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grizzly 

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With this being my first full spring, it has been quite an experience, is it the norm though ?

Queens dissapearing, Year old Queens Failing, Excessive swarming, unusual behaviour, such as chewing the frames, prolonged aggression.

Just some of the things i have noticed, anyone else ?
 

bobandbec 

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Haven't really noticed anything other than the early/"excessive" swarming which I've put down to the good weather during April.
For me the poor weather in May has caused me some problems with queens going off lay, particularly newly made up nucs on imported queens in late April, and, where I did articial swarms, difficulty in getting the new queens out and mated.
There's no norm in beekeeping I'm thinking.

Peter
 

MJBee 

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The spring weather governs how the colonies develop and to some extent their temper. 2009 spring came early with a brilliant April but 10 days of cool wet weather put all my colonies on the swarming track. I have not had any queen problems (touch wood)yet.
Mike
 

jon 

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Queens dissapearing, Year old Queens Failing, Excessive swarming, unusual behaviour, such as chewing the frames, prolonged aggression.
Grizzly, you need to sit down in the psychiatrist's chair and have a good talk to Roger Patterson. He has been highlighting the queen problem for some time now and I suspect that he is on to something.
 

Poly Hive 

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Not a good name to mention in here and I am none too sure that what has been going on is so very odd.

There are a lot of newbies who are experiencing a lot of not unusual problems.

Is it easier to say, "There is something odd going on my queen is superceeding."

Or is it easier to say, " I really messed up xyz"

I feel there needs to be some distance from the problems if such exist and with some luck and positive lobbying some of the Gov money may be used effectively in research.

Possibly a survey might be done via one of the magazines.

PH
 

jon 

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There are a lot of newbies who are experiencing a lot of not unusual problems.

Is it easier to say, "There is something odd going on my queen is superceeding."

Or is it easier to say, " I really messed up xyz"PH
That is certainly true as there are so many newcomers there are bound to be a lot of elementary mistakes. The word supersedure is one of the most overused words in beekeeping especially by beginners.

Notwithstanding the above, I think Roger Patterson is on to something. Whatever personal differences you may have, he is an observant type of guy with a passion for beekeeping and I think it is foolish to dismiss his observations out of hand. I made a post on the other site yesterday re. a situation I found on Friday re. a 10 day old virgin queen swarming from a broodless nuc. There was a "queen cell" left which had a dead worker inside. I captured the swarm which had the virgin queen in it and reunited it with the rump of the nuc. That isn't mentioned in the books.
 

grizzly 

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I'll add another thing, judging by the way some of my Purchased Queens have performed, or rather "NOT" performed, i would rather take my chances with whatever my own bees produce.

With a little selective tweaking they could not possibly do any worse.

And what makes me angry is i paid good money for those queens, and they havent even lasted a year !!!!.
 

OXFORDBEE 

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> I captured the swarm which had the virgin queen in it and reunited it with the rump of
the nuc. That isn't mentioned in the books.

Dead workers can often be found in sealed queen cells and I belive mating swarms do occasionally occur. I've also had absconding through heat stress so odd things do happen...
 

jon 

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> Dead workers can often be found in sealed queen cells and I belive mating swarms do occasionally occur. I've also had absconding through heat stress so odd things do happen...

I have seen dead workers in queen cells but it should not be a trigger for a swarm which I what I suspect happened in this case.

The nuc is in the shade and is not overcrowded so it wasn't heat stress.

This wasn't the case of a mating swarm where bees take to the air with the virgin queen as the swarm was clustered in a bush.

There may be a logical explanation but it looks like an unusual event to me.
 

jon 

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And what makes me angry is i paid good money for those queens, and they havent even lasted a year !!!!.
You are not the first person to make that observation!

Grizzy you are starting to see the light. Breeding your own queens is the way to go. It is a really enjoyable activity and will save you money.

When you get into it you will see why queen breeders get uptight about imported bees. If you have a mishmash of Buckfast, Carniolan, Italian and local mongrels within 5 miles of your apiary you will get very unpredictible results.
 

Heather 

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What I dont understand is :-
When a newly captured swarm- with a newly mated queen who is prolifically laying in good pattern, - they then start banging out queen cells to replace her:banghead:

You may not care for R.P.- but he cares for bees uppermost and that cannot be bad - and there is a queen stamina problem- Maybe they always were replaced every year, sometimes twice- but being unmarked, it went unnoticed by the more casual beekeeper in times past.
 

Poly Hive 

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A newly captured swarm with a new queen? How can you tell?

I am not convinced about this queen business but then folks the vast majoirty of my beekeeping was in far more inclement weather conditions then down here and the last three years have been very poor due to conditions in the Pacific.

That has now flipped and we are seeing the benefits as is Australia.

Weather has a huge impact on queen matings, and further please do not fret over 21 days, I have had many successful matings at 28+

PH
 

Heather 

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It was a cast- the third I had from original colony. (Not mine)
Took 15 days to kick in so seemed virginal behaviour. Still doesn't answer the bees reaction to a good queen laying in great pattern with loads of room, on newly drawn foundation - to want to replace!
 

jon 

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Heather:
Newly mated queens that abscond or have their colonies produce queen cells a few weeks after mating is one of the main observations RP has been making for years.

Many beekeepers can't find and don't mark queens so they are unaware of problems.
then you get a post: "Someone help, I think my hive is queenless"
 

Poly Hive 

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The bees are the experts not us.

Possibly she partialy miss mated. she may have had a bed leg, there are more reasons than you can shake a stick at.

I am going to remain sceptical until there is some proper scientific research that says yes there is an issue. Or not. I am not hearing anything so far to make me think that there is and my contacts who operate on a big scale, some 3k+ colonies between them are reporting nothing unusual.

PH
 

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When I started beekeeping. I made mistakes more than a small village. It took 7 years that big surprises did not happened any more. I met a one of the best beekeepers of Finland and he teached me the basics. He had omitted systems from USA. Our beekeeping was in lowsy state 50 years ago - resembling somehow UK-systems. Even National hive!
 

jon 

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I have friends who have kept bees longer than I have who can never find the queen, let alone mark her, yet they are messing through their bees all the time, to what purpose, nobody knows.
If you cant find the queen and you keep tinkering you will kill her sooner or later by squashing her.
This seems to be the main queen problem with newcomers who are really keen to tinker but are unaware of the risks they are taking with the queen.

I cannot believe how roughly some people handle bees. the squashed queen is an accident waiting to happen. If in doubt, the best advice is to contact a more experienced beekeeper friend who may be able to sort things out.
 

jimbeekeeper 

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I made a post on the other site yesterday re. a situation I found on Friday re. a 10 day old virgin queen swarming from a broodless nuc. There was a "queen cell" left which had a dead worker inside. I captured the swarm which had the virgin queen in it and reunited it with the rump of the nuc. That isn't mentioned in the books.
Jon, I hope you don’t mind me posting your original question from BBKA form? I think it just helps with the follow of the thread! Roger has replied so I have included that as well!

Jon on BBKA forum said:
The thread title should get Roger's attention!

Yesterday evening I spend a couple of hours checking and working with my colonies and nucs. I packed away my gear and was ready to head home when I noticed a small swarm in an elderberry bush about 60 feet away from my colonies. I turned out to cover about 3 frames.
I have been careful with weekly inspections this year and have already artificially swarmed 6 out of 8 colonies so my first reaction was that the swarm had not originated from one of my colonies. I stuck it in a nuc and went back early this morning to check things out.

I have about a dozen nucs on the go at the moment and most of them have a recently hatched virgin queen. Most of them are small with just a couple of frames of bees and brood.
I noticed immediately that one nuc which had been slightly larger now had almost no activity at all so I checked it out. It had about a quarter of the bees it should have had and on inspection, one sealed "queen cell"

All very well, except that I made up this nuc with a queen cell which was on a frame with brood and another couple of frames of sealed brood and adhering bees on 9th May, ie 20 days previously so there was no way they had an egg or grub to make a queen cell. The cell hatched on 20th May.

I opened the queen cell and there was a dead worker inside. I think the queen cell was the one the virgin had hatched from rather than a new one which they had constructed.

So the question is: did they seal in a worker as sometimes happens and then somehow trigger the sealed queen cell response to produce a swarm. The virgin had been hatched 9 days but was not yet laying.
The other possibility is that the swarm occurred and they then sealed in a worker in desperation after it left as the nuc was now hopelessly queenless. It was also acting queenless with bees stinging and following even though there was only a couple of frames of them and a lot were drones.

I took the nuc with the swarm captured the previous night and shook them out in front of the original nuc to reunite them. I saw the virgin amongst the bees as they were entering. She can obviously fly properly as she was 60 feet away in a swarm about 5 feet off the ground.

They were calm and working well this evening and bringing in pollen.
The timing of this is interesting as it happened just at the point where there was no brood left in the nuc.
Roger's Reply

roger patterson said:
Jon,

It has caught my attention even though a bit late. Very busy with bees at the moment.

Some of them are doing very stupid things, and so are some of their owners!

In your case it would be better to see the nucleus, but my first reaction is the worker went in some time ago to clean the Q/C out and she got sealed in, something that happens a lot. I think she was probably there for several days, so I don't think the "swarm" had anything to do with it.

I think all brood gives off pheromones, and guess it stops when it emerges, but I have a view that pheromones are possibly being "interfered" with in some way, and that may have been the problem.

The only other thing I can think of is the nuc, or most of it absconded, and this happens quite often with mininuc's.

Roger Patterson.

PS I forgot to pm Roger to ask if he might add his words to this, thread, I will try and remember next time I am on the BBKA forum!
 

grizzly 

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Sorry guys and gals, please bear with me.

Just quickly checked over a swarm i popped into a brood box some weeks ago, i noticed last week there were no eggs, so i popped in a frame of e/u/s brood from one of my fab hives, i peeped in tonight and low and behold they have drawn what i can only describe as emergency cells as they are drawn from the cell, there are about 3-4 of them.

Now in my mind i am excited because they are raising queens from a hive i enjoy working, but there are those who would frown and tutt because they are emergency cells - does that really mean the queens will be any inferior ??

Please enlighten me.
 
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