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Author Topic: Spotty Brood  (Read 2018 times)
Cullz
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« on: October 23, 2010, 08:06:38 PM »

Early spring I open mated about seven queens here from four colonies. Some of them superseded at the same time as well. I know there's at least one feral hive close by.
Some of the new queens are doing fantastic, but some the brood is very spotty, while some are just a little bit spotty and some not at all.
The worst one looks like this (not my photo):

The spotty cells have eggs, larvae, pollen, honey..
I'm a beginner so I don't know if this is really inbreeding or something else. Obviously the queen can't lay in a cell with pollen or honey.
How much spottiness is alright and when is it a cause for concern? And is this different in the early stages of colony establishment?
And if the solution is to requeen.. can I raise a new queen from my own yard? I have records of which queens came from which hives.
Would I be better off pinching the under-performing queens and combining with others, and hoping for better luck next year?
Money is tight and I'd like to avoid buying queens.

What are your experiences with this kind of situation?
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fish_stix
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« Reply #1 on: October 23, 2010, 08:26:13 PM »

If the queen has been laying for more than 2-3 weeks and you're getting that pattern I would requeen. Very easy to raise your own queens; Google MDA Splitter. He has a very simple method of getting quality cells. Or, simply make up a strong queenless nuc from this hive, let it sit queenless for 12-24 hours and then give them a frame of eggs/very young larva from one of your hives that has a good queen. They'll start building cells quickly.  Wink
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bugleman
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« Reply #2 on: October 24, 2010, 04:56:05 AM »

This may not be spotty brood.

Do you have VSH genetics.

I saw this in one of my hives and thinking I had a problem I had my beekeeping buddy check it out.

He observed that the uncapped and cleaned out cells were getting relaid with eggs giving the appearance of spotty brood due to the different hatching times.

I can see even in your pic the capped cells are of different age/color.

Another thought is that the larve adjacent to the capped cells are right behind in age.  I bet your queen was behind in her work and wove around laying eggs.  Give that frame a few days and I bet it will be looking better.

Cheers!
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kathyp
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« Reply #3 on: October 24, 2010, 09:40:27 AM »

i would not consider that a spotty pattern, especially with new queens.  as cells are emptied, queens will lay.  if the workers had already put pollen and honey where she will lay next, they don't always get it moved right away.  also, all bees do not hatch out at the same time.  as they come out, she will go back and lay in those cells.  good brood pattern is not determined by all cell being capped, but by a solid pattern where most of the cells in the brood area have brood at some stage.
« Last Edit: October 27, 2010, 12:10:11 AM by kathyp » Logged

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fish_stix
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« Reply #4 on: October 24, 2010, 10:01:41 PM »

Bugleman; The guy is in Australia. No varroa, therefore not likely to have an advanced strain of VSH. I have no experience with them but have heard from reliable sources that the Aussie package bees shipped to the US are not resistant to varroa and don't do very well with the onslaught of mites.
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bugleman
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« Reply #5 on: October 25, 2010, 03:14:07 AM »

Bugleman; The guy is in Australia. No varroa, therefore not likely to have an advanced strain of VSH. I have no experience with them but have heard from reliable sources that the Aussie package bees shipped to the US are not resistant to varroa and don't do very well with the onslaught of mites.

Good point.  I live in Oregon and we have eat, sleep and breath varroa.   afro
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tecumseh
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« Reply #6 on: October 26, 2010, 07:34:42 AM »

this does not look like spotty brood to me.

if the queen is laying back into the empty cells at the center of the capped brood I would not consider this to be spotty brood?
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #7 on: October 26, 2010, 10:29:40 PM »

By breeding against "spotty brood" we have for years bred against heater bees (who get in empty cells left for that purpose and warm the brood) and hygienic behavior (if they remove larvae it looks spotty).  I see larvae in those uncapped cells...
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Michael Bush
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BjornBee
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« Reply #8 on: October 29, 2010, 07:13:12 AM »

By breeding against "spotty brood" we have for years bred against heater bees (who get in empty cells left for that purpose and warm the brood) and hygienic behavior (if they remove larvae it looks spotty).  I see larvae in those uncapped cells...

MB, I'm kind of curious. I've known about heater bees for years. Although I have never heard anyone mention of this as a trait that they are actively breeding against. In fact, I have never seen another breeder even mention this as a breeding trait. I scanned for this on your site, but did not locate anything. Although this is a little known and not often discussed detail of breeding, when was the first time you actually mentioned this or used it in a discussion?

I know some of this information has recently been discussed at the Pieffer Center (Conrad probably from Gunther??) and also mentioned at the treatment free conference this past year. But I am curious to find the origins of this information. And thus far, your reference to using this "for years" as part of your breeding protocol is about as old as I can locate. What is your origin and when was your first reference to the knowledge made in a post or verifiable manner? What is the oldest verifiable known mention of this information you know of?

Thanks.

As to the original post, I do not think it is "heater bees". Even with heater bees, you get even egg laying (same age) and a filled in pattern, just with a bunch of holes.

I also do not think it is a situation with pollen or nectar interfering with the pattern. Many observations of full frames indicate that the bees will in a day start clearing out a small 2-3 inch circle and clean out a larger and larger area of cells for the queen. Many times you can see this in the circular swirling pattern of bees emerging as the "rings" of cells are opened. Bees do not clean out cells nilly willy. They concentrate on one area and then expand from there.

I would suggest inbreeding, of a viral/disease situation.
« Last Edit: October 29, 2010, 07:24:24 AM by BjornBee » Logged

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Cullz
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« Reply #9 on: October 31, 2010, 05:57:57 AM »

Thanks everyone.
As well as the spottiness of the brood, overall the colony was fairly weak and did not have a lot of brood or bees compared to others.
I pinched the queen and combined them with a strong nucleus. The nucleus was in an eight frame box, with a queen atleast a year old, and their brood was a little spotty too but almost wall to wall in the box with heaps of capped worker brood.

That's interesting about heater bees. I realise there is a lot unknown about genetics and every decision we make about the genes of our bees will affect them, even if we are misinformed.
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