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Author Topic: Queenless - Now What?  (Read 1670 times)
Stingtarget
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« on: June 22, 2005, 11:20:19 PM »

Italian hive has struggled since package install.  Queen layed about an 8 inch circle which was capped and had several supercedure cells.  I left the supercedures alone thinking the bees would straighten things out.  Before the supercedures hatched the egg laying had completely stopped.  Checked them last Friday 6/17 and no capped brood at all!  Opened the Russian hive and located queen.  Took the frame she had just started laying on with about a 6 inch circle of capped brood and eggs around that.  Made sure queen stayed with hive and gave the Italian hive a frame of Russian brood and eggs.  Checked them today and the Italians didn't even try to raise a queen from the brood and eggs that I gave them.  Did find one queen cell on a frame that they had just begun to draw out.  Cell is capped but I'm worried that it is the egg of a laying worker.  Therefor the queen cell probably won't yield a queen.

Should I wait another week to make sure that the hive doesn't have a young queen that hasn't started laying yet or should I combine the two hives.  Russians are doing really well.  Installed both packages on May 21.  Added a shallow super to the Russians yesterday.  Italians only have 4 1/2 frames drawn and appears to be queenless and uninterested in raising a new queen.  Problem with them stems from the package having two queens when I received it.  One queen was in cage and another marked queen was in with the package.  She must've been shaken from the hive with the other bees.  I killed the marked queen thinking they would accept queen in cage once released.  Apparently not.

What do I do now??  Population is critically low.
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Stingtarget
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« Reply #1 on: June 23, 2005, 04:36:45 PM »

Just so happens that my local bee supply.....by chance....had one extra queen to part with.  Went through the hive today and removed anything that resembled a supercedure or queen cell.  Made a 1:1 sugar solution and added a few drops of vanilla extract and put in a spray bottle.  Opened hive again and sprayed both sides of every frame, bees included and sprayed queen cage.  Placed her in hive and I'll hope for the best.  Was told the vanilla extract would give everything including all the girls and queen the same scent.  Hope it works.

Interestingly enough, on the next to last frame there was a queen cell that I removed.  This frame was about 1/4 of the way drawn and queen cell was sealed on bottom.  When I removed it I opened up the queen cell.  Sure enough....larvae and royal jelly.  NOW...my question.....this hive has been queenless for sometime.  They didn't do anything with the brood I gave them from another hive.  Where in the world did they get an egg to produce a queen?HuhHuh  Hive has been queenless for about 2 1/2 weeks now.  Nothing else in hive has been capped.  Queen cell was the only larvae in the entire hive......excluding the frame I gave them from the Russians.  Queen cell was on opposite side of hive from donated Russian brood.
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Jerrymac
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« Reply #2 on: June 23, 2005, 04:58:05 PM »

I had basically the same thing happen and wondered if the bees would move an egg two or three frames over. Don't remember if I got an answer for that one. Now yours seem to have moved an egg or larva across the hive.  smiley
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mark
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« Reply #3 on: June 23, 2005, 05:33:48 PM »

sting

   whoa.... slow down there pard.

   you're doing all sorts of unnecessary stuff when the bees had things under control.  packages do not build up over night.  
   you asked a question and then attacked the hive without waiting for an answer.  they had supercedure cells and everything was fine that's why they didn't do anything "right away" with the russian frame. they didn't need to.  russian pheremone is different than all the other races and russian queen introduction into any other race is difficult.
  with supercedure cells they consider themselves queenright because she is developing. so now that you killed all the queen cells and mixed russian brood in with them what will be the outcome if they are all confused and kill your purchased queen?  you'll have to buy another or give them another frame from your russian hive weakening that one also.
a little patience, the bees know what to do.  give them a chance to do it.
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Stingtarget
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« Reply #4 on: June 23, 2005, 11:06:48 PM »

You're correct Mark they did have supercedure cells that hatched out 2 weeks ago but nothing came of them.  AND if a queen did hatch out there is the chance of whether or not she mates.  I opened the hive last week and not one single egg had been laid.  Therefore, I assumed that the supercedure cells did not contain larvae to begin with.  The brood that the original queen laid and was capped hatched out, about an eight inch circle.  Nothing more was ever laid in the comb.  Bees quit drawing out comb in the brood box as well.

No comb being drawn and my population being extremely low tells me that I don't have enough young bees to draw the comb.  Once a bee is 3 weeks old, it becomes a field bee...hence, the youngest bees I received in the package are now field bees and not nurse bees.  Comb building ceased, no capped brood for two weeks...not one single capping in two weeks?  Come one...I'd say there is a problem with the queen if she's still in there.  Also no comb building lends me to believe they are queenless...with no laying queen the bees don't need to draw out a ton of comb to make room for her to lay.  The four frames that are drawn in the brood box are completely full of nectar and sugar water....not brood.

SO....with the new queen being introduced, I am 99% guaranteed that I have a young mated queen.   Once the queen is released, I'm %99 sure she's in the hive and will start laying immediately on the little comb that has been drawn.

Other option was to hope that a supercedure yielded a new queen who was properly mated and returned to the hive to set up shop.  Too much of a chance.  We are in the beginning of our last major honey flow which should last 3 more weeks.  The hive top feeders have been on and full since installing packages.  If eggs aren't laid population will die....I don't have two more weeks to hope a supercedure yields a queen.  Packaged bees are dying off....no new brood is hatching....honey flow is on....July, August, and September will hopefully be enough time to get this hive on it's feet before winter.

Who knows...maybe they rejected the queen right out of her cage.  (There were two queens in the package).  Who's to say that the 8 inches of capped brood wasn't a laying worker?

I needed to be %100 percent sure that I give them the best chance of making it through winter.  I started this whole thing knowing that I would not receive one ounce of honey surplus this year.  Whatever they store in the brood box and eventually a shallow super will get them through till spring.  So yes, I've taken drastic measures.....I can look at the Russian hive installed on the same day and they have 8 frames drawn with 6 slap full of capped brood.  I open the Italians and they have 4 frames drawn without a single cap.  You tell me.....was it worth the extra measure to help them along?  Time is of the essence.  Population is around 8,000 (est)......would you have waited to see what would've happened or would you have taken a chance and given them a new queen and let them have a clean start?  I am assured that if you opened the hive and saw so few bees in it you'd have done more than put the lid back on and hope for the best.
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Kris^
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« Reply #5 on: June 24, 2005, 07:43:57 AM »

Quote from: Stingtarget
would you have waited to see what would've happened or would you have taken a chance and given them a new queen and let them have a clean start?  I am assured that if you opened the hive and saw so few bees in it you'd have done more than put the lid back on and hope for the best.


That's what I did.  Almost three weeks after queen cells erupted, I saw no eggs or brood in my cutdown split, so I decided to re-queen with a bought marked queen.  Before installing, I checked agains, saw no queen, eggs or brood, so I pout her in.  She was released in 3 days, and when I re-inspected a week later, I found eggs and brood -- and the queen.  Not my marked queen, though.  The best I can figure was that a virgin queen was in there all along, waiting to mate and/or prepare herself for laying.  It did take her about 4 weeks to get rolling, and the bought queen turned out to be for naught.  

I do view it as a $19 insurance policy, though, to ensure that the hive would thrive.  And this all occurred earlier in the season, before then season hit full flow.

-- Kris
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mark
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« Reply #6 on: June 24, 2005, 05:32:23 PM »

if capped brood is dome shaped it's drone brood.  if flat it is worker brood. so if it is flat it is NOT from laying workers.
  yes! i would have left them alone.  they were in control of the situation. if you have at least one sealed queen cell the situation is under control.  you said you had that and destroyed it.   it takes about one month from started queen cell to a mated queen laying.  meanwhile the bees are bringing back necter and pollen for the future brood. and tending to the hive as neccesary.  even if they are ALL foraging age that doesn't mean that they ALL leave the hive. you are correct in as small as their population they don't need to draw out comb.  how is that a catastrophy? when they finally DO get going it'll be like gangbusters and likely build up comparable or overtake the russia hive.   i have started a hive with only one frame of bees with a queen cell on it in an observation hive.
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Stingtarget
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« Reply #7 on: June 27, 2005, 07:40:45 PM »

Put new queen in on Thursday 6/23.  Will check tomorrow to make sure she's been released.  I'm a newbie...maybe I over reacted to the queenless situation.  Prior to installing the new queen I did not see a queen cell.  On the day I installed her, I pulled out each frame and the queen cell was on a frame that wasn't close to the others that had been drawn out.  SO, since I put the new cage in I had no choice but to remove the queen cell.  After leaving the bee yard I cut the cell open and sure enough there was a larvae inside.  But...hopefull this new queen will begin laying sooner and be further ahead than if I had waited on the queen cell to hatch out and begin laying.

All in all....both options were reasonable.  Had it been earlier in the season, somewhere around first of April, I wouldn't have bothered with them.  Hopefully installing a new queen will give them a jump start.

Thanks all for the input.
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