Growing a New Queen?

Discussion in 'General Beekeeping' started by Dbure, May 22, 2013.

  1. Dbure

    Dbure New Member

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    OK, I'll try and not be long winded in this as my husband accuses me of sometimes. :mrgreen: But before I can ask anything I had better "splain" my situation first.

    About a week and a half ago I was called to remove a swarm from a woman's lawn and successfully brought it home queen and all. Because weather was turnng bad about that time and has been so awful down here in Texas I was not able to check into their progress until today. The last swarm I caught before this one absconded, so I decided to try the queen excluder on the bottom for a bit to see if it would give them time to accept their home without leaving prematurely. I also added a frame of honey and a clean dry empty brood comb to see if they could get their queen to use it.

    Today when I went in to check everything I discovered they were filling the combs with nectar and pollen and that a queen cup had been built on the side of one of the frames. Seeing no brood I decided to go remove a frame of brood from one of my stronger hives and slip it in to give them something to take care of. After getting that in I picked the box up off the excluder to remove it and there on the excluder was the queen. It appeared she was injured and was not moving normally, so I got her onto my hive tool and placed her back into the frames where she went down inside. I don't know if I injured her in working with the frames or if she has been like that for some time.

    Now, my questions are about the queen cup I found and the new brood frame I put in with them. If the brood cup was started with a newly hived swarm, what might have caused them to start it? Would an injured or failing queen make them sense the need for one? And then, if there is nothing in that cup and the queen dies, will they be able to start a new queen from the brood they now have? The brood frame had capped and uncapped brood. How long would it take for them to create a queen from the already existing brood?:confused:
     
  2. brooksbeefarm

    brooksbeefarm New Member

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    From an egg 16 days, from a larva that is no older than 4 days old 12 days. If the frame you put in had any. Jack
     

  3. Lburou

    Lburou Member

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    In my view, your frame of brood is good insurance in case the queen cannot perform her duties -if your frame of brood had eggs laid within one to five days, (give or take), there is a good chance to produce a good queen. :)

    The queen can be injured anytime you handle frames in the hive. Queens fail or get injured from time to time. Just handle the frames accurately and carefully, it gets easier in time.

    As far as a queen cup is concerned, my hives always have at least one. Just before the swarm impulse shows itself queen cups are common but empty.

    If a larva is young enough, they can make it into a queen if they go queenless or if they supersede her. You can make a queen calendar here.
     
  4. Dbure

    Dbure New Member

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    Thank you for the link Lee. It is very helpful to be able to see the day to day progression and what to expect. When I pulled the frame of brood from the strong colony I could see capped brood and also larvae that was not capped. I don't know if among them there were any freshly laid eggs. The laying was very orderly. The capped brood across the lower half and the uncapped across the upper half of the frame. The larvae looked like little "c"s.I will give it a little time and look back in on them.
    The queen cup was not capped and I could not see anything inside of it. It looked like a little acorn. If a hive goes queenless, don't you still have to have a queen to lay the egg that a queen gets raised from?
     
  5. jb63

    jb63 New Member

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    What if your swarm had a virgin queen
     
  6. Dbure

    Dbure New Member

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    When I caught the swarm I initially thought the queen I saw was young and small. But the one I saw today looked fully mature and fairly long. The thought did occur to me that the swarm may have had the older queen along with a young virgin one. This was one reason I wanted to get the queen excluder off today after the weather cleared up because I know that a virgin queen may still have to mate. The addition of the brood frame was meant to give them something to anchor them to the hive. It took me by surprise to see the queen I found and then become concerned over her condition. I don't know if she is still capable of laying any eggs to grow another queen from.
     
  7. pistolpete

    pistolpete New Member

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    You could (just to be sure) give them a frame with eggs in it from a good hive. Anything older than 3 day old larvae do not produce very good queens. If a hive can not re-queen itself then it is doomed. They will produce laying workers and raise a couple of rounds of drones to carry forth their genetics, then the hive dwindles to nothing.
     
  8. efmesch

    efmesch Active Member

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    Over the years I've pretty much learned to ignore queen cups. If a queen is to be raised, the bees will just as easliy do the job by fixing up a regular worker's cell. Everything else has been answered.
     
  9. Daniel Y

    Daniel Y New Member

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    If the queen was injured during the swarming or when you gathered the swarm and was a virgin, she may have never been able to make her mating flight. IF the queen was a virgin you prevented her form making her mating flight which may explain why you found her on the queen excluder.

    Bees will make a new queen form any brood that is young enough. I make sure I introduce eggs to the colony.
     
  10. Lburou

    Lburou Member

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    ​I am assuming you have removed the queen excluder so a virgin queen could make mating flights, yes? :)
     
  11. Dbure

    Dbure New Member

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    Sorry to get back so late. Seems there are never enough hours in a day to keep up with everything. I am sure most of you all know how that is.:wink:
    In answer to your question Lee, I have removed the queen excluder. The queen I found on top of it looked to be older. If just her size can reflect on that then I am assuming she could have been the old original queen. However, I know when I trapped the swarm what I saw going down into the frames I had set up was smaller. It makes me think there were 2 queens in it. This morning when I went out to check on it I did not open it again, but noticed bees guarding the entrance while a few fly out and a few fly in. Everything got quiet after I put the frame of brood in the other day. I wanted to give it a few days or so before disturbing them again to see what they are building.
     
  12. Lburou

    Lburou Member

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    Thanks for the clarification. :)

    We'll never know for sure whether you have/had one or two queens. When a colony is preparing to swarm, the queen shrinks down to flying weight, so, one would expect a svelte queen in a swarm whether its virgin or mated. Its possible you have just one queen from your description of the two sightings. Let us know when you see eggs in there. :)