Queenless!

Discussion in 'General Beekeeping' started by darrenct83, Jul 1, 2011.

  1. darrenct83

    darrenct83 New Member

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    Ah crap. So when I transferred to my new hive last week I didn't inspect as close as I should have. There was a lot of drawn comb, but being a newbie and having TONS of bees in the air I hurried and transferred the hive without closely inspecting. Decided to crack it open today now that they have settled in, and they have all calmed down.

    I have about twenty bars of of honey, some capped. There's not a single bar of brood though. I'd say that I'm most certainly queenless. I found a guy locally who keeps queens in stock. I'm going to go get one tomorrow.

    How bad will this set my hive back? I captured the swarm 17 days ago. My bees must be getting a little tired by now. Is there anything I can do to help them stay healthy. We've had a long wet spring, and I expect the nectar supply around here to be very strong all summer.

    Thanks
     
  2. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    with no brood getting the new queen established will be your first concern.

    since you suggested you have had these bees a short time and you have lots of 'honey' but have had a 'long wet spring' are you feeding these bees a good bit? if yes how much?
     

  3. darrenct83

    darrenct83 New Member

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    I have not fed them at all since I captured them. There is plenty of nectar out here. All of the honey has been gathered naturally. The wet spring was mentioned because I know a lot of the country is in the middle of a drought with no flowers to be found.

    What I found strange is that the bees were still very calm. It was my understanding that a queenless hive is usually more aggressive. Obviously though, having no brood at all is a sign of being queenless.

    I do have a question about establishing the new queen though. Remember I am new to this. The apiary I am getting the queen from keeps them "in stock". Should I assume then that the queen is virgin? Or do new queens come mated? Once she is introduced how long do I wait before inspecting. When would she take here mating flight if needed. Also, there are no other beekeepers around here I know of. I did see the occasional honey-bee before I got the bees, but not many. Should I assume that the new queen will easily be able to find an acceptable mate? My hive did have a few drones that I saw during inspection.
     
  4. Murrell

    Murrell New Member

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    I believe you should be on the telephone talking to this Queen bee supplier !

    He should give you the correct answers to your questions.

    Murrell
     
  5. darrenct83

    darrenct83 New Member

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    He's only open on Saturdays. I talked briefly to another beekeeper who says that is where everyone around here gets queens, and he will have them.
     
  6. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    She will be mated. No one banks virgin queens. It would never work.

    17 days...... Many swarms supercede the old queen after settling. There may be a few capped worker cells you missed, and a virgin queen. If so, the new queen will be rejected. Don't worry about a queen getting mated. They will find drones.
     
  7. darrenct83

    darrenct83 New Member

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    Interesting. Please elaborate. There were a couple cells on two bars that looked like they may have been brood cells. They were not capped. I thought this was just dark pollen. It was only a couple cells though, and I assumed if I have a queen she would be laying much more than that in a hive of this size. Those bars also had a lot of honey on them. I didn't see any signs of hatched queen cells.

    Now that you mention this I am second guessing myself. If I go back in tomorrow and double check do you have anything specifically I should look for to determine if the bees have done this. Is 17 days long enough for the old queen to have been superceded, and all the brood she had laid prior to that to be gone?
     
  8. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    by this time you should see the remains of a queen cell. if emerged the cap will be missing. if you find one with a whole chewed in the side this means a competitor emerged first and destroyed that cell. it is quite common for these to be somewhat hidden along the edges of the frames (along the end and bottom bars). with large number of bees it is quite easy for a queen cell to be missed even by a seasoned bee keeper.

    if the hive seems settled (not flighty, not aggressives and not angry) then I would suspect that you do have a virgin on board. introducing a mated queen with a virgin in the hive will only manage to get the purchased queen murdered. sounds to me like time to employ a bit of patience. the weather may also play a factor here in that long constant 'nasty weather' may delay mating flights and therefore the time required for a new queen to begin laying.

    as a general rule once all the brood has hatched is a pretty good visual marker that the proper time has elapsed for a new queen to be grown out, emerged and properly mated. the eggs are a bit difficult to see so you may need to add another 3 or 4 days to this when the larvae appear... these are a bit easier to see primarily due to the feed than the larvae itself.
     
  9. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    I would give them another week and then make a decision.
     
  10. darrenct83

    darrenct83 New Member

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    Good advice everyone. Today's inspection shows a happy, healthy hive with loads of brood, honey, and bees. I'm glad I didn't go waste $30 on a queen who would have ended up being bee food.
     
  11. brooksbeefarm

    brooksbeefarm New Member

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    Twenty bars of honey (you mean frames?) in 17 days, that must be some swarm.Did you put them in deep or med. hives?did they have to draw out the foundation too? or did you put them on drawn comb. :confused: If only two hive bodies (i'm thinking 10 frame hives) and twenty frames of honey they could be or will get honey bound. Jack
    PS. i may be missing something here. :confused:
     
  12. darrenct83

    darrenct83 New Member

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    Sorry for the confusion. My hive is a Top Bar style hive. See pictures here: http://www.beekeepingforums.com/viewtopic.php?f=54&t=3678 I was really surprised to see that much honey. I think they were able to build it up so fast because they were not yet raising a lot of brood. Now that they have established a brood area of the hive there is not honey on all of the bars. There's still a lot more honey than expected this early on though.
     
  13. brooksbeefarm

    brooksbeefarm New Member

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    Thanks for clearing that up. :thumbsup: I've never got into top bar beekeeping so i can't be of much help. Sounds like they worked out things for there selves and you got lucky. :mrgreen: Good luck and keep posting. Jack
     
  14. efmesch

    efmesch Active Member

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    It sounds like you have a good hive working for you. If you intend to use an excluder (and haven't put it on yet), now's the time to do it. Make sure the queen is down below and add more frames for building while moving the full combs above the excluder.
     
  15. darrenct83

    darrenct83 New Member

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    I've noticed I have brood all over the place. The excluder issue is compounded because I'm a top bar user. I think I can build an excluder bar to fit the hive though. Shouldn't be a major problem.
     
  16. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    Notice he said "IF" you use an excluder. I do not use excluders. It's another one of those 50/50 questions. Half the beeks do, half don't.
     
  17. efmesch

    efmesch Active Member

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    Just for the record (I definitely don't want to debate the issue with Iddee) I'm one of the 50% who do use an excluder. [Actually, in Israel I think it's closer to 90%+ who use them]. It reduces the area where you have to search for the queen, keeps the honey combs broodless, and eliminates the loss of good honey combs for harvesting because of mixed-in brood.
    I think the main reason for the overwhelming use of excluders here is because there are two distinct honey harvests in Israel (around May and late July/early August) and we don't reach a stage where we'll have 5-6 supers on a hive.
     
  18. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    efmesch:
    Just for the record (I definitely don't want to debate the issue with Iddee) I'm one of the 50% who do use an excluder.

    tecumseh:
    just for the record and not that long ago I believed a queen excluder was a honey excluder.

    just for the record I now not only use excluders but I promote the use of excluders (here) to new beekeepers as a 'partial' means of swarm control. for those you might wish to consider the use of queen excluder I would suggest you review an old ABJ article (1985ish) by Jerry Hayes (the current state bee inspector in Florida) titled something like "Is a Queen Excluder a Honey Excluder" <the devil is in the detail here. being somewhat a doubter in such regards I did replicate the basic idea of his experiment with positive results.
     
  19. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    No debate needed. No two beeks keep bees the same. You use them, I don't. That's what makes the world go round.
     
  20. darrenct83

    darrenct83 New Member

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    Good info again. I think I'll probably just let my bees be bees for a while and see how things look next inspection. If I end up with too much brood across the board then I'll deal with the excluder. I wasn't too excited about building an excluder frame anyway. I didn't go with langs because I didn't want to build frames.