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Author Topic: Queen Dilemma  (Read 445 times)
Tom K-B
New Bee
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Gender: Male
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Location: Nashville, TN


« on: June 21, 2013, 08:43:03 PM »

My wife and I began our first colony on March 22nd with a 3 lb package. They are now quite strong with one deep box of brood and two medium boxes of brood and two boxes of honey. We're very happy with how that colony is doing.

We started a new colony three weeks ago today with a 3 lb package. Everything seemed to be looking good for the first week. Comb was being drawn and there looked to be eggs laid. However, when I checked the hive on day 15 expecting to find capped brood, there was none. Well, I take that back. There was one capped drone cell and three queen cups. It was difficult to see into the queen cups because of cloudy conditions, but I could see that at least one of those cups was empty for sure. I searched every frame carefully and found no queen. We called our bee supplier to see if we could get a new queen ASAP. In the mean time, we took a frame of brood from our first hive and place it in the new hive. Three days latter we heard back from our supplier and were able to get a new queen yesterday -- day 20. When I went into the hive to install the new queen cage, I checked on the progress of those three queen cups I'd seen last week. Two looked to have been abandoned, but one had been drawn out and there was definitely a larva in it.

So, there's my dilemma. I've placed the new queen in the hive and opened the candy end of the cage for the bees to release her. I'm assuming that will occur probably tomorrow. They were like iron fillings to a magnet when I put the cage in there yesterday. Should I go ahead and kill the larva they are making? Should I wait and see? Will the new queen take care of that larva? Any suggestions?
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Dimmsdale
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Location: Berkeley Springs, West Virginia


« Reply #1 on: June 21, 2013, 09:54:14 PM »

Put the cork back over the candy and leave her in the cage for a few days.  I would destroy the cups.  If they release her tomorrow, they will likely kill her.
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dfizer
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Location: Ballston Spa, New York


« Reply #2 on: June 21, 2013, 11:05:17 PM »

You should be able to notice a difference in aggressive bees (biting at her cage etc) and bees that are simply trying to get close to her.  If you can easily move away the bees with your finger then you should be fine with releasing her otherwise I'd give it a few more days (at least 3) before I allowed her outta her cage.  Good luck!

David
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Tom K-B
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Location: Nashville, TN


« Reply #3 on: June 22, 2013, 11:19:01 AM »

I checked on things this morning and found that they had only eaten through about half of the candy plug. There were workers all over the cage, but they were not biting on the screen at all. Looked like they were sticking their tongues down inside. They were definitely not aggressive. In fact, there was nothing aggressive about the hive at all.

I did not that the queen cell that they had built is now capped. I did not destroy it yet.
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rober
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Location: Arnold Missouri


« Reply #4 on: June 22, 2013, 11:28:04 AM »

i'd destroy the queen cell & put tape over the candy for 3-5 days.
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Tom K-B
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Location: Nashville, TN


« Reply #5 on: June 22, 2013, 04:34:41 PM »

OK, I destroyed the queen cell and taped over the candy hole in the new queen cage. I'll give them a couple more days to "date" before opening it up again. It looked like they had eaten through about half of the candy during the past two days.
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Tom K-B
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Location: Nashville, TN


« Reply #6 on: June 25, 2013, 11:21:28 AM »

I've now removed the tape that I placed over the candy on Saturday. It looks like it will probably take another day or two for them to finish eating through the candy and release new queen. I will say that I don't really get the need to delay the release of a new queen in a colony that has been queenless as long as this one has been, i.e. two weeks. Seems to me they would be eager to accept a new queen at this point.
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johng
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Location: Jacksonville, Fl


« Reply #7 on: June 25, 2013, 01:15:38 PM »

The advice to delay the queen release was good advice. You would think they would be eager to accept the new queen but, that is not always the case. Especially after they have been queenless for any length of time. Once they start making queen cells it can be difficult to get them to accept a new queen. Taking the cell down was a good move. It is a lot easier to just requeen a hive by removing their queen and adding a caged queen. But, it becomes more difficult once they have been queenless for a while. Its better to go slow than to try and rush it. 
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