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Author Topic: Is she shootin blanks?  (Read 1827 times)

Offline ctsoth

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Is she shootin blanks?
« on: May 15, 2006, 07:28:17 PM »
Okay, my somewhat newly packaged hive has a few capped cells, a bunch of cells with eggs in them, and a lot of cells with larvae in them.  I did find the queen in my inspection today and she seemed as happy as can be.  My question is:

The cells that are capped seem to be domed out, like they are drones that were laid in worker cells.  Should I sit back a little while longer and see what happens, or should I begin panicking now?  For comb I only used small starter strips and I am leaving the rest to the bees, they seem to be doing a great job drawing it out.  [I am doing this because I am interested natural cells, and I am too cheap to buy much foundation.]

Offline amymcg

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Is she shootin blanks?
« Reply #1 on: May 15, 2006, 09:31:26 PM »
you might want to wait another week and see what happens. If you keep ending up with those domed worker cells, then you can panic.  

I think it's too early to panic yet.

Offline ctsoth

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« Reply #2 on: May 15, 2006, 09:59:10 PM »
Thats kinda what I was thinking, I will let you know if I decide to panick after I perform my next inspection.

Offline Michael Bush

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Is she shootin blanks?
« Reply #3 on: May 16, 2006, 12:14:18 AM »
If they are all domed, then they are all drones.  Some drones is fine, but all drones is an umated queen.  Call your supplier immediately and see if they will send you a new queen.
Michael Bush
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Offline ctsoth

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Is she shootin blanks?
« Reply #4 on: May 16, 2006, 04:10:13 AM »
Since what cells are capped are all domed I think I will give them a call then.  Not many cells are capped, but again, they are all domed.  Also, the brood pattern is pretty aweful.

Offline Brian D. Bray

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« Reply #5 on: May 16, 2006, 06:29:24 AM »
Sounds like you may have encountered a real rarity--a laying virgin.  Drones cells and sporatic patterns are two of the tell tale signs, the same as with laying workers--the difference is the placement of the egg in the individual cell.  
I've only encountered this phenomena once, luckily my mentor (who had 60 years experience at the time--I've gotten 45 since) saw fit to educated me on the subject.  In the case I had it happened when we had three weeks of rainy weather the day after the hive swarmed.  I was feeding the old lady and the swarm so they faired okay but the daughter couldn't get out to mate and began laying anyway.  
Another rarity is that worker cells will be domed in the instance of short drawn comb.  This happens when the queen begins laying on the foundation prior to any comb building activity.  Check the depth of the comb.
Wait a few weeks the situation my correct itself.  If not, and you find a queen cell developing the bees probably raided another hive for a viable egg(s) with which to supercede a deffective queen.
Life is a school.  What have you learned?   :brian:      The greatest danger to our society is apathy, vote in every election!

Offline ctsoth

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« Reply #6 on: May 16, 2006, 01:10:17 PM »
I got the bees from the R Weavers Apiary...  Would it be viable to pull out one of the pupa to see if it looks like a drone or a worker?  Is it that hard to tell on a pupa?  I was thinking that if the eyes are developed well enough I should be able to tell.  Also, it seems like every availible cell either has eggs, larva, syrup, or pollen.  The sealed brood has a bad pattern, but I am thinking maybe that will correct itself soon.

Should I pull a pupa tomorrow and see what it looks like?  And if its a drone, I suppose I could assume that all the other domed caps are drones, and if it is a worker, I could assume that all the cells are too shallow?

All the eggs that I have been able to spot have been at the bottom of the cell,  I have not seen more than one egg in any cell.

I usually have pretty bad luck, so when I hear something like "thats really rare" I think "not for me."  Thank you all for the advice and help.

Offline fuzzybeekeeper

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Is she shootin blanks?
« Reply #7 on: May 16, 2006, 04:54:44 PM »
Brian wrote:

"Wait a few weeks the situation my (might) correct itself. If not, and you find a queen cell developing the bees probably raided another hive for a viable egg(s) with which to supercede a deffective queen."

Sorry, Brian, but what I understand that you are saying is that because hive A does not like their queen or has no queen, bees from hive A travel to hive B and "steal" an egg that is less than 3 days old and carry it back to hive A to make a queen cell.  Am I correct in my understanding of the above statement?

I have never heard of this.  If this were the case, a hive becoming queenless is no big deal because they would just go get another egg.  And wouldn't the egg chill on the trip over?

Sorry to question you, but I had not run across this before and wanted a clarifaction.

Fuzzybeekeeper

Offline Michael Bush

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« Reply #8 on: May 16, 2006, 11:16:15 PM »
>Would it be viable to pull out one of the pupa to see if it looks like a drone or a worker?

It's not necessary.  If the cappings are flat they are workers.  If the cappings are domed they are drones.  There are no exceptions.

>Wait a few weeks the situation my (might) correct itself. If not, and you find a queen cell developing the bees probably raided another hive for a viable egg(s) with which to supercede a deffective queen.

While Thelytoky in EHB is not unheard of, it is not the norm and I would not be counting on it to resolve the problem.

http://www.beesource.com/pov/lusby/bsmay1991.htm

I have never seen a hopelessly queenless hive pull themselves out of it nor a hive with a drone laying queen unless she is an old failing queen and sometimes she will lay a few more fertile eggs.
Michael Bush
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Offline Brian D. Bray

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« Reply #9 on: May 17, 2006, 03:28:30 AM »
I had two instances where I believed the only reason they requeened was robbing an egg from another hive.  But I was young and inpressionable at the time so I probably made the wrong conclusion and have had it in my mind all these years.  MB's explanation makes more sense now that I revisit the situation.  
We're never to old to learn and part of learning is discarding discredited ideas.  A piece of Humble Pie please--a la mode.
Life is a school.  What have you learned?   :brian:      The greatest danger to our society is apathy, vote in every election!

Offline Michael Bush

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« Reply #10 on: May 17, 2006, 10:14:36 PM »
I think the number one reason people can't figure out where a queen came from is the math.  They think it takes 16 days to get a queen.  In reality it takes only 10 days to get a queen, but it takes 24 to get a LAYING queen.  So they open the hive, find NO brood (even the drones have emerged) no queen (because a virgin is so fast), no eggs and order a queen. The queen gets there, they try to introduce her, she gets killed, they order another and when they go to put her in they find eggs.  Where did this queen come from?  She was there the first time, she just wasn't laying.

Then, as mentioned, a failing queen may still lay a worker egg now and then and the bees will seize the opportunity and make a queen.

I've never seen a situation that required the "stolen egg" theory to explain it.
Michael Bush
My website:  bushfarms.com/bees.htm en espanol: bushfarms.com/es_bees.htm
My book:  ThePracticalBeekeeper.com
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"Everything works if you let it."--Rick Nielsen