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Author Topic: Honey Bound before new Queen  (Read 3657 times)
Steve M.
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« on: July 06, 2008, 10:08:56 AM »

I haven't been able to find my queen for a while, and now there is zero sign of eggs, larva, etc.  Also, there is a huge proportion of drones in the hive.  The overall population is still pretty strong, and every frame that has been drawn is packed with nectar and capped honey.  There are still about 3 deep frames that haven't been fully drawn out, but what is drawn has nectar in it.

I ordered a new Carniolan Queen that should be here on Wednesday.  What do I need to do to get ready?  Should I remove a few of the frames with honey even though they are not completely capped and put in some more undrawn foundation so the new queen will have some space to lay, or will the workers adjust naturally since they will now have a new queen?

Also, in which deep should I put the new queen cage?  The top or the bottom?

Thanks in advance!
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« Reply #1 on: July 06, 2008, 10:20:39 AM »

Are you sure your queenless, or just honey bound and she has stopped laying.  I would give them a frame of eggs/young larvae and see if they start queen cells.  If not, they will just end up killing your new queen and you'll be out the money.   

Either way, you need to give them more room.

If you do end up introducing a queen, it doesn't matter which deep.  I generally use the top one as it is easier to do a quick check to see if she has been released without causing too much disturbance.

BTW,  this is the time of year for huge drone populations, so that is not necessarily a bad sign. 
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Steve M.
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« Reply #2 on: July 06, 2008, 10:07:02 PM »

I only have this one hive, so I can't try giving a frame of eggs...I should have started with 2 hives.  I really don't know what to do now.  I have already ordered/purchased a queen, but now I haven't a clue as to where she will lay because the frames all are filled with nectar/honey....didn't even see any pollen stored.  The only thing I have are undrawn frames with foundation.

Sorry if I posted this in the wrong forum....probably should have been posted in the general forum/
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« Reply #3 on: July 06, 2008, 11:02:17 PM »

Well the best you can do is give them some foundation now while your waiting for the queen and let them start drawing it.  I would checkerboard it in the brood area.  When the queen comes, leave her caged and put her in the hive for at least 2 days. Then I would release her and see if they start to ball her, if they do, catch her and put her back in the cage for a couple of more days and try again.  In the mean time keep looking at the new frames and see if you spot any eggs.   If they swarmed you may have a virgin that may be mated and start to lay before you release your new queen.

I would mark the new queen so you know if she survives.
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Steve M.
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« Reply #4 on: July 07, 2008, 06:56:08 AM »

Thanks for the advice. I will put in the new foundation and begin observing.
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Steve M.
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« Reply #5 on: July 10, 2008, 09:42:48 PM »

Well, the queen should be here tomorrow, so I did an inspection this afternoon, and things are still the same.  No eggs, etc. The foundation has been drawn out fairly quickly so the new queen should have some space.  The rest is pretty packed with honey.  I didn't see any pollen stores however.  Should I be concerned with this?  I sat and watched the bees for quite some time.  They are definitely busy hauling nectar, but I haven't seen a single bee with pollen.

I am putting together some medium frames with foundation, and I am planning on putting on a super at the same time I introduce the new queen.  Does this sound ok?   I figure it would give the bees a bit more room to move honey to once they draw it out.

Thanks again.
--Steve

oh yeah, I did order a marked queen this time. I looked and looked today, but I surely didn't see anything resembling a queen in there.
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« Reply #6 on: July 12, 2008, 01:12:48 PM »

Sounds like things are going as best as they can assuming they are queen-less, which would be my best guess if you still see no brood or eggs.   Adding a super is fine, just don't use an excluder.   I wouldn't be too concerned with the pollen.  Once they are queen right and have brood to feed,  they will collect pollen.   If you want to play it safe,  give her a few days caged and then manually release her so you can see if they start balling her.
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Moonshae
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« Reply #7 on: July 12, 2008, 01:48:02 PM »

Adding the super will give them a place to move the honey they've stored where the brood will go, too. Keep an eye on it; once they have a laying queen, they're going to want to move the honey out of the brood nest area in a hurry.
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Steve M.
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« Reply #8 on: July 12, 2008, 09:56:43 PM »

Well, for better or worse, I requeened the hive yesterday, and proved yet again how much of an amateur I am at this!  I decided to do a quick inspection before putting the queen cage in to make sure I hadn't missed any eggs, larvae, etc. and the bees were their calm, gentle selves like normal.  I then proceeded to introduce the queen.

The queen came in a plastic JZ-BZ queen cage, with about 20 to 30 attendants inside the outer battery box.  Of course, when I opened up the battery box, the attendants had no desire to leave the queen!  Meanwhile, my bees were becoming a bit agitated...not sure why.  Anyway, all I did was wedge the JZ-BY between the tops of two frames, and shut everything back up.  By this time, I had bees bumping up against me and buzzing my veil, and following me around, which they never do.  Perhaps these were the stray attendant bees?  All I know is that my wife and the kids were sitting about 30 feet away watching me bumble through this, and the bees followed me all the way back to them and were buzzing around us....nothing more than that, but it was out of character.  A few weeks ago, I ran a rototiller about 10 feet in front of the hive without much ado.  Is this normal when a new queen is introduced?  My bees didn't seem as interested in the queen cage as they were of me and my family.

Anyway, I will check the hive in a few days to a week, and see what is going on. I decided to wait a bit before putting on the super, but now i am thinking I should have put it on then.
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« Reply #9 on: July 12, 2008, 10:29:58 PM »

The queen came in a plastic JZ-BZ queen cage, with about 20 to 30 attendants inside the outer battery box. 
WOW! they sent one queen in a battery box Undecided

Quote
Is this normal when a new queen is introduced?
A queen-less hive can be very ornery at times.

Quote
Anyway, I will check the hive in a few days to a week, and see what is going on.

I wouldn't wait a week, especially if you left her capped to manually release her.
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Steve M.
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« Reply #10 on: July 15, 2008, 10:02:01 PM »

A bit of an update.

I went back into the hive today to see if the new queen was still in the cage, and to see how things were going.  When I lifted off the inner cover I could see right away that the queen had been released.  I started pulling frames, and soon found an entire frame...both sides, with newly laid eggs!  Needless to say, I was pretty excited.  I pulled off the upper deep to get a look at the frames in the bottom, and this is where I was dumbfounded...almost a full frame with the most beautiful pattern of capped brood with larvae i different stages around it.  I say I am dumbfounded because I only requeened 4 days ago.  Is that enough time to have capped brood?  I know that there was no sign of life on that frame four days ago....as a matter of fact, it was a frame I had moved closer to the outside because it was filled with nectar and capped honey.  Also, I have so far never had a problem spotting eggs, and am confident that that frame did not have eggs, larvae, etc.

Still, I looked at every frame, but did not find the red marked queen, or anything else that resembled a queen....however, I wasnt using my frame holders so she could have slipped off onto one I had already looked at.

On a side note, today was the first day I didn't use my bulky gloves while inspecting...I still used gloves...a double layer of latex exam gloves, but I am trying to slowly move myself toward going gloveless.  I know they can sting right through latex, but it gave me a sense of protection.  Boy what a difference in dexterity without those bulky gloves!

I decided to put on a medium with 10 frames of sc foundation in hopes of eventually freeing up more space down below.
Thank you for all the good advice so far!
--Steve
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« Reply #11 on: July 16, 2008, 11:35:36 AM »

I say I am dumbfounded because I only requeened 4 days ago.  Is that enough time to have capped brood?  I know that there was no sign of life on that frame four days ago....as a matter of fact, it was a frame I had moved closer to the outside because it was filled with nectar and capped honey.  Also, I have so far never had a problem spotting eggs, and am confident that that frame did not have eggs, larvae, etc.

It takes 3 1/2  days for eggs to hatch into larvae  and it is capped around day 9.   

So it looks like you had a virgin swarm/supercedure in there that just got mated.   Bad news is you now have an unknown queen and your known queen and money are gone.   If you had manually released her you perhaps could have prevented this and saved her when they balled her.  Disposed of the unknown and then introduced the good queen.

rob....
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Steve M.
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« Reply #12 on: July 16, 2008, 02:59:39 PM »

So it looks like you had a virgin swarm/supercedure in there that just got mated.   Bad news is you now have an unknown queen and your known queen and money are gone.   If you had manually released her you perhaps could have prevented this and saved her when they balled her.  Disposed of the unknown and then introduced the good queen.

I had a sinking feeling this was the case.  I guess you live and you learn.  I will chock the $30 up as paying my "Stupid Tax".  I just would like to actually see a queen one of these days.  I was so confident that at the time I put the new queen in there were absolutely no signs of eggs or larvae, and certainly no capped brood.

The way the JZ-BZ cage came, there wasn't a cap, only a sugar plug.  I should have fabbed a cap of some sort.  It was my intent to go back in two days later, but it was raining on day 2 and then day three I had other obligations, so it ended up day 4 before i was able to get into the hive....by then too late. 

Would they have disposed of the marked queen out the front of the hive like the rest of the dead bees?  I looked all around the front of the hive to see if I could find  any remains, but I only found the scatterings of a few dead workers...one cool find was a yellow jacket and a worker bee tangled together...both dead.  I saved that and brought it home to show the kids.  My daughter thought it was quite amazing.

Rob, I watched your video on Queen marking, and I am determined to try it, if I can ever find the queen.  I have heard that Carniolan queens are a bit more difficult to see, but I will keep looking.  I know I looked intently at every single frame in each box the other day looking for a queen, and could not find her.  I could see the eggs laid plain as day...all nice and straight...only one per cell, but no luck with the queen.

Thanks again, and hopefully Iwon't be paying any more "Stupid Tax" for a while.
--Steve
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« Reply #13 on: July 17, 2008, 08:10:53 PM »


Rob, I watched your video on Queen marking, and I am determined to try it, if I can ever find the queen.  I have heard that Carniolan queens are a bit more difficult to see, but I will keep looking.  I know I looked intently at every single frame in each box the other day looking for a queen, and could not find her.  I could see the eggs laid plain as day...all nice and straight...only one per cell, but no luck with the queen.


Some queens just have a way of being elusive.  When they are virgins, they are very runny and it is not uncommon for them to leave the comb and be on the walls or floor.  I'm usually pretty good at finding the queen,  I say I'm 80%+ when doing cut-outs as well.  I have a hive now that I've been thru 4 times now and still haven't found the queen huh
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Steve M.
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« Reply #14 on: July 18, 2008, 08:21:07 AM »

Rob,

Thank you for the encouragement.  I'm sure I'll find her one of these days!
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