce the highest nutrient royal jelly to feed the cells and queen breeders realize having starter colony's stocked with bees the appropriate age is essential for good cell cup acceptance.
    Once a colony has been with out a laying queen and something has happened that the new queen has been lost, there are no longer bees in the hive that are the optimal age for feeding new queen cells, other than the few that are on the frame being transferred.

    Welcome Wolfer thanks for coming out to party with us.
     
  11. Wolfer

    Wolfer New Member

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    I personally have a cut off date of Aug 1. I'm sure I could start one after that. My thoughts are that I could always boost it with frames from another hive but I can't recall ever having to do it although sometimes when I transfer them to a 10 frame deep I'll give them a frame of capped brood from somewhere else. More to help fill the space than anything else. I haven't had any trouble wintering in a single deep here but they definitely have to be checked for stores in Feb.
    It doesn't take much to feed a small colony from first frost until they start spring buildup but they will starve in a hurry after that.
    last year I had three hives that were low on stores, one desperately so. I give them all 10 lbs of sugar dampened to a thick paste and smeared it on the top bars over the cluster. This carried all three thru to nectar.
    you milage may vary, Woody
     
  12. brooksbeefarm

    brooksbeefarm New Member

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    Yes, they are making there own queens, 4 of the 5 frames are drawn comb(3 with brood) 1 frame is foundation (wax) this gives them something to do while waiting for there new queen. I make 5 frame supers for them and a top feeder, then i feed,feed,feed,after extracting i have wet frames for the 5 frame supers for them to clean up and refill. I may use some of the new queens to requeen some of my weaker hives with old queens, i keep several nucs going all summer, if you have several hives, a nuc to me is like a savings account, they have many uses.:thumbsup: Jack
     
  13. brooksbeefarm

    brooksbeefarm New Member

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    Wolfer, do you know Marlyn Trout in Ash Grove? he is in our bee club? Jack
     
  14. Wolfer

    Wolfer New Member

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    No, I don't know too many people here. I've lived here 12 years but I tend to go to work and come home. I guess I'm not very sociable huh.

    Like you, I find a nuc as handy as a pouch on a possum. If I start one in the spring it may take all summer to get to a full size box because I keep robbing from it. Borrowing really.
    It is also one of the ways I try to prevent swarms. I can take a frame or two from different hives and throw them in a nuc together. If their making their own queen I won't do less than 4 frames preferably 5. I've made a lot of two frame nucs that raised a queen but none saw fall much less spring. Of course when putting the queen in the nuc or a capped cell I don't need that many frames.
    Woody
     
  15. Wolfer

    Wolfer New Member

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    First off, thanks for all the welcomes guys.
    I checked my swarmed hive tonight, all the eggs have hatched but no queen cells started. Didn't have any newspaper so I just threw them on top of another two box hive. I'm always nervous they'll kill my queen but I done it before with no problems.

    According to my queen calendar I should have cells started tomorrow in my nuc but I have to check some hives at Sparta after work and probably won't get back until after dark. I'll do it Friday.
     
  16. efmesch

    efmesch Active Member

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    Woody, I'd like to add my "welcome" :hi:to the list of others who have already welcomed you.
    So, you've been a lurker for a while---from your posts it sounds like you could have been giving advice here for a long time.
    Can you tell us a bit about yourself and your bees? How long have you been beekeeping?
     
  17. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    Wolfer, welcome, and thanks for posting.

    I did notice one small detail in one post. You say you combine after 30 days. Many queens lay their first eggs 30 to 35 days from egg. I would suggest giving them another week before giving up on them.
     
  18. Wolfer

    Wolfer New Member

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    Thanks for the welcome Iddee.
    Ive read that before and have waited an extra week a couple times but to no avail. If I saw a queen I would be prone to give her more time but I usually have eggs or nothing at all.
    I did have one once that didn't have eggs at the 4th week but did have 3 days later.
     
  19. Wolfer

    Wolfer New Member

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    Thanks efmesch
    Not much to tell. I think I've only had bees about five years. I grew up in the logwoods in southern MO. Quite often we woud cut a tree and find out there were bees in it. Once you start limbing they will let you know this area is already occupied. Me and my dad had a couple hives years ago but didn't know anything abou raising bees only about robbing them.
    There was a local beekeeper that we could call when we cut a tree and sometimes he would come out and try to salvage the bees.
    Like most beginners I've lost several hives. I try to learn something from every hive I lose. The guys at work say if you look up bee pest in the dictionary it has my picture.

    If we had Internet 40 years ago I might have saved our hives back then. Plus I could have brought home lots of bees.
    Ive learned a lot from forums like this and Michael Bush. I don't have a mentor, I have some friends with bees but I think I'm their mentor.
    im really cautious about posting unless its something I've had success with personally. Theres a lot of info out there that is speculative or hearsay. If I hear about something I think might work I'll try it. If it does I learned something, if It dont ive still learned something.
    ‚ÄčOne thing I've learned is bees are fascinating little critters!