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Author Topic: Possibly queenless new hive problem about top empty box  (Read 879 times)
tillie
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« on: March 09, 2009, 09:30:30 AM »

I am the manager of a hive that will be used for teaching hive inspections at the Blue Heron Nature Preserve in Atlanta.  We were supplied by Metro Atlanta Beekeepers with two nucs for the two hives at the Preserve.  We installed the nucs on Wed, Feb 25 and saw no queen in my hive and not much capped brood in the nuc.

We opened the hive for its first inspection on Saturday - not for teaching purposes, just to see if they got established - and my hive had tons of bees, no brood at all, no eggs, no larvae, empty cells in every frame.  The bees were building wax madly - had filled all 8 frames in the 8 frame box so we added a second medium box (the nuc came in deeps).  I added the box for two reasons - to give them something to do and to follow the rule about adding a box when they've built out that much.

We were feeding this hive with baggies with sugar syrup so there was a third box empty on top of the hive surrounding the baggie feeder.

Note:  I also on Saturday called the supplier and emailed him about the lack of a queen, but he hasn't gotten back to me.  I know it will hamper the growth of this hive to wait to hear from him, so I saw no harm in adding the brood/eggs frames

Discouraged by what looked like the apparent lack of a queen, I decided to come back on Sunday, bringing frames of brood and eggs from my hives at home to encourage them to make a queen, if they don't have one.  I have mediums at home so I added two frames of brood and eggs and three frames of honey and pollen from my hives at home to the medium box (Box 2) on the hive.

I then put the whole contraption back together, removing the empty baggies which had 2 quarts of syrup in it the day before.  I hadn't brought more syrup with me so I just put the empty box back on top of the hive and closed it up.

After I got home, I thought that it now wouldn't be a good idea to open that hive back up for the 10 days it will take them to make and cap and queen cell.  So Julia (the other Metro hive manager at the Preserve who has a beautiful queen whom we saw) and I decided to put a Boardman on this hive for feeding.

If I don't remove it I'm sure I'll come back to a mess of burr comb since it's a totally empty box and these bees are crazy to build wax right now.

Will it disturb this hive too much in the queen making process to remove the empty box?

Am I right not to plan to open the hive for 10 days?

So now what would you do if you were me?

Linda T worrying in Atlanta

« Last Edit: March 09, 2009, 10:09:06 AM by tillie » Logged

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iddee
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« Reply #1 on: March 09, 2009, 09:41:38 AM »

#1...I would remove both feeders and the empty. You have nectar and pollen coming in now.

#2...Remember, the queen cells will be made from 4 day egg/larva. They will cap in 6 days, not 10. She will emerge 12 days after you put the frames in.

I would check for cells on day 7 thru day 10, only 1 check, not 4 days in a row.
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« Reply #2 on: March 09, 2009, 04:58:21 PM »

I think you could remove the empty box without disturbing the hive that much.. Maybe just wait a day or two to do it.
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tillie
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« Reply #3 on: March 10, 2009, 10:59:27 AM »

OK, we're removing the empty today. 

I am a little confused about bee math.  I understand that the bees make a queen by feeding royal jelly exclusively to an egg and building a queen cell for it, but according to Michael Bush's page on beekeeping math, the egg hatches in 3 1/2 days, is capped in 9 days so what do you mean by a 4 day old egg? 

It seems like I should see a queen cell in 9 or 10 days by the "beekeeping math" formula but I am understanding you to say, iddee, that it will be capped in 6 days. 

Help me understand the way that happens?

Linda T in Atlanta
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iddee
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« Reply #4 on: March 10, 2009, 12:37:42 PM »

Day 1...egg laid

Day 3... Egg hatches

Day 9 or 10...Larva caps the cell.

Day 16...Queen emerges

When you place a frame of eggs and brood in a quenless hive, they choose a day 4 larva, not a day 1 egg, to make a queen cell.

Therefore, the day you place it is day 4, not day 1. Now count your days from there.

Is that as clear as mud now?   Wink    Smiley
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"Listen to the mustn'ts, child. Listen to the don'ts. Listen to the shouldn'ts, the impossibles, the won'ts. Listen to the never haves, then listen close to me . . . Anything can happen, child. Anything can be"

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tillie
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« Reply #5 on: March 10, 2009, 12:52:56 PM »

Thanks, Iddee, that is clear, but I thought the beekeeper was supposed to make sure that we put a frame with eggs in it so that they could choose one of them to make the queen...so then you're saying they look for a day 4 larvae in that frame, not one of the eggs I so carefully made sure were there! 

So much for taking a magnifying glass to the hive inspection!!! Wink  Sounds like tiny c-shaped larvae would have done the trick.....

Linda T in Atlanta
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iddee
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« Reply #6 on: March 10, 2009, 10:01:32 PM »

The eggs are because most beeks can't tell a larva young enough from one too old. Also, how old will that larva be when the bees decide to start queen cells. I always start with eggs, knowing they will be correct age larva shortly. Better for the bees to have to wait a day then to have the larva too old. Besides, if there are eggs on a frame, there is likely newly hatched larva also, so keep that magnifying glass close.

BTW, bees don't feed eggs. They only start feeding when it hatches into a larva.
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"Listen to the mustn'ts, child. Listen to the don'ts. Listen to the shouldn'ts, the impossibles, the won'ts. Listen to the never haves, then listen close to me . . . Anything can happen, child. Anything can be"

*Shel Silverstein*
tillie
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« Reply #7 on: March 10, 2009, 11:24:07 PM »

OMG - you got me - I know the bees don't feed eggs - gracious - you'd think I was born yesterday!

Linda T in Atlanta
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