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Author Topic: Queen bee feeding herself  (Read 1387 times)
dermot
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« on: January 07, 2013, 11:47:30 AM »

 I'd always been told (and almost every where I look on the interweb it says) that the queen is unable to feed herself.

   The other day inspecting a hive my daughter and I found the queen on a honey frame spending extended time (repeatedly) head down in the honey cells. We managed to take a photo but by the time we took this she seemed to have fed enough or lost interest.

   I have read that a newly emerged queen, before the hive recognizes her will feed herself, but there is no sign of a recent changeover of queens and she seems to be mature. The photo my daughter took doesn't show much detail, but there is a mature queen with her head buried in a honey cell -she certainly wasn't inspecting or laying.

   A google image search comes up with no other photos of this behavior. I've been telling my 14 year old she's got a world first photo!





« Last Edit: January 07, 2013, 11:52:36 AM by Robo » Logged
Robo
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« Reply #1 on: January 07, 2013, 11:53:58 AM »

Not discounting what you saw or trying to squash your daughter's enthusiasm, but photo could just as easily have a caption of "queen inspects cell before laying an egg".
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dermot
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« Reply #2 on: January 07, 2013, 11:57:05 AM »

Could have- and I've got no way of proving otherwise but these are all honey cells and the time she was taking in each cell was much longer than needed for inspection.

   Certainly invite the discussion /debate!
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sawdstmakr
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« Reply #3 on: January 07, 2013, 11:58:04 AM »

How long did she spend with her head in the honey cell? Are there eggs in this hive? You may have  mother/daughter queens.
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dermot
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« Reply #4 on: January 07, 2013, 12:05:25 PM »

This is the best performing of our dozen hives. Everything is textbook within -great honey production,lots of laying, good brood pattern and no queen cells.

The frame this queen was on was the outside frame of the bottom box of three(8 frame boxes). Inside frames were a mix of mostly eggs and brood and a little honey, but this frame was all honey.

 How would mother /daughter laying matter or affect things?
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sawdstmakr
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« Reply #5 on: January 07, 2013, 12:10:22 PM »

The daughter may not have taken her mating flight yet and so she would have to feed herself and there would bee eggs in the hive. You can tell an unmated queen, she gets no respect. The bees will walk on her and not give her a royal court.
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sawdstmakr
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« Reply #6 on: January 07, 2013, 12:12:25 PM »

Notice in the picture, the bees have there backs to and against the queen, My bet is that she is the daughter.
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dermot
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« Reply #7 on: January 07, 2013, 12:17:28 PM »

I'll go and recheck this hive for signs of queen cells. I'm pretty sure we didn't see any.

  If it is the daughter and she hasn't mated yet would she be full (queen) size?
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ozbee
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« Reply #8 on: January 12, 2013, 12:01:51 AM »

emerging queens feed themselves. or if there lucky just before emerging if the cell is against the honey wall .if you cage a queen on her own she will feed on the candy very quickly herself .
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dermot
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« Reply #9 on: January 15, 2013, 11:42:30 AM »

I haven't had a chance to go back and check the first hive , but we did have to requeen another cranky hive and we thought we would take advantage to experiment with the old queen before she met her maker. She is definitely an old queen -the hive has been hot for 2 months and when we removed her (great fun!) there was no signs - checking every frame - of supersedure.
We kept the queen by herself and added a drop of honey to her container. She had no trouble at all feeding herself. I've added a video link and pic



I'd reckon if you were a remote viewing, time travelling alien who had been in Hawaii 30 years ago, you could have seen a young Barry Soetoro making himself a sandwich in his kitchen. Move forward to today and the now Barrack Obama has all his meals and drinks delivered to his desk. As an alien trying to make sense of the difference would you assume he's unable to make his own lunch?

  I reckon we undersell the queen by repeating the "common knowledge" that she is unable to fend for herself. I know our little experiment is outside of the cut and thrust of the bee hive, but nothing has physically changed of the queens feeding equipment to make it impossible to feed herself. I think we just observe the expedient activity of bringing food to her rather than the queen wasting time running off to find honey

Queen Bee feeding herself





« Last Edit: January 16, 2013, 03:19:24 AM by eivindm » Logged
Daniel Y
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« Reply #10 on: January 16, 2013, 09:09:43 AM »

My guess woudl be that the whole idea that a queen cannot feed herself was one of those things like. someone says the queen does not feed herself. so the next person says she can't feed herself. I have seen queen rearing instructions that include leaving a bit of honey for the queen to reach as she emerges. Since she will emerge in an incubator with no worker bees. it is pretty clear she can and will feed herself.
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #11 on: January 16, 2013, 09:16:29 AM »

Newly emerged virgin queens can and do feed themselves.  I've even seen a worker open a capped drone cell to let a newly emerged virgin queen feed herself the royal jelly in the capped cell, which she ate with great enthusiasm.  I put a small amount of crystallized honey in the bottom of the hair curler cages when I put them in an incubator and I've seen them eat that.   I've never seen a mated laying queen feed herself.
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Michael Bush
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