Capped queen cells?

Discussion in 'General Beekeeping' started by RE Jones, Mar 3, 2012.

  1. RE Jones

    RE Jones New Member

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    I went through the TBH yesterday and found five capped queen cells. I removed three of them and installed them in the 12 bar nuc with three other frames.

    My question is, do I need to kill the cells left in the main hive? All the books that I read on the subject says to kill those emergency queen cells to keep them from swarming. Should I or not?

    Thanks, Robert
     
  2. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    You should have moved the queen and left the cells. ""artificial swarm""

    They will likely swarm soon, so if you kill the cells it will leave them queenless.
     

  3. riverrat

    riverrat New Member

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    Emergency queen cells are different than a swarm cell. I would never recommend killing any queen cells. If they are swarm cells I would do as iddee suggested. If they are emergency queen cells I would leave them alone. Generally the bees know whats best for a hive . When they build emergency cells you may be queenless or have a failing queen. Removing the cells you may end up with a queenless hive
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 4, 2012
  4. RE Jones

    RE Jones New Member

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    These are emergency cells as they are in the middle of the comb, so I have been told.
    As far as a failing queen, there are 8 bars full of brood so I don't think she is failing. Maybe they know something that I don't.
    They have plenty of room in the hive, about ten more bars to go. I guess I'll wait and see what happens.
    Robert
     
  5. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    a snip..
    kill those emergency queen cells to keep them from swarming.

    tecumseh.. a very short lesson...
    bee construct queen cells for 3 reasons* recognizable by man. 1) swarming <you likely know the drill here, the hive gets congested and the old queen leaves in the form of a swarm, 2) superscedure <whereby the old queen is falling so the bees rear a replacement.. multiple queens in a box often represent superscedure situation and 3) emergency < the old queen dies suddenly from either man made or some natural calamity and in this emergency a replacement queen is reared.

    so unless you killed the queen you are not really talking about an emergency queen cell in this situation.

    there is a lot of misinformation (most specifically on bee boards) as to determining cause of rearing queen cells based on the location of the cell. this is kind of like some folks paid political advertisement... sounds good, but you just know it ain't exactly true. there are some general location reference to queen cells (like drone cells they are 'typically' at the edges of the brood nest) but largely the bees rear queen from suitable resources (just hatched eggs) where ever they are located and pretty much in number comparable to the hive's population.

    knocking down queen cell will not keep a hive from swarming. most times without doing something else (like moving bees and cells into 'other' boxes) knocking down cells and thinking this will STOP a hive from swarming is fairly delusional thinking. most time folks (no matter what their experience might be) will miss one or two cell... even if they do 'get them all', almost from the time you shut the box back up 'the girls' have started building some more.

    *certainly not a cause for a hive to raise queen cells, the process you describe above I call opportunistic queen rearing. that is you come to a very populated and thereby successful hive and you recognize queen cells and you then harvest these in the form of X number of nucs.

     
  6. wadehump

    wadehump New Member

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    capped cells most likely already swarmed
     
  7. RE Jones

    RE Jones New Member

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    Well, Iddee was right. She swarmed this afternoon.

    I had no idea they would try this in 25-35 mile an hour winds, but they did. They swarmed into an oak tree just above the bee yard and above my shed. I took a 10 frame box with drawn comb in it and raked them off the limb into the box. They now have a new home in the same bee yard.

    Now, do I have to worry about after swarms when the virgin queens hatch out? I left two of the queen cells in this hive.

    Thanks, Robert
     
  8. RE Jones

    RE Jones New Member

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    Oh, by the way, do not open a TBH just after the queen has swarmed!!
    I had my suit on when getting the swarm, after they were in the hive and off of the roof, I decided to open the TBH and see how many bees were left, after removing the suit!! One in the back of the head and one just under my left eye, and I mean quick. My oldest son was there handing me stuff and he got nailed on the forehead and one in the back of the head and he was 100' away.

    Robert
     
  9. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    WHAT! You mean I finally got something right? Hallelujah!!
    I would spread the full bars and place 3 or 4 empties throughout the nest to try and prevent afterswarms.
     
  10. G3farms

    G3farms New Member

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    Congrats on the increase in numbers!!

    Is this the first swarm you have ever caught?

    We need pics you know :grin:
     
  11. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    I just can not stand it when iddee is right :mrgreen:

    a snip..
    Oh, by the way, do not open a TBH just after the queen has swarmed!!

    tecumseh:
    until you have another laying queen in the hive a hive will continue to be very hostile <I suspect a lot of reports of hives gone very defensive are actually suffering from a short episode of being queenless.. tbh or lang don't really matter here. also as a precaution for the 'new' queen in the cell and the resulting virgin queen any and all manipulations or disturbances should be minimized. the queen in the cell is obviously very fragile and virgin queens (with no brood in the box) are subject to being outright murdered if you disturb a hive too much.
     
  12. RE Jones

    RE Jones New Member

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    G3, all of my hives are from swarms that I have caught, this is the first one of mine that I caught.:lol:

    Tec, I had already moved some bars in the hive and removed a couple to a top bar nuc before she swarmed, so I will not be bothering this one for a while.

    The nuc is not defensive at all, so I will assume when the queen in that hive hatches, the one in the top bar should have hatched. They were all capped, so they should be hatched in a couple of days. She will still be a virgin queen until the mating flight and after that, things should return to "normal".
     
  13. Dbure

    Dbure New Member

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    OK. Let me see if I understand this. When the old queen leaves doesn't the newly hatched queen kill the remaining queens or queen cells? I am trying to figure this out too as today on an inspection of one of my own hives I saw what appears to be some empty queen cells and one capped in the brood nest but found a queen. How would one know if the queen that is roaming around is a new one or is the old one without some kind of markings? :confused:
     
  14. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    The one thing you must learn about bees. There are NO absolutes. The first emerging queen will USUALLY kill the remaining cells. There have been 4 and 5 queens found in a single swarm.

    Repeat: There are no absolutes in bees.

    As for telling a young from an old queen? I have never tried. Why would you. In two weeks, if you have a nice brood pattern, the queen's fine. If not, start worrying. Doesn't matter about her age.
     
  15. Dbure

    Dbure New Member

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    I understand what you are saying Iddee. I guess what I was more trying to figure out is how one would know if a swarm already took place and you missed it, leaving behind a new queen. Is there a way to know if the colony has already swarmed?
     
  16. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    I would say if there are open queen cells, the old queen is most likely gone. Whether she swarmed or died.
     
  17. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    Dbure:
    there are definite difference and things you can look for. The most obvious differences being between an unmated/unlaying virgin and a mature laying queen. First there are obvious differences in the abdomen size of the two. With the virgin looking more like a yellow jacket and the mature queen looking more like a red wasp. Even after mating a new queen will take several weeks to grow into her adult shape. There typically are other things you can look for/at that will give you some additional clues... as the queen gets older the back edges of her wings get a bit frayed from the workers herding her about <the worker quite typically do this without interruption to get the old queen into flying shape prior to swarming.

    Superscedure is a normal process in most hives and these become opportunity to witness two queens in a hive at the same time. In this process (which I suspect can get quite draw out) a hive may well begin constructing cells with the idea of replacing a queen, but the existing queen will keep tearing these down prior to any new queen emerging. This may continue until the old queen finally fails (producing only unfertilized eggs) and these kind of hives may well never requeen themselves in the normal manner. I also suspect (think I have witnessed) certain beekeeper manipulation that may well encourage or set the stage for superscedure.
     
  18. Dbure

    Dbure New Member

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    Thanks Iddee.:thumbsup: I was not sure, but kinda felt that could be the case. If I have identified the cell correctly then I think I may already have a new queen.:shock: I know some pics might help.
     
  19. Dbure

    Dbure New Member

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    Tecumseh, the queen I saw today looked light in color. I know that the queens I've seen before in the hives seem darker or reddish brown. Perhaps this is what you are referring to in the difference of color. I had a hard time finding her and finally recognized her from the elongated abdomen. This particular hive was my weakest one and I worried about it making it through the winter. It actually came through alright, but maybe the queen was failing resulting in the sharp decline of population?
     
  20. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    The coloration is a genetic thing... although technically not totally determined by just genetics alone. The current queens color has been somewhat altered from that of the original queen by the drone(s) that mated with your original queen. <a good point to be made here is that since the drones in the hive are from an unfertilized egg the color of the drones in the hive typically reflects the color of the queen.

    Since you seem to suggest the existing queen's abdomen is swollen (and I would hope laying) then quite likely she has been in the box for quite some time. I would guess a month or so at least if she has the appearance you suggest.

    The colorations mentioned in my prior post was really not relevant to the description of a virgin vs a fully functioning queen. Really the distinction I was trying to make was in the size of the abdomen of a yellow jacket vs a wasp and how these shapes related to a virgin or laying queen. <me bad!