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Dead or live eggs?

 
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Heartstone
Guard Bee


Joined: 02 Sep 2012
Posts: 65
Location: CO Sligo, Ireland

PostPosted: Tue Jul 21, 2015 2:49 pm    Post subject: Dead or live eggs? Reply with quote

How do you tell the difference between healthy and dead eggs?

How long will the bees leave them in the hive if the hive is full of bees?

The reason I am asking is that had a queen disappear from one of my hives that was (and still is) full of bees. I was not sure if they had managed to make a new queen successfully, so last week I gave them some frames of mixed brood (eggs, young and old larvae, capped worker brood). After inspecting them 7 days later there are a lot of eggs in the hive, nice and pearly white. I can't find any larvae at all but there is capped worker brood. They are bringing in pollen, but I have seen that with queenless hives.

I made the mistake of not marking the bars of the brood I gave them so I am trying to work out if they are new eggs or old dead eggs.

Along with that question is another, how long do eggs survive during an inspection, and how long does a full inspection normally take?
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Barbara
Site Admin


Joined: 27 Jul 2011
Posts: 1581
Location: England/Co.Durham/Ebchester

PostPosted: Tue Jul 21, 2015 3:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi

I've never even considered the thought of dead eggs. I'm not sure if that is physically possible. Eggs are eggs.... either they are fertilised and become workers or unfertilised and become drones. I imagine if they are not viable for some strange reason, the nurse bees will remove them pretty quickly.

I think you can safely assume that if you are seeing eggs then they have been laid in the past 3 days .... either by a queen or a laying worker. The capped worker brood will be from the frame of brood you gave them. It would therefore appear that your colony had a queen all along. There is an outside chance that they have developed laying workers, but my bet is on a young queen that has just come into lay.

A full inspection of a hive with several supers can take as much as half an hour, but usually 10-15 mins... it depends what you are looking for. If you want to find the queen.... perhaps to remove her to do a split.... and she's being evasive it obviously takes longer. Assuming you are doing the inspection on a warm day, there is no real detriment to eggs during an inspection. Probably the larvae are more at risk but the bees usually cover them to keep them warm.

Regards

Barbara
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Heartstone
Guard Bee


Joined: 02 Sep 2012
Posts: 65
Location: CO Sligo, Ireland

PostPosted: Tue Jul 21, 2015 5:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks once again Barbara.

The pattern of eggs was good and also all single eggs. Some on new comb. I was sure that they had eggs in more than the frames I gave them, but my memory is not as good as it used to be.

Funny thing is I listen to the hives everyday and about 2-3 days before the inspection the hive became much quieter. This hive like the last one I was asking about must have taken a while for the Queen to start laying. The last one took about 6 weeks, this one has taken about the same amount of time from when I first saw the emergency cells..

I though that dead eggs were unlikely but being relatively new to it all I was not 100% sure (3rd year only).

Thing is, I have also transferred all my hives to Tanzanian top bars. There was a lot of cross comb in the Nationals and therefore it took me longer than I would have liked.

If indeed there is a queen in this hive (and I agree with you it is very possible if not probable) then I will have 3 more hives then I started out with at the beginning of the year. Double my original number.
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AugustC
Silver Bee


Joined: 08 Jul 2013
Posts: 613
Location: Malton, North Yorkshire

PostPosted: Wed Jul 22, 2015 12:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

"dead" eggs would be removed by the bees.
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Heartstone
Guard Bee


Joined: 02 Sep 2012
Posts: 65
Location: CO Sligo, Ireland

PostPosted: Wed Jul 22, 2015 10:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

In that case they must have a laying queen. I picked up another two nucs today from the same supplier that I got my hives from last year. He tells me that these bees take a lot longer than 4 weeks to start laying.

Whatever the case the bees I have now (touch wood) appear to be real survivors.
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David43
House Bee


Joined: 01 Nov 2015
Posts: 14
Location: USA

PostPosted: Sun Nov 01, 2015 12:52 am    Post subject: Re: Dead or live eggs? Reply with quote

Bees will remove dead eggs withing some hours. If you see eggs that means they are not dead.
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newbeekeeper1
House Bee


Joined: 15 Nov 2015
Posts: 13
Location: usa

PostPosted: Sun Nov 15, 2015 8:11 pm    Post subject: Re: Dead or live eggs? Reply with quote

The eggs you saw are live.
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