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Have I killed my queen?

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BabyBee 

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Hi all, I'm a very new newbie and have a potential problem which hopefully someone can help me with...

I got my first nuc at the weekend complete with queen cell (unsealed) and was advised to leave it a few days then to transfer the frames into my own broodbox and replace the solid floor with a ventilated one.

I did all of this this evening and was really careful when i moved the frame with the queen cell on it. i didnt check to see if it was sealed yet, but it did certainly seem bigger/longer than it was at the weekend when i last saw it.

Anyhow, i was passing the hive a couple of hours later and at the entrance to the hive was a white larvae - not big enough yet to know it was a bee but certainly a bee larvae. i just presumed the bees were doing some housekeeping while they were waiting for their new queen to emerge.

however now that i'm thinking about it a bit more, i'm wondering if it is possible that i've dislodged her when i was moving the frames and she's maybe fallen out (assuming the cell wasnt yet covered)?

what should i do?
 

thurrock bees 

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do you have any eggs?? if so leave them as they will raise a new one. If no eggs open it tomorrow and have a look.
 

BabyBee 

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do you have any eggs?? if so leave them as they will raise a new one. If no eggs open it tomorrow and have a look.
oh wow, thanks for the reply and also for putting my mind a wee bit at ease. Yes there is brood on some of the frames (there were 3 in the nuc) but i think it is sealed brood mainly - so will that still be possible for them?
 

rae 

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8 and 3 nucs...it's swarm time...
In my (limited) experience of these things, you'd have to be going some to knock the larva out of the queen cell, the royal jelly is pretty glue like. It is more likely to be some random larva that has died - but tomorrow, all you have to do is open up and have a quick look.
 

BabyBee 

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thank you folks, i so want to get this right as i've wanted to keep bees for such a long time. i've done the course, but much like learning to drive i guess - it's not until you go solo that you realise you know so little!

so glad to have found this forum, and apologise in advance for the questions i will no doubt be asking over the next wee while!

Laura
 

rae 

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8 and 3 nucs...it's swarm time...
For what its worth, I think a nuc with an unsealed queen cell is a tough intro. Lots can go wrong (none of which is your fault), and even if it goes perfectly, you won't have brood for 3 weeks.
 

oliver90owner 

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a nuc with an unsealed queen cell

That is not a nuc by any means of the definition. It is simply a split, maybe housed in a nuc sized container of some sort. It really needs a dummy to reduce the box size until the new queen is mated and starts laying

But.....Anything will do to get going this year!

Beware when handling frames with queen cells right up until nearly emerging time - yes they are fragile and the larva/pupa can be dislodged easily in a sealed cell. Rae is right about an open cell.

I would add a dummy or divider to reduce the effective box size until they get stronger, if you have not already done so. They should likely have been fed as well, but should be OK if some bees are flying. Better than starting (or rather continuing, with nothing).

Regards, RAB
 

BabyBee 

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thanks everyone. I did put a bucket feeder on above the brood box and when i checked it last night they had taken quite a lot of it so i topped it up (hopefully that was the right thing to do!?).

I didnt know i should reduce the size of the brood box; it has the original 3 frames plus the 2 new ones I put in last night. there is quite a lot of space in the brood box obviously though - i dont have a dummy, should i nip out for one?

There are a lot of the bees flying and gathering pollen - some of them are coming back bright yellow (oil seed rape fields nearby) and there does seem to be plenty of them - when i opened up the nuc (which was just someone else's brood box with the 3 frames), each of the frames was totally covered in bees. I'm guessing this is a good sign?

when i check it today (after i check my posts from here of course!); assuming the queen cell is sealed, do i just leave it totally alone now? and if so, how long for?

how will i know when the queen has emerged?

many thanks
laura
 

Finman 

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Bye a laying queen if you get it somewhere. Or if you get what ever viwgin.

To raise a queen from larva makes no sence to first hive owner. It take just time one brood cycle.

And pals, don't encourage a beginner to do stupid things. He has enough to learn.

Sometimes I have asked from professionals good queens which they are going to change anyway.
They are pleasant to nurse and they renew tehemselves in peace.
 

rae 

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8 and 3 nucs...it's swarm time...
Lots of bees is good. Feeding is good. As they are in a big brood box, yes a divider is a good idea, and if it is cold, and you have a big lump of polystyrene, I would put that on the other side of the divider from the bees to reduce the heat loss. I would give them one spare frame only, then the divider.

If you have a capped queen cell now (and uncapped yesterday), then in 9 days you will have a queen, about a week after that you will (hopefully!) have a mated queen, and about a week after that you should expect eggs and larvae. 21 days after the first egg, you will get "new" bees. I would check fairly regularly until the cell is capped...then leave well alone for 2 or 3 weeks apart from feeding. If they tear the cell down (or the larva has fallen out (!!) then I'd buy a queen in.

The difficulty in all this is that the lifespan of a worker in the summer can be as little as 6 weeks - and it will take you nearly that long to get your first new bees. So expect your number of bees to decline, this is normal.
 

rae 

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8 and 3 nucs...it's swarm time...
Bye a laying queen if you get it somewhere. Or if you get what ever viwgin.

To raise a queen from larva makes no sence to first hive owner. It take just time one brood cycle.
I was thinking this as well! If you get a viable queen now, then you'd have brood in a few days, and bees in 21. As I said up thread, doing the whole queen cell thing is a pretty tough call for a beginner. (I'm doing it for the first time this year...!)
 

BabyBee 

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thanks rae and co, and now i understand the comments about why an unsealed queen cell isnt so good. now i've read your posts i'll check properly (and carefully!) to see if the queen cell is sealed and also check for unsealed/sealed brood. presumably if there is unsealed brood, then this is also good news as it will keep the numbers up until the queen (assuming i still have one of course!!) is laying.......
 

BabyBee 

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it was too wet today to go into the hive, so i am no further forward. and it is to be cold tonight so i'm hoping they dont get chilled before i put the dummy board and polystyrene in!
 

oliver90owner 

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lifespan of a worker in the summer can be as little as 6 weeks

Rae is right about the lifespan, but more if there is no brood.

Regards, RAB
 

oliver90owner 

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All this talk about buying a queen is OK but you may not gain so much time unless available 'off the shelf'. The cell you have could have been capped soon after you got it and is well on the way to emerging. We just don't know but that is what you have already started with, so I feel you are going to let it run full course, keeping fingers crossed!

We don' t know anything about your queen cell, it's mother, or why you went the way you did, to start beekeeping. It is certainly not ideal, but you will, without doubt, learn from the experience - whether it goes to plan or turns into a disaster!

Changing a bad queen by 'buying in' is not a great problem, except that you are a new beek and would ideally need help to ensure a high chance of success when introducing the new queen.

It may be that she is a first generation offspring of a well-bred queen with impeccable temperament, and offspring are generally well behaved (not so likely in generations after that, perhaps). Your bees may have been obtained with a queen cell simply to get you going and a local beek would assist further if things go pear-shaped. That is what I would expect has happened - but it may not be the case of course.

One would assume that if funds allowed, you would not have gone this route by choice.

I do it all the time (nuc size split with a queen cell), but I am not starting out; I also reject some of those queens, re-unite, or re-queen again. I obviously have more than a single nuc-sized split from which to sort out any problem which might occur, something which you will remember after starting out so precariously!

Just have a 'plan B' ready, if you wish to change your mind or if things do not work out well with this first time start. Meanwhile think positive.

Regards, RAB
 

Baggyone 

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I have to ask this.

How much did you pay for 3 frames of bees with just a queen cell in there? I have an idea about what i would pay but i hope some unscrupulas asshole has'nt just ripped you off.
 

BabyBee 

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the story is.....I went on the beekeepers course and have done various apiary visits and it was my plan to get a nuc later on this year. however, my neighbour (also new) had a swarm at the weekend and also had, what seemed like, dozens of queen cells on her varous frames!

two of the really experienced keepers came to help her and split her hive into 3 - original, plus the swarm, plus one more with queen cell - rest of QC's were destroyed. neighbour only wanted 2 hives so the remaining one was going spare so to speak. expereinced keeper had 2 other nucsin her van that she was taking to have new queens mated with different drones...long story short - neighbours 3rd nuc went to her and i got one of hers (does that make sense?)

reason being that when/if my queen does emerge and undertakes her mating flight, she will have drones that are not related to her to mate with.
so it all happened a bit sooner than expected, hence the reason i wasnt quite 'organised' to say the least!

it still has been to cold/wet to go into the hive, so now i'm thinking maybe i should just leave things be and see what happens in 9 days or so - any thoughts?
 

Nopants 

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the story is.....I went on the beekeepers course and have done various apiary visits and it was my plan to get a nuc later on this year. however, my neighbour (also new) had a swarm at the weekend and also had, what seemed like, dozens of queen cells on her varous frames!

two of the really experienced keepers came to help her and split her hive into 3 - original, plus the swarm, plus one more with queen cell - rest of QC's were destroyed. neighbour only wanted 2 hives so the remaining one was going spare so to speak. expereinced keeper had 2 other nucsin her van that she was taking to have new queens mated with different drones...long story short - neighbours 3rd nuc went to her and i got one of hers (does that make sense?)

reason being that when/if my queen does emerge and undertakes her mating flight, she will have drones that are not related to her to mate with.
so it all happened a bit sooner than expected, hence the reason i wasnt quite 'organised' to say the least!

it still has been to cold/wet to go into the hive, so now i'm thinking maybe i should just leave things be and see what happens in 9 days or so - any thoughts?
Bees are good at sorting themselves out, so just be patient. They prefer their own queen rather than an introduced one which could fail.Give it a couple of weeks before you you will see any signs of a queen such as eggs. It will need to be warm when she goes out on her mating flight so I hope the weather improves soon in Wee Scotland.
 

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