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Author Topic: 18 queens Where's Waldo?  (Read 1628 times)
TLWalters
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« on: July 29, 2005, 11:26:16 PM »

Checked the hive with 18 Queen cells. All are hatched. Didn't find a one of em!  Any suggestions? Does a newly hatched queen look like a full grown queen? I wanted to install divider boards, but was late getting to the cells and now can't find these ladies. Will they just all mate in the next few days and duke it out?

I'd timed them so I think they may have all hatched yesterday. Any input?
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Joseph Clemens
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« Reply #1 on: July 30, 2005, 01:44:09 AM »

Most likely there is only one survivor. I would check those queen cells closely, if any have large holes in their sides, they were torn open, not emerged from. The only one(s) emerged from will have a neat circular opening in their tips only.

She will be difficult to location until she mates and starts laying.
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Joseph Clemens
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thegolfpsycho
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« Reply #2 on: July 30, 2005, 08:59:34 AM »

Virgin queens are "runny" and the abdomen is much smaller, almost triangular in appearance.  I would stay out of them for a week or more so she can do her business, and you don't risk mashing her when she runs around frame edges to hide.
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TLWalters
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« Reply #3 on: July 30, 2005, 10:57:22 AM »

Thanks for the good advice. This is the stuff you don't find in a book and often gets overlooked in bee meetings.

Several queen cells have nice neat holes, some were gone altogether, a couple of them looked about half there -- torn. So does the hive destroy the subsequent queen cells after the first (few) emerge?

We kind of thought she must not look like a laying queen as we couldn't find any queens at all. So will heed advice and leave them alone and hope to see her in a week or so or at least eggs.

Thanks!
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thegolfpsycho
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« Reply #4 on: July 30, 2005, 11:34:46 AM »

With a little experience, you can spot virgin queens.  The bees mostly seem to ignore an unmated queen, but she has long rear legs and is still larger than a regular worker.

As far as the queen cells, sometimes the first to emerge chews a hole and stings her rival, sometimes the bees won't let her.  Sometimes multiple queens emerge and a battle can ensue.  The bees usually eventually tear the cells back down.  I don't know if the bees themselves chew out and remove developing queens, but I wouldn't doubt it.
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TLWalters
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« Reply #5 on: July 30, 2005, 11:41:27 AM »

How many days till the virgin queen mates? One book I have says 3-4. What does she do in the meantime?  Will we see the mating flight if we pay attention? (I have two hives in my back yard so we are watching them all the time. Good learning opportunity!)

Thanks for the insight on the behavior. I just love this forum!
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thegolfpsycho
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« Reply #6 on: July 30, 2005, 11:56:12 AM »

I'm having a little trouble with my vision, diabeties related (computers are great cause I can enlarge the text), so I can't look up the normal days for you.  However, I think 8 to 10 days to start laying.  A couple to complete developement,  a few days up to 2 weeks to complete mating flights, and a couple days to survey her kingdom while the bees get some some cells ready for her.  Their attitude changes toward her drastically once she begins mating flights, and sometimes, half the hive will take wing with her for a short distance.  I've never witnessed a queen on the landing board, entering or leaving an established colony.  I've seen them many times coming and going from mating nucs where the population is small, and observation is much easier.
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #7 on: July 30, 2005, 02:50:04 PM »

>Checked the hive with 18 Queen cells. All are hatched. Didn't find a one of em! Any suggestions?

There is probably only one left now and she will be hard to find for another couple of weeks.

>Does a newly hatched queen look like a full grown queen?

Much smaller.  Much faster.  Much shyer.  I've OFTEN found virgin queens on the sides or bottom of the hive or even outside on the landing board.  They are not easy to find.

>I wanted to install divider boards, but was late getting to the cells and now can't find these ladies. Will they just all mate in the next few days and duke it out?

They have probably already duked it out.

>I'd timed them so I think they may have all hatched yesterday. Any input?

One or two probably emerged, the rest probably were killed in their cells.  the one or two probably fought it out already.

>How many days till the virgin queen mates? One book I have says 3-4.

It will be several days before she even takes an orientation flight.  Antother several days of mating and several more days before she starts to lay.  I always figure two weeks before I expect to see eggs.  If you don't see them in three weeks, she's never going to be a laying queen.

>What does she do in the meantime?

Runs all over the hive like a maniac trying to make sure she's killed her rivals and leaving her scent everywhere.

>Will we see the mating flight if we pay attention?

If you watch them 24 hours a day for the next two weeks.  Smiley

The orientation and mating flights usually get a following for a little ways.  Kind of like a little swarm.

> (I have two hives in my back yard so we are watching them all the time. Good learning opportunity!)

Have fun.
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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
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