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RoseCottage 

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We had our main hive survive winter and grow prostigiously. We saw our 09 queen, eggs, and a lot of brood and lots of drones.

About three weeks ago, we lost sight of the queen and we started to see capped queen cells (capped and filled with Royal Jelly) so we scratched them out on the assumption that she was still inside the hive. Another week no sign of the queen but the colony looked very strong and some more queen cells so we destroyed these too. Then another week, more honey, and yet still no sign of the queen.

More queen cells appeared on frames 2 and 4. We decided she must have left and we needed to split the colony into two and place queen cells in the two halves to let them hatch and recover the situation.

Meanwhile the colony seemed to be really huge and the girls have really been busy - we have had 89lbs of honey in just over 4 weeks from them. No sign of young larvae or eggs. Lots of honey stores in the brood chamber.

Well we went up on Saturday having spent ages building the third hive, frames, etc. All fired up and ready for action.

When we got there and went through the brood we saw no queen cells on frame 2 or 4. They had been removed?!? There was a hint on frame 3 that queen cells had been on it but the empty residue of a cell had a great hole in the side which looked like poor construction rather than a hatching queen.

But we did find a queen cell on frame 6 instead and have left this to hatch (if we are lucky I guess).

So my question is that given the current situation are we doing the right thing? Should I be buying a queen in a cage? Do you think that she may still be in there?

We have left the freshly prepared new hive in position in-case they decide they need to swarm (It is empty and sitting next door to the original hive) hoping that they might move right in.

We also have a new colony and failed to spot the 09 queen in that at the weekend but it is a small colony (been with us 4 weeks from Thornes) so probably she was just hidden. No queen cells to be seen but probably not enough brood to give a frame to the main hive unless we absolutely have to.


All the best,
Sam
 

rae 

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No eggs or larvae suggests no queen - she should certainly still be laying quite well at the moment.

I'm wondering how they are making queen cells with no apparent queen. Are you sure there is no brood at all? Even small patches?

If you found capped queen cells initially, then it is likely that she had already departed, so you may have torn down the swarm cells left behind.

I would suggest a test frame - a frame with some eggs. If they start filling the odd cell with royal jelly, then building queen cells, you are queenless. If they just raise brood normally, you are queen right. If you are queenless, I'd get one in from a local breeder, they've been quite a while with no queen, you need some brood in there sharpish!
 

admin 

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Why not work the apiary as a whole rather than hive-by-hive.
Its something I tend to do.

You could take a frame of brood from the nuc for the ? queenless hive to see if they build queen cells.

You could then take 3-4 frames of bees from the strong colony and use newspaper to unite them with the nuc,the nuc will then be strong with bees so the queen can go full power at egg laying rather than be held back by the number of bees available to cover/feed bees.

You can either take more bees than you want from the main hive allowing the foragers to return to the main hive,or shake the frames to remove the mature bees and then tap the younger bees into the nuc.
 

MuswellMetro 

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We had our main hive survive winter and grow prostigiously. We saw our 09 queen, eggs, and a lot of brood and lots of drones. LOTS DRONES YOUR BEES ARE TELLING YOU THEY WANT TO SWARM

About three weeks ago, we lost sight of the queen and we started to see capped queen cells (capped and filled with Royal Jelly) so we scratched them out on the assumption that she was still inside the hive. YOU SHOULS HAVE TAKEN SWARM PRECAUTION/SHOOK SWARM /OR ARTIFICIAL SWARM, KNOCKING DOWN DOES NOT TEMPER THEIR SWARM INSTINCTS.IF THEY WERE CAPPED YOU MISSED A 7 DAY INSPECTION,,BEES OFTEN SWARM ON CAPPING OF THE QC


Another week no sign of the queen but the colony looked very strong and some more queen cells so we destroyed these too. Then another week, more honey, and yet still no sign of the queen. OK NO SIGN MEANS WHAT? NO EGGS? NO BROOD? NO GRUBS? tell us what your hive records say

More queen cells appeared on frames 2 and 4.YOU STILL HAVE A QUEEN SOMEWHERE IF NOT CAPPED CELLS We decided she must have left and we needed to split the colony into two and place queen cells in the two halves to let them hatch and recover the situation.WHERE IS FRAME 2&4 NOW YOU SPLIT THE HIVE SEE BELOW NOT SURE WHAT YOU HAVE DONE

the colony " YOU SAD YOU SPLIT IT WHY SINGULAR seemed to be really huge and the girls have really been busy - we have had 89lbs of honey in just over 4 weeks from them. No sign of young larvae or eggs. Lots of honey stores in the brood chamber. NO SIGN IN BOTH SPLITS OR IS THIS ONLY ONE HIVE

Well we went up on Saturday having spent ages building the third hive, frames, etc. All fired up and ready for action.

When we got there and went through the brood we saw no queen cells on frame 2 or 4. They had been removed?!? There was a hint on frame 3 that queen cells had been on it but the empty residue of a cell had a great hole in the side which looked like poor construction rather than a hatching queen. IF YOU MAY HAVE A SCRUB VIRGIN QUEENS but YOU MAY HAVE LOST A SWARM OR YOUR OLD QUEEN, it will be upto 21 days before you see larvae if a scrub Queen or eggs & larvae next week if you have your old queen

But we did find a queen cell on frame 6 instead and have left this to hatch (if we are lucky I guess).WHERE IS FRAME 6, ,THE QUEEN WAS ON FRAME 6 UNTIL 7 DAYS AGO WHEN YOU SPLIT THE HIVE? Do you have eggs or larvae ?

So my question is that given the current situation are we doing the right thing? Should I be buying a queen in a cage? Do you think that she may still be in there?

We have left the freshly prepared new hive in position in-case they decide they need to swarm (It is empty and sitting next door to the original hive) hoping that they might move right in.

We also have a new colony and failed to spot the 09 queen in that at the weekend but it is a small colony (been with us 4 weeks from Thornes) so probably she was just hidden. No queen cells to be seen but probably not enough brood to give a frame to the main hive unless we absolutely have to.


All the best,
Sam
can you explain more fully. Are you saying you have split off a Nuc from the main hive or placed QC in seperate parts of the same hive?

it is unlikely that you will catch a swarm with a hive so close, they normally move 200yds from their own hive
 
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RoseCottage 

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All,
Thanks for taking the time to give me your thoughts.

Muswell, the original colony has been left untouched by my incompetent hands. The additional third hive is built and empty of bees and sitting next to the hive (3ft away). Sadly I am not able to set it up too far away as I have to move the 2 hives I have already (die to neighbour dissatisfaction) so positioning another hive will cause a riot.

The idea of adjusting the relative strengths of the hive is a good idea that never crossed my mind.

So I could:
1. Move a frame with eggs on into the large colony and wait and see.

2. Shift some frames with stores and sitting bees from the queenless hive into a brood box with newspaper above the existing colony in the new hive and boost the new hive queens capacity.

A couple of questions:

1. I guess that I still have some angst about the queen in the original hive. What if I just missed seeing her?
If I shift a frame with eggs over and they create a queen cell(s) then does that mean that they will swarm again if the existing queen cell hatches?

2. How long before they all start dying off? Afterall they may have been queenless for 3 weeks and don't they only live this time of year for about 6...

3. If I shift some bees sitting on BB frames with stores does that mean that they will just up and off and fly back to the original hive come nightfall? Do I just shiove a thin layer of newspaper under the frame and above it? Do I need a second entrance? I have a WBC and I am sure that the girls can get in between the door and the lifts. Will they just fight?

Sorry for being clumsy and ignorant,

All the best,
Sam.
 

MuswellMetro 

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All,
Thanks for taking the time to give me your thoughts.


Sorry for being clumsy and ignorant,

All the best,
Sam.
dont worry

i am still a little confused, if you have frame 6 with a QC capped that means the old queen laid eggs between 8 and 14 days before you saw the frame 6 QC (assume this is weekend) otherwise they could not make a QC. So why are you sure they have been queenless for three weeks?

QC= 3 days eggs, 5 days grub, 8 days pupa = 15 egg to hatch

assuming you inspected this weekend my veiw is that QC on frame 2 & 4 hatched about 9-10 days ago and your old queen left with a prime swarm as you now have no grubs but as the new virgin queen was not high in phermones they still made a scrub queen cells on frame 6 with the last grubs

but to confirm this we need to know when did you last see grubs/larvae, Do you keep records?

you are left with i think is a virgin queen that will be ready to lay in 10 to 14 days time and a QC. the QC will hatch and a caste this week will issue with the second scrub virgin queen but just in case i am wrong you need to leave it

where did you get the first bees from are they carnolians? . also why buy a second Nuc at great expense from Thornes...you must have been told how to swarm control bees which normally gives you if you want to expand between one to three extra colonies each year//they problem being not how to get new bees colonies but when and how to re combine other wise one, two, four, eight, sixteen...after fifth year//or if the are carnolians one, three, nine, twenytseven,eighty one:D
 
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RoseCottage 

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Muswell,
Thanks again for your thoughts...
Do we keep records? If I am honest not at the moment...newbies thinking - it was all a bit of a faff for a single hive. Perhaps now I can see some direct value!

I was confused a little also about the reappearence of queen cells (and also the mysterious disappearance of queen cells too). Perhaps she was still in there.

We checked on Saturday and then on the Monday before that (I had a day working from home!). The queen cells were there on the Monday and all gone on the Saturday. So once she is out do the girls tear the evidence down pronto?

We think that we last saw larvae probably two weeks ago, there were still capped brood cells in the colony on Saturday. We did try and look for a queen on Saturday but could not see one (new or old).


We bought both colonies from Thornes and believe them to be Carnolians. The second colony was bought as a gift by my new wife and ordered last August. Since then we have learnt a little more and now realise that their desire to swarm is very strong and we could have had a second colony for free.

If we get a little more experience and can cope we would look to split our hives each year and keep no more than four colonies in the summer (even this may be too much for our lifestyle). If we have to keep splitting again and again then we would put them in Nucs and move on those girls that we felt were too many for us.

We think though that we might need to understand their behaviour better though so we don't get in a mess like this all the time.

Our problems in this our second year come down to just not knowing what signs they give us and how to best handle them in response to these signs...hopefully a few more years...



All the best,
Sam
 

MuswellMetro 

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Muswell,
Thanks again for your thoughts...
1)Do we keep records? If I am honest not at the moment...newbies thinking - it was all a bit of a faff for a single hive. Perhaps now I can see some direct value!

2)I was confused a little also about the reappearence of queen cells (and also the mysterious disappearance of queen cells too). Perhaps she was still in there.

3) We checked on Saturday and then on the Monday before that (I had a day working from home!). The queen cells were there on the Monday and all gone on the Saturday. So once she is out do the girls tear the evidence down pronto?

4) We think that we last saw larvae probably two weeks ago, there were still capped brood cells in the colony on Saturday. We did try and look for a queen on Saturday but could not see one (new or old).


5) We bought both colonies from Thornes and believe them to be Carnolians. The second colony was bought as a gift by my new wife and ordered last August. Since then we have learnt a little more and now realise that their desire to swarm is very strong and we could have had a second colony for free.

If we get a little more experience and can cope we would look to split our hives each year and keep no more than four colonies in the summer (even this may be too much for our lifestyle). If we have to keep splitting again and again then we would put them in Nucs and move on those girls that we felt were too many for us.

We think though that we might need to understand their behaviour better though so we don't get in a mess like this all the time.

6)Our problems in this our second year come down to just not knowing what signs they give us and how to best handle them in response to these signs...hopefully a few more years...



All the best,
Sam
1) if you need help, you must keep records,this should have been stressed on you beekeeping course, also i hardly ever look for my queen, i just look for grubs and eggs i.e. the presence of a queen , if i see her so what, what i want to know is not if she is there but is she laying eggs

2) you must swarm control check every 7days in the swarm season. on the 8th day then they can swarm.

For you in andover that is most likely the 1st April to mid July, if you miss one QC they will swarm on caping of that QC (the 8th day after laying) If you see a QC, you should immediatly do a swarm control either artificial ,shook swarm, youb must always have a spare hive or two ( even if only a £17 Fragil Planet ply 14x12 brood or two supers on four brick and a bit of ply for the roof as an ememergency hive

Carnolian require at least a 14x12 hive or perhaps Double standard brood in your warm area, so if you have a standard hive, they will almost certainly continually swarm every week between 1st april to mid june, i expect thornes sold you only a standard thornes hive

3) yes, QC are torn down very soon after the old queen leaves, if you have done your swarm control, and it hatches in the old brood they should not swarm and you can recombine the Nuc by killing the old queen and using newspaper method ( i re queen)

4) that would fit with the QC on frame 6, but i suspect it will issue as a caste, really i would have been better to split if off last saturday and put it in a Nuc with some nurse Bees and stores and used it as a fall back if you dont have a queen

5) if you have hives ina gareden you may need to requeen with a somewhat less swarmy bee , carnolions are very gentle but even i could not control a free Nuc of carnolions this year :banghead: it swarmed 8 days after being split from a hive...made on thurdaay, swarmed friday, inspected satruday 2009 queen gone...i am re queening it later this year

6) your beekeeping course should have stress swarm control, i do not know waht book you use but i would suggest ted hooper's book as a bible or Cramp's book as a quick reference

anyway thanks for the mind test of trying to work out whats happend, iwas feeling bored but have not replied early as i have just had to drive from muswell hill london to bristol and back:auto:

and please post next inspection results or when you get new grubs

Geoff
 
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RoseCottage 

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Geoff,
Thank you for taking the time to think about my situation, your responses have probably been the most informative I have experienced here on the board.

I will go check out the hive at the weekend and see where I am left. I am guessing that the QC may have hatched if it has a larvae in it according to the calcualtion you gave earlier and if I am lucky.

Records will start being kept and I will update you on what I can find,
All the very best,
Sam
 

RoseCottage 

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An update on my situation:

Checked both our hives last Sunday afternoon
In the main hive I still have no sign of a queen and strangely no sign of the queen cell.
So perhaps she hatched ...Couldn't spot her. Hive was pretty active too.
Colony size is still not bad but seems a little smaller, perhaps the girls are dying off now.
All bees very very calm.
Brood box very full of stores and just a very small section of capped brood.

Checked my second colony and saw the queen. Also very very calm just now.
Moved a single frame of brood and eggs into the middle of the old colony from the new

Was concerned about the lack of laying space so have placed a brood frame of foundation next to new egg laden frame in old colony to give the girls something to build while waiting.

If the queen cell was real and she hatched does that mean that no new queen cells will be generated? Otherwise I will leave them alone for a week and check for queen cells next weekend expecting to find some?
Thanks for your thoughts,
Sam
 

Poly Hive 

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I strongly suspect that you have a virgin which from the timing you give is pretty much due to be mated and laying. Just give her another week.

I would not worry unduly about seeing the queen every inspection. There is no need at all. SO LONG AS you see eggs and young larvae present the queen was there over the previous four days and that is all you need to know in that department.

PH
 

Eyeman 

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If the queen cell was real and she hatched does that mean that no new queen cells will be generated
The test frame of eggs will tell you if the colony is queenright or queenless. If they build queencells they are queenless.
Was concerned about the lack of laying space so have placed a brood frame of foundation next to new egg laden frame in old colony to give the girls something to build while waiting.
If the colony decide to build queen cells made sure there is some pollen on the frame next to the test frame so that any new queen gets well fed.
 

Peter Cox 

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An update on my situation:

Checked both our hives last Sunday afternoon
In the main hive I still have no sign of a queen and strangely no sign of the queen cell.
So perhaps she hatched ...Couldn't spot her. Hive was pretty active too.
Colony size is still not bad but seems a little smaller, perhaps the girls are dying off now.
All bees very very calm.
Brood box very full of stores and just a very small section of capped brood.

Checked my second colony and saw the queen. Also very very calm just now.
Moved a single frame of brood and eggs into the middle of the old colony from the new

Was concerned about the lack of laying space so have placed a brood frame of foundation next to new egg laden frame in old colony to give the girls something to build while waiting.

If the queen cell was real and she hatched does that mean that no new queen cells will be generated? Otherwise I will leave them alone for a week and check for queen cells next weekend expecting to find some?
Thanks for your thoughts,
Sam
14th june you said
When we got there and went through the brood we saw no queen cells on frame 2 or 4. They had been removed?!? There was a hint on frame 3 that queen cells had been on it but the empty residue of a cell had a great hole in the side which looked like poor construction rather than a hatching queen.
The cell with a hole in the side could be the result of a newly hatched queen offing the rivals. That would be roughly correct timing for the her to have mated and started laying thus creating the
very small section of capped brood
you reported now.
You probably should be checking for the presence of eggs and/or a growing amount of capped brood.
 

RoseCottage 

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Thanks for your thoughts but the capped brood were I assumed the last of the last rather than the first of a new world. We are talking a small square of about 20-30 cells...

Sadly...

All the best,
Sam
 

RoseCottage 

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update

We placed a test frame into the hive from our new nuc colony 2 weeks ago.
No new queen cells appeared.
Instead we have spotted eggs on other frames and also very young larvae. Hurrah!

PHEW

we have a queen but I cannot find her. We want to mark her if possible but perhaps that is pushing our luck a bit...

In the time when we didn't have a laying queen the girls have really been busy filling the bb with stores - some capped others not.

I cannot spin this in my extractor so need to persuade them to shift it into the supers. It may be a mix of osr and other runny honey sources like beech, clover, etc.

What does 'bruising' mean when the honey is not capped?

Once again thanks for the educational advice,
All the best,
Sam
 

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Hi Sam,

Are you a member of Andover BKA? Sounds like you could do with a mentor- I joined last year & have had a lot of help from them (and from here!), Sometimes it helps just to have someone to chat to - it's a lot quicker that the forum!

Drop me a PM if you'd like to come along to a meeting to meet everyone.

Good luck

Mike
 
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RoseCottage 

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Mike,
Thanks for your comment. Yes we are members of Andover association. We haven't been to any apiary meets this year due to a very tight calendar ...getting married comes first over the girls I'm afraid.

I have spoken to jolyon a couple of times and Jim visited us mid April but you know I feel a little uncomfortable asking them too many questions as I could easily become a pain in the as*.

Here people react quickly, with humour, courtesy and patience. I am very grateful. Of-course, unlike Jim or Jolyon when their phone goes, people here can choose to ignore my daft questions...

All the best,
Sam
 
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garethbryson 

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dont worry

i am still a little confused, if you have frame 6 with a QC capped that means the old queen laid eggs between 8 and 14 days before you saw the frame 6 QC (assume this is weekend) otherwise they could not make a QC. So why are you sure they have been queenless for three weeks?

QC= 3 days eggs, 5 days grub, 8 days pupa = 15 egg to hatch

assuming you inspected this weekend my veiw is that QC on frame 2 & 4 hatched about 9-10 days ago and your old queen left with a prime swarm as you now have no grubs but as the new virgin queen was not high in phermones they still made a scrub queen cells on frame 6 with the last grubs

but to confirm this we need to know when did you last see grubs/larvae, Do you keep records?

you are left with i think is a virgin queen that will be ready to lay in 10 to 14 days time and a QC. the QC will hatch and a caste this week will issue with the second scrub virgin queen but just in case i am wrong you need to leave it

where did you get the first bees from are they carnolians? . also why buy a second Nuc at great expense from Thornes...you must have been told how to swarm control bees which normally gives you if you want to expand between one to three extra colonies each year//they problem being not how to get new bees colonies but when and how to re combine other wise one, two, four, eight, sixteen...after fifth year//or if the are carnolians one, three, nine, twenytseven,eighty one:D
Thats what i was thinking too. If you hed no queen and there was more QC every time you looked. That would lead me to believe that the latter QC's would not be up to much as they would have been drawn from eggs that were too old??
 

karl moss 

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NO daft questions

Hi
I had the same problems as you two years ago, and like you, my lifestyle/work kept me away from my local meetings, i found this forum absolutely invaluable. in my opinion there is no such thing as a daft question, we all need to learn and keep on learning,thats why i keep reading these posts,many years ago during my apprentiship an old timer said to me never be ashamed of asking questions,but be very ashamed of not wanting to know
keep asking there is a wealth of experience here, and you need all the help and encouragement you can get :)
 

Eyeman 

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Instead we have spotted eggs on other frames and also very young larvae. Hurrah!
Don't want to sound like a party pooper but wait for the capping before opening the bubbly.
I've got excited only to find I've a drone laying queen.
 
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