I've done my homework but now what?

Discussion in 'Beekeeping 101' started by Piebaker, Apr 22, 2013.

  1. Piebaker

    Piebaker New Member

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    Hi everyone, my name is robin and I'm a year 2 beekeeper. I had a hive last year that didn't make it through the winter (I was devastated - is that normal?) so I've started again and here is my dilemma.

    I put in a second hive so I would have something to compare to this year. I installed my packages April 6th. I have frame feeders in each, put 1/2 patty on each, several water sources near and high hopes. Checked back a few days later to see that the queens are out and cages are empty. A week later I go back to refill the feeders, all is good. Dandelions are blooming as are many other things and both hives have pollen going in.

    Saturday when I went to add my next supers, here is what I found.

    Hive #1 has bees eating at the patty, I peer down at frames and can see brood and drawn comb and life is great. Bees are solid out to six of the frames and buzzing happily. I'm not using a smoker and they are fine with me. It is everything I had hoped for (my queen last year was a mediocre layer). I'm happy and my girls seem happy.

    Hive #2 has no one at the patty and bees only over on frames 1-4. And not nearly as heavily covered as hive #1. I look down and see a queen cell. I run back to the house, come here and read through threads frantically (devin's timing was serendipitous and our problems parallel). Went back to the hive and checked on these things: the queen cell seems to be capped, I do not see any evidence of any eggs anywhere and the bees are agitated and loud and not happy to have me there.

    So, I see my options as these: 1) take a deep breath and let the queen develop and let the girls right their own world, 2) order a new queen, or 3) move these bees into my thriving hive.

    My concern is maybe I don't really know if that cell has a queen in it or not. I'm taking baby steps here. But since my loss last year, I'm just terrified of losing another hive.

    Any advice, thoughts, or comforting words welcome!
     
  2. pistolpete

    pistolpete New Member

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    average winter colony loss seems to hover around 30%. so you basically had a statistical 1/3 chance of losing that hive. It's unfortunate, but nothing to really feel bad about. It's still very early in the season, so I'd say you have lots of time to let the queen cell you have proceed naturally. There should be several queen cells in there, so maybe you should add a frame with eggs from the other hive just to make sure.
     

  3. riverrat

    riverrat New Member

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    it is not unusual for package bees to supercede the original queen. So a single cell would be normal. It takes 21 days for a worker bee to go from egg to emerge. You have not had them hived long enough for the first round of brood to hatch. My guess is you have had some drifting from one hive to the other. you could switch hives to balance out the numbers. I would let the supercedure cell remain and hatch and try to keep the hive numbers balanced out
     
  4. blueblood

    blueblood New Member

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  5. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    well I am going to disagree with riverrat here just a bit in that I don't really think there is anything normal in a new queen being supersceded. is this expected in some case? why yes it is. is it normal? no, or at least it should not be.

    a snip..
    so I've started again

    tecumseh..
    good for you. the first quality of any decent and successful beekeeper is 'endeavoring to persevere' <if you have doubts about this read cc miller's classic and see how long he had to endeavor to succeed at beekeeping.

    I am glad this time you decide to double up and compare. I am not certain how any new beekeeper can have one and know what is going on without having something to compare with.

    another snip..
    has no one at the patty

    tecumseh..
    well very soon that patty will be nasty with small hive beetles. I cannot recall the exact reference (issue or date) but you might wish to reference what Randy Oliver says about hives that appear weak and are incapable of consuming pollen patties. To cut to the chase for ya' (although I would really suggest you reference his web page for a lot of good information that is well though out and tend to lean more on science and not so much on how he feels) such hives often times have fairly robust infestation of nosema. this would also suggest to me why folks like riverrat might call superscedure normal <that is it is normal for some package producers to be so tight that they don't see any reason to pay the price of fumidil and put a bit of this in the queen rearing units or the can of syrup that comes with the package.

    and welcome to THE BEEKEEPING FORUM Robin...
     
  6. Daniel Y

    Daniel Y New Member

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    This is almost my second year with bees. May 10th will be one year since I started keeping them. I know it would not set well with me if a new queen was being replaced. I would also think that the bees know better about what to do and let them have their queen cell.
     
  7. PerryBee

    PerryBee New Member

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    Welcome to the forum Piebaker. :hi:
    I would let the cell hatch out and see where you stand after that. No sense buying a queen and trying to introduce her at this point, in their minds they have one on the go.
    If nothing comes of the cell, you can swap a frame from your good hive that has some eggs on it and let them raise their own, or at that point buy a queen.
     
  8. bamabww

    bamabww New Member

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    Welcome and good luck. I think I would try and let the girls do what they think best, as they have already started doing so it seems.
     
  9. G3farms

    G3farms New Member

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    Welcome to the forum :hi:

    I would let the queen cell hatch out and see what becomes of the hive.