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Does my colony need re-queening??

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The Riviera Kid 

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Sorry that my first post on here is a problem seeking advice... I have been keeping bees for just over a year now and seem to have a problem with my queen.

I artificially swarmed my bees on May 14th and destroyed surplus queen cells in my "mother" hive, leaving one to replace the removed queen. When I went back on May 18th, the queen cell that I had left was hatched but the workers had repaired a couple of the queen cells (I wasn't aware that they could do this at that time) and they were sealed once more. I couldn't find a queen and assume that the colony threw a cast. So I destroyed all but one of the remaining cells and waited.

At the beginning of June I found the first brood and thought that everything was OK but as the photos I have attached (taken 9th July) show, I think now that this is far from the case as the brood pattern is wrong. In addition there is at least 50% drone though this hard to see in a photo. One of the "child" colonies that I created through artificial swarming is, in contrast, flourishing with text book frames of brood.

So does it look like my queen is just poor and that I should re-queen to solve the problem?

The close up picture shows that there *appears* to be worker brood in there so whatever is laying appears to be fertile (= queen and not a laying worker) but the quantity of drone would suggest that she is not *very* fertile. However I read that sometimes when there are no drone cells, worker cells will be used and you get dwarf drone (Is this true??)

There are very few eggs in empty cells and I could find no cells with multiple eggs in. Comparing phots I took 2 weeks ago the patch of brood has barely grown and there are just 3 frames with more or less the same quantity, distribution and type of brood as shown here.

The last picture shows a close up of honey cells... the honey is crystalising but the bees aren't capping it. In fact they are hardly capping any of the honey.

I am just hoping that it's not a laying worker and any advice is very very welcome!!!

Cheers,

Simon
 

rae 

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Where are the eggs? Single eggs at the bottom of each cell suggests a queen, eggs stuck on the walls and several eggs per cell suggests laying workers.

The pattern is very poor, if it was a brand new mated queen I'd cut a bit of slack, but if you've been like this since early June, there is a problem. You have worker brood, so it must be a queen of sorts in there. You often get a bit of drone amongst standard worker cells - and they always elongate it.

Have you seen a queen?
 

MuswellMetro 

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Sorry that my first post on here is a problem seeking advice... I have been keeping bees for just over a year now and seem to have a problem with my queen.

I artificially swarmed my bees on May 14th and destroyed surplus queen cells in my "mother" hive, leaving one to replace the removed queen. When I went back on May 18th, the queen cell that I had left was hatched but the workers had repaired a couple of the queen cells (I wasn't aware that they could do this at that time) and they were sealed once more. I couldn't find a queen and assume that the colony threw a cast. So I destroyed all but one of the remaining cells and waited.

At the beginning of June I found the first brood and thought that everything was OK but as the photos I have attached (taken 9th July) show, I think now that this is far from the case as the brood pattern is wrong. In addition there is at least 50% drone though this hard to see in a photo. One of the "child" colonies that I created through artificial swarming is, in contrast, flourishing with text book frames of brood.

So does it look like my queen is just poor and that I should re-queen to solve the problem?

The close up picture shows that there *appears* to be worker brood in there so whatever is laying appears to be fertile (= queen and not a laying worker) but the quantity of drone would suggest that she is not *very* fertile. However I read that sometimes when there are no drone cells, worker cells will be used and you get dwarf drone (Is this true??)

There are very few eggs in empty cells and I could find no cells with multiple eggs in. Comparing phots I took 2 weeks ago the patch of brood has barely grown and there are just 3 frames with more or less the same quantity, distribution and type of brood as shown here.

The last picture shows a close up of honey cells... the honey is crystalising but the bees aren't capping it. In fact they are hardly capping any of the honey.

I am just hoping that it's not a laying worker and any advice is very very welcome!!!

Cheers,

Simon
re queen or re combine, it will not last the season like that, unkess they biuld a supercedure cell

i have a caste 1st May that now has 7 14x12 of brood and is drawing the second super
 

mbc 

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She's a drone layer- kill her, requeen or unite
 

Midland Beek 

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She's a drone layer- kill her, requeen or unite
This queen appears to be fertile of sorts because there is worker brood.

However, she is 'defective' and needs replacing. No two ways about it.

And have a look inside some of those cells. The contents may be dead.
 

The Riviera Kid 

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Thanks for all the advice and suggestions. It seems that my fears about my queen are confirmed.

There are very few eggs in the cells - the few that I saw were single and at the bottom of the cell. This has been happening since early June - I have pics that I took on June 13th and June 7th that show that there has been very little growth in the brood area and in that time the queen has only moved on to 3 frames.

Midland Beek, why do you think the contents of some cells may be dead?

The artificially swarmed colony (whose queen would have hatched at around the same time as this one) is doing really well.

I have not seen the queen yet - I was told that virgin/newly mated queens can be a bit tetchy and to let them alone for a bit.

Sounds like the verdict is unanimous and she has to go!

Thanks once again for your help.

Cheers,
 

plumberman 

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I think MB is referring to the slightly sunken appearance of some of the brood cappings. Worth checking that underneath is a white glistening pupae: anything else might be suggestive of disease.
 

The Riviera Kid 

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I think MB is referring to the slightly sunken appearance of some of the brood cappings. Worth checking that underneath is a white glistening pupae: anything else might be suggestive of disease.
Ok, will check that out next week.
 

oliver90owner 

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Much better to check it out sooner rather than later. If there is a problem, it needs to be contained and your other colonies, and those of others, could be at risk.

RAB
 

The Riviera Kid 

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Much better to check it out sooner rather than later. If there is a problem, it needs to be contained and your other colonies, and those of others, could be at risk.

RAB
Good point. This colony lives in isolation - my other colonies are miles away I agree it's better to do sooner than later so I shall go tomorrow.

I'd also read that to boost the numbers in weak colonies you can take a frame of brood from another thriving colony (minus bees) and put it in the ailing one.

Is this recommended?
 

oliver90owner 

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Hatching brood would be much better. Recommendation? Reserved a sit could be throwing good brood to waste.

Regards, RAB
 

Bcrazy 

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Hi The Riviera Kid

From your photo I do not like the look of the brood pattern and also the capping's on some of the brood. Please get some one to check for AFB, just to be on the safe side.

Mo
 

kazmcc 

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I am new to bee keeping, and probably wrong but if he tried to destroy the queen cells, but they were recapped, and then let a queen grow from these recapped cells, could that be the reason she is weak?
 

The Riviera Kid 

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I am new to bee keeping, and probably wrong but if he tried to destroy the queen cells, but they were recapped, and then let a queen grow from these recapped cells, could that be the reason she is weak?
this is what I think is most probable. I have done some reading and if the queen's development was impaired in some way (e.g. not being fed enough off the right food or maybe damage to the cell) then it could be that she is not properly fertile or similar.

The consensus seems to be that she has to go and I am trying to sort out a replacement.
 

kazmcc 

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wow, worked that out all on my little own ;) i might make a bee keeper yet lol
 

The Riviera Kid 

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wow, worked that out all on my little own ;) i might make a bee keeper yet lol

I keep hoping that I might become a bee keeper one day too!! everything was going really well til this happened and now it's all a big mess. and they're not capping the honey either!! bah!!
:(
 

kazmcc 

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naughty bees :( they're not teenagers are they? lol, on a serious note, I hope you get them sorted soon. I was told bees can cope with anything, as long as it's only one thing. When they start to have more than one problem they struggle. Does this sound about right? I used to think keeping bees was just bunging them in a box and nicking bits when you wanted some honey lol. How wrong was I? lol ;)
 

The Riviera Kid 

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naughty bees :( they're not teenagers are they? lol, on a serious note, I hope you get them sorted soon. I was told bees can cope with anything, as long as it's only one thing. When they start to have more than one problem they struggle. Does this sound about right? I used to think keeping bees was just bunging them in a box and nicking bits when you wanted some honey lol. How wrong was I? lol ;)

They certainly act like teenagers!! getting more and more chaotic and right stroppy today! :(

I am hopefully on top of things now. Their behaviour plus lack of new eggs at all now suggests that whatever was laying in there has gone/died but even if she is still there, she isn't doing anything and persisting with her is like :beatdeadhorse5:

but I have had a very generous offer of a mated queen for free which I am collecting tomorrow and hopefully she will crack the whip and sort those little critters out!! :D
 

jimbeekeeper 

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Hi The Riviera Kid

From your photo I do not like the look of the brood pattern and also the capping's on some of the brood. Please get some one to check for AFB, just to be on the safe side.

Mo
:iagree:

Also the wax looks very dark and old on the first 2 pics, possibley backing up the AFB theory? Did you get these frames second-hand as drawn out?

I think before adding a new queen you need to get things checked out.
 

susbees 

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They certainly act like teenagers!! getting more and more chaotic and right stroppy today! :(
Hmm, not sure that this is cause for joviality: one for the bee inspector...call yours tomorrow please. If it is brood disease it's really unfair on all the other beekeepers in your area!
 

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