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SkiBee 

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I have a strong colony with lots of bees but have a queen problem. Just a few eggs and larvae in the last few inspections but found three good sized sealed queen cells two days ago. Think if there is a queen she is injured (not much brood and hasn't been much for a while). Thought it was queenless four weeks ago but then found small patches of brood in a super. Also the whole lot have moved out of the broodbox into the super (no queen excluder). The whole thing is in a bit of a kurfuffle and not sure what to do. Should I let them see if they can sort it out or unite?

First full year as a beek and still very excited.
 

oliver90owner 

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Welcome to the forum.

Location, hive type, what other colonies and their condition? All might help.

What do you call a strong colony?

I think I would be obtaining a queen PDQ.

Regards, RAB
 

Midland Beek 

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If the queen has got through the queen excluder she may well be a drone laying queen. ie, one that has not successfully mated.
 

drstitson 

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requeening

agree that drone laying queen may be a possibility.

Given that the OP has had a good few weeks (at least 4) of this situation with only a bit of brood (?drone) in a super then will there be enough reserve of workers to sustain new brood laid by an newly introduced queen?

presume if weather favourable and the hive well feed then it might be possible to build up a decent colony again pre winter?
 

SkiBee 

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Welcome to the forum.

Location, hive type, what other colonies and their condition? All might help.

What do you call a strong colony?

I think I would be obtaining a queen PDQ.

Regards, RAB
Thanks for this.
National hive, seems to be lots of bees to my inexperienced eyes. Two supers full of bees with some in brood chamber. Two other queen right colonies, South Devon. Thinking any virgin queen probably won't mate successfully so re-queening an option. Think my mistake queen got into supers.
 

SkiBee 

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good question, hadn't thought of that. Had plenty of space in the brood box below. But maybe lack of space up in supers is what's kept the laying rate down. Perhaps I need to reorganise boxes in first instance and put supers below brood box? Thanks so much for help.
 

JamesB 

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If the queen is in the supers, and a excluder is preventing her from going down to the brood, then try removing the excluder, 'generally' but not always the queen should head downward and enter the brood.

Leave it for a few days and recheck, if you cant see the queen then look for new eggs in the brood,
If this is evidentor the queen is spotted (normally damn elusive whence checking for new eggs), replace the excluder above the brood and then place the supers on top.
 

the naked beekeeper 

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Hi Carol MADGE,

Where abouts in S.Devon are you?

I may know a few people able to help/inspect your hives for you, if you so wish of course.
 

SkiBee 

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That is so kind. I am in Totnes, I would really appreciate someone to come and have a look.
 

SkiBee 

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If the queen is in the supers, and a excluder is preventing her from going down to the brood, then try removing the excluder, 'generally' but not always the queen should head downward and enter the brood.

Leave it for a few days and recheck, if you cant see the queen then look for new eggs in the brood,
If this is evidentor the queen is spotted (normally damn elusive whence checking for new eggs), replace the excluder above the brood and then place the supers on top.
Thanks so much for replying. I took the excluder out about four weeks ago and she hasn't gone down yet. In fact the brood chamber is scarily empty of anything including stores.
 

oliver90owner 

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Question: Is one of the supers full of capped brood?

Like, err, do you reconise the difference between capped honey and capped brood?

Sorry to ask, but there are quite a few out there that don't.....

If she had started laying in a super (because she was trapped) the rest of the house bees would follow and she would continue to develop the nest from roof down (the natural way). They always do it that way, unless humans 'trap' them below, in the brood box, and they have to put the stores upstairs.

Regards, RAB
 

SkiBee 

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No problem at all. Actually not much capped brood at all but some larvae and eggs just not many at all and not laid in the centre of the frame (like I normally see in a brood frame) but over to one side. Which is why I though she might be injured or poorly and that is why they might be trying to raise a new queen. Some capped honey. Perhaps I should say this is a prime swarm I took in late May and they have been going great guns until about six weeks ago.
 

Poly Hive 

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All please note. Queens do NOT generally head down.

They generally head UP!

Which is a handy trait if you want them to move from say a super to a brood box.....ie switch them round.

PH
 

JamesB 

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All please note. Queens do NOT generally head down.

They generally head UP!

Which is a handy trait if you want them to move from say a super to a brood box.....ie switch them round.

PH
Tbh and i do always bow down to other peoples knowledge but every other person (beekeepers) most with over 20 to 30yrs + experience advise me they head down but as always bees dont always follow the written norm,

As they advised me they sometimes do the opposite to what the books and exp dictates always leaving suprises, but generally they do head down and this is from beekeepers with many years of experience,

Issue with beekeeping as far as i can see is every beekeeper will have their own experiences and are all right from their point of view, exp and knowledge

I just listen to them all, showing respect, taking from them what i can (knowledge wise)
 
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Carol,

I am going on holiday today so can't help but otherwise would have been happy. I was in Totnes only yesterday.

My suggestion would be to remove all but one of the sealed queen cells and leave them to it. Generally a sealed cell suggests they have already swarmed but if they haven't then it may be supercedure going on, which you should allow to take its course.

I have a queen in a tiny mini-nuc (Swi-Bin)which probably isn't going to survive the winter as it is so small so you can have her if your colony hasn't sorted itself out by the time I come back in two weeks. It will be very late to re-queen but better than going into the winter without a queen at all, if that is how things end up - which hopefully will not be the case.

If you need the queen before then send me a PM and I'll tell you where to find her in the garden - but finding and catching her in the Swi-Bin will be fun as she isn't marked.

John Laidler.
 

JamesB 

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Which is why I though she might be injured or poorly and that is why they might be trying to raise a new queen.
From what im lead to understand, if your Queen is injured the workers will in fact kill her, again this is from im lead to believe,

ie sometimes they can kill clipped queens
 

oliver90owner 

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JamesB,

every other person (beekeepers) most with over 20 to 30yrs + experience advise me they head down

If you could show me one case where a colony built comb from the floor to the roof, I would be happy to believe you. Until then, I will go with all those that advocate the correct facts that comb is normally built from the highest point in the box and is built downwards - which is where the queen heads, in any situation she might have control over.

When a swarm is hived they will always build downwards which means that queenie went upwards until she could go no further (the workers follow the queen
- as in standard swarm collection procedures for example?).

She will then lay in the uppermost comb she can (it not having a honey arch) and she will lay at the uppermost practical point for a compact, spherical (ideal) nest to conserve as much heat energy as possible (minimum surface area per unit volume).

Only then will she be moved down by the bees as they draw new comb (downwards) and, more to the point, fill above with honey. They will, in fact, not draw appreciable amounts of comb below the nest, beyond the practical limits for comb building (it's shape), until needed.

From what im lead to understand, if your Queen is injured the workers will in fact kill her

Wrong again. They will supercede her. They are not so stupid as to lose their only egg layer before a replacement is available, if at all possible.

I fear you are a little muddled, and are mixing the normal facts of hive life with the unwanted effects of interfering humans, when, after handling (clipping, marking) they (the queen) may not be recognised as the 'queen proper' and are balled by the workers, just as most other alien life-form would be when invading their space.

Hope this helps you read the post carefully. Poly Hive was, of course, refering to the queen. So the only usual way the queen would move downwards is if the space above was filled.

RAB
 

Poly Hive 

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Thanks Oliver.

With some 20 years + experience of running substantially more than the norm of 3-5 colonies (40 - 80) and having been a BF member for some years, and being told this by Bee Farmers running pro rata more colonies to mine, I have used the trait of up wards seeking many times and have been advised it is so by the said BF's.

Believe who you like, I know this is so.

PH
 

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