Quantcast

Cockup of the day

Beekeeping Forum

Help Support Beekeeping Forum:

jezd 

Drone Bee
Joined
May 12, 2009
Messages
1,541
Reaction score
0
Location
UK
Hive Type
other
Number of Hives
299.1
Ok, I am writing this to help me calm down, very annoyed with self.....

I had one hive with my favourite queen, nice layer and easy to deal with - from a smarm I might add.

I also had a Nuc that was dwindling after several attempts at re-queening but nothing seemed to work - checked for the queen many times, no eggs no sign no queen!

Ok, so I decided to unite the two, normally I would have used newspaper as per the books but as one was queen-less I figured there was no real risk of fighting and this has worked before for me.

Any hoots, popped back 2hrs later to check them only to find a nightmare, they had heat balled my favourite queen and I found a second queen been subjected to the same type of attack, she flew off when I released her but they killed her on return!!! The queen from the Nuc was big and mated, how the hell I did not see her is beyond me, that’s two queens lost within one morning and it turns out both colonies had been fine in the first place ....... pretty guttered.

:puke:

JD
 

Poly Hive 

Queen Bee
Joined
Dec 4, 2008
Messages
13,655
Reaction score
2
Location
Scottish Borders
Hive Type
national
Number of Hives
9 and 18 Nucs
It's painful.

The answer is never assume a colony is queenless - despite what you see as evidence that they are. They rarely actually are.

If in doubt use a test frame. I'm sure you have read me say this often enough, it's the only way to be sure.

Better luck next time.

PH
 

JCBrum 

Drone Bee
Joined
Mar 27, 2009
Messages
1,055
Reaction score
0
Location
Birmingham UK
Hive Type
14x12
Number of Hives
8 ish
It's painful.

The answer is never assume a colony is queenless - despite what you see as evidence that they are. They rarely actually are.

If in doubt use a test frame. I'm sure you have read me say this often enough, it's the only way to be sure.

Better luck next time.

PH
Poly I have been close to jezd's situation several times. I agree that a test frame is a standard procedure for determining what treatment to administer, but I some times get confused about the results and what to do next.

For me as a relatively newbeek, and for all the beginners looking in, would you please say in detail -

1) what the test frame should contain exactly,

2) whether the hive should be prepared in any way to receive the test frame.

3) what you might expect to see happen over what period of time.

I am sure your long experience is very valuable here.
 

ribblesbees 

House Bee
Joined
Jul 3, 2009
Messages
237
Reaction score
0
Location
Doncaster in GWC
Hive Type
national
Number of Hives
1 + 20 or so solitary bees' nests
Thanks JCBrum, as a very new beek and on behalf of any other newbie, I was about to ask the same.

:grouphug:
 

jezd 

Drone Bee
Joined
May 12, 2009
Messages
1,541
Reaction score
0
Location
UK
Hive Type
other
Number of Hives
299.1
It's painful.

The answer is never assume a colony is queenless - despite what you see as evidence that they are. They rarely actually are.

If in doubt use a test frame. I'm sure you have read me say this often enough, it's the only way to be sure.

Better luck next time.

PH
I know I know :( but I was 100% sure it was queenless, I guess that is the lesson learn, I lost two very good queens as the other was bread from good stock - its costs me even though I took weeks before I did this....bu**er me!

PS In response to the test frame aspect, given it's now almost August I figured it was a little late to be doing the test frame on a very weak colony
 
Last edited:

gtb 

New Bee
Joined
Dec 5, 2008
Messages
62
Reaction score
0
Location
Hampshire
Hive Type
langstroth
Number of Hives
4
In response to the test frame aspect, given it's now almost August I figured it was a little late to be doing the test frame on a very weak colony
Nah, now is the typical time of year for a colony to undergo supercedure anyway. I'd still use a test frame.
 

jon 

House Bee
Joined
Dec 4, 2008
Messages
406
Reaction score
0
Location
N. Ireland
Hive Type
national
Number of Hives
40-50
There is no rocket science to a test frame.
Just put in any frame which happens to contain a few eggs or very young grubs.
It doesn't matter how much sealed brood or anything else is on it. (Make sure it has no sealed queen cell though as that could provoke a swarm if a queen is present in the colony you are introducing it to.)
The time of year doesn't matter either.
If you look a couple of days later you should see emergency queen cells started if the colony is queenless.
jezd. Commiserations. That's a horrible thing to happen.
If you unite two colonies you should wait a week before checking as mixing two lots of bees makes them nervous and even if there is only one queen she can get balled. I looked in too soon once and lost a queen like this.
I put in a test frame in a colony I was sure had gone queenless last Friday. It was 95% sealed brood but had eggs and larvae at one corner. I checked on Sunday and was really surprised to find no emergency cells. Today I found an unmarked queen (and eggs) which I was sure had disappeared a month ago.
 
Last edited:

Poly Hive 

Queen Bee
Joined
Dec 4, 2008
Messages
13,655
Reaction score
2
Location
Scottish Borders
Hive Type
national
Number of Hives
9 and 18 Nucs
It's never too late.

So you were worried about losing some brood? You know what I do when it is very weak?

I pop in a couple of grafts. ;)

PH
 

admin 

Administrator
Staff member
Joined
Jul 28, 2008
Messages
6,393
Reaction score
1
Location
Hampshire uk
Hive Type
national
Number of Hives
6
Jezd,do you have a mentor ?

I have one and have found many times that just a telephone call to chat things through will often help to avoid certain situations happening.

Many a time I have been wrong,once I swore blind that after the 5th time checking I still never have an unmated queen in the hive.

A telephone call to my mentor got me looking again with the advice to "Go bl**dy find her!"

What did I find on the 6th inspection and 2 test frames later? The smallest virgin queen you ever did see.
Sometimes its good to chat things over just to stop yourself being convinced of something thats not true.
 

jon 

House Bee
Joined
Dec 4, 2008
Messages
406
Reaction score
0
Location
N. Ireland
Hive Type
national
Number of Hives
40-50
The smallest virgin queen you ever did see.
I have a laying queen in a nuc which is the size of a worker.
It has been laying about a fortnight and has brood over 4 sides.
I saw it a week ago but I lost sight of it while getting the marker out.
I have looked half a dozen times since and have not found it again.
I think I will squash it rather than mark it next time I see it as there is too much drone brood for a new queen. It is probably too small to measure cells properly.
 

admin 

Administrator
Staff member
Joined
Jul 28, 2008
Messages
6,393
Reaction score
1
Location
Hampshire uk
Hive Type
national
Number of Hives
6
I had the same problem a couple of months back Jon,my advice is do it sooner rather than later because she will mess your combs up with drone brood,I ended up doing a shook swarm and using a QE above the floor and putting in a ripe QC a couple of day's later.

I ended up replacing more than half the comb.
 

jezd 

Drone Bee
Joined
May 12, 2009
Messages
1,541
Reaction score
0
Location
UK
Hive Type
other
Number of Hives
299.1
Jezd,do you have a mentor ?

I have one and have found many times that just a telephone call to chat things through will often help to avoid certain situations happening.

Many a time I have been wrong,once I swore blind that after the 5th time checking I still never have an unmated queen in the hive.

A telephone call to my mentor got me looking again with the advice to "Go bl**dy find her!"

What did I find on the 6th inspection and 2 test frames later? The smallest virgin queen you ever did see.
Sometimes its good to chat things over just to stop yourself being convinced of something thats not true.
I do and I cant fault him, but I dont want be calling every other day, its an important lesson for me but in reality sh*t sometimes happens. I'm more angry with myself on this one.

Its all good experience in the end.

Still time for them to create an EC or I can add a frame from one of her offsrping (yes she has a daughter queen that I can use)
 
Last edited:

jon 

House Bee
Joined
Dec 4, 2008
Messages
406
Reaction score
0
Location
N. Ireland
Hive Type
national
Number of Hives
40-50
she will mess your combs up with drone brood.
She's not a drone layer yet although I suspect she will turn into one. It is laying maybe 10% drone brood in worker cells.
I am sure she would pass through a queen excluder.
I'll just keep looking. She's only in with a small amount of bees laying over a couple of frames.
 

jezd 

Drone Bee
Joined
May 12, 2009
Messages
1,541
Reaction score
0
Location
UK
Hive Type
other
Number of Hives
299.1
She's not a drone layer yet although I suspect she will turn into one. It is laying maybe 10% drone brood in worker cells.
I am sure she would pass through a queen excluder.
I'll just keep looking. She's only in with a small amount of bees laying over a couple of frames.
how old is she now?
 

jon 

House Bee
Joined
Dec 4, 2008
Messages
406
Reaction score
0
Location
N. Ireland
Hive Type
national
Number of Hives
40-50
Been laying about 2 weeks, hatched about 4 weeks ago.
She won't grow any more, it hatched from an emergency cell and was just too small to start with.
 

Poly Hive 

Queen Bee
Joined
Dec 4, 2008
Messages
13,655
Reaction score
2
Location
Scottish Borders
Hive Type
national
Number of Hives
9 and 18 Nucs
I once wrote an article on this which I sadly no longer have.

What I do is find a frame of brood, sealed mainly is best, but it MUST have eggs and or young enough grubs ie under three days old for the bees to convert into a Queen.

If I see a colony that has no eggs or larvae, I discount sealed brood, I wonder if it is queenless.

I know that it is actually rare for a colony to be utterly queenless.

To prove the situation I insert the chosen frame into the middle of the suspect colony and mark it with a scratch of my hive tool.

The next day it is actually possible to see the flooded with royal jelly cells IF the colony was queenless.

For the less experienced eyes then wait for three days or so and the bees will have begun flaring out the cell wall to make it a queen cell. Making it very obvious.

If the colony under test is very weak then a couple of grafts substitute for a test frame.

So that is the Queenless situation.

What if there is no reaction? In that case you have a queen of some sort most likely a virgin. Virgins are infamously elusive and very quick on their tootsies.. ;)

There is a conception that it takes two weeks for virgins to mate and lay.

I find that it is better to allow AT LEAST three weeks to give her a reasonable time to get going.

Patience is required in beekeeping. None more so than waiting for Virgins.

PH
 

JCBrum 

Drone Bee
Joined
Mar 27, 2009
Messages
1,055
Reaction score
0
Location
Birmingham UK
Hive Type
14x12
Number of Hives
8 ish
If the colony under test is very weak then a couple of grafts substitute for a test frame.
PH
Do you mean transfer some eggs yourself ? or put in some pre-prepared jenter cups or something ?

Could a couple of sealed queen cells be used if available in another hive ?
 

jon 

House Bee
Joined
Dec 4, 2008
Messages
406
Reaction score
0
Location
N. Ireland
Hive Type
national
Number of Hives
40-50
I find that it is better to allow AT LEAST three weeks to give her a reasonable time to get going. PH
I have had more than a dozen mated this year so far and they have varied from 11 days to 23 days before starting to lay.
I would wait 4 weeks before giving up although I would expect them to be mated by 3 unless the weather is awful.

Anyone else got one mated quicker than 11 days? I wish they were all like that.

PH. By graft do you mean cut out a little piece of comb with eggs and set it into a hole or a gap in the comb in the nuc?
 

darrenperrett 

Field Bee
Joined
Jan 17, 2009
Messages
582
Reaction score
0
Location
Devon
Hive Type
14x12
Number of Hives
10
I`ve got a hive that I think has gone queenless about 2 weeks ago. I popped in a test frame but nothing happened so I tried another frame in case I messed up somehow but no queen cells. I`ve still got no eggs and I can`t see a queen after looking through 3 times.
I haven`t noticed a supercedure cell anywhere.
I think I`ll get another pair of eyes to have alook through with me next week.

Darren.
 

jon 

House Bee
Joined
Dec 4, 2008
Messages
406
Reaction score
0
Location
N. Ireland
Hive Type
national
Number of Hives
40-50
I bet you have a queen in there. I have had a couple stop laying for a week to 10 days recently.
 

Latest posts

Top