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Author Topic: New Hives...Do I have a problem?  (Read 4514 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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kathyp
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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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tillie
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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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Brian D. Bray
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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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Michael Bush
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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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Michael Bush
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Cindi
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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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tillie
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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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Cindi
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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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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
Dane Bramage
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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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Michael Bush
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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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Michael Bush
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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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Michael Bush
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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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Brian D. Bray
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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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asprince
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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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asprince
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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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