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drex 

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I did an AS in late July. By my calculation the new queen hatched on 3/8/10.

She is yet still to lay. I cannot find her.

Two weeks ago I put in a test frame, which showed Q+, but there were no eggs. In my ignorance I put in another test frame, then spoke to my mentor ( whom I cannot contact at present). I was told to feed as this might encourage her. Today the second test frame still indicates Q+.

I had taken one of the test frames from the nuc containing the old queen, and she was being a bit slow, so I fed her too. It has certainly perked up her lay rate, but the parent hive is still egg-less.

My quandary is I wish to unite the two. I have held off Apiguard in these, awaiting uniting. I am reluctant to kill off the old queen, until I know the new one is laying. However I am concerned that the temp is likely to start dropping soon for the Apiguard.

I am tempted to just unite the two, and let them fight it out.

The last week weather has been warm and sunny, ideal for her to get out there if she is yet to mate. Both colonies are a bit small to overwinter separately.

Perhaps the voice of experience and reason can advise?

Thanks
 

oliver90owner 

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let them fight it out

You may be more naffed off than now. Young queen kills old queen and turns out to be a drone layer. Great result!

Not sure what your problem is. Either get on and treat both or make a decision re which queen you want to retain. Difference in cost is negligible compared to buying in a new queen late and still having trouble introducing her.

Uniting - probably another month (and possibly another) to get them united. I united with no problem, the last week in October last year. Sorted the hive make-up at end of first week in November, maybe into the second, can't rightly remember.

RAB
 

MJBee 

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You must find the elusive queen. If you just "let them fight it out" sods law states that the winner will be injured and rejected by the bees.

I suggest that you take 6 frames from the brood box and put them in another box with their bees. Take this box few yards away and space the frames out in pairs, space the frames out in the main brood box too. Leave them for at least 30 minutes.

After 30 minutes one box will be calm and quiet - the queen is in there: The other box will be noisy and agitated because they think they are queenless.

The queen will be hiding in the dark in the middle of one of the pairs of frames. If she is still proving elusive as a last retort put a queen excluder on the Q- box and shake all the bees off the Q+ frames onto the excluder. The bees will go down through the excluder leaving the queen behind.

Finding her of course does not solve the problem of her not laying. It will however let you have a good look at her and make sure she is not damaged. One solution may be to make up a nucleus with the non laying queen and unite the rest with the old queen. The non laying queen will start laying eventually but if she has not mated properly she may turn into a drone layer. With luck she will turn into a goodun and can be re-introduced to the colony having disposed of the old queen.Good luck.
 

drex 

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MJ please explain.
I have the old marked queen in a 4 frame nuc. No problem finding her.
I cannot find the virgin queen in a National BB. (test frames say she is in there).

So are you suggesting I seive the virgin out using a queen excluder? What do I put under the QE? If I seive into the frames from the nuc ( having transferred into a full BB), will they not then fight?

Sorry, my first year and easily confused.

Rab. I thought uniting using newspaper took a week?
 
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Midland Beek 

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I think you might have to wait a bit longer. A queen that is actually laying behaves differently from one that isn't, and this makes a laying queen more findable.
 

VEG 

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I think rab means you may have the best part of about 2 months left to get the unite done, he dont mean it takes 2 months to do.
 

oliver90owner 

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I thought uniting using newspaper took a week?

Hope not. Less than a day. Best to leave them a week to settle in before re-arranging their home.

RAB
 

Hebeegeebee 

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With 2 test frames, we can assume the queen is there. Can you see polished cells in the central brood area? They are prepared for the queen to lay in indicating she is there. The queen emerged a month ago. There is still time for her to start laying.

How to seive if you subsequently need to:-

Put a brood chamber or super on the hive floor. Shake the bees into it. No need to be too vigorous; all we want is the queen to drop down and most of the bees. Put a queen excluder on top. Put the brood chamber and any supers on top of the queen excluder. The bees will work their way up. After a few hours you should find the queen any drones and a few workers under the queen excluder. Then you have her.
 

Moggs 

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I have just combined two colonies using newspaper between brood chambers. Combined peacefully within 24 hours (punctured paper with hive tool). Kept a watchful eye the next day for any signs of fighting/ dead bees in the vicinity. Removed the newspaper and all was well in bee world. Doubly successful as I used the 'spare' Q to head up a Q- colony. Sometimes it's best to leave the bees to their own devices and sometimes intervention (or 'assistance') is the right course. Sounds to me as if your bees will get nowhere fast without some action. Good luck.

Afterthought, won't an unmated Q pass through a QE?
 
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oliver90owner 

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Afterthought, won't an unmated Q pass through a QE?

A small queen might, particularly as in 'scrub queen' but not a normal sized queen.

Regards, RAB
 

MJBee 

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Hi Drex,
You need to find the (virgin?) queen in your National BB, If you use the technique described in my original post paragraphs 2,3 and 4. you will find it easier. This method halves the number of frames to be searched and by "pairing" them stops her running from frame to frame.

Running the bees through a queen excluder is a last resort - I used it to find a drone laying queen that managed to stay hidden on 2 super frames!! If the above method has failed you are left with 2 boxes one with 5 frames the other with 6, one of them is showing signs of being queenless - noisy, agitated and rushing about - put the queen excluder on this box and shake the bees from the frames of the other box one at a time checking for the queen each time.

Just a thought - have you any supers on this hive? if so have you checked them for your elusive queen? I spent a month and two test frames looking in the brood box with no success only to find her in the top super :banghead:
 

drex 

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Thanks all. I have learnt several things.

My main worry was to treat for varroa, so taking RAB's advice I put a full dose on the National BB and half dose in the nuc. I have read the Apiguard can put a queen off lay, but she will at least have another month to come into lay I hope , and the brood from the 2 test frames will keep them ticking over.

Once treated I can then try to find her- if there is firm evidence that she is in there and healthy ( i.e. eggs), and then unite.

At least you have taught me to prioritise my tasks, rather than doing it all at once! A good lesson. Thank you.

Just taken delivery of another T*****s budget hive, the advertised two month delay was actually 2 weeks!
 

drex 

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Thanks RAB, as thinking about your advice paid off.

Just to update. Today I put in the second lot of Apiguard ( 2 days early I know, but I am not about next week). Thought I would have a quick look at the brood.

In the hive that I was worried contained a queen refusing to lay, there is uncapped brood.

Patience pays off, having decided to treat for varroa as the priority.

This queen hatched on 2/8/10, and has taken all that time to come into lay.
 

Eyeman 

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In the hive that I was worried contained a queen refusing to lay, there is uncapped brood
I hope the brood turns out to be worker brood.
A queen which takes 6 weeks to start laying is often either a drone layer or you may have laying workers. Laying workers would also show up at queen + on a test frome.
Have you seen any eggs?
 

drex 

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Not good at spotting eggs, but have just obtained an illuminated magnifier. Did not want to take too much time inspecting as was changing over Apiguard.

I will have a good look when I next open in another two weeks. There was only one grub in each cell. I had thought I might have drone layer. Will see when they are capped
 

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