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Author Topic: Do I have a problem???  (Read 2176 times)
MoKen
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« on: June 04, 2005, 08:40:44 PM »

I fear that I may have caused the queen to quit (or slow down) laying.

Here's the history...

New package installed in meduim box on April 23. Began feeding immediately with 1:1 in baggies under lid. The first week or so was cold and wet but by the end of the second week the queen was laying well. That box filled up in short order so I added the second box and continued feeding. In about 2 more weeks the second box was about full and the syrup consumption had reduced considerably. I added the third box (all mediums) and stopped feeding. Here in central Missouri the foliage is going great and I assumed the nectar flow was good since they didn't seem very interested in the syrup.

I inspected today - two weeks after adding the third box and stopping feeding. In the third box there are about three frames drawn out with a little honey. However down in the the first two boxes I could find no eggs or young larva. I didn't take the time to check every frame but spot checked both boxes. I did see the queen in the middle of the second box just wandering around aimlessly without any obvious attendants. In the brood frames there is some pollen and some honey around the edges and lots of empty cells in the middle. There are a few capped cells in the brood area but I'm not experienced enough to know if they are brood or something else. However, there aren't very many of them.

Did I misread the syrup consumption and thus cause them to stop producing brood by stopping feeding? If so, I suppose I should restart feeding???

Will the queen act this way due to being smoked? Or is she just looking for a place prepared for her to lay which doesn't exist?

There was also one growth of comb which may be the beginnings of a queen cell. It was near the bottom of the frame in the center of the second box. I left it alone.

So, what should I do? Resume feeding? or just chill out and let them take care of it?

Thanks to all for your help.

Ken
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SherryL
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« Reply #1 on: June 04, 2005, 09:27:14 PM »

Hi Ken,

Personally, I don't think you need to resume feeding.  BUT, the girls will draw out foundation more quickly when being feed.

You say

Quote
In the brood frames there is some pollen and some honey around the edges and lots of empty cells in the middle. There are a few capped cells in the brood area but I'm not experienced enough to know if they are brood or something else. However, there aren't very many of them.


but then you say

Quote
Will the queen act this way due to being smoked? Or is she just looking for a place prepared for her to lay which doesn't exist?
 indicating she has no open broodspace.

So, does she have open brood space, or not?  You don't mention, but I'm wondering if all the brood is in the second box, or split between the first and second.  Also (in a BTW) you may want to put a queen excluder on between the second and third boxes unless you don't mind her moving up.  She's not guarenteed to, but she could without the excluder.

You mention 'empty cells', are you sure there are no eggs in them?  Eggs are very difficult to see if you have't seen them before, once you know what you're looking for (at) you'll be able to recognize them.  Reading glasses could help magnify if needed.

If the bottom box is empty of brood, you could reverse the first and second boxes.  The queen will tend to move up and this gives her an open brood area again (if it in fact is open right now).
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #2 on: June 05, 2005, 05:18:40 PM »

If there is NO brood or eggs (as opposed to very little) then one possibility is that they superceded your old queen and this is a new virgin queen that isn't laying yet.

If there is only very little eggs and brood then she IS laying but she may have just mated and just started.

If there is a flow, and I can't imagine that there isn't, I wouldn't worry so much about feeding, especially if there are stores.

If the brood nest is full of nectar/honey/syrup, then I'd worry about room and not food.
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Michael Bush
My website:  bushfarms.com/bees.htm
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"Everything works if you let it."--Rick Nielsen
MoKen
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« Reply #3 on: June 07, 2005, 06:11:47 PM »

I'll try to answer the questions posed.

The queen that came with the package (I don't know if the one I saw is the same one or not) did lay many eggs beginning in week two. I saw lots of eggs and larva. Those cells seem to be empty now so I assume she has plenty of room to lay more eggs.

There are brood cells in both boxes 1 and 2 however they are mostly empty. They have the classic arrangement of pollen and honey/syrup in the upper corners and down the ends. The empty cells are dark so I'm guessing they have been used to rear brood. There are a few capped brood cells in both boxes.

The center of the third box has a few frames of honey/syrup. Then lots of empty frames.

So I think there is more than enough room. There is a queen and I believe she is laying some - it just doesn't seem like much.

If the queen had been superceded, would the queen cell remain behind? Or do they destroy that when it's no longer needed?

As I mentioned earlier, there is some wild comb that could be the beginnings (or left overs?) of a queen cell. I assumed it was just wild comb. It is on the bottom of a frame near one end.

The hive was growing very quickly then seemed to almost stop growing.

Thanks for your insight.
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Finsky
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« Reply #4 on: June 08, 2005, 12:37:24 AM »

Is it possible that it has swarmed 2 weeks ago?
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Barny
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« Reply #5 on: June 08, 2005, 01:17:34 AM »

Does it look like somebody hit it with a shotgun?  You may just have a "lazy" queen.
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #6 on: June 08, 2005, 09:48:59 AM »

>If the queen had been superceded, would the queen cell remain behind? Or do they destroy that when it's no longer needed?

Sometimes they tear it up pretty well, but if you know what you're looking for you can usually find it.  But there may not be much of it left or it may pretty much be intact.

>As I mentioned earlier, there is some wild comb that could be the beginnings (or left overs?) of a queen cell. I assumed it was just wild comb. It is on the bottom of a frame near one end.

I'm guessing they either superceded the queen and the new one isn't laying yet, or they swarmed and the new one isn't laying yet (or is just starting).  I'd wait a couple of weeks and see where you're at.  They have a queen, the question is will she and they start making some brood.  How many frames (and what size frames) covered in bees are there.  I don't mean with a bee or two, I mean covered with bees.
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Michael Bush
My website:  bushfarms.com/bees.htm
My book:  ThePracticalBeekeeper.com
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"Everything works if you let it."--Rick Nielsen
Finsky
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« Reply #7 on: June 08, 2005, 05:46:02 PM »

Quote from: Michael Bush
I'm guessing they either superceded the queen and the new one isn't laying yet, or they swarmed and the new one isn't laying yet (or is just starting).


When new swarm queen starts to lay eggs, mostly all old brood have emerged, or are very near it.
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MoKen
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« Reply #8 on: June 11, 2005, 05:18:57 PM »

OK, I just inspected the hive. The top, third, box is about 50-60% full of honey/syrup, some of it capped. All three boxes are mediums.

The middle box is 90% full (one outside frame has been drawn out but has nothing going on). The interior of this box has scattered brood - some capped, a few larva and lots of pollen. I didn't spot any eggs but I might not have seen them.

The lowest box is completely full and in about the same condition as the middle box.

The good news is that there is more brood activity, even if it's not as orderly as one would hope. Also, lots of honey being produced.

I can't believe that a swarm occured due to the steady increase in the number of bees. Perhaps the queen was superceded.

If the laying pattern doesn't improve in a few weeks, should I think about changing queens or just leave her be?

Thanks
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thegolfpsycho
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« Reply #9 on: June 11, 2005, 06:17:26 PM »

Sounds like they are hurting a little bit for room.  With 90% of the bottom and middle box in use, not much room for the queen to lay, and bees don't equat undrawn comb as usable space.  Maybe you can checkerboard some of the foundation from the top box down into the second box and get them growing again.  Frequently, when adding foundation, if there isn't a strong flow, the bees just seem to stall.  Thats when checkerboarding, baiting them up with some brood, comes in handy.

It's also difficult to tell sometimes that they have swarmed.  The queen lays the hive up full, stops laying, gets in flying trim and leaves with the swarm.  All the emerging brood quickly repopulates the hive.  It's the gap in brood rearing that indicates something has changed.  When this happens, they frequently set themselves up to cast another swarm fairly quickly.  With no brood to feed, all the nectar goes into storage, and a honeybound condition is created.  Guess what they do when honeybound?
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MoKen
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« Reply #10 on: June 12, 2005, 03:16:39 PM »

I know I probably shouldn't have but I opened the hive again today to have a closer look at the bottom box. Here are a couple of pics of a frame from the center of the bottom box. The pictures are opposite sides of the same frame. It is typical of the center frames in the bottom two boxes.

I'm a newbie, but I see a few capped brood cells, a few larva, lots of pollen and lots of empty cells. Some frames have more capped brood but none have a large area of brood in any stage.

I added a fourth box while I was at it. The third box is about 60% full of honey.

Any comments or suggestions?

Pic 1
Pic 2
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Finsky
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« Reply #11 on: June 12, 2005, 03:32:18 PM »

In your pic 2 there are larvas. Queen had layed eggs about 6-7 days ago.
There is a queen or queen cells.  

Hive is really full of pollen. In this situation there is no sence to feed with syrup. They get their food from nature.
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