New Queen Not Laying

Discussion in 'General Beekeeping' started by litefoot, May 30, 2013.

  1. litefoot

    litefoot New Member

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    I put a new queen in a nuc split off from a 2nd year colony. She was released from cage approx 4-5 days ago and is still not laying. Did she possibly come to me unmated? My eyes probably aren't trained enough to tell the difference, but her abdomen looks darker than what I remember with the others.
     
  2. riverrat

    riverrat New Member

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    good possibility. I would leave it undisturbed a few more days and look again.
     

  3. litefoot

    litefoot New Member

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    Ok let me go back a bit and give the full story. This nuc was given the new queen on 5/23. On 5/28, I noted that she had been released, but I couldn't find here in the box or on the ground. In addition, there were no eggs and a nice queen cell cup was being developed. I came to the conclusion that I'd lost here. So I introduced a serviceable older queen I had kept in reserve. Today I found the older queen dead on the ground and first thought was that the new queen was in the hive after all....and she is...but still not laying.
     
  4. PerryBee

    PerryBee New Member

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    New queens that have been off comb for a while sometimes take their time getting started laying again. My bet is that she was in there and did in your second queen. A few more days should tell the difference.
     
  5. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    a snip...
    there were no eggs and a nice queen cell cup was being developed.

    tecumseh..
    do you mean queen cell cup (a dry cup) or queen cell (with larvae)? if the latter... this will almost assure you that any queen introduced into the hive will be murdered outright.

    ps... a week from the date a queen has been released from an introduction cage is a pretty good operational rule. typically by that time you have enough eggs to show up without much question.
     
  6. litefoot

    litefoot New Member

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    Ok, I'll check again for eggs in a couple of days and report back. Thanks!
     
  7. efmesch

    efmesch Active Member

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    Keep in mind that a queen cup (unoccupied) tells nothing about the presence or absence of a laying queen in the hive. All healthy hives like to have a few queen cups scattered around here and there, and they can remain empty for years (when the combs are recycled).
     
  8. litefoot

    litefoot New Member

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    Still no eggs today. Here's a pic of the queen. She's on the left. What do you think? The nuc is very calm and is taking feed quite well. Lots of bees. The capped brood when I created the nuc is mostly all hatched...just no new eggs yet. Give her a few more days? I did notice that she is sticking her head in and checking out the cells as she passes by.

    IMG_0572[1].jpg
     
  9. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    She may be holding off because of all the disturbance. I would not go into them more than once a week. You may upset them enough for them to do away with her.
     
  10. efmesch

    efmesch Active Member

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    She's mated (extended abdomen) and she's young (as indicated by the lack of any fraying of the wings). If there are no eggs within another week, then something is wrong with her and she should be replaced----just be certain that it's not you who isn't seeing eggs that are there. :wink:
     
  11. riverbee

    riverbee Active Member

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    litefoot,
    what ef said; "She's mated (extended abdomen) and she's young (as indicated by the lack of any fraying of the wings). If there are no eggs within another week, then something is wrong with her and she should be replaced-"
    also, she has a retinue.
    about the queen cell cup.....bees build and tear down cups, it's 'just in case.'
    i would also agree with what iddee said, too much disturbance. not finding a queen, placing another in to find her dead, checking and rechecking, so give her another week, and refrain from opening until then.

    btw, nice picture of a beautiful dark queen, hope she works out for you. :grin:
     
  12. litefoot

    litefoot New Member

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    Ef and Iddee: Thanks for keeping me honest. I know you're all :roll: every time I post wondering how I haven't killed all my bees yet. Glad to hear she is mated. I'll keep things closed up for another week and check again. I guess I need to squelch my api-anxiety :eek:. We've got short summers and these girls have to build up fast in order to survive. I haven't needed to smoke them so far, so I hope that has reduced some of the stress I've induced. Riverbee, "retinue"...is that her entourage?
     
  13. riverbee

    riverbee Active Member

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    "Riverbee, "retinue"...is that her entourage?"

    yes litefoot, and if she weren't mated, you would not see this, and your photo clearly shows a retinue to the right side of her.
    we have short summers here too, so the need to keep a check on the queens is probably more imperative, but sometimes, as in your situation, letting them alone is best.
    wish you well, the queen is beautiful, i enjoy photos of queens, but i think i am partial to the darker queens.....:grin:
     
  14. litefoot

    litefoot New Member

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    Found capped brood and larvae today! :yahoo: She just needed more time. Thanks for teaching me to be a bit more patient.:bow: Now I have a different problem in the other nuc I bought that was requeened with a queen from the same batch as this one:

    The queen was out of the intro cage about 11 days ago and I saw a few eggs immediately and the colony seemed content. Today, there were only a very few scattered capped brood, no eggs that I could see and I don't think there were larvae. The queen was there but was moving very quickly (faster than I've ever seen a queen move), but I did see her lay an egg. But the thing that I noticed there were a lot less bees than I expected. Could some of the bees have absconded not leaving enough left to do the cell prep work (cleaning, polishing, etc) for the queen to lay? What do you think? . So it's a brand new queen in a very weak colony, but I don't have the resources to add frames of bees....and the first major flow is less than a month away. I guess I have not choice other than recombine.
     
  15. Omie

    Omie Active Member

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    If you go into a hive regularly once a week or more often, you are going to set them back in their progress. Plus, every time you go rummaging around you risk harming the queen. Too much opening of the hive and they will constantly be repairing everything you do.

    As to your weak hive with the new queen that you saw running around and laying an egg....leave them in peace if you don't have a frame of brood to boost them. Give the queen 10 days to two weeks without your inspections, to allow her to lay a couple full frames of brood.
    If you look in two weeks from now and don't see some nice patches of solid brood developing, then maybe consider recombining. But not yet. Give your queens a chance to do their job without so many interruptions. :)
     
  16. litefoot

    litefoot New Member

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    Omie,
    This latest nuc in question is one I bought and installed in a 10-frame deep. I actually did leave the colony alone for 3 weeks before opening it up to find that it was filled with capped drone brood. I had laying workers. My thought at the time was that I should have gotten into the nuc sooner, not later. Anyway, I ended up shaking the bees off away from the hive and then re-queened it. A week later she was released from the intro cage. 11 days later (my latest post), I inspect the colony and post my findings here (at least 50% less bees than previous inspection and a queen slow to lay). Is that over-manipulation? My natural instinct is to keep a closer eye on a struggling colony while letting alone the stronger colonies. Have I got it backwards? Just wondering.

    Anyway, the drone brood thing was a real bummer and has probably driven me to be a bit more nosy into the hives than I ought to be.
     
  17. Omie

    Omie Active Member

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    Oh, sorry, I didn't know the previous history of this nuc, I can't keep up with past threads to keep track of various individual hives. ;)
    I just had a friend contact me in a panic because she thought her new hive had no queen and only laying workers, because she saw drones everywhere and couldn't find a queen. Turns out there was a patch of normal worker brood and eggs, but it was simply the usual Spring excess of drones being produced by the hive. My hives have tons of drones right now. She had several frames with big areas of solid drone capped brood. The clue was the drone brood was pretty nice a solid and organized looking. A laying worker produces areas of drone cells that are irregular and scattered on comb with lots of empty cells as well. Which pattern did you see in your hive? Was there any worker brood on the frames when you shook the hive out?

    But regardless, you shook out the bees and installed a new queen. She stayed in her cage for a week before being released? Was she in the cage in transit for several days prior to that as well? Maybe she shut down egg production a bit due to a long incarceration? Just a random guess. Either way, shaking a hive out onto the ground and then having the new queen caged for a week afterwards would definitley lose you a good portion of the hive population...it's a major manipulation. Not surprising you are seeing 50% fewer bees right now. Now, that's not to say the new queen won't bring the hive back from the brink, but obviously time is needed for new brood to be raised and the population to be replenished.
    The fact that you put in another queen and then found her dead in front of the hive tells us she was likely killed by the young queen. This happened several times to another friend of mine who was POSITIVE she had lost her queen. But the young queen was in fact there in the hive and murdered TWO additional replacement queens my friend bought and introduced in cages, one right after another. Eventually my friend saw batches of fresh eggs, and knew there had been a young queen in there already.
    I bet you will find some areas of fresh eggs in a few more days. :)

    Are you able to pull a frame of brood, nurse bees, and some fresh eggs from another hive and put it in this hive? That would add some new workforce, and also would give the hive some eggs to make a new queen with if they sense there is something wrong with the queen they have. They would know if she needs to be replaced, and they would then have the eggs to do it. Or if they thought the queen was just fine, her only fault being she is young and just getting started, then they'd simply raise the frame of eggs&brood normally, without making queen cells on it. That might give you some information too.