Mating flight??

Discussion in 'Beekeeping 101' started by arkiebee, May 12, 2010.

  1. arkiebee

    arkiebee New Member

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    Oh boy did I get into something today & I just hope I didn't mess too much with Mother Nature! A friend of mine had a VERY strong hive and she wanted to get rid of it because she is allergic to bee stings. She wanted me to split it and give half of it to her pastor's son who is interested in bees and let me take the other half. OK this afternoon, after school, I went over there and here is what happened:

    First: her hive was arranged: bottom board, 2 medium supers, hive body, hive body - in that order from the bottom up.

    The top hive body was FULL of honey capped & uncapped
    The middle hive body was FULL of honey, pollen, nectar, some brood and I saw NO cell open for anything else. I did see 2 queen cells capped (on the side of a couple of frames - they were not supercedure cells) I saw some queen cells that were opened on the bottom too.
    The bottom supers were FULL of honey, pollen, nectar, some brood - and I saw NO cell open for anything else.
    Is this what people call "honey bound"?

    So I saw NO queen, NO eggs, and NO larvae. I gave the young man the middle hive body since it had the queen cells on it and I think we may have him to purchase a queen to put in there or maybe not??

    I don't know about the rest? SO I am assuming the queen was out on her mating flight when I was in there? I looked at all the frames twice and I did not see the queen. When I bring this hive home Friday night/Saturday morning, what should I do? I know I need to put a hive body on it and I just have new ones with new foundation, so how can I tell if I messed up and end up with a queenless hive - that is my biggest concern.

    This is a STRONG hive that is a survivor of the weather, etc. So it is one worth keeping and raising more babies from. I sure need your wise input so I will know what to look for when I bring this hive home.And these bees were surprisingly calm for not being worked in months? :confused:
     
  2. Monie

    Monie New Member

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    It sounds like the hive swarmed. Before swarming, the queen will stop laying and the workers will backfill the brood chamber with honey and pollen. If he waits for the queens to emerge, he won't have a laying queen for at another 2 to 3 weeks, depending on when the cells were capped.

    So, you're taking the supers and he has the deeps? Some folks run all medium supers. It makes frame swapping a whole lot easier. Plus they are SOOO much easier to lift. I am currently switching to all mediums. BTW, 3 mediums is the same height as a deep and 1 medium. If it were me, I'd requeen.

    Before requeening, check again to make absolutely sure there are no new eggs, which means a queen is present. There's no sense in ordering a good queen only to have her killed.

    Keep us posted.
     

  3. Monie

    Monie New Member

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    Ok, I just saw that you have opened cells in your half. Hmm... She could be in there. She'll be harder to spot since new queens tend to run around like their nuts. Make sure everyone is home before you move the hive. Like I said, make certain there are no eggs before ordering a new queen. A newly mated queen could start right away, or it may take a couple of days.
     
  4. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    yep sounds pretty much like a classical case of congestion leading to swarming to me. I would reckon the old queen is gone with the swarm (likely issued about a week ago more or less).

    if you saw queen cells that have recently hatched then you likely need to leave at least part of the hive in place until you get the new queen mated and laying. moving unmated or unlaying queens is risky.

    given your description of the lack of brood (seal and unsealed I assume) any cell in the box should be approaching hatching date. If I had wanted to reduce the size of the hive quickly I would have taken out bees and frames as nucs making certain to allocate one unhatched queen cell per nuc.
     
  5. arkiebee

    arkiebee New Member

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    I saw NO empty cell anywhere. I saw swarm cells that were open, but I clearly saw 2 that were capped - I also saw NO open brood - no larvae at all. Do queens leave for a few days on their mating flight or do they come back each night???I have actually heard both ways?

    I just want to know what to watch for when I bring this hive home this weekend? If I did have a new queen in there, I know she should be laying, but I have no idea where she would put them??? I am going to put another hive body on as soon as I get it to the house - will make it easier to move without it for now. No telling what that weighs???
     
  6. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    You should have put one frame with queen cell in each side of the split. As is, when you get it home, take a few frames out of the hive body and replace them with frames only, no bees, from one of your hives. Take the emptiest ones you can find from your hive, to give the new one space, but be sure one of them has eggs in it. Mark the frame with the eggs, and check it for queen cells in 7 to 9 days. If you have queen cells, let them emerge. If not, they are likely queen right. Leave them for another week and look for eggs and larva.
     
  7. arkiebee

    arkiebee New Member

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    Thank you - Thank you guys - I will do that with that top hive body full of honey and switch out with some of my frames to give them room. I can't do that with the frames of supers - that is why I couldn't put a queen cell in each of the split because both queen cells were on a frame for a hive body. Having mediums and deeps mixed just don't work in this kind of situation when you need to do a switch - a - roo.

    But back to the mating flight question - does the queen come back to the hive each night or does she go out and stay out for a few days???

    OK that's all for me tonight - it's way past my bedtime - I got 8th graders with 15 more days of school left in them - and I still have material I want to cover, but they want to shut down on me! :wave:
     
  8. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    She doesn't stay out overnight.

    I use my pocket knife to cut a queen cell out, along with a chunk of comb the size of a small egg. and push a hole halfway through the frame of comb I want to install it in. Then I simply push it into the wax at the top of the hole I made, leaving the cell in the hole.