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Author Topic: Can you judge queen-rightness just by temperament?  (Read 559 times)
ziffabeek
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« on: April 09, 2012, 09:48:51 AM »

Hello all! 

Had such a beautiful weekend!  Got into the two little hives.  The one that was queenless seems to have requeened. They were sweet and had brood, wear as 3 weeks ago they were pissy as heck and no brood.  I guess the queen cell transfer worked!  The difference in temperament was amazing!

My question though, is the other hive.  This hive definitely swarmed as the population is way down,  I didn't have time to go all the way to the bottom deep, but I could see some drone brood down there.  They are drawing comb in the empty super I added, but I did not see any brood there.  There are a lot of drones, but still pretty good amount of workers and they are bringing in supplies.  Again, I didn't have time to do a full inspection as we had company arriving for Easter dinner.

I plan to go in more thoroughly some evening this week or next Saturday.  But my question is, the hive was sweet and calm, even when I hacked up some wonky comb and straightened it out.  Is this enough to confirm queen rightness?  Would a drone layer keep them calm as well?  I am just curious. 

Hope you all had a happy Easter!

love,
ziffa
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FRAMEshift
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« Reply #1 on: April 09, 2012, 10:15:34 AM »

They are drawing comb in the empty super I added, but I did not see any brood there.  There are a lot of drones, but still pretty good amount of workers and they are bringing in supplies.  

If they are bringing in pollen, that is a good initial indicator of a queenright hive.  Once all the brood is capped and no eggs are being laid, they would stop collecting pollen.  But as you know, the only real indicator is seeing eggs or larvae and freshly capped worker brood.
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diggity
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« Reply #2 on: April 09, 2012, 10:17:43 AM »

In my experience, colonies with a laying worker are kinda pissy and wigged out.  You can tell something is wrong.  That said, I don't think the fact that the hive was sweet and calm is a 100% assurance that they are queenright.  Obviously you'll have to do another inspection to confirm that.  But if they were gentle and busy, then you can probably take a deep breath... at least until your Easter dinner is done digesting.   Wink
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kathyp
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« Reply #3 on: April 09, 2012, 12:40:17 PM »

i have knocked out laying worker hives that were very nice to handle.  their behavior in the hive is different.  they are less organized than a queen right hive. 
not that that matters much because by the time you have gotten deep enough in there to see that you have disorganized behavior, you also know you have laying workers  grin

it's worth it to get on in there and find out because you'll have to make some decisions about what you are going to do with it if you don't have a queen.
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beyondthesidewalks
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« Reply #4 on: April 09, 2012, 02:10:25 PM »

The best insurance if you have doubts is to give them a frame of brood with eggs if you have one available.  If they are queenless that will give them what they need to make a new queen.  Once laying workers get started it's very hard to overcome in my experience.
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BrentX
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« Reply #5 on: April 09, 2012, 07:45:21 PM »

In the walk away splits I did a a couple weeks ago the queenless hives got cranky within 1-2 hours of being separated from the queen, but settled down within 4-7 days even though the new queens were a long way from emerged.  Some even started hauling in pollen before the queen emerged. 
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ziffabeek
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« Reply #6 on: April 10, 2012, 08:54:58 AM »

Hmmm, interesting.  Thanks everybody! 

Unfortunately, with my job this spring, I"m pretty much limited to weekend beekeeping.  If I can get home early enough, I'll try to get into them one evening, but it will most likely be Saturday.  I'll let you know! 

The only problem with dropping in a frame of eggs, is the only 'donor' hive I have is the mississippi queens, (HN2 is still too weenie).  And those bees, while they have great genetics for resistance and hygiene, are not the friendliest hive.  : /  .  But!  If I find it is indeed queenless, this is probably what I will do. 

Thanks again everyone.  Always interesting to surmise and see opinions.  I'm trying to get back to watching the behavior and then comparing it to what I 'see' inside. 

Oh!  Did I tell you I'm getting an extractor for my birthday!! Soooo excited!  I have a great big brother! Smiley

love,
ziffa
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