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Author Topic: Starting over and new queenless nuc questions  (Read 1295 times)
eri
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« on: March 20, 2009, 06:19:08 PM »

Greetings --

I started beekeeping last year with a single package. After a lot of worrying and trepidation I was thrilled to see the girls emerge on warm days, and heartbroken when, after 2 nights of 13 degree temps following a week of warm (60-70) there was no activity, lots of dead bees, and honey stores left. My best guess is they broke cluster and froze.

So I'm starting again this year with 4 hives, 3 from packages (April 9) and 1 from a queenless nuc I picked up yesterday. I helped with the split that produced this nuc and can hardly wait to check Monday for a queen cell. The beek from which I got the nuc started one as well so we can compare notes. She offered her queen but it was the best of her 8 hives and I thought it would be interesting to see if/how/when they would raise a new queen.

My first mistake (oh, those learning experiences) was to leave the boxes intact. I had only an hour's notice to pick up the nuc and when I went to get a box for them I found robbers, robbers, robbers. When I returned they were still around, so I moved everything to the screened porch (followed by a buncha bees hitting the screen) and waited until the beeyard was empty and it was almost dark before placing the nuc and opening a small entrance.

Today they seem to be doing orientation flights and are investigating everything - top, bottom, sides, grass, mulch, me. I don't think they're robbers because I saw no evidence of fighting and about equal numbers coming out as going in.

Here are the questions. If I don't see a queen cell by Monday, should I be concerned? If I do see a queen cell, and it appears one has emerged after x days (have to refer to my chart) how long after emergence should I start seeing either the queen or evidence thereof? In other words, what are the signs that I should panic and assume the hive will remain queenless? And I guess I expect fewer bees for a while even with a queen?

Thanks, all.
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On Pleasure
Kahlil Gibran
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And to both, bee and flower, the giving and the receiving of pleasure is a need and an ecstasy.
People of Orphalese, be in your pleasures like the flowers and the bees.
Two Bees
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« Reply #1 on: March 20, 2009, 07:48:01 PM »

Sorry to hear about your loss.  I was concerned as well a couple of weeks ago following that late snow and the drive in the temps.  So, far it appears that my two hives did ok and are charging ahead.

Where will you be getting your April 9 packages?
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gmcharlie
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« Reply #2 on: March 20, 2009, 09:12:48 PM »

You should have a queen cell very shortly,  if not(beacuse of no brood of the right age),  you will need to have a plan b pretty quickly   either a combine with one of your packages,  or a new queen from a supplier.

After you queen hatches it will take a few days for her to harden and then do mateing flights  assuming drones are around and ready....

You should see Eggs   around 25 days after the egg was laid........   give or take a few days depending on weather  I wouldn't worry if shes there  until around 35 days,,  then I would worry she didn't breed properly or some other issue
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eri
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« Reply #3 on: March 23, 2009, 07:11:23 PM »

Checked today, day 3, no queen cups. Feeding sugar water, saw pollen collectors yesterday and today. What next?
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On Pleasure
Kahlil Gibran
....
And to both, bee and flower, the giving and the receiving of pleasure is a need and an ecstasy.
People of Orphalese, be in your pleasures like the flowers and the bees.
gmcharlie
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« Reply #4 on: March 24, 2009, 09:13:22 AM »

if I have this correct,  you currently have some old food and comb,  and just the starter nuc which is queenless as of yet....

question,  can you get  another queen quickly?

the other option would be to see if your friend can get  one of hers to start a queen cell for you by removing the queen for a few days.  she could put it in another hive with an excluder or....(I am sure she would have plans)   

or you could try to get some fresh eggs from her.  If you do  pick some up the difficulty will be transporting them and keeping them warm.   if it were my I would load up my nuc and take it with me to support fresh eggs and larva.

If you decide to do that route,  I would read  Mel Dissolkens article on raising queens.     I would  pick 8-10 likely cells and  break the lower cell wall to ensure a spot for the queens to be raised.....  its a simple task......  the  nuc probably didn't pick a queen for  2 possible reasons...  no viable larve of teh right age,  or no verticle location that pleased them.  Queen cells need to be vertical.  they don't like normal brood comb because of this.......  breaking the lower cell wall lets them hang it...  the also quickly spot the need for extra attention.

Charlie
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sc-bee
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« Reply #5 on: March 24, 2009, 12:49:44 PM »

Isn't three days a little early to be finding the starts of a new queen cell? I would give it a few more days (I am a novice and have read it over and over but can't recall it huh)

Did you have plenty eggs, plenty bees to feed new cell, you mentioned you were feeding already. Do you are will you have plenty drones flying in a couple week?

Best queens as I understand come from a newly hatch egg @ about day 4:
Here is the bee math exert from MB's pages:

Caste   Hatch    Cap          Emerge   
Queen   3½ days  8 days +-1   16 days +-1  Laying        28 days +-5
Worker  3½ days  9 days +-1   20 days +-1  Foraging      42 days +-7
Drone   3½ days 10 days +-1   24 days +-1  Flying to DCA 38 days +-5

Note 3 1/2 days to hatch 8 to capped 16 to emerge
Laying 28 days and then add about 21 days till new workers emerge.

I wouldn't panic just yet. And remember sometimes looking too soon causes more disturbance than good Wink. As stated above you may need to add fresh brood if nothing starts (cell). Adding new open brood will also discourage a worker from starting to lay. In the mean time look for a replacement queen.

As you know starting from a split raising its own queen is slowest way to start hive (7 weeks till queens offspring emerges). I recommend Larry Connors book Increase Essentials. Some good info..

Hope this helps---- Good Luck!!!
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eri
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« Reply #6 on: March 24, 2009, 07:50:21 PM »

Thank you so much for your replies.

I have since spoken briefly with the person who sold me the nuc. Hers did not make any queen cups, either, so I feel a little better that I didn't do anything blatently wrong. Her suggestion is to give me one of her queens (she has 8 colonies), and this time I won't say no! We plan to hook up for further discussion in the next few days.

I'm confident there were eggs of the right age, nurse bees tending larvae, drone cells and a few drones, pollen and honey stores. Temps dived to below freezing the first 2 nights after I placed the nuc, and I had reduced the entrance to about an inch. After the first 48 hours I saw the first field bees bringing in pollen; until then they had been hanging close to the box. When I inspected at least 4 frames were covered with bees.

So I'm going to guess that as suggested, they simply did not find cells to their liking for drawing out to queen cups. Or maybe their sniffers aren't too great and they didn't notice no queen. Who knows? If there is a percentage rate of success, a lower percentage fails: odds are odds.

It is a learning experience that I asked for, so I have no regrets. I agree about disturbing them as little as possible -- I was very tempted to check again today even though it was cool. Thanks to those who responded for helping me stay calm! There IS a solution, the beek I got the nuc from seems sincerely interested in success, and worst case is I have packages arriving in a couple more weeks and can do a combine, plus I have 25 frames of drawn comb and some stores to give them a boost.

Charlie's suggestion of breaking down cells I've never heard of, nor sc-bee's Larry Connors' book, so there are 2 MORE learning opps in addition to the experience.

Thanks again. I'll post the finals smiley


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On Pleasure
Kahlil Gibran
....
And to both, bee and flower, the giving and the receiving of pleasure is a need and an ecstasy.
People of Orphalese, be in your pleasures like the flowers and the bees.
gmcharlie
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« Reply #7 on: March 24, 2009, 10:38:51 PM »

Look up MDA splitter  to Find Mels website.... all his info on queen reairing is there.  His theroy mathces the case system,  and whats used in the the nicot and jenter systems  so its not off the wall at all,  the fact that it requiers no special stuff is whats interesting.

He recomends seletive filling of brood to positon the queen cells for removal...  in your case thats a moot point...  so just try to break some out.... 

 replacement queen is the fastest,  but not as rewarding as ging the girls another shot at there own queen.!

SC-bee may be right  3 days may be a day or two short,  but since you need 3 day old larve,  Larve that was ready before or eggs that just hatch should be stared within 4 days....  but possibly not capped until 8 days.....  I have always noticed work on those cells before 8 days though.... you could take a look for larve the right age and break the cells quick...  nothing to lose...

That cold snap may have really been you issue....
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sc-bee
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« Reply #8 on: March 25, 2009, 07:45:12 AM »

>I would  pick 8-10 likely cells and  break the lower cell wall to ensure a spot for the queens to be raised.....  its a simple task......

 Similar to: Hopkins Method of Queen Rearing
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eri
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« Reply #9 on: April 03, 2009, 06:30:55 AM »

UPDATE:

My beekeeper friend started another nuc and placed fresh eggs in the queenless one after both our nucs from the original splits failed to make queen cells. This time she got queen cells in both of hers and Wednesday she installed a frame with a queen cell in my queenless nuc. The bees were so thick on the area of the queen cell that I can see how someone might miss seeing it.

Near as we configure, the queen creation began around March 23, so I will be looking for eggs sometime after April 17 or so.
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On Pleasure
Kahlil Gibran
....
And to both, bee and flower, the giving and the receiving of pleasure is a need and an ecstasy.
People of Orphalese, be in your pleasures like the flowers and the bees.
Two Bees
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Location: Central NC


« Reply #10 on: April 03, 2009, 07:31:27 AM »

Good luck with your new start, Eri!

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"Don't know what I'd do without that boy......but I'm sure willin' to give it a try!"
J.D. Clampett commenting about Jethro Bodine.
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