Two seemingly queenless hives...did we get this right?

soarwitheagles

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Hi all!

During our weekly inspection time, we discovered two of our six beehives apparently queenless [could not find any queen, but more important, no eggs, no larvae at all]. These eggless and larveless hives did have lots of honey, pollen, and bees.

Both of these hives were split off from healthy hives about one month ago, VSH bees were introduced at that time.

Yesterday, after seeing no queen, no eggs, and no larvae, we decided to "steal" four frames of fresh larvae, eggs, honey, pollen etc. from our healthy queen right hives and place two of each of the frames in the queenless hives. We did shake off the bees before transferring the frames to the queenless hives...

Not so sure we did the right thing.

Did we get it right or should we have done something else?

Please give us some good advice or suggestions.

Thanks!

PS We recently purchased Mannlake's queen making kits and I hope to begin making some queens/nucs in the near future to cover disasters like this...
 

Happy Chooks

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You need to transfer eggs, not larva to the queenless splits. They can only make a queen from eggs that are less than 3 days old. Hopefully there are some eggs on those frames that you transferred.
 

soarwitheagles

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You need to transfer eggs, not larva to the queenless splits. They can only make a queen from eggs that are less than 3 days old. Hopefully there are some eggs on those frames that you transferred.

HC,

Thanks for the reply, but now I am not so sure what to do now...:confused:

I asked at another forum and am being told that the bees will not even begin to make the queen cell until after the egg has hatched and become a larvae...:ep

Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm....who do I believe?:idunno

Now I wish I had taken my time more...problem was, it was getting late, not much sunlight left, and I could not find the frames that had massive tiny eggs...

Early in the inspection, my wife and I were admiring how many eggs the queen in hive #1 had laid...there were eggs/larvae in 8 out of the 10 frames...but two of those frames had more eggs that I had ever seen before...problem was, I couldn't find them later on...it was getting dark outside and even with flashlight...no go...

Wow! I sure hope they will make some queen cells from the tiny larvae...

Anyone know how long I should wait before re-examining for queen cells?

I think according to the charts, somewhere around day #?

It looks to me somewhere between day 11 and 16? Am I see this right?

Bee life cycle chart 1.JPG
Bee life cycle chart 1.JPG
 

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babsbag

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It is my understanding that uncapped brood or eggs will do the trick and you will see a queen cell within three days if the hive is truly queenless.
 

Happy Chooks

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I saw that post, interesting. (only 4 years into beekeeping, on my 5th now) I've just always read that you want eggs for making a queen. Going to go re-look that up. Chances are if you have young larva in there, you probably have eggs too.

As for the queen cells, capping is at Day 8 (+/-1 day) The bees will cover them up well, so you have to lightly blow on the bees to see the cell. See here:
http://www.bushfarms.com/beesmath.htm
 

soarwitheagles

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It is my understanding that uncapped brood or eggs will do the trick and you will see a queen cell within three days if the hive is truly queenless.

Thanks! Hope to salvage these two hives...

I saw that post, interesting. (only 4 years into beekeeping, on my 5th now) I've just always read that you want eggs for making a queen. Going to go re-look that up. Chances are if you have young larva in there, you probably have eggs too.

As for the queen cells, capping is at Day 8 (+/-1 day) The bees will cover them up well, so you have to lightly blow on the bees to see the cell. See here:
http://www.bushfarms.com/beesmath.htm

Excellent beemath article! Thank you HC! I copied it and will keep it in my bee book for future references!

PS I found the following exerpt from Roger Patterson. I sure hope he is right! Otherwise, I think our two queenless hives could cerainly be in great peril...

The following are my observations of what happens in a colony when it is made queenless:-

The bees are aware of the absence of their queen within an hour. They become a little agitated and after a couple of hours there is a definite change, with bees appearing to search for their queen and the distinctive "queenless roar" of a queenless colony appears. It is not my experience that queenless bees are always aggressive. If they would be aggressive when queenright I would expect them to be so when queenless, but not if they were normally docile.

Between about 8-24 hours after the removal of the queen, the bees start to construct emergency cells on existing worker larvae. In my experience the timing varies quite a lot. Emergency cells can be built anywhere on the comb, with the edges of the comb or holes/gaps being particular favourites, presumably because it is easier to build them there. If the bees choose a larvae on the face of a comb, they remove some of the larvae under and around the selected larvae (or perhaps they choose one without larvae underneath). They chew the comb away and extend the cell firstly outwards, then downwards.

Bees much prefer to build emergency cells on new comb than old, presumably because it is easier to chew away the existing cocoons to make room for more royal jelly under the larvae. It is my observation this is the case, so they are presumably better fed. This is particularly noticeable if one comb has recently been inserted in the colony, as it is this newer comb that is likely to have more emergency cells on than the older combs. They are presumably able to chew the cells under the chosen larvae quicker, so the initial building out horizontally is less, with the resulting cell being closer to the midrib of the comb. This usually results in better cells and better queens being produced on newer comb than tough older ones.

Emergency cells are frowned upon by many beekeepers as a means of producing queens, because they think bees use larvae that are too old, so the resulting queen doesn't receive as much royal jelly as she should and is undernourished. There are times when this is possible and I will explain later why I think this might be the case.

For the first two days as a larvae both queens and workers receive the same feeding, so any larvae that are younger than 5 days from the egg will be O.K. It is my experience and observation that bees start building emergency cells over a period of around 3-4 days, not all at one time as is thought by many. If you check on a daily basis you will see that the first cells to be built will have small larvae and 3-4 days later these will be sealed, or close to it. There will be others that have just been started that will also have tiny larvae. I think it is this staggering that makes some people think they are started at different ages. I think the bees know what they are doing and my experience is the first wave of emergency cells are built on larvae of the right age.
 
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