Newbie with questions... should i be concerned....

Discussion in 'Beekeeping 101' started by devo324, Apr 20, 2013.

  1. devo324

    devo324 New Member

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    Hi all,

    My name is Devin and I was hoping you all might be able to give me some help as I am a new bee keeper. I belong to a bee keeping association but it is rather small so the more experienced bee keepers are very tough to get a hold of (normally 1 weeks worth of time before a response). I have heard the old saying of ask 10 bee keepers a question you will get 13 different answers. I am fine with that and figure different opinions won't hurt.
    Since I am new to beekeeping I know I am not great at spotting queens. The club did me no favors either by ordering unmarked queens with the packages for they believe they might think the colony might feel she is defective and kill her. I was not even able to spot her in that smaller cage from the packages I bought. I have probably done every new beekeeper mistake in the book: dropping the queen cage down in the package of bees, getting stung on the neck when installing the packages to hives because one got under the veil, to having to release a queen from the queen cage and unsure if she flew away when I opened it. All of my mistakes aside I really want to be good at this.
    I have two hives, one with 3 medium supers and one with 2 deeps (yes another mistake, not standardizing all equipment). My colony in the mediums is very strong, while my colony in the deeps are not so strong. When i installed my packages the colony in the mediums was able to release the queen from her cage. The colony in the deep was not able to and i had to release the queen manually. I do not know if this is any indication that the colony is not as strong but i can only speculate while comparing the two hives in their current state. I decided to go with the Perico plastic foundation, I read reviews saying this is sometimes an issue with the bees, some don't like plastic foundation or take longer to adapt to it over wax. Again, the hive with the mediums has drawn out almost 2 mediums worth of comb while the colony in the deep have drawn out maybe 1/5th of 1 frame. I think i figured out the issue, the inner cover was restricting movement along the top of frames to the frame feeder (solution: flip the inner cover upside down to allow more room for the bees to roam across the top. Comb production has increased at a faster rate). Now of the little comb in the deep hive, the bees have already started to fill it with bee bread and a clear honey(?), maybe nectar from flowers. I do not see any larvae anywhere in this hive. The bees have been in the hives for a little less than 3 weeks. My other hive, the hive with the mediums, has lots of bee bread and honey/nectar sitting in the comb. I also have larvae that are capped. These larvae are in a cluster and not randomly scattered on different frames (at least from what i could tell). What has me surprised about this hive is, I have 3 queen cells. These queen cells are on the uppermost medium (not near the bottom
    entrance, i read that when near the bottom it is for swarming). Does this mean that i do not have any queens in that hive even with the cluster of larvae? I know its a little random for a queen cell to be on a different frame away from larvae cluster. Which brings me to my questions:

    1) I am assuming the workers laid the eggs but if they are clustered together isn't that a trait of a queen? Wouldn't workers lay larvae in random locations and not cluster them?
    2) since I have multiple queen cells and haven't spotted a queen in either hive, should i try and transplant one of those queen cells to the other hive? If so i will start Googe'ing/ youtube'ing how to do so.
    3) Will my bees continue to build comb and forage for food even without the presence of a queen? I know bee bread is what they feed larvae. Should i assume that my hive with deeps is preparing that to feed the larvae and would that mean there is a presence of a queen? I would assume that bees would do their job even in the event of no queen.
    4) My bees are Italians I was inspecting the hive and noticed that there were other bees that had a significant less amount of brown bands on their abdomen with more of the abdomen predominantly black and less brown bands. Did another colony/ species move in or would this be similar to facial characteristics of humans, every bee is unique? ( I know this sounds stupid, but the last thing i want is another species of bee's fighting with my colony over who has the rights to stay).
    5) Since some larvae are laid and if workers did this, did one of the workers turn to a queen? Will she stay a queen? I don't want these queens to fight or swarm. (Need some help on this).

    I know i have a lot of questions but i was really not expecting to have all of these issue happen my first year. I was expecting the packages to go in, and everything to be fine.

    Thank you for your help and expertise. All advice is appreciated.
     
  2. Barbarian

    Barbarian New Member

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    Welcome to the forum from across the pond. :hi:

    You will get plenty of friendly advice on this site.

    Don't worry about not seeing the queen. If you see eggs and very young larvae, and the bees are working purposely, the queen will be present.

    You mention Queen cells. Were they open or sealed ? If they were open, could you see royal jelly or larvae in the bottoms ? Bees quite often build things like Queen cells but they do not develop---- just are empty. Look at the glossary in 101 under Dry Cups or Play cells. Don't worry about Dry Cups or Play cells.

    Take a deep breath ----- you will get plenty of responses to your queries. :grin:
     

  3. Ray

    Ray Member

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    Looks like a bad case of newbee jitters. I HEAR, they go away with experience :)
    From what you posted I think your doing alright, but I'll wait and read the pro's comments.
    Oh ya, WELCOME
     
  4. blueblood

    blueblood New Member

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    Welcome Devo, oh my..you will be fine.

    1. More than one egg in the cell is one "clue" of laying worker. A good "clue" to a good queen will lay a tight pattern of cells. If you have queen cells, it could be "clue" that the queen is not cutting the mustard and they are superseding her.
    2. I will let more experienced keeps answer this but it would be easier to transplant queen cells if you didn't have plastic foundation. If you had wax foundation and if you are lucky enough for the cell to be between wires, cut it out and cut in one of the other hive's frames. Also, it is a theory about the position of the queen cell, lower or middle, whether it is supercedure or swarm. Bees will surprise ya.
    3. The queen emits a pheromone that tells the bees to work. The hive will eventually/"may" abscond unless you place a new queen, eggs or queen cells in there.
    4. That's a hard question. It's possible there are some feral bees that have wondered in there but the bees "may" to look a bit different also on what stage of life cycle they are in. The major difference I have noticed is between juvenile and late cycle foragers.
    5. From my study of bees over the last year, It is my understanding that worker/foragers do not morph back and forth from the caste of queen. The biology behind creating a queen is more complicated than that from the egg stage, where the cell is drawn out farther and royal jelly is fed to the queen cell. But, again, a more experienced keep may have different advice for you.

    You will have a "clue" you have had a queen in the last two days if you are seeing single eggs in cells. You mentioned earlier about having standard size frames for brood. It would be nice, if your strong hive had an extra frame of eggs you could place in your weak hive where you suspect you have no queen so they could raise another.

    Devo, you have found a really patient, warm and inviting group of experienced keeps here. Hope you find all the answers you need.

    Dave
     
  5. efmesch

    efmesch Active Member

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    :hi:Welcome to the forum Devo. It sounds like you have managed to collect a whole lot of beginner's troubles all at the very beginning.
    It's late at night here so I won't try to give you a full answer to all your questions or I won't get to sleep tonight. Just a few comments. I'll leave plenty of space for other forum members to pitch in their opinions.
    The biggest issue you are facing is the possible absence of queens. If one hive has brood and the other doesn't even show any eggs, the best step would be to take a frame (even if it is only a medium) and place it in the hive without a queen. If there really isn't one, they'll raise one themselves. You could also take the frame with the queen cells (are you sure they are occupied---they could be just empty queen cups, a normal appearance in hives) I don't think you've had your hives long enough to really have developed laying workers. Sometimes, a young queen will take a while to get her house in order---during her adjustment period she may lay eggs in an irrregular pattern and even on some occasions lay more than one egg in a cell (I disagrree with Blueblood on this point). If you find ANY eggs in a hive, my recommendation is to be patient and see how things develop--- give her at least one more week before you give her up as non-existent.
    Plastic frames for a newbee can be problematic. You need a good honeyflow or good feeding to get the bees to build on plastic (unless it is wax coated). A strong hive with a good honeyflow will build on plastic, but they tend to resist it unless they have no choice.
    Don't be concerned about the varying colors of the bees in your hives. Sometimes packages aare made up from bees that come from different colonies. Even from the queen's progeny you may have mixed colors. Only if the queen is artificially inseminated can you anticipate that her progeny be uniform (and even then there can be exceptions).
    Wishes for a good season and hope that everything settles down.
    I'm sure you'll hear from others and get some of those other 13 opinions. :grin:
     
  6. Crofter

    Crofter New Member

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    If you cant get replacement queens quite quickly it might be an option to combine some of the hives. I would have to re read to see how many definite queens you appear to have. The queen cells may be some they have started on existing larvae on the frames which may be located away from the batch of capped brood. The started cells may not have been on optimum aged so I would not place a lot of faith in waiting on them. I saw one queen lay multiple eggs but they were all glued to the bottom. Eggs from laying worker will be more on the cell sides as the worker does not have the abdomen length to get to the cell bottom.

    You sure are having an interesting introduction to bee keeping; It can just get better from here!
     
  7. PerryBee

    PerryBee New Member

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    Hi Devo:
    Glad you found us. :thumbsup:
    What is the disposition of you hives? Are they calm, or are they running on the comb or "roaring"?
    Another good sign to look for is if there is pollen going into the hive. If you see foragers returning with their pollen baskets full, odds are all is OK.
    If in fact you have hive that is queen-less, you may consider as mentioned, move a frame with eggs from your queen-right hive into the queen-less one (make sure you don't move the queen with this frame, in fact, shake the bees off the frame back into the parent hive).
    You have found a good resource here, plenty of experience to tap into, and I can all but assure you that we won't take a week to answer any questions you might have.
     
  8. ibeelearning

    ibeelearning Member

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    Sounds like a good standard text with photos might be of help. I remember thinking I had completely digested Beekeeping for Dummies the first year, but it sits at the bedside and gets more interesting each year. (Oh... so that's what it meant! Oh, yeah... look at that picture! I've seen one of those.) A "house call" from an experienced beek would answer a lot of questions in a very short time in a very hands on way. I would hope your club would help here, or if in South Jersey, an extension agent... and while I do not qualify as the wise experienced one you need, I will be in N. Sussex County weekly for the next couple years, PM me if you can't find help anywhere else.
     
  9. G3farms

    G3farms New Member

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    I would say that since you could not identify the queen in the queen cage, and you had to "release" her that she might have been dead and/or maybe injured. Some times packages like to supercede the queen that came with them and they could have even killed her in the cage. Just my opinion but from what I am reading I would say the deeps are queenless and the mediums have a queen they are superceding. You could place one of the queen cells in the deeps or if they are going to supercede her you could even place the queen in the deeps (you will need more info on this).

    1) I am assuming the workers laid the eggs but if they are clustered together isn't that a trait of a queen? Wouldn't workers lay larvae in random locations and not cluster them? a laying worker will lay multiple eggs in the cell usually more than three with some on the sides of the cell, a young queen can lay two or three eggs but will usually be in the bottom center.
    2) since I have multiple queen cells and haven't spotted a queen in either hive, should i try and transplant one of those queen cells to the other hive? If so i will start Googe'ing/ youtube'ing how to do so. Most times I don't bother trying to find the queen myself, just looking for signs of her presence.......brood in all stages, especially eggs, calm bees. Yes you could move a queen cell, plastic foundation will make it more difficult though.
    3) Will my bees continue to build comb and forage for food even without the presence of a queen?Yes but not with any driving force. I know bee bread is what they feed larvae. Should i assume that my hive with deeps is preparing that to feed the larvae and would that mean there is a presence of a queen? Not really, ether need to find the queen or at least eggs. I would assume that bees would do their job even in the event of no queen. sort of but very lacking, they have nothing to work towards.
    4) My bees are Italians I was inspecting the hive and noticed that there were other bees that had a significant less amount of brown bands on their abdomen with more of the abdomen predominantly black and less brown bands. Did another colony/ species move in or would this be similar to facial characteristics of humans, every bee is unique? ( I know this sounds stupid, but the last thing i want is another species of bee's fighting with my colony over who has the rights to stay). No need to worry here, packages are made up from hundreds of different hives, and then a queen is tossed in. Think of this as a "made-up" swarm.
    5) Since some larvae are laid and if workers did this, did one of the workers turn to a queen? NO, she can not turn into a queen, only a laying worker. A laying workers reproductive system is not fully developed and she is not mated. The only thing she can produce is unfertilized eggs or drones. Will she stay a queen? never on to start with. I don't want these queens to fight or swarm. (Need some help on this).

    Welcome to the forum and don't be shy or afraid to ask any questions, we are here to help if at all possible.

    Since you are in a bee club I would ask one of the older keeps to come over and and have a look around, this will really help you out. Most times it is just pointing things out and identifying things. Fire up the grill.......a burger and bottle of suds will go a long ways.

     
  10. devo324

    devo324 New Member

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    All,

    thank you so much for responding. I really do appreciate it. I am jittery, but i don't want to fail the hives and i want them to succeed. I am definitely glad i found you all. Hopefully one day i will be able to return the favor on here. Is there any way to give points or rep points to people?

    Someone asked about foragers bringing in pollen. Yes, both hives have foragers doing so, they were doing this on day 5 after installation of the packages. the hive with the queen cells was a bit feisty this past friday. We did have T-storms coming in and cold weather that was going to be coming in. I figured that was the reason for this behavior. The queen cells were on different frames but one of the frames had the larvae pushed to the back, in a cluster, had royal jelly in the cells (one of the members told me to check if it was capped, i mistook capped for royal jelly). I will transfer that frame with the lone queen cell over to the "struggling" hive.

    Again, thank you all so much for your help and responses. It does ease my jitters :thumbsup:

    ps. sorry if multiple post show up. I am having trouble posting....
     
  11. blueblood

    blueblood New Member

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    See, you are getting some good help. Sorry to mislead you on multiple eggs. Every book and article I have read says multiple eggs indicates a laying worker. I must be reading the wrong sources. I have personally never seen multiple eggs in my cells in my hives with queens. But, absolutes in this craft are few. Like you said in your original post, 10 questions, 13 different answers. I will have to preface everything as a "clue" so I can't be pinned to sounding absolute in my answer, especially since I am new to this craft as well. So, to rephrase my response to the question about multiple eggs: multiple eggs may be one "clue" to a laying worker. :grin:
     
  12. G3farms

    G3farms New Member

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    CELL ID.jpg

    This might help you out a little with cell ID.

    I was doing a trap out and cut a very ripe queen cell from another frame and pinned it to this frame. If you look really close to the top of the queen cell you will see a small purple dot, that is the head of a frame nail used to hold the cell in place. Now notice the bottom of the queen cell, it is cleaned off slick which means she is very ripe and ready to hatch, and if you really take notice you will see where she is already starting to cut the cap off of the cell.
     
  13. efmesch

    efmesch Active Member

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    :coolphotos: Nice shot there G3--you managed to get a full variety of cells all together and labeled them clearly. :thumbsup:
     
  14. G3farms

    G3farms New Member

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    Thanks Ef, I really do think one of the big steps in a new keeps adventure is just identifying what is in a cell. You have to really slow down and take a good look into the cells and most new keeps have a hard time doing just that since there is sooo much going on inside of a hive.

    I do think I mislabeled the open brood cell though, hard to tell.
     
  15. efmesch

    efmesch Active Member

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    I took the picture to "high magnification" before I commented----the focus is a bit blurry but i'm pretty sure the labeling is correct. Certainly the cells around the arrow are brood.
     
  16. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    a snip followed > by my comment.

    1) I am assuming the workers laid the eggs but if they are clustered together isn't that a trait of a queen? Wouldn't workers lay larvae in random locations and not cluster them? >several other good answers above but I will simply add that most times there are multiple laying workers and not just one so the eggs may be distributed through out the hive in a fairly random fashion.
    2) since I have multiple queen cells and haven't spotted a queen in either hive, should i try and transplant one of those queen cells to the other hive? If so i will start Googe'ing/ youtube'ing how to do so. >sounds like one hive doesn't have a queen but you have a queen cell in the other that appears to be more a function of variable weather than a failing queen... why not simply move the frame and cell into what appears to be a queenless hive and see how that works out.... it should not matter here if the frames are of the same size or not as long as the frame will set into the box and in the midst of the large cluster of bees present in that particular box... after the cell has hatch you can then remove the frame.
    3) Will my bees continue to build comb and forage for food even without the presence of a queen? I know bee bread is what they feed larvae. Should i assume that my hive with deeps is preparing that to feed the larvae and would that mean there is a presence of a queen? I would assume that bees would do their job even in the event of no queen. >bess will continue to gather nectar and pollen even while queenless... they tend to have less necessity for pollen when they are queenless but not so much as far as nectar is concerned.
    4) My bees are Italians I was inspecting the hive and noticed that there were other bees that had a significant less amount of brown bands on their abdomen with more of the abdomen predominantly black and less brown bands. Did another colony/ species move in or would this be similar to facial characteristics of humans, every bee is unique? ( I know this sounds stupid, but the last thing i want is another species of bee's fighting with my colony over who has the rights to stay). >since you established these hives from packages the queen and the bees in the package are quite likely not even related.... same so for any comparison of the workers of one package to the next since these are likely harvested from a variety of hives they are likely not even related. additionally you can get some variation in coloration even within a hive (that is just how the genetic thing in bees work).
    5) Since some larvae are laid and if workers did this, did one of the workers turn to a queen? Will she stay a queen? I don't want these queens to fight or swarm. (Need some help on this). >they will never evolve into a proper queen since the egg that was laid was unfertilized... some small number (if the hive survives that long) may make marginally functioning drones. swarming and the fighting of sister is not even on the radar of your potential problems at this point in time.

    larger advice... if you started these two hives from packages you stared them in space that was VERY MUCH too large for the size of the package <any radical movement in weather may have adversely effect the introduction stage of these hive.... the queen cell you provided appears to me to be very much a product of this type of poor judgement in regards to space when you add in great variation in weather (temperature I would guess in your own case).

    another snip...
    All of my mistakes aside I really want to be good at this.

    tecumseh...
    persevere, learn as you go and you will be.
     
  17. Daniel Y

    Daniel Y New Member

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    "The packages would go in and all would be fine" Oh the silly silly ideas that people get.
    Another one is "I wanted to do something I enjoy, So I took up beekeeping".

    I also had the same thought as tecumseh. to much space to fast.

    Sounds like maybe one queen missing another being superseded.

    It's hard for a new person to knwo what is normal when they have never seen normal. The lagging hive I woudl be most concerned with. if the other hive is superseding let it do it's thing. If you have any open brood with eggs I would also add a frame of that to the other hive. that way if they need a queen they can make one.
     
  18. devo324

    devo324 New Member

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    Thank you for the post. Today i went in the hive and saw that the hive is doing a little better than i anticipated. This is what I found on the frames today.... Now since i see these larger cells i am unsure if they are drone or queen. There are some that are slanted downwards. I saw an article on here saying that was a queen cell. Now i don't know if this is swarm or if this is supersede. The strange thing is, not all frames are drawn out on this other hive... I was reading if i want my hive to not swarm i should start destroying the cells. This was only one of the frames, there are other frames with this also. I moved this frame to the "struggling" hive in the attempt for them to make a queen. I hope this was the right one to grab. The other side of this frame is the same type of cells and has as many bees on it. If this is swarming, should i remove the feeder? or should i manipulate the mediums, put the one with less developed frames on top and move this to the bottom?
    photo.jpg
     

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  19. G3farms

    G3farms New Member

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    I see possibly two queen cells on that frame, lets just hope you did not transfer your queen to the other hive.

    Looks like she was laying a good tight pattern over on the right side of the pic.

    The cells that are slanted downwards would be a queen cell, and the cells that are puffed up are drone cells, worker cells have flat caps.

    I would not destroy any queen cells, if they are in swarm mode (which I really doubt they are) and you kill all of the queens, they could swarm and you will be left queenless.

    If you moved this frame to the queenless hive you did good as long as the queen was not on it.

    I really do not think you have anything to worry about as far as swarming is concerned.
     
  20. PerryBee

    PerryBee New Member

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    I'm with G3.
    Those look like queen cells, and given their location on the frame, and that they were in the same vicinity as well, I am thinking more along the line of supercedure (they wanted to raise a queen and found eggs of the right age that were intended to be workers).
    If the queen didn't get shifted you done alright. :thumbsup: