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Queen cells, what to do?

 
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Bleith
Guard Bee


Joined: 05 Apr 2014
Posts: 51
Location: West Dundee, IL. USA

PostPosted: Sun Jun 15, 2014 10:41 pm    Post subject: Queen cells, what to do? Reply with quote

a few questions have come up. If I can only find a TBH proponent in the Chicago-land area in the USA I wouldn't have to bother you fine folks. came home today mid morning and and appeared they were going to swarm. thousands of bees flying around in the yard. after about 20 minutes they all seemed to semi cluster on the TBH and after another 20 minutes is was if nothing had happened. They all went back in side save maybe 200-300 bees still sitting around the entrance. I decided to do an inspection to see what might be going on and removed every bar.

Background: installed a queen and 3 lb package mid April. everything seemed to be going great. First time beekeeper. you can read all you want but until you do it you really don't have a clue is what I am finding out LOL

fast forward to today during my inspection I found 4 queen cells. I know of at least 2 were capped for sure and I know one wasn't (had she hatched already? i don't know)

Anyway, do I leave the cells? Will they swarm? I have a bait box a friend loaned me that can hold about 10 top bars... Should i put one of the bars with a queen cell and brood along with some bees into it?

I really don't have any idea what I suppose to do.
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Dexter's shed
Scout Bee


Joined: 16 May 2014
Posts: 307
Location: Grays, Essex, UK

PostPosted: Mon Jun 16, 2014 1:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

ok, so they want to swarm, or already have as the first queen would normally swarm when the cells are capped, and you may have a virgin queen from the un capped cell, and she could either swarm herself, or tear down the remaining cells, so really you have two options

1, walk away and let the bees do what comes naturally, they will swarm however number of times, leaving you less and less bees, but you will end up with bees and a virgin queen in your hive, you could place out some bait boxes in the hope of catching a swarm or two, and tell neighbours to ring you, if any land on their properties

2, get back in there and search for a queen, then

1, if you find her, do an artificial swarm, place her and loads of bees into another nuc, with foundation or wax starter strips and stores only, no brood
she will think they have swarmed

2, if you don't find her, take a bar with a cell, and lots and lots of bees, and stores and brood and place them in a nuc, place them down, the foraging bees will return to the mother hive, but you'll be left with nurse bees and brood yet to emerge, this will be a new colony, and those in the mother hive would be a new colony, giving you around 3 lots, if any of the cells fail to hatch, you can always combine the bees back together

here's a good link to bee math

http://www.bushfarms.com/beesmath.htm
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Bleith
Guard Bee


Joined: 05 Apr 2014
Posts: 51
Location: West Dundee, IL. USA

PostPosted: Mon Jun 16, 2014 5:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

So, They swarmed today. High up in a tree that I have no way of getting to. I have a bait box in my yard on a fence between 2 bushes and a neighbor has a box in his yard but is about 3 blocks away.

Any suggestions for the remaining bees? Leave as is and see how it goes? Does the fact that they swarmed mean there is already a new queen?

So, so much to learn
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Dexter's shed
Scout Bee


Joined: 16 May 2014
Posts: 307
Location: Grays, Essex, UK

PostPosted: Mon Jun 16, 2014 6:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

they swarmed leaving either a virgin queen, or capped yet to hatch swarm cells,

so, they may throw out yet another cast swarm, you could go back into the hive and look, same amount of queen cells as per last visit?
more open then before?
if all open, look for a queen, but if you don't find, don't worry too much, check for eggs, if there's eggs, then those that swarmed today had a mated queen, if no eggs present, then probably a virgin queen that left

if you can find an uncapped queen cell that has a larvae in it with royal jelly, then you could leave this and remove all other cells, that would mean when it hatches, they wont swarm, leaving an already capped cell is risky, as you don't know what's inside it, sometimes bees re cap open cells
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Bleith
Guard Bee


Joined: 05 Apr 2014
Posts: 51
Location: West Dundee, IL. USA

PostPosted: Mon Jun 16, 2014 8:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

completed a full inspection (to my knowledge anyway). I did not find an actual queen. Did find 3 queen cells. 2 were open and had what appeared larvae in both. Royal jelly? hard to say, but I left both of them.. There was one capped queen cell (i removed it) It did appear to have a larvae in there.

I did not see any eggs, there did appear to be capped brood and uncapped larvae.

The entrance had a lot of drones around it and plenty of foraging activity. I did observe pollen coming in.

Whats next?

Dexter's shed, thanks for the help to this point
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Dexter's shed
Scout Bee


Joined: 16 May 2014
Posts: 307
Location: Grays, Essex, UK

PostPosted: Mon Jun 16, 2014 8:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

ok, you need to keep checking those two cells, once capped you have 8 maybe 9 days before they hatch, cells are normally staggered on their age, so they don't all emerge at the same time,

are both cells on the same frame/comb?
if they are, get a thin filleting knife and cut around one queen cell once it's capped, leaving a good 10mm all around, this can then be pushed into the comb on another frame

so what I would do, is keep checking till both cells are capped (may be a day or two apart) once capped, make up a nuc box if you have enough bees, put one cell with comb,brood,bees etc into your nuc, the foraging bees of course will fly back to your main hive, but nurse bee and newly hatched brood stays, your main hive will be the stronger of the two, but only having one cell each they shouldn't swarm, and if by bad luck, one cell fails to hatch, you then have that nuc with the back up queen to add back into the main hive, if both hatch, then you have a new colony
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Bleith
Guard Bee


Joined: 05 Apr 2014
Posts: 51
Location: West Dundee, IL. USA

PostPosted: Mon Jun 16, 2014 8:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sounds good, will do that. what if over the next couple of days, I find some new eggs? That would tell me there is a live queen in there. Should I keep the 2 queen cells? Make a split? I don't have 2 nucs Only 1. I suppose I could make one up real quick.
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Dexter's shed
Scout Bee


Joined: 16 May 2014
Posts: 307
Location: Grays, Essex, UK

PostPosted: Mon Jun 16, 2014 9:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bleith wrote:
Sounds good, will do that. what if over the next couple of days, I find some new eggs? That would tell me there is a live queen in there. Should I keep the 2 queen cells? Make a split? I don't have 2 nucs Only 1. I suppose I could make one up real quick.



if a queen was in there, she would either swarm or stay, if stay, she would remove those cells herself, plus a virgin queen can take up to 4 weeks before she starts laying

so do you have a tbh and 1 nuc, or just a nuc?
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Bleith
Guard Bee


Joined: 05 Apr 2014
Posts: 51
Location: West Dundee, IL. USA

PostPosted: Tue Jun 17, 2014 12:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have a tbh that I have been using and I do have one nuc available that is empty.

Also, I assume i need to check the queen cell everyday to see when it is capped?
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Dexter's shed
Scout Bee


Joined: 16 May 2014
Posts: 307
Location: Grays, Essex, UK

PostPosted: Tue Jun 17, 2014 1:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bleith wrote:
I have a tbh that I have been using and I do have one nuc available that is empty.

Also, I assume i need to check the queen cell everyday to see when it is capped?


ok, so your tbh will have one cell, the nuc the other, I would have checked every other day to keep disturbance to a minimum, as once capped you have just over a week before hatching, so a day here or there wont matter, as soon as you see both capped, then transfer one to the nuc, along with a bar or two (depending how many bars you have in the tbh) and a good half of your bees, remember all the foragers will fly back, so you wont be taking half as such, depending on how much stores/brood your able to put in the nuc, you may want to feed them for a few days,
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Bleith
Guard Bee


Joined: 05 Apr 2014
Posts: 51
Location: West Dundee, IL. USA

PostPosted: Tue Jun 17, 2014 2:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I will keep you posted. I can't thank you enough for your time and help
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Dexter's shed
Scout Bee


Joined: 16 May 2014
Posts: 307
Location: Grays, Essex, UK

PostPosted: Tue Jun 17, 2014 3:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

if it all goes to plan, it'll be worth it,
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Bleith
Guard Bee


Joined: 05 Apr 2014
Posts: 51
Location: West Dundee, IL. USA

PostPosted: Wed Jun 18, 2014 2:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

So it appears that there is one capped cell now. So according to bee math I should have a queen in 8-9 days? Then she must mate with drones. At second glance it appears the second QC has nothing in it. So I guess I will not be making a split. Should I continue to look for other queen cells? I did not do that on the last inspection[/quote]
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Dexter's shed
Scout Bee


Joined: 16 May 2014
Posts: 307
Location: Grays, Essex, UK

PostPosted: Thu Jun 19, 2014 12:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

weekly inspections are always good, sometimes even sooner with possible queen cells, the qc that's empty, was it ever filled? could that have hatched and swarmed?? leaving the single qc??
these are all questions that we all have, not just you, it would normal take a week for them to build a cell, but of course they would need an egg/larvae to fill it, what's the situation in the hive with brood?
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Bleith
Guard Bee


Joined: 05 Apr 2014
Posts: 51
Location: West Dundee, IL. USA

PostPosted: Thu Jun 19, 2014 5:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The qc that is empty never appeared to be capped. There is one that is capped. The uncapped one at further inspection appears empty. Seems like there are plenty bees bringing in pollen. Some brood left from previous queen? I plan on doing another full look in a few days. Don't won't to bother them to much. I will look hard for any eggs and will take pictures of comb and post them. Hopefully the one that is capped will hatch and turn out to be a good queen. Let's see what happens. I will keep you posted
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Bleith
Guard Bee


Joined: 05 Apr 2014
Posts: 51
Location: West Dundee, IL. USA

PostPosted: Sat Jun 21, 2014 4:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

So I did an inspection yesterday, 3 days after I determined I have 1 capped queen cell. It looks like I have another capped queen cell, but of course I have no idea if they capped and old one or there is an actual larvae in it.

overall the colony appears to be doing OK at this point. bringing in pollen and nectar. Seems to be plenty of drones and workers and also still a little bit of drone brood and worker brood however the numbers on capped brood is dwindling.

At this point I am 4-5 days away from a queen emerging from the oldest cell. once she hatches, what is my next move? Do I let what happens happen? What are the chances she will swarm? do I then get rid of the other QC? Will she do it on her own?

Should I remove that comb along with a couple of other bars and put it in a nuc and see what happens and see if anything emerges form the other cell? Sorry Dexter's shed, the questions just keep coming LOL
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Dexter's shed
Scout Bee


Joined: 16 May 2014
Posts: 307
Location: Grays, Essex, UK

PostPosted: Sun Jun 22, 2014 1:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

if there was definetly no larvae in that queen cell when you checked 3 days ago, and now its capped, I would think its empty, as Im sure I read somewhere that a queen larvae gets fed royal jelly for 6 days, now I sppose if they put a 3 day old larvae in there that would make it the 6 days, but Im unsure if they can move whilst feeding royal jelly, perhaps someone else can add info?

I copied this though, which may help on your days

Sometimes you just have to figure best and worst case. For instance, an uncapped queen cell with a larvae in it is between four and eight days old (from the egg). A capped queen cell is between eight and sixteen days old. By looking at the tip of the cell you can tell one that is just capped (soft and white) from one that is about to emerge (brown and papery and often cleaned down to the cocoon by the workers). A soft white queen cell is between eight and twelve days old. A papery one is between thirteen and sixteen days old. The queen will emerge at sixteen (fifteen if it's hot out). She'll be laying by twenty eight days usually.

Michael Bush

email address
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Bleith
Guard Bee


Joined: 05 Apr 2014
Posts: 51
Location: West Dundee, IL. USA

PostPosted: Sat Jun 28, 2014 4:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Here's an update. Original capped queen cell appears to have emerged. Nice clean opening at the bottom of the comb. 3 other potential queen cells look like they may have been torn open. I assume the emerged queen had them terminated? So I suppose the next step is the queen has a mating flight and becomes fertilized and then will start laying eggs which I hope to see in a week or so? Then new bees in another 3 weeks? Anyway, thanks for all the input and here's to hoping the colony can flourish and build enough stores for winter
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Bleith
Guard Bee


Joined: 05 Apr 2014
Posts: 51
Location: West Dundee, IL. USA

PostPosted: Sun Jul 06, 2014 3:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I believe I spotted the new queen today. So hopefully the colony will begin to build in a month or so. Seems to be a lot of nectar and a fare amount of capped honey. Most of the brood left from the older queen has just about hatched.
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