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Michelle L.

NZBF Queen Cup with grub advice

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Hi everyone, 

I posted saying the other day how happy I was with how my small swarm had grown out to nearly filling a FD box (under general beekeeping). While I was having a look through the hive I saw a shallow queen cup with a grub inside. I was unsure if this would grow in to a queen as it wasn't long like a peanut... Do they add to it as it grows? 

 

The next day I attended a local bee club and mentioned this to one of the beekeepers. He said I could move the frame with the cup up to a second box and put an excluder between, to create another queen/hive. He mentioned putting corflute(for sale sign) in between the boxes (on top of the excluder). 

I'm  keen to give this a try but dont have any corflute (I see its available at bunnings, so can get some if its reccomend).

Is it too risky to just use an excluder alone? Do the two queens pheromones mix and cause confusion/fighting? 

 

Thanks for any advice, 

 

Michelle (and yes I have a case of serious hive creep fever!) 

Edited by Michelle L.

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I have just made a split from a cell I found. While I haven’t transplanted then I to a proper nuc yet (in a cardboard one now) I have made what I think is a better solution.

 

A normal hive with a board that blocks the box down to how ever many frames I want it to be. The board is about the size of a frame but touches the floor and hive mat. Took 20 mins to make with the skill saw.

 

I’ll reduce the entrance right down (completely on the empty sized of the hive). 

 

Corflute is traditionally obtained via looting I believe. Ideally from an agent you have a particular hate for, though if in Auckland it may be hard to pick which one. 

 

Any spare cement board or rigid plastic sheet should do. How are you going to make an entrance with that technique?

Edited by cBank

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8 minutes ago, cBank said:

I have just made a split from a cell I found. While I haven’t transplanted then I to a proper nuc yet (in a cardboard one now) I have made what I think is a better solution.

 

A normal hive with a board that blocks the box down to how ever many frames I want it to be. The board is about the size of a frame but touches the floor and hive mat. Took 20 mins to make with the skill saw.

 

I’ll reduce the entrance right down (completely on the empty sized of the hive). 

 

Corflute is traditionally obtained via looting I believe. Ideally from an agent you have a particular hate for, though if in Auckland it may be hard to pick which one. 

 

Any spare cement board or rigid plastic sheet should do. How are you going to make an entrance with that technique?

Hehe at looting - it had crossed my mind ?

I wasn't going to block the top box off completely... Could I  just use an excluder to separate the two queen's until the Queen cup Queen hatches... Then transfer to a nuc and move further away to stop workers returning to their old hive? 

 

This is not something I had considered doing until it was mentioned yesterday... The thought of creating another hive is an exciting prospect! However I have no idea how to go about it...it seems theres a number of ways. Would an excluder alone work? The bees would all still go through the one entrance...or will that cause fighting? 

Edited by Michelle L.

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Think about how the virgin queen will get out to mate and return.

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2 minutes ago, Dave Black said:

Think about how the virgin queen will get out to mate and return.

Oh gosh! I had completely overlooked this! Thank you for pointing this out. 

What if I found the current mated queen and put her with half the frames in a top box above excluder? 

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11 minutes ago, Michelle L. said:

Would an excluder alone work? The bees would all still go through the one entrance...or will that cause fighting? 

 

I’m told they may still fight (but am not experienced enough to know).

 

I took the frame with a grub, and another 3 brood, much of it capped brood, close to hatching. I also took a frame of honey that was full.

 

After 16 days I had a brief peep - saw a virgin in the first frame which was the honey frame. After a wet windy week they had eaten most of the frame. I closed it up. 

 

Now I will wait another few weeks before looking again. This is the hardest part - not looking.

 

Interestingly, they have started collecting pollen in a big way in the last few days, which they weren’t a week ago. I take this to be a good sign.

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15 minutes ago, Michelle L. said:

What if I found the current mated queen and put her with half the frames in a top box above excluder?

 

13 minutes ago, cBank said:

I’m told they may still fight

Well, the queens fighting isn't necessarily the issue. If the workers are shared they may have no need to have a second queen. Most of the time its bees that destroy queen cells, not the queen. Putting aside things you might get away with, if you want a split make a split.

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It seems to be standard that there isn’t a universally agreed way to do anything when it come to bees. The below thread has helped me with a few decisions @Michelle L., obviously you can adapt it to use less egg frames if you already have a cell with a grub or egg. Make sure you don’t touch it at all - they are extremely fragile.

 

 

Edited by cBank
Better words.
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2 minutes ago, cBank said:

It seems to be standard that there isn’t a universally agreed way to do anything when it come to bees

A common view, but erroneous, or maybe a little harsh. The reason there are different ways of doing things is that we all have different starting points, and are trying to get to a different place at a different speed.

 

Not unlike the personal computer, or a personal smartphone. No two are alike. :)

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Thanks for your input @cBank and @Dave Black. I think I'll go ahead and give it a try. At worst the bees may destroy the queen cell and I am back to one queen. Either way it will be good learning for me. Wish me luck... Finding the queen is getting easier but still takes some time. I'll update as time goes on.

Thanks again, 

Michelle. 

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You can do this without finding the queen if you want.

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Update: Found the queen on the first frame #winning! 

Then tried and failed to locate the queen cup. Started to second guess which of my hives I had even seen it in. Decided I was out of my depth and should just add another box as all frames were drawn out and had either eggs, larve or honey. Found a nice frame of mainly uncapped nectar and moved that to top box. Returned queen frame (visually found and admired her hehe) back to bottom box and added a frame of undrawn foundation to outside of box. 

I guess I'll get to do a split in the future instead.

Thanks again for everyone's advice, i will know my options if i come across this situation in the future. 

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The queen cell you found and wanted to take sounds like a supersedure cell anyway so probably not a bad thing to let the bees sort it out as their will be a reason for it. 

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I agree with @Stoney.

I’d say the bees are having intent to replace your swarm queen , and by that , I mean that can have several attempts . They make a queen cup , feed the grub , then remove it and evidence of the process. Eventually they’ll rear one right through that they like . 

While you can take the cell and grub for a split , more often than not , they’ll get rid of it and make an emergency cell. Who knows why , but I’ve seen it enough to know that they seem to do something other than what the beekeeper wants to do . 

If I find a supercedure in process , I generally let them carry on , unless it’s a hive with traits I don’t like 

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@M4tt how do you distinguish supercedure from a swarm attempt? Number of cells? Position of cells?

 

I have one that keeps making cells (numerous, low on frames) and I get a series of different options on what it’s trying to do swarm v supercedure.  I’d love to leave it to sort itself, but really doesn’t t want to cause an urban swarm.

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2 hours ago, cBank said:

@M4tt how do you distinguish supercedure from a swarm attempt? Number of cells? Position of cells?

 

I have one that keeps making cells (numerous, low on frames) and I get a series of different options on what it’s trying to do swarm v supercedure.  I’d love to leave it to sort itself, but really doesn’t t want to cause an urban swarm.

I can’t tell ?. I make an educated guess based on the time of the year . Something like ‘Searming is highly unlikely now, but supercedure is likely ‘. 

October through to end of December I don’t trust multiple cells as any size hive  can swarm 

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The bit that gets me is how sly they seem

to be. Wax foundation let’s them mess

with me, and cells can be squirrelled away in such unlikely corners. Plastic foundation would seem easier for beginners, bit I really like wooden ones.

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2 hours ago, cBank said:

but really doesn’t t want to cause an urban swarm.

There's a load of rubbish spoken about about swarms in my view. They're usually highly sought after !

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36 minutes ago, yesbut said:

There's a load of rubbish spoken about about swarms in my view. They're usually highly sought after !

I have only caught one and I’d love to do it again, but I want to catch one from

someone else. The last thing I want is the neighbours hacked off at me. 

The tiny swarm I caught had them call the council, 2x exterminators and banging on my door. The exterminators turned up and sprayed insecticide everywhere as I was sweeping the bees into the box. They killed everything I didn’t take and I’d really wanted to leave the box there for a few hours. 

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