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Author Topic: New Hives...Do I have a problem?  (Read 5037 times)
asprince
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« on: April 04, 2007, 08:21:51 PM »

Last Saturday I picked up two packages of bees from Rossman. I hived them late Saturday afternoon. I replaced one frame of the new hives with a frame of capped brood and honey from another hive that I have. I have been feeding them with sugar water every day. Today I decided to take a peek to see how things were going in the hive.
Hive #1, the queen cage was empty. I looked for 20 minutes and could not see her. She is marked. In addition, there were three queen cells. Is this normal? They were drawing the new frames.
Hive #2, the queen cage was empty. I looked for 20 minutes and could not see her either. She is also marked. There were no queen cells. They were also drawing out the frames.Both hives were EXTREMELY calm compaired to my old hive.I have never been able to find the queen in my old hive. She is not marked. I aquired this hive when I paid someone to help me remove them from the wall of a rental house that I purchased. I got "hooked" and had to have more hives. I am learning the hard way as I go. The beekeeper that helped me has since moved away.
Questions: 1. How difficult is it to find a marked queen in three lbs. of bees? 2. Are queen cells normal? 3. Am I worrying over nothing? Any advice would be appreciated. Thanks in advance, Steve 
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« Reply #1 on: April 04, 2007, 08:54:37 PM »

i'll let someone else answer the queen cell question.  i had them last year and have them again this year.  last year was no problem. jury still out on this year.

as for finding the queen...it's much easier to look for eggs than to look for the queen.  also faster!  smiley.  if there are eggs there is (probably) a queen.
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« Reply #2 on: April 04, 2007, 09:09:52 PM »

In hive #1, is there anything in those queencells?  I've had colonies before that just HAD to have queencells drawn.  Never in the first week of a hived package, but after they had filled one deep box.  I would knock them off, and they would always rebuild in the same places.  As far as I could tell they never put the queencells to use, they must have enjoyed testing my nerves.  On the other hand, other colonies never built them.  My take on your questions:  1.)  If you can't find the queen, she is either not there or you're looking to hard.  Look for eggs or larvae instead.  2.)  Yes, in my experience some colonies will have a "just in case" cell or two somewhere in the box.  As long as there is nothing growing in those cells, you're ok.  3.)  I would not say your worries are for nothing.  If you already have an established colony, take a frame of eggs/young larvae every week for the next few weeks and add to the new packages (shake the bees off first).  If they need a queen, they'll rear one.  Keep a little sugar water on them or give them each a frame of stores from your other hive.  If your other hive isn't strong enough, or judged too mean to be a donor, perhaps a trip back to Rossman's is in order?
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asprince
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« Reply #3 on: April 04, 2007, 10:21:28 PM »

I did not notice if the queen cells had anything in them. I will check tomorrow when I search again for my queens. That is if it isn't to cold. I started each hive with one frame of brood from a doner hive. Are you saying that I need to add more? If I do nothing, will the bees solve this problem on there own? I hate to order more queens until I am sure they are MIA. How much time do I have?
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« Reply #4 on: April 04, 2007, 11:05:58 PM »

I had two hives all last year and never saw the queen - never once. 

Walt Wright in his articles says that seeing the queen isn't important but seeing that she is laying is very important - that means looking for eggs (which are hard to see - I find I can see them much better in the pictures I take when I look at them on the computer after the inspection) and for larvae in different stages of development.

I did finally one year later see the queen - and in a way this wasn't good news - I only saw her because the hive that actually made it through the winter was very weak and low in numbers of bees, so she was hard to miss or another way to put it, hard for the bees to hide her!

As a Georgia beekeeper, are you going to the Beekeeping Institute in Young Harris in May? http://www.ent.uga.edu/bees/Meetings/workshops.htm

Good luck with your hives,

Linda T in Atlanta
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« Reply #5 on: April 05, 2007, 05:47:15 PM »

One problem with packaged bees is that they often accept the queen that was included only long enough to supercede her.  This seems to be more prominent in apiaries that use chemicals for mite reduction and other disease control.  There seems to be a corolation between the amount of chemical contamination embedded in the wax and the supercedure rate of queens reared in the contaminated wax.

There may also be other factors that made the workers decide to replace the queen.  I would just let them do it.  It is much better IMO to have a queen the workers like than have a situation where they will not accept a series of introduced queens from a supplier due to dozens of possible problems.

As others have stated don't worry about finding the queen, concentrate on finding the eggs or (more easily) the larvae that indicates a working queen.   If you find queen cells, leave them alone; the easiest way to become queenless is to remove the queen cells--if you want you can use them to develop nucs.  That way you have a resource for a queen if and when any hive does become queenless.  Some hives like to have queen cell cups on hand in case of the need for emergency replacement--look at it as an insurance policy.   
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asprince
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« Reply #6 on: April 05, 2007, 10:08:41 PM »

Thanks to everyone for your help. I need to find a mentor in this my area. I read everything I can find on the internet and have read Beekeeping for Dummies from cover to cover, but I am not sure if I can identify eggs in my hives. It would be nice to have an experienced beekeeper open my hives with me and show me what to look for. Thanks again, Steve
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« Reply #7 on: April 06, 2007, 03:46:17 PM »

We received our package from Rossman last year in May. The queen has been well attended and there has been no sign of rejection. She has been very productive and has been visible on many inspections.

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« Reply #8 on: April 07, 2007, 09:29:56 AM »

Sometimes they start trying to supersede the queen because of all the stress of shipment and change their mind after things settle down.  Sometimes they see it through.  Either way I wouldn't interfere.

It's normal not to see the queen until you've had years of practice and then sometimes you still can't find a queen.
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« Reply #9 on: April 07, 2007, 10:36:02 AM »

Asprince.  Practice loooking for the eggs.  YOu will be good at it in no time flat.  When you are looking at the comb, have the sun shining on your back, it will act as a light to look into the cells.  You will see the eggs more easily with the sun behind you.  They are very tiny, look like little pieces of rice standing straight up in the middle of the cell.  Do this thing.  Practice.  YOu will be surpirsed at how good you will really become at seeing these little bits of life that will bring on a beautiful little bee. 

It is like everything in life, you must do it over and over, and you will become proficient at egg finding.  It is fun to look for the eggs, and when you see one, you will see more.  It is simply getting the feel for what the egg looks like.  You have a wonderful day, good luck identifying the eggs, and have a great life.  Cindi
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« Reply #10 on: April 07, 2007, 12:26:16 PM »

Asprince,

I tried for a year to see eggs, even doing what Cindi says, and never could see them.  I think it was because I was nervous about keeping the frame out of the hive for long enough for me to find them.  I find it easiest to take pictures of the frames when I look at them.  Sometimes I see what I need when I look at the frame, but most of the time I see eggs, brood in all stages, etc. when I come back inside and transfer the pictures to the computer.  I see lots more stuff by the computer than at the hive.

That said, this, my second year of beekeeping, I have seen the queen, eggs, brood at various stages when I'm at the hive, but the computer and digital photography is, I think, a great aid to the beekeeper starting out.

FWIW,

Linda T in Atlanta
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« Reply #11 on: April 07, 2007, 12:33:48 PM »

Linda, I think that is some very good advice.  If the person takes the picture of the frames with eggs, larvae, etc. brings it into the home and has a really good look, then it is very very good to be able to recognize what the eggs actually look.  THEN, the person has a really good idea of what they are looking for.  Good.  Anything to make the life of the new beekeeper easier, with lots of success.  Have a beautiful, wonderful day with good health to boot!!!!  Cindi
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« Reply #12 on: April 07, 2007, 02:40:17 PM »

If the sun over the shoulder method (be sure the frame is not in your shadow) doesn't work (you're looking for something resembling a miniature piece of rice). then ~>
I find it easiest to take pictures of the frames when I look at them.  Sometimes I see what I need when I look at the frame, but most of the time I see eggs, brood in all stages, etc. when I come back inside and transfer the pictures to the computer.  I see lots more stuff by the computer than at the hive.
+1 (& use a flash + macro setting is possible)
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« Reply #13 on: April 07, 2007, 05:03:34 PM »

You'd also be surprised how many Varroa you can find in a picture when you can't find them by looking at the bees.  Smiley
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asprince
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« Reply #14 on: April 07, 2007, 08:40:52 PM »

Since tomorrow is Easter, I may just look for those eggs! HaHa Seriously, thanks for the advice. I plan to take an additional and closer look as soon as it warms up a bit.
Let me ask another question. My two new packages that I purchased at Rossmans were sold as Italians. They are light golden color, and extremely gentle. My old hive that I thought was Italian are dark in color and lets say agressive. How can I identify their race?
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« Reply #15 on: April 07, 2007, 09:22:15 PM »

Darker leather brown are probably Italians.  Just a different color.  Black with some brown mixed in, are probably Carniolans.  Silver grey would be Caucasians.
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #16 on: April 07, 2007, 11:03:01 PM »

When looking for eggs, visualize a miniture grain of rice standing on end at the center bottom of the cell. You may have to tilt the frame a little for sunlight to highlite it.
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« Reply #17 on: April 09, 2007, 07:27:01 PM »

It warmed up a bit yesterday. I took a quick peek with no smoke. Bees were very calm. I saw my marked queen for the first time in one hive. Did  not see her yet in the other hive. Did not see eggs either. Will look again next week. Steve
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« Reply #18 on: April 09, 2007, 08:10:32 PM »

i have trouble spotting eggs in dark comb but have no problem with white comb.  its a great feeling if you can spot the queen and watch her actually laying eggs!
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« Reply #19 on: April 09, 2007, 08:44:35 PM »

I think some of my problem seeing the eggs may be my veil. It restricts my vision. I think next time I will wear my reading glasses. Steve
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« Reply #20 on: April 09, 2007, 09:27:52 PM »

I DO wear my reading glasses and it doesn't help.  I had such a hard time with reading glasses under my veil that I bought at pair of reading sunglasses that have a reading lens in the lower part.  I wear them under my veil....

Again, though, the easiest way to see the eggs at least at the beginning is with a camera.

Linda T, mourning the camera that I destroyed today
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« Reply #21 on: April 09, 2007, 09:32:25 PM »

I DO wear my reading glasses and it doesn't help.  I had such a hard time with reading glasses under my veil that I bought at pair of reading sunglasses that have a reading lens in the lower part.  I wear them under my veil....
I couldn't see a thing without my glasses.  They're a PITA under the veil, but I've got to have them on.  Do the sunglass type help?

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Again, though, the easiest way to see the eggs at least at the beginning is with a camera.

Linda T, mourning the camera that I destroyed today
I sense a story here  Wink

Edited to add:  Nevermind, I found your story.  Sorry about your camera!  Cry  But enjoy the new one!  Smiley
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« Reply #22 on: April 09, 2007, 09:38:31 PM »

Yes, I went out to add a box to my weak hive - it's gray and cold (should have noted that) in Atlanta.  Opened the weak hive and it has bees everywhere. 

I meanwhile have on my veil and have absentmindedly set down both gloves and camera on the deck rail.  The girls angry at an intrusion on a cold, gray day, sting me on each exposed hand so I grab the gloves and the camera and put on the gloves, trapping a bee under one of my gloves who stings the daylights out of my arm and I drop the camera, on and with its lens sticking out.  The camera crashes to the deck, never to work again.

Guess there are a number of lessons there:
Wear my gloves,
Put camera (when replaced - this one has breathed its last) on a strap around neck
Never take a weak hive for granted
Never open a hive on a gray, cold day and expect friendly, placid bees.

And I'm sure there are many others,

Linda T, always learning the hard way in Atlanta

Note: Sorry to be repetitive with the story - the answer to the sunglasses question is I like them better because they stay up on your nose, unlike reading glasses designed to be halfway down.  So the sunglasses are more firmly in place and I can still get good close vision through the bottom reader area.
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« Reply #23 on: April 10, 2007, 06:14:22 AM »

>I DO wear my reading glasses and it doesn't help.

I'm sure it does help.  Just doesn't help you enough.  If you need glasses to read you will need the same glasses to see eggs.
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« Reply #24 on: April 10, 2007, 08:02:06 AM »

OK, Ok, about the reading glasses, but I think there are several issues in seeing eggs:

1.  There's an art to holding the frame in the right angle to the sun in order to see them and it takes a while to "get" this.
 
2.  You have to be able to SEE the eggs - and reading glasses slide down my nose and aren't then very useful to me, thus the sunglasses/reading glasses which are full frame and stay where they belong

3.  There's a lot going on when one is inspecting a frame of bees and learning to look around the distractions the many bees provide is also a challenge.  This is the main reason I like to use a camera.

Good luck with the task, asprince!

Linda T
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« Reply #25 on: April 12, 2007, 07:53:32 PM »

Ok, It has been 10 days since I installed my two new packages. One looks great, have seen the queen and am seeing what I think are eggs, and I also see some capped brood. They are drawing the perco nicely.
In the other hive, I have not seen the queen yet. When I installed both packages, I put in some capped brood from another hive. All the brood has hatched and I see nothing that looks like an egg. Some of the cells now have honey in them, some have yellow stuff in them (pollen?), and others have clear liquid. I assume this is the sugar syrup that I have been feeding them. They don't seem to be drawing the perco as agressively as the other hive. Does this data tell you anything? thanks in advance, Steve 
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« Reply #26 on: April 13, 2007, 08:46:37 AM »

maybe you could try and take a picture an post it so we can help you look
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« Reply #27 on: April 13, 2007, 10:16:12 AM »

Asprince.  When a hive is queenless, the hum that the colony makes is quite different than the quiet happy hum.  I have heard it described as more of a roaring sound. 

You must find out really soon if the colony is queenright.  If the queen is not there, you must give them a new queen really quickly.  They do not have any larvae in the hive young enough to raise a queen with.  Or you could take a frame from another hive that has eggs and let them raise a new queen.  But that takes about one month time before you have a new laying queen.  If you can spare a month's time, let them raise their own, if not, purchase another queen.

You could also unite this colony (if it is queenless, you must ascertain that firstly) with the newspaper method with the other package.  That would give you lots of bees for the honey flow.  You may even get lots of honey this year if you unite the two.  More bees, more honey.

Since it has been 10 days since the package hiving (that is quite a long time in the eyes of the bees), if it is queenless, I would unite the two packages.  My two cents, look for others two cents and then make decisions.

I think that Beekeeperrookie has the good idea of taking a picture of the brood nest and seeing if you can see eggs that way.  Do you have a digital camera?  I hope you do.

Have a wonderful day, go to work hard and find out if it is queenright, however you have to do it.  Great health.  Cindi
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« Reply #28 on: April 13, 2007, 04:53:41 PM »

Cindi,

I checked the hive very closely again today, full sunlight and wearing my reading glasses. No queen, no eggs, and no brood. I called Rossmans and ordered a new queen. It will be here Monday. They told me that after 13 days, I should see eggs and brood. If not, I either have a non laying queen or no queen. They also said that I have to be absolutely positive that I do do have a queen of any kind before installing the new one. I have checked and rechecked (she was marked) and all the signs point to queenless, BUT, how can I be sure? Any Suggestions. Anything I need to do for or to them until the queen arrives?

Steve 
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« Reply #29 on: April 13, 2007, 08:40:48 PM »

Check again, this time use as little smoke as possible. If you smoke to much they will hide the queen. If you can use no smoke. Then go through each frame one at a time. Not putting them back until you have gone through each one. If you don't see her then you can be certain she has hit the road.

Sincerely,
Brendhan
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« Reply #30 on: April 13, 2007, 09:22:18 PM »

Four day old larvae, unlike eggs, are large and easy to see and unlike queens, do not try to hide.  If you don't have those after a reasonable period then you don't have a laying queen, which probably means you don't have a queen at all.
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« Reply #31 on: April 14, 2007, 10:22:08 AM »

Steve.  Good that you have checked so hard, I kind of think that you don't have the queen.  Good for you, when the time comes you will be very good at searching for the eggs.

Michael is correct with the search of the larvae.  By now you should definitely be seeing larvae, if she was present.  The larvae are very easily seen.  The four day old ones look like a fat "C" laying in the bottom of the cell.  Look for that.

Your gonna love this new world of beekeeping.  Every time you work with your hives you will learn something new and watching them will bring you joy that you could not believe.  These are such an enlightening peace of harmony to one's life.  The communal effort of all these little girls for the benefit of their kingdom is something to behold.  Have a wonderful day, enjoy your new look into a happy colony of bees, good health.  Cindi
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asprince
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« Reply #32 on: April 14, 2007, 01:34:49 PM »

Thanks Cindi,

I am so thankfull that I found this forum! I have learned so much and have received so much expert help and advice. I have been building building top entrance/vents all morning. It gets very hot here in Georgia in July and August....lets say 95-100+F with high humidity. From what I saw with my first hive last year, I think my girls will appreciate it. I  see from your profile that you are from B.C. Canada. I have been to B.C. and Alberta several times and long to go back. My wife and I would love to live there.  Steve
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« Reply #33 on: April 15, 2007, 12:39:49 AM »

Steve, you will love this forum.  You will also find that you are addicted to it.  I know for surely that I am, it brings me excellent advice, a place to tell my stories, listen to the stories of other people.  The most wonderful thing of all...it is a safe place to be.  There is no ugly thoughts that are displayed here, simply wonderful people that are involved in beautiful pieces of life, bees, farms, animals, home grown food, and a myriad of other wonderful things.  I am a rambler, you will soon find that out.

Your girls will love the vents, hot air rises, and if it is too hot, the vents will be like air conditioners for sure.

I know in my greenhouse, when I open the top vents, the rush of hot air that rises can be felt on my face, the temperature reduces by about 10 degrees in a few minutes, and even more as the moments pass.  Picture the size of a colony box and how hot it must get....need say no more.  Good that you are now paying so much attention to the future of your girls and their lives.

I live in southwestern B.C., about 45 km from the ocean.  We are fairly warm in winter, always lots of rain and lots of sunshine too.  I have heard it to be said that we live in a raiinforest, and I picture this as a jungle, but not so hot and humid.  It is always beautiful and green, all year around.  We have many deciduous trees.  It is beautiful in spring to watch the brown branches turn into full deep foliage.  Many places are similar with these deciduous trees, but of course, I am bias.

Curiosity reigns, what part of B.C. did you travel to?  Our climate can change so much within just a few hundred kilometres. 

We were in Kelowna, visiting our wonderful oldest daughter for the Easter weekend.  She lives about 300 km away.  Their area is dust now.  They have little rain.  That is how intense the climate can change in such a short distance away.  I would not change my habitat for all the tea in China.  What an old cliche, huh?  Have a wonderful night, wonderful day, and best wishes of good health.  Cindi
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There are strange things done in the midnight sun by the men who moil for gold.  The Arctic trails have their secret tales that would make your blood run cold.  The Northern Lights have seen queer sights, but the queerest they ever did see, what the night on the marge of Lake Lebarge, I cremated Sam McGee.  Robert Service
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« Reply #34 on: April 16, 2007, 08:57:35 PM »

I received my replacement queen today from Rossmans. I did not want to waste any more time so I installed her today. I checked again to be sure that the hive was indeed queenless. I pulled each frame out, checked both sides and place them in another box. I then checked the empty hive and rechecked each frame as I placed them back in the hive. Saw no queen, no eggs and no brood. Bees were flying every where. I took the new queen out of the truck and proceeded to remove the cork and suspend her in the hive. The girls were all over the cage. I then closed up the hive. Within a minute of closing the hive, all the flying bees went in the hive and the hive started humming. It was a soft uniform hum. Does this mean that they are happy? I will check on her this weekend and see if she is happy and laying. Steve
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« Reply #35 on: April 16, 2007, 09:27:49 PM »

It sounds promising.
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« Reply #36 on: April 17, 2007, 09:13:50 AM »

Steve, the bees were probably very grateful to have this beautiful lady brought to them.  Sounds like they were indeed queenless.  They know that without a queen, their hive is doomed, no eggs, for surely it would have been doomed, they could not have possibly begun to raise a new queen for their kingdom.

That hum you heard, that is the sound of a happy hive.  When the hive is queenless, it is said that the bees no longer issue that beautiful humming sound, the sound of happiness.  The sound that they make is more of a "roaring" sound.  Now I know that that sounds like a lion would be among them, but that must be the closest way of describing the hive sound.  I have heard it.  I know it is a totally different sound than the regular colony noises.

As with all things in life.  Listening is a very important tool, be it listening to what people say, or listening to the sounds of the hives.  I love that beautiful sound of the hive, it is one of peace and harmony, thousands and thousands of little beings, all working together to make an environment that is cohesive, all working toward common goals.  Oh ya, ramblin'.  Best of this beautiful day, rock on!!!!  Good health.  Cindi
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There are strange things done in the midnight sun by the men who moil for gold.  The Arctic trails have their secret tales that would make your blood run cold.  The Northern Lights have seen queer sights, but the queerest they ever did see, what the night on the marge of Lake Lebarge, I cremated Sam McGee.  Robert Service
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« Reply #37 on: April 19, 2007, 09:21:18 PM »

I checked on my hives today. The hive where I installed the new queen on monday was doing fine. The new queen was in control. Now for the other hive. Lots if capped brood, larva, honey, and a CAPPED QUEEN CELL. This package was installed on 3/31. Why are they building a queen cell? Are they getting ready to swarm so soon? My new queen is clipped, she can't fly. What will happen of this queen cell is allowed to hatch? I don't think it will be a good thing. Saturday,I plan to move the frame with the queen cell to another hive that is presently queenless and with no brood. I was in this hive last week (wednesday) and did not see the queen cell. If I understand Michael's bee math, I have around 16 days before she emerges. Correct?
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« Reply #38 on: April 20, 2007, 12:16:36 AM »

Emergence 16 days after the egg was first laid.  Cindi
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There are strange things done in the midnight sun by the men who moil for gold.  The Arctic trails have their secret tales that would make your blood run cold.  The Northern Lights have seen queer sights, but the queerest they ever did see, what the night on the marge of Lake Lebarge, I cremated Sam McGee.  Robert Service
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« Reply #39 on: April 20, 2007, 06:11:54 AM »

asprince; The hive that has the capped queen cell, where on the frame is the q/cell located? top-center-bottom? The location of the cell on the frame most of the time will tell what the hive intends to do.

Cells located on the bottom of the frame are most likely swarm cells. Cells anywhere else are supercedure cells. I would think you have a queen [due to the short she has been in the hive] being superceded.
                                             
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asprince
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« Reply #40 on: April 20, 2007, 01:22:09 PM »

The Queen cell is on the side. The queen I installed with the package is present and laying. I plan to relocate that frame to a hive that is presently queenless with no brood and no queen cell. Steve
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« Reply #41 on: April 21, 2007, 02:18:42 PM »

>This package was installed on 3/31. Why are they building a queen cell?

Packages often supersede just because they are stressed from shipment.  They also supersede because they think the queen is failing (everything get's blamed on the queen though including shipping), either because of her laying, her pheromone production etc.  Or, in recent times, a lot of queens get superseded because they are not fertile enough because of Apistan and Checkmite buildup in the hives.
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Michael Bush
My website:  bushfarms.com/bees.htm
My book:  ThePracticalBeekeeper.com
-------------------
"Everything works if you let it."--Rick Nielsen
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