Quantcast

Queen bee size changes

Beekeeping Forum

Help Support Beekeeping Forum:

Antipodes 

Field Bee
Joined
Mar 24, 2019
Messages
745
Reaction score
163
Location
Tasmania
Hive Type
langstroth
The literature is full of references that the virgin queen is ignored by the workers for the first three days because her pheromones have not kicked in as yet. Perhaps the confusion arises because most people deal with already mated queens? During those 3 days she gets her protein from the fat bodies which are also used during pupal development. The larvae defecates before spinning the cocoon, but it has been fed copiously. However, that is not the case with the pupa, so no input no output is my thought. Yes, I saw the video of the queen that was fed from a hole in the middle of the QC. They would not let her emerge I think was the story, so maybe she was more than 3 days old?
I've noticed that when you put a new mated queen in a colony whether immediately upon killing the old queen, 24 hours later or days later, the workers will commence queen cells and I've seen some capped. My understanding is that those cells need to be destroyed (the workers don't seem to stop making them once started or make any attempt to destroy them) as the virgins will emerge and kill the newly introduced mated and laying queen, being more nimble and able to bend their abdomens much more easily. I had wondered if the workers might kill those virgins before they get a chance to kill the laying queen, but perhaps they don't because the virgins pheromones are not developed enough and are thus not recognised by the workers?
 
Last edited:

Antipodes 

Field Bee
Joined
Mar 24, 2019
Messages
745
Reaction score
163
Location
Tasmania
Hive Type
langstroth
Don't you think it far more likely that they would prefer one of their own?
No I hadn't actually to be honest. The thought hadn't even crossed my mind :oops: . I thought that as the bought queens are mated and laying (reeking of pheromones?) and bigger than anything they can raise themselves (better acceptance?) that they wouldn't bother keeping virgins that wouldn't even emerge until at least 10 days after placement of the new queen in the cage in the hive ( 10 days that is with an immediate introductions after removal of the old queen). All the new queens were out of their cages within 5 days.
 

Erichalfbee 

Super Moderator
Staff member
Moderator
Joined
Jul 23, 2009
Messages
19,381
Reaction score
1,336
Location
Ceredigion
Hive Type
14x12
Number of Hives
7
Well I have never had queen cells made after putting in a new queen straight after removing the old one even though my bought in queens are not laying because they have been shipped in a cage. What has happened twice is that the new queen has been accepted and has laid , then the bees bumped her off and raised a new queen from her eggs. @Swarm might be on the right track. Some races are better than others at accepting foreign queens.
They say you can put in a laying queen without a cage. I've read @Hivemaker. describe it here on the forum.
 

Antipodes 

Field Bee
Joined
Mar 24, 2019
Messages
745
Reaction score
163
Location
Tasmania
Hive Type
langstroth
Well I have never had queen cells made after putting in a new queen straight after removing the old one even though my bought in queens are not laying because they have been shipped in a cage. What has happened twice is that the new queen has been accepted and has laid , then the bees bumped her off and raised a new queen from her eggs. @Swarm might be on the right track. Some races are better than others at accepting foreign queens.
They say you can put in a laying queen without a cage. I've read @Hivemaker. describe it here on the forum.
Thanks Dani. All the new introduced queens have been accepted and they are all laying in their hives. It's just that in each case (bar one where the bees just won't let me look in the hive now...apart from my first inspection to see she had been released and was laying...they are just too nasty with me so I'll have to leave them), ranging from killing the queen and immediate introduction of the new queen, to 4 days between removal of the old and introduction of the new, emergency cells have been made and in some cases capped. I say they are laying queens because that is how they have been purchased, that is, they were seen to be laying eggs by the breeder before being sent to me. They are sent in cages too.

The colony that produced the fewest emergency cells (just two) was also the one where the new queen was introduced immediately and the truly aggressive colony, but interestingly one where there was just a day in between removal and introduction, produced a great many emergency cells.

I've now destroyed all emergency queen cells apart from the colony that won't let me in. I don't know how many are in that one and some may well have emerged now.
 

Erichalfbee 

Super Moderator
Staff member
Moderator
Joined
Jul 23, 2009
Messages
19,381
Reaction score
1,336
Location
Ceredigion
Hive Type
14x12
Number of Hives
7
If you’re having problems with acceptance then try making the colony hopelessly queenless and introduce your new queen in a push in cage or better still make a nuc up get a frame laid up and unite.
 

Antipodes 

Field Bee
Joined
Mar 24, 2019
Messages
745
Reaction score
163
Location
Tasmania
Hive Type
langstroth
If you’re having problems with acceptance then try making the colony hopelessly queenless and introduce your new queen in a push in cage or better still make a nuc up get a frame laid up and unite.
Thanks. No problems at all with acceptance. The queens are introduced into their new home within a cage with a plug of candy in it at one end. All happily laying eggs and being left well alone by her new workers. The cage is a small pine box with wire mesh over it. I leave the attendants with the queen.
 

Little_bees 

House Bee
Joined
Feb 6, 2019
Messages
264
Reaction score
171
Location
Essex
Hive Type
national
or better still make a nuc up get a frame laid up and unite.
Yes this method is almost always successful.(y)

Your horrible colony will also have to be dealt with sooner or later. Make it sooner to prevent their drones being propagated.

One method which is usually successful is to move the colony a metre or so to the side (having doubled up your clothing!), put the supers back on the original stand and then sieve the bees from the brood box into a new box.

You'll find out then if your new marked queen is still alive or if they've raised their own. If the latter, make hopelessly queenless as said earlier and then unite with the Q+ nuc.

How long ago did you requeen? It can take up to a few weeks to see a difference.
 

Antipodes 

Field Bee
Joined
Mar 24, 2019
Messages
745
Reaction score
163
Location
Tasmania
Hive Type
langstroth
Just to clarify, if needed. The new introduced queens are all successfully introduced. There is no problem with them being accepted. Not only have they been accepted, but they are laying eggs.

What happened in each case was that the bees (in splits that I put them in and also into the main colonies where they were added directly in), have in all cases, made queen cells and have shown no inclination to stop working on them or destroy them and in some cases have capped them. This is all despite the new queens being nicely accepted and laying.
 

rolande 

House Bee
Joined
Oct 26, 2009
Messages
467
Reaction score
48
Hive Type
dadant
Thanks. No problems at all with acceptance
Arguably, there is a problem with introduction if the bees are trying to raise a replacement. With it happening so consistently it's probably more an issue with your bees attitude to the introduction rather than the method used. I'd be interested to hear how things go with a different intro such as Dani outlined; I'll speculate that the previously hopelessly queenless bees will try to raise a new queen off the first of the introduced queen's brood!

edit: just read your last post which fairly confirms my assumption.... I've seen a related behaviour back when we were doing a lot of walk away splits; they'd raise a queen, get her laying and then supersede at their leisure before the end of the season.
 
Last edited:

Antipodes 

Field Bee
Joined
Mar 24, 2019
Messages
745
Reaction score
163
Location
Tasmania
Hive Type
langstroth
Yes this method is almost always successful.(y)

Your horrible colony will also have to be dealt with sooner or later. Make it sooner to prevent their drones being propagated.

One method which is usually successful is to move the colony a metre or so to the side (having doubled up your clothing!), put the supers back on the original stand and then sieve the bees from the brood box into a new box.

You'll find out then if your new marked queen is still alive or if they've raised their own. If the latter, make hopelessly queenless as said earlier and then unite with the Q+ nuc.

How long ago did you requeen? It can take up to a few weeks to see a difference.
Just to clarify Little Bees, the truly aggressive colony has accepted their new queen and she is laying. I have destroyed two queen cells that they were making.

The colony that has recently become upset has also accepted their new queen and she is laying. I don't know if they have made queen cells as I didn't look through the whole box but I assume they have given what the others have done. It is too late to destroy them now as it is 10 days since they were made queenless and some will already be likely to have emerged. I have seen the new queen and she is easy to spot and I will know if I open up in a week if she is ok as I will recognise her (big and yellow) and also, if there are eggs in there, she was alive within the last three days.

From post #81 "I had wondered if the workers might kill those virgins before they get a chance to kill the laying queen, but perhaps they don't because the virgins pheromones are not developed enough and are thus not recognised by the workers?"
 

Antipodes 

Field Bee
Joined
Mar 24, 2019
Messages
745
Reaction score
163
Location
Tasmania
Hive Type
langstroth
Arguably, there is a problem with introduction if the bees are trying to raise a replacement. With it happening so consistently it's probably more an issue with your bees attitude to the introduction rather than the method used. I'd be interested to hear how things go with a different intro such as Dani outlined; I'll speculate that the previously hopelessly queenless bees will try to raise a new queen off the first of the introduced queen's brood!

edit: just read your last post which fairly confirms my assumption.... I've seen a related behaviour back when we were doing a lot of walk away splits; they'd raise a queen, get her laying and then supersede at their leisure before the end of the season.
Thanks Rolande.

The method Dani mentions is not relevant in my case as I have had no problem with acceptance. The other thing is what apparently happens is that once they start making emergency cells they will not stop. It's (as I understand it) not to do with acceptance or otherwise of the queen.
 
Last edited:

Little_bees 

House Bee
Joined
Feb 6, 2019
Messages
264
Reaction score
171
Location
Essex
Hive Type
national
Just to clarify Little Bees, the truly aggressive colony has accepted their new queen and she is laying. I have destroyed two queen cells that they were making.
Ah ok. I was just going by your post from a couple of hours ago when you said the horrible colony wouldn't let you in to check them.
 

rolande 

House Bee
Joined
Oct 26, 2009
Messages
467
Reaction score
48
Hive Type
dadant
Thanks Rolande. It's precisely the same method I used last year and I got 100% acceptance and 100% lasting acceptance. In other words, there was no supersedure. They are very good queens.
No doubt the queen's are good, but if the workers don't like them.... 🙂
 

jenkinsbrynmair 

Super Moderator
Staff member
Moderator
Joined
Mar 30, 2011
Messages
24,166
Reaction score
1,382
Location
Glanaman,Carmarthenshire,Wales
Hive Type
national
Number of Hives
Too many - but not nearly enough
Just to clarify, if needed. The new introduced queens are all successfully introduced. There is no problem with them being accepted. Not only have they been accepted, but they are laying eggs.

What happened in each case was that the bees (in splits that I put them in and also into the main colonies where they were added directly in), have in all cases, made queen cells and have shown no inclination to stop working on them or destroy them and in some cases have capped them. This is all despite the new queens being nicely accepted and laying.
You sometimes get that with 'new' queens (whether introduced or newly mated 'home grown' ones) - it's as if they're not 100% sure that the queen is a keeper so, as they have a few eggs, they make up a few QC's as insurance. Yes, they will work them and cap them but they seldom go any further.
 

Antipodes 

Field Bee
Joined
Mar 24, 2019
Messages
745
Reaction score
163
Location
Tasmania
Hive Type
langstroth
Ah ok. I was just going by your post from a couple of hours ago when you said the horrible colony wouldn't let you in to check them.
Yes, they weren't too bad but they have gone weird. They are crawling all around the outside of the hive all the time. I don't want to touch them again for a week if I can hold off. What I am hoping is that the workers will see that their emergency queens are hopeless and their new big queen, who is laying so well and smells so nice, should be protected and then they ball the virgins.
 

Antipodes 

Field Bee
Joined
Mar 24, 2019
Messages
745
Reaction score
163
Location
Tasmania
Hive Type
langstroth
You sometimes get that with 'new' queens (whether introduced or newly mated 'home grown' ones - it's as if they're not 100% sure that the queen is a keeper so, as they have a few eggs, they make up a few QC's as insurance. Yes, they will work them and cap them but they seldom go any further.
Brilliant. Thanks for that.
 

Little_bees 

House Bee
Joined
Feb 6, 2019
Messages
264
Reaction score
171
Location
Essex
Hive Type
national
What I am hoping is that the workers will see that their emergency queens are hopeless and their new big queen, who is laying so well and smells so nice, should be protected and then they ball the virgins.
Ok but newly emerged queens aren't 'hopeless'.

Hopefully they'll choose the queen you put in but it doesn't always follow.
 

Erichalfbee 

Super Moderator
Staff member
Moderator
Joined
Jul 23, 2009
Messages
19,381
Reaction score
1,336
Location
Ceredigion
Hive Type
14x12
Number of Hives
7
Thanks Rolande.

It's (as I understand it) not to do with acceptance or otherwise of the queen.
But it is. They are replacing her as soon as they can just not killing her straightaway
 

Finman 

Queen Bee
Joined
Nov 8, 2008
Messages
25,605
Reaction score
173
Location
Finland, Helsinki
Hive Type
langstroth
Sometimes bees kill the introduced queen and sometimes not. There are no rules, which work allways. I try to be cautious, that they do not kill the queen.
 
Last edited:

Latest posts

Top