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Greg S

OFF WITH HER HEAD Or NOT?????

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I have a hive  with a self-generated Queen which is at least 10 days old ( the date she was first seen in the hive)

 

She is not yet laying.

 

At what stage (time)   do I give up on her and replace her.

 

 

I was about to do that today as I had not seen her for 10 days and there were no eggs etc but at the last moment she decide to make an apprearnce

and confound me.

 

Comments from sages appreciated 

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Well, the fastest queen I have is laying at six days, which is an exception .   

You need patience. At ten days she’s barely out of nappies . 

If she’s there, leave them alone . Check back in three or four weeks for capped brood .

 

Did you know that when the queen is out flying and getting mated , the Bees left in the hive ‘appear’ queenless by the loud buzz the hive makes 

 

If the hive doesn’t have eggs a month after making the split , then you can start to get concerned . 

Edited by M4tt
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https://honeybeesuite.com/when-will-newly-hatched-queen-begin-lay/

According to M.E.A. McNeil in The Hive and the Honey Bee (2015), a new virgin queen does not become sexually mature for five to six days after emergence. A number of things need to happen before she is ready to fly. Like all insects, the outer layer of chitin covering her body must become hardened and thickened, a process that may take several days. In addition, her pheromones must develop so she will become attractive to flying drones.

 

 

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With bees you can often get a better result by going slower. In a hive with a newly hatched queen I wouldn't even open it for at least 3 weeks. At that time I might see eggs but if not I'd give it another week. Only exception would be if the bees are letting me know they have no queen at all I'd put some eggs in to test then maybe take remedial action based on the results of that.

Edited by Alastair

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2 hours ago, Alastair said:

With bees you can often get a better result by going slower. In a hive with a newly hatched queen I wouldn't even open it for at least 3 weeks. At that time I might see eggs but if not I'd give it another week. Only exception would be if the bees are letting me know they have no queen at all I'd put some eggs in to test then maybe take remedial action based on the results of that.

Thanks for this. 

 

Could you expand on the “letting me know they have no queen” comment if you have time?

 

I've seen a queenless hive or 2 but it took me a bit of exploring to work it out (and worker laying after I left them too long). How do experienced bee keepers tell from 5 metres away so easily? I noticed that they behave oddly when opened and sound different, but I was far from confident of the diagnosis. 

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Can't tell from 5 meters away, wish I could though!

 

What you said about the different sound and behaviour when they are opened is the main give away. Especially when a puff of smoke is blown over them.

 

Re experience, it's that. The more you work with bees and see these situations the more you recognise it, some things cannot be learned from a book.

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A queenless hive is  disorganised . Bees run about on the frames with no apparent purpose, nectar and pollen is stored randomly . If you have a circular brood area that’s cleaned out surrounded by a rainbow of fresh nectar and a bit of stored pollen , there will be a queen in there . 

I look for the clean brood cells , usually in the centre of the box , and not the queen , and listen for the sound they are making .

You don’t need to see the queen till you want to mark her , after there is capped brood .

Does it sound like a happy hive, or an unhappy one . 

You really don’t want to go poking around in there much before queen is laying . Just a quick peek to see if the cell has emerged , and if they have stored food 

Edited by M4tt
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10 hours ago, Alastair said:

With bees you can often get a better result by going slower. In a hive with a newly hatched queen I wouldn't even open it for at least 3 weeks. At that time I might see eggs but if not I'd give it another week. Only exception would be if the bees are letting me know they have no queen at all I'd put some eggs in to test then maybe take remedial action based on the results of that.

Why is it that you do not open a hive if there is a virgin in the hive 

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6 hours ago, kaihoka said:

Why is it that you do not open a hive if there is a virgin in the hive 

They're not completely settled in, are nervous, flighty, easily scared away ?

 

Edited by yesbut
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27 minutes ago, yesbut said:

They're not completely settled in, are nervous, flighty, easily scared away ?

 

So where do they go when they fly away . You would think they would come back other wise it's suicide to stay away .

Do they need the other bees to accompany them outside the hive so they won't get lost .

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53 minutes ago, kaihoka said:

So where do they go when they fly away . You would think they would come back other wise it's suicide to stay away .

Do they need the other bees to accompany them outside the hive so they won't get lost .

Eaten by a bird on the wing, blown too far away to make it back up wind to the hive. Got lost.

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8 hours ago, kaihoka said:

Why is it that you do not open a hive if there is a virgin in the hive 

 

You can and most times it will not be a problem. But it can cause the virgin to go missing, for whatever reason.

 

Here's a typical real life example, I supplied someone 27 queen cells for 27 nucs he had made. Told him to leave them alone for a month then check them out. Few days later though he rings up and says he's "been through" them and each queen cell had hatched normally and he saw some of the virgins. I got a sinking feeling and asked him not to do it again. But a few days later he rang and said he had been through them again and he thinks 2 were queenless. Arrrgh! So even though he did not follow instructions I drove over there with some new queen cells, had a look, and indeed the 2 nucs were queenless. So they got a new cell. And I told him do not do it again, last time he gets a free replacement.

 

But losing 2 virgins of the 27 would be a fairly typical result from a relatively new beekeeper giving an intensive examination to the 27 nucs.

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4 hours ago, Alastair said:

But losing 2 virgins of the 27 would be a fairly typical result from a relatively new beekeeper giving an intensive examination to the 27 nucs.

That's a lower percentage than I would have imagined

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That's pre mating flight, caused purely by disturbance to the nuc. 

 

More could be lost later at mating, don't think I heard the actual results in that case.

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We took a split on the 29th of October,  and she's only just laying today /yesterday. I'm glad we've kept an apiary diary because I must admit that I was starting to fret that she had failed. But the diary helps put the time line and reminds me to be a little patient haha. I definitely was going to write her off and intended to add another frame off eggs this weekend

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