Quantcast

Bees doing their best to confuse me (and succeeding)

Beekeeping Forum

Help Support Beekeeping Forum:

PaleoPerson 

Field Bee
Joined
Jul 18, 2009
Messages
706
Reaction score
0
Location
Essex
Hive Type
14x12
Due to the poor weather over the past weeks, my hives went 14 days before I could do an inspection. All OK except one hive which have been very aggressive and I had planned to re-queen in the next few weeks.

I opened up the hive to 10+ queen cells, 5 of which were capped. Had they swarmed?, the number of bees looked the same as the others. So I looked for the queen - could not find. Looked for eggs - none. Bugger!

I then went through the hive a further 4 times looking for the queen, even putting three frames each into nuc bases to try to locate her - NO.

So I split the hive in two (as per art swarm but without queen) with a big capped queen cell in each and left until today (3 days). I then went through them.

One had made more queen cells that were duly disposed of, leaving the original QC. The other hive had eggs, not many and they were on fresh foundation that had been drawn in the last three days, also the queen was seen on this frame, skinny, but fine. So I squashed the QC in this hive.

The amazing thing about them is that the temperament has had a complete U turn and are nice docile bees in both hives now, despite being on OSR.

This was my solution to a problem, whether this was the right approach, the next 3 or 4 weeks will tell.
:D
 

oliver90owner 

Queen Bee
Joined
Jul 15, 2009
Messages
15,628
Reaction score
26
Location
Lincolnshire
Hive Type
14x12
PaleoPerson,

One cell is chancy, two cells are better - not normally, 'cos you select an open queen cell - lesson 1. That cell may be a misfire, so they built more cells? Time will tell. Also queen cells are very fragile soon after capping until soon before emergence, so another reason to use an open cell.

Where were these cells? Typical swarm cells on the bottoms of the frames? If swarm cells they probably hadn't left because of the recent rotten weather? It does seem more than the usual number for supercedure, though.

Looks as though you were lucky they had not gone. All my hives have a super on for brood space and some with a honey super too. All are using that second box for brood at the moment although I know one colony is really only upstairs because of some frames of stores. Still, it saves the risk of them getting congested and leaving.

I am surprised the bees had not torn down the cell in the split with the queen, hence my question of swarm or supercedure. There is the possibility that she is damaged, or otherwise impaired.

Temperament? Better weather, or actually busy doing something? Smaller does tend to be less of a problem - why new beeks usually start with a nuc.

I found Q/Cells in the super on my strongest hive (thought I better check it out as there are a lot of drones in there now and a huge colony). Broke them down and expected to find more swarm cells downstairs, but nothing. Not one on the 14 x 12 frames. I was surprised at that, but it looks like I am starting queen rearing later this week. The adjacent hive, from which the eggs will come, is not so far behind but not many, if any, drones hatched in that one as yet.

Regards, RAB
 

PaleoPerson 

Field Bee
Joined
Jul 18, 2009
Messages
706
Reaction score
0
Location
Essex
Hive Type
14x12
PaleoPerson,

One cell is chancy, two cells are better - not normally, 'cos you select an open queen cell - lesson 1. That cell may be a misfire, so they built more cells? Time will tell. Also queen cells are very fragile soon after capping until soon before emergence, so another reason to use an open cell.

Point Noted, but these were the biggest by far of all the others, I was/am also thinking ahead and possibly re-uniting if the mating is no good.

Where were these cells? Typical swarm cells on the bottoms of the frames? If swarm cells they probably hadn't left because of the recent rotten weather? It does seem more than the usual number for supercedure, though.

These were along sides and bottom

Looks as though you were lucky they had not gone. Yup All my hives have a super on for brood space and some with a honey super too. All are using that second box for brood at the moment although I know one colony is really only upstairs because of some frames of stores. Still, it saves the risk of them getting congested and leaving.

These had a super and were drawing (50%) foundation and I had started to convert to 14x12

I am surprised the bees had not torn down the cell in the split with the queen, hence my question of swarm or supercedure. There is the possibility that she is damaged, or otherwise impaired.

My thought as well, surprised when I saw eggs

Temperament? Better weather, or actually busy doing something? Smaller does tend to be less of a problem - why new beeks usually start with a nuc.

Probably because they were busy after the split, but looking at her condition, I think she was (is) ready to fly - cannot as she is clipped.

I found Q/Cells in the super on my strongest hive (thought I better check it out as there are a lot of drones in there now and a huge colony). Broke them down and expected to find more swarm cells downstairs, but nothing. Not one on the 14 x 12 frames. I was surprised at that, but it looks like I am starting queen rearing later this week. The adjacent hive, from which the eggs will come, is not so far behind but not many, if any, drones hatched in that one as yet.

Same situation in another hive, a third is looking like I will have to do an A/S in a weeks time.

Regards, RAB
Thank you for your comments. I try to avoid panic measures, but the number of sealed cells plus not finding eggs or queen, put into 'knee jerk mode'.

I will try to preplan for the future, but I bet the little darlings will keep me on my toes.

:)
 
Last edited:

oliver90owner 

Queen Bee
Joined
Jul 15, 2009
Messages
15,628
Reaction score
26
Location
Lincolnshire
Hive Type
14x12
Thanks for the comments on my comments!. It is now clear they were in swarming mode.

Let us know whether that big queen cell was viable.

Not really panic mode if she was clipped? The bees would not have gone for long? Or, is she now clipped?

Not sure now whether it was on 14 x 12 frames and if the part-drawn super was over a queen excluder or not. Can you clarify?

Glad all is back under control (as far as one can with bees).

Regards, RAB
 

PaleoPerson 

Field Bee
Joined
Jul 18, 2009
Messages
706
Reaction score
0
Location
Essex
Hive Type
14x12
Thanks for the comments on my comments!. It is now clear they were in swarming mode.

Let us know whether that big queen cell was viable.

The queen cell that was capped and then squashed had a huge grub in it, we will find out on the other one.

Not really panic mode if she was clipped? The bees would not have gone for long? Or, is she now clipped?

Now clipped

Not sure now whether it was on 14 x 12 frames and if the part-drawn super was over a queen excluder or not. Can you clarify?

Frames were mixed std and 14x12, std are drawn, 14x12 part drawn and when the opportunity arises I add extension or cycle std frames out for 14x12 foundation. Super above QE.

I have found that the bees do not draw brace comb on the std frames until you get down to 3/4 consecutive std frames or less, so then I add the extensions, but it is a two person job to be safe. Baily change would have been better, but I have only been able to get the extra equipment available this last week. Did not intend on this many hives at this point in time but a "too good to miss offer" came up and I took it


Glad all is back under control (as far as one can with bees).

Regards, RAB
Cheers
 

Latest posts

Top