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Author Topic: Bad Queen? No capped worker brood at week 8  (Read 1771 times)
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« on: May 27, 2012, 07:50:38 PM »

This is our first year as beeks.  Installed package April 3.   10 frame lang deeps.  Foundationless.  1 box. 

This queen was laying fine at the beginning.   Good laying pattern, but not great.   Since the first hatch things have gone downhill.

Last week, we saw few eggs and scattered capped brood.   Also saw some wildly huge cell comb and at least one queen cup.   We did see the queen last week.

This week, the few capped cells there were were drone cells.   Saw about 10 queen cups with no larvae that we could see inside.    I saw maybe a handful of eggs.  [Hard to see those eggs sometimes through the jacket hood.]   We looked at each frame twice to see if we could find the queen, but never found her.

I have another hive with deep frames of brood and that queen is a good layer.   At what point should I put a frame of that good brood in this hive?

Advice appreciated.


Here are some pics.  Click to biggify.

This is one of the brood frames from this hive.



The perspective is not straight on, but you can see that the cells on the left of the frame are way bigger even than the drone comb that I've seen.   There are worker cells on the right side of that frame. 



Here's one of the queen cups [front and back], in the center of the frame, where that hole is in the comb. 



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Vance G
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« Reply #1 on: May 27, 2012, 08:45:33 PM »

It sounds very much like your queen has failed.  Give them a frame of open brood so they can raise a new queen.  Your good queen can produce far more brood than her daughters can cover so just gently brush off the bees and just take the brood.  You can do it every five days to a week, just taking open brood and within a month, you should have a new laying queen and you shouldn't have done great harm to the strong hive.   Alternately get a new queen and find the old one and squish her.  Good luck
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Jim 134
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« Reply #2 on: May 27, 2012, 09:03:40 PM »

Take EGGS



    BEE HAPPY Jim 134 Smiley
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« Reply #3 on: May 27, 2012, 09:27:46 PM »

If you ever think you do not have a queen put a frame of eggs in, just to be sure.It is cheap insurance. Even if you have a virgin queen in the hive, with a queen that has not been laying for a couple of week a new package could stand a boost of brood. If they draw cells you know you are queenless. If they don't you have a virgin queen or a laying worker. But I would bet they will draw cells. Make sure that the frame has eggs. As far as seeing eggs tilt the frame in the sunlight so the sunlight shines in the bottom of the cell, they are a lot easier to see in bright sunlight. Hold the frame over the open hive and with a quick downward motion shake most of the bees off of the frame of eggs, close that hive up and stick the frame with eggs in the middle of the bees in the queenless hive.

Be careful with the foundationless frames. You might need to brush the bees off. That is the main reason I use foundation.
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« Reply #4 on: May 28, 2012, 07:32:53 AM »

Thank you, all.

When I put the new frame in, do I put it on the end or in the middle?   These bees make terribly wonky comb and it'd be nice if I could get a good straight one at the end for them to follow. 

Do I take one of their frames out and put it in the donor hive, then?   Or maybe this is my chance to get rid of the worst of the bad comb on the queenless hive, and just take it out altogether.

The donor hive has capped brood on every brood comb.   The queen lays in all the newest comb, it's striped like this:


We should just look for the one that has the most eggs?
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JackM
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« Reply #5 on: May 28, 2012, 07:43:45 AM »

I know I am a newbie, but just went thru this.  Lost a lot of time, when I should have probably just bought a new queen as soon as I knew she was bad.  Same scenario, first round of brood okay, then spotty pattern with more drones than necessary.

But taking eggs from a different hive to get them to grow a queen would be a positive event, but remember or look into how much time the hive will loose without a queen, after first eggs are laid you still have 3 weeks to workers hatching, 2 weeks for the queen to be 'born' and also the time for virgin to kill off the others and go get knocked up at a DCA.

I think if I had really thought about how much time would be lost on a new package up front I would have bought a queen instead.  

I used eggs from the bad queen....turned out she was only laying drones at the end and not one was viable for a queen and I had over 8 cells at one point.  Yesterday I found a guy local with some mutt nucs for a fair price, will pick one up in a few hours and combine with the leftovers in the bad hive.  By the time I pay for queen and shipping, and my fear of not enough workers to cover the brood down the road, I chose the nuc over a queen, slightly more $$ but will put me back where I was when this began and I will have brood right away to help with our main flow which starts any day now, the blackberries are just about to bloom.

So, another opinion, a rookie opinion.
Yes, put the new brood in the center of the hive.  Don't worry about wonky comb, you need bees, not comb.  I would leave that bad comb for now unless it is really messy, your problem is you need a queen that lays, and a new queen will need room to lay.  Get the hive stable first.
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« Reply #6 on: May 28, 2012, 01:55:48 PM »

We put a frame of eggs in the hive with the missing 'bad' queen and in the very next frame over I found her.    I watched her for a while with a magnifying glass and she tried to lay twice.  Both times, she didn't release the egg and it came back out with her.  It came loose at the top edge of a cell and was quickly whisked away by a worker.  I thought I saw one egg in a cell, but not in the center bottom like usual, it was sort of on the side.    I saw no other eggs on that frame.

We found someone close by who will sell us a new queen.   If we get one, should we find the old one again and dispatch her?



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FRAMEshift
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« Reply #7 on: May 28, 2012, 08:12:19 PM »

You should dispatch her now.  She is clearly not doing the job and her pheromones are preventing the bees from making a new queen with the eggs you just gave them.  If you get a new queen fine.  But I would pinch the old one now.
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« Reply #8 on: May 28, 2012, 10:11:27 PM »

Thank you, everyone, for the feedback.   Every opinion really helps. 

You should dispatch her now.  She is clearly not doing the job and her pheromones are preventing the bees from making a new queen with the eggs you just gave them.  If you get a new queen fine.  But I would pinch the old one now.

Frameshift - you meant 'pinch her' literally, didn't you?    Any advice on just how to do that without causing PTSD in the beek?

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Joe D
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« Reply #9 on: May 29, 2012, 12:00:45 AM »


I don't know about where you are, but here you can pick up a queen most anytime and for $20.  I caught a swarm 5 weeks ago, check last week saw no brood talked to a buddy went by to see him next day and got a new queen. Put her in that afternoon, checked in 2 days saw little brood, checking again tomorrow.

Joe
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« Reply #10 on: May 29, 2012, 09:10:08 AM »

use a queen catcher and drop her in a bucket of water and walk away.  No PTSD on Beek if walk away soon enough.  Pinching sucks.  Crunch, squish.  ICK! 
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« Reply #11 on: May 29, 2012, 12:34:17 PM »

Last year was my first year as a beek and I had the same problem with my packages. I ordered 3 and one queen didn't make it in transit. The other two made it half way through the summer and the colonies requeened. These two are doing great this year. The one that came with the dead queen had it's queen replaced by the package provider but this queen looks to be slowing down this year.

I just don't think you get quality queens when you get packages.
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« Reply #12 on: May 29, 2012, 08:33:57 PM »

Frameshift - you meant 'pinch her' literally, didn't you?    Any advice on just how to do that without causing PTSD in the beek?
Surely you have squished your share of workers in the manipulation of frames and tops.  I don't feel guilty about killing a few bees if it's for the good of the colony.  When it comes to bees and PTSD, it helps to think of the colony as the "organism".  Individual bees are like hair or fingernails.  They  are temporary parts of the whole organism.  Do you have feelings of guilt when you get a haircut?  grin
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« Reply #13 on: May 31, 2012, 11:50:58 AM »

Surely you have squished your share of workers in the manipulation of frames and tops.  I don't feel guilty about killing a few bees if it's for the good of the colony.  When it comes to bees and PTSD, it helps to think of the colony as the "organism".  Individual bees are like hair or fingernails.  They  are temporary parts of the whole organism.  Do you have feelings of guilt when you get a haircut?  grin

I hear you.  I've killed loads of roaches and mice and moles in cold blood.   Drowning her took too long, so I finally just sucked it up and squashed her with a shoe.   Inelegant, but effective. 

Next time won't be so hard.   
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« Reply #14 on: May 31, 2012, 01:14:13 PM »

>Next time won't be so hard.   

Right. You need two kills for your 00 status.  The second one is considerably easier.   Just ask Daniel Craig.  grin


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« Reply #15 on: May 31, 2012, 03:13:08 PM »

Drop her in alcohol next time. It will dispatch her quickly and you can use the alcohol for swarm lure.

Scott
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« Reply #16 on: June 03, 2012, 12:21:59 PM »

Drop her in alcohol next time. It will dispatch her quickly and you can use the alcohol for swarm lure.

Scott

Great tip!   Thanks!
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« Reply #17 on: June 03, 2012, 01:09:19 PM »

Drop her in alcohol next time. It will dispatch her quickly and you can use the alcohol for swarm lure.

Scott

Do you actually do this?

I've heard this over the years. I did this for awhile thinking it would make a good swarm lure, but found out that there is no great success beyond probably what would of been achieved by the fact the bees were seeking a cavity anyways. It smells nothing like swarm lure or the come hither scent.

Sure bees will be attracted to a smashed queen laying in front of the hive. But beyond the pure attraction or curiosity of a dead queen nearby, I have not experienced bees in a swarm attracted to it.

So how about explaining what you did, so perhaps I can see what I did wrong?

How many queens per bottle and what size. Do you smash then up, and let the brew sit for a period of time? And exactly what type alcohol do you use?

Thank you.
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« Reply #18 on: June 03, 2012, 01:20:46 PM »

I can't really testify if it truly works or not as I haven't done any type of testing. I do use it and I do catch swarms but I also have old drawn comb in the trap so who knows what the real attractant is.

I keep an old hot sauce bottle in each truck and whenever I need to off a queen that's where she goes. There's maybe 20-30 in each with about an ounce or so of rubbing alcohol.

Scott
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"In the first place, we should insist that if the immigrant who comes here in good faith becomes an American and assimilates himself to us, he shall be treated on an exact equality with everyone else, for it is an outrage to discriminate against any such man because of creed, or birthplace, or origin. But this is predicated upon the person's becoming in every facet an American, and nothing but an American...There can be no divided allegiance here. Any man who says he is an American, but something else also, isn't an American at all. We have room for but one flag, the American flag...We have room for but one language here, and that is the English language...And we have room for but one sole loyalty and that is a loyalty to the American people."

Theodore Roosevelt 1907
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