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Author Topic: Can you start a hive with just a queen?  (Read 2461 times)
pleasehelpme
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« on: June 16, 2011, 06:22:58 PM »

Hey everyone, I was wondering if it is possible to start a completely new hive with just a queen and a couple of attendants? Really what I am asking is if you bought a mated queen from an online store and put her in a hive with the attendants she arrived with, would she survive and make a successful hive?
I apologize if this question has been asked before.
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AllenF
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« Reply #1 on: June 16, 2011, 06:50:38 PM »

Can't happen.   You need thousands of bees.  Even if you put the queen and a hundred bees on drawn comb, they could not warm the brood and feed themselves. 
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JP
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« Reply #2 on: June 16, 2011, 06:52:40 PM »

The answer to your question is an emphatic "no".

My guess is you would need roughly eight hundred bees and a queen for a colony to exist as a colony well before winter, ensuring them ample time to build and store before going into winter, at least in my neck of the woods.


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Michael Bach
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« Reply #3 on: June 16, 2011, 07:08:33 PM »

Completely IMPOSSIBLE.

When bees swarm the queen has thousands of bees with her to start a new hive.

So you need a queen and thousands of bees.
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BlueBee
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« Reply #4 on: June 16, 2011, 07:30:17 PM »

In the wild, I would agree with the consensus; no.  However in a heated laboratory setting, it might be an interesting experiment.  Mini mating nucs only require a few hundred bees to raise brood.  If there is enough time in your climate for a mating nuc to build up before winter, you could end up with a viable hive if you started with a few hundred bees.
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #5 on: June 17, 2011, 08:08:42 AM »

I have tried with a hundred or so bees and no matter how much I babied them they could never raise any brood.  Six attendants is even more hopeless than that, even in a laboratory.  A FEW hundred, yes.
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #6 on: June 17, 2011, 09:02:15 AM »

Also depends on the set up, whether they are in a full size hive or a nuc. My experience has proven to me that without providing (feed/pollen) for a small colony, they usually can't build comb, forage, tend to brood and most importantly keep the queen adequately fed/healthy.

Just this past week I went into a young lady's hive (a full deep) with 3/4 of one frame of bees. She had ordered a new, marked queen two weeks prior.

The queen was (marked) shriveled and runny and flew right off the frame never to return. I believe she was not being tended to/fed properly and it was just a matter of time for that lil colony to wither to nothing at all.

I removed a colony this past Saturday night and shook them into her set up with a plump queen the following Sunday, so she would have a hive in that set up.

BTW, an extremely small swarm is one that contains roughly 1,500 bees.


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Scadsobees
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« Reply #7 on: June 17, 2011, 09:18:52 AM »

It is impossible.

The first food any larvae needs is royal jelly.  This is produced in very small quantities by younger bees from a gland.  Without many many younger bees, this food can't be provided and the larvae will not survive. 

Once the larvae get older then they can eat pollen/honey which conceivably could be provided in a lab setting.

My observation hive made it through the winter with less than a couple of hundred bees.  They couldn't make it, but then again there were some SHB and moths in there.
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Rick
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« Reply #8 on: June 17, 2011, 11:11:34 AM »

On a side note: do paper wasp, yellow jackets etc start a nest with just a single queen? Does the queen paper wasp or yellow jacket build the nest, lay etc or does a worker overwinter in a bore and somehow join a queen? Or is the anatomy of the wasp etc. totally different?

Just curious huh huh
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« Reply #9 on: June 17, 2011, 11:35:24 AM »

Yes, the anatomy and the social structure of yellow jackets, bumble bees and some other Hymenoptera can start a colony with nothing but a queen.  Honey bees cannot.  Nor do they need to as they can survive the winter as a group.  The others that can start with just a queen, cannot survive the winter as a group.
 
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #10 on: June 17, 2011, 01:18:39 PM »

Thanks
I knew honey bees could not. I knew the others yellow jackets etc. did not overwinter but started a colony from just a queen. Figured it had to be an anatomy thing.
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