Quantcast

Question about Queens mating

Beekeeping Forum

Help Support Beekeeping Forum:

Salkeela 

New Bee
Joined
Apr 5, 2009
Messages
42
Reaction score
0
Location
N.Ireland
Hive Type
national
Number of Hives
2
When queens go on their "mating flight", how long are they away? And do they come "home" each evening to their hive?

The reason I ask is because we have been given a small swarm. A queen was never identified in the hive and as yet there are no eggs laid. (We have had the swarm for about 10 days now).

Now the thing is, this swarm was initially "earmarked" for someone else and it was located to another site just after capture. Then about a week later moved to our site.

Was this a mistake? Could "our" queen have been away overnight and got left behind? Or might she still be with our hive but just not started laying yet.

I don't think this was a primary swarm as the numbers are not high. There are only 2 frames of bees now. They have drawn some comb and filled some. No eggs, larvae or brood though.
 

hedgerow pete 

Queen Bee
Joined
Jan 26, 2009
Messages
3,660
Reaction score
5
Location
UK, Birmingham, Sandwell. Pork scratching Bandit c
Hive Type
national
it does sound queen less to me after 10 days, as for a mating flight the books i have quote between 30mins to an hour max per flight after each flight she has to land to remove the genitals of the drone she has mated with so some flights she might land else where and start again but very rare she would stay outside over night
 

Salkeela 

New Bee
Joined
Apr 5, 2009
Messages
42
Reaction score
0
Location
N.Ireland
Hive Type
national
Number of Hives
2
Thanks Pete.

Our mentor thinks this is not a goer now...... :(

One day we'll launch as real beekeepers. In the meantime we'll keep learning by "helping" our kind mentor with his hives!
 

Poly Hive 

Queen Bee
Joined
Dec 4, 2008
Messages
13,655
Reaction score
3
Location
Scottish Borders
Hive Type
national
Number of Hives
9 and 18 Nucs
On a more positive note if it is a virgin with a cast then there is hope yet, a virgin can take up to 28 days or so to get going.

I would council some patience yet.

PH
 

Salkeela 

New Bee
Joined
Apr 5, 2009
Messages
42
Reaction score
0
Location
N.Ireland
Hive Type
national
Number of Hives
2
:nature-smiley-011:

Okay Polyhive thanks ...... they are doing no harm where they are. Indeed they do seem quite content. So we'll wait and see.....

Our mentor is trying to raise some more queen cells too....
 

Poly Hive 

Queen Bee
Joined
Dec 4, 2008
Messages
13,655
Reaction score
3
Location
Scottish Borders
Hive Type
national
Number of Hives
9 and 18 Nucs
Can your mentor let you have a test frame to check with?

PH
 

Salkeela 

New Bee
Joined
Apr 5, 2009
Messages
42
Reaction score
0
Location
N.Ireland
Hive Type
national
Number of Hives
2
What do you mean? Sorry - I'm probably being dim.

Right now the bees are in our mentor's broodbox with a couple of his frames and a couple of ours and a feeder. All in our garden.
 

Poly Hive 

Queen Bee
Joined
Dec 4, 2008
Messages
13,655
Reaction score
3
Location
Scottish Borders
Hive Type
national
Number of Hives
9 and 18 Nucs
A test frame is a brood frame (usually) that has larvae young enough that if needed the bees can raise a queen cell on it.

If the colony has a queen (whether mated or virgin) the bees being tested for queenlessness will NOT raise a cell.

If they have no Queen then they WILL raise a cell.

PH
 

Salkeela 

New Bee
Joined
Apr 5, 2009
Messages
42
Reaction score
0
Location
N.Ireland
Hive Type
national
Number of Hives
2
AH! Light dawns.... sounds like a plan to me.

My mentor is a friend in work..... must try to bump into him in the canteen tomorrow.... :)

His initial plan (before this swarm appeared) was to split a hive for us, so maybe he'd be happy enough to supply a frame......

How would a frame like this be transported & kept at the right temperature? His hives are only about 5 miles from us.
 

Poly Hive 

Queen Bee
Joined
Dec 4, 2008
Messages
13,655
Reaction score
3
Location
Scottish Borders
Hive Type
national
Number of Hives
9 and 18 Nucs
They are not so very fragile, so wrap it in a towel and just take it straight to your colony. to the knowing eye cells flooded with royal jelly are visible after a few hours, or say over night. To the less experienced view after three days the flared mouths of the growing cells are pretty clear.

Good luck

PH
 

jezd 

Drone Bee
Joined
May 12, 2009
Messages
1,541
Reaction score
2
Location
UK
Hive Type
other
Number of Hives
299.1
When queens go on their "mating flight", how long are they away? And do they come "home" each evening to their hive?

The reason I ask is because we have been given a small swarm. A queen was never identified in the hive and as yet there are no eggs laid. (We have had the swarm for about 10 days now).

Now the thing is, this swarm was initially "earmarked" for someone else and it was located to another site just after capture. Then about a week later moved to our site.

Was this a mistake? Could "our" queen have been away overnight and got left behind? Or might she still be with our hive but just not started laying yet.

I don't think this was a primary swarm as the numbers are not high. There are only 2 frames of bees now. They have drawn some comb and filled some. No eggs, larvae or brood though.
I would give them some more time, I have a number of swarms that just took time. After 10 days there could be eggs there that you cant see, is the foundation at a point it could be laid in? as soon as she is happy she will lay in newly drawn foundation even if the rest of the frame is as new.

As PH said if she is a virgin it would take a while, also a virgin is a b*tch to spot - I found one today after over a week of looking.
Jez
 
Last edited:

Salkeela 

New Bee
Joined
Apr 5, 2009
Messages
42
Reaction score
0
Location
N.Ireland
Hive Type
national
Number of Hives
2
Thanks jezd.

My OH said he saw pollen going in yesterday - so I take that as a good sign. Also when we opened the hive at the weekend they were really calm and cool. Chilled out relaxed bees which our mentor says is also positive.

I mentioned the test frame thing..... and he agreed it would be a good idea IF he had any frames the right size! All his hives are Langstroth and ours is National.

So he has another scheme to split a hive into a National for us if this lot don't take off. Really we are in no hurry as we are learning so much as we go.
 

jezd 

Drone Bee
Joined
May 12, 2009
Messages
1,541
Reaction score
2
Location
UK
Hive Type
other
Number of Hives
299.1
Thanks jezd.

My OH said he saw pollen going in yesterday - so I take that as a good sign. Also when we opened the hive at the weekend they were really calm and cool. Chilled out relaxed bees which our mentor says is also positive.

I mentioned the test frame thing..... and he agreed it would be a good idea IF he had any frames the right size! All his hives are Langstroth and ours is National.

So he has another scheme to split a hive into a National for us if this lot don't take off. Really we are in no hurry as we are learning so much as we go.
Not sure, I had one swarm (small and never saw the queen) that also collected pollen, I thought great and then they vannished.

I do agree that pollen is a good sign anyway, it shows they have a purpose - worst case you can grab a new queen from someone.

Jez
 

Heather 

Queen Bee
Joined
Dec 7, 2008
Messages
4,065
Reaction score
48
Location
Newick, East Sussex
Hive Type
national
Number of Hives
15
i have a colony with a virgin- I hope..Single lovely capped cell 20th. (they were determined to swarm so I split and took good queen to another site)

Due to my calculations she should be mated by now- and I anticipated looking July 4th to give the hive time to settle. Today they are bearding at the hive entrance- it isn't hot-they are not overcrowded - can they do this if a queen is out, or anticipating so- they were like this last night and have been building to this number for a few days. Calm, just massing :grouphug:
 

Heather 

Queen Bee
Joined
Dec 7, 2008
Messages
4,065
Reaction score
48
Location
Newick, East Sussex
Hive Type
national
Number of Hives
15
Bump.

This is the 4th day, 7am, and still 1/3 of the hive front is covered with very calm bees. They slowly disperse each day till about 300 on the front then build up each night - it MAY be in the middle of a mating cycle- I havent looked to avoid disturbing..... ADVICE PLEASE. They are NOT overcrowded.
 

Heather 

Queen Bee
Joined
Dec 7, 2008
Messages
4,065
Reaction score
48
Location
Newick, East Sussex
Hive Type
national
Number of Hives
15
ok- was planning to - but any explanations? - other matings have happened with normal hive behaviour - maybe just sunbathing.
I just wondered if anyone had an explanation as to why it could be occurring:)
 

Poly Hive 

Queen Bee
Joined
Dec 4, 2008
Messages
13,655
Reaction score
3
Location
Scottish Borders
Hive Type
national
Number of Hives
9 and 18 Nucs
Genetics.

some strains like to loiter on the alighting boards and some do not. I have some colonies that are thick with bees at the front and others just shoot in and out.

PH
 

OXFORDBEE 

Field Bee
Joined
Nov 10, 2008
Messages
731
Reaction score
11
Location
Oxfordshire
Hive Type
commercial
Number of Hives
More than 1, numbers seem to go up and down.
In a strong flow when the weather is hot strong hives can end up with bees hanging out the front, probably to avoid overheating inside the hive. I should have taken a picture today but some of my hives had "bee beards" surrounding their entrances. It might be genetics but all the hives that have found the spring rape have bees hanging out the front. The rule of thumb appears to be the bigger the hive the more bees hanging out front.

Note: I put several supers on hives yesterday and there are still bees hanging out the front this morning.
 

Heather 

Queen Bee
Joined
Dec 7, 2008
Messages
4,065
Reaction score
48
Location
Newick, East Sussex
Hive Type
national
Number of Hives
15
Thanks folks. I was just concerned, as not my biggest colony- 8 frames- and loads of room to move up and get cracking- just couldn't read their minds - Women! :toetap05:
 

Latest posts

Top