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Author Topic: Should I worry about comb color?  (Read 802 times)
johnwm73
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« on: April 27, 2009, 08:34:22 PM »

I installed 2 packages on 2 hives that I lost last year as my first year hives didn't make it thru the winter. On the capped brood the color of the caps seem a little different than last. I reused the comb that was drawn from last year. Nearly all the drawn comb was empty so I figured it didn't have foulbrood. On the drawn comb closer to the edge which had honey stored in it the brood caps are lighter in color. Should I be worried? Also I have about 5 queen cells but the queen is laying a very good pattern and seems to be laying fast. Should I destroy them?
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deerhunter
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« Reply #1 on: April 27, 2009, 09:18:58 PM »

It really doesn't matter what color it is I have had them coal black to almost clear.
The bees dont complain about it.   grin
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Brian D. Bray
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« Reply #2 on: April 27, 2009, 10:50:00 PM »

I installed 2 packages on 2 hives that I lost last year as my first year hives didn't make it thru the winter. On the capped brood the color of the caps seem a little different than last. I reused the comb that was drawn from last year. Nearly all the drawn comb was empty so I figured it didn't have foulbrood. On the drawn comb closer to the edge which had honey stored in it the brood caps are lighter in color. Should I be worried? Also I have about 5 queen cells but the queen is laying a very good pattern and seems to be laying fast. Should I destroy them?

Never, Never, Ever destroy queen cells.  That is the best way I know to become queenless.  Use them to make nucs so you can requeen hives that lose their queen for one reason or another or make more hive but don't destroy them. 

If you have queen cells the hive is already well advanced in swarm mode.  Some hives will swarm as early as when the 1st queen cells are capped.  That is over a week before the appearance of a new queen.  If the queen cells are destroyed during that time the beekeeper just made it queenless.  Not all virgin queens successfully return from mating flights, that makes a queenless hive. 

Split the hive into 2 or 3 nucs, putting the original queen into one of the nucs that is moved away from the original hives location to simulate a swarm so the bees won't try to build more queen cells.  Not moving the mother queen to a new location can often result in swarms after splits.
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Life is a school.  What have you learned?   Brian      The greatest danger to our society is apathy, vote in every election!
Scadsobees
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« Reply #3 on: April 27, 2009, 10:58:20 PM »

Only worry about the color if it clashes with the walls  tongue

Color can indicate the following:
age of comb
age of brood
type of pollen
type of honey
more brood raised in it
etc

Older capped brood is darker than younger capped brood.

Are the queen cells inhabited by larvae yet?  If not, then it isn't necessarily a problem yet.

Also, if the queen cells are on the face of the comb (Are these new packages?) that would indicate a probable supercedure instead of swarm.  Often new packages will supercede the queen for whatever reason.  If this is the case then there isn't a problem with destroying the queen cells, they may eventually accept the current queen.

Welcome to the crazy confusing world of honeybees.
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Brian D. Bray
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« Reply #4 on: April 27, 2009, 11:23:14 PM »

If this is the case then there isn't a problem with destroying the queen cells, they may eventually accept the current queen.

Welcome to the crazy confusing world of honeybees.

They might accept the queen but that is a BIG IF, my experience is that they'll continue to try to supercede the queen until they kill the queen before the new queen cells are capped, almost as soon as their is eggs in them.  Then you're queenless if you destroy the cells.
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Life is a school.  What have you learned?   Brian      The greatest danger to our society is apathy, vote in every election!
johnwm73
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« Reply #5 on: April 27, 2009, 11:29:04 PM »

Both were packages so I thought about splitting but decided to try and keep them together to build up for winter. Might end up spliting though in a few weeks depending is they finish the cell or not.
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