Author Topic: Second guessing my queen  (Read 214 times)

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Online Wandering Man

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Second guessing my queen
« on: March 26, 2017, 08:56:49 AM »
3Reds and I just did our first split, moving our existing queen to the new hive by accident.

The donor hive was left to create their new queen.

We went to a Bee School in Brenham Texas yesterday. We've come home with new information and some questions. One of the presenters made a case for not allowing the bees to make their own queen when doing a split. She said there is a difference between a queen from a swarm cell and an emergency cell. The bees don't always select an egg laid on the first day, that there is a difference between day one, day two and day three eggs. She warned that we could end up with a queen that only lays drones.

Added to my angst is that I had an opportunity to buy a VSH queen from a Houston beekeeper. We saw him in the vender court, and ran into hm again after the school, on our way out to the truck. He had one left. I turned him down, but kinda wish I hadn't.

We haven't peeked in the hive yet to see if we've successfully raised a queen. If we did, she should start laying yesterday or today.

Anyway, I'm wondering about the day 1, 2, or 3 thing. Is that a big concern?
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Offline tedh

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Re: Second guessing my queen
« Reply #1 on: March 26, 2017, 09:30:02 AM »
Hey WM.  Please take the following with a grain of salt and wait for others to chime in.  Your situation reminds me of when we first started beekeeping and were reading everything we could to get going.  All of the beginners books we read spent a great deal of time, usually the last half or more of the book, explaining the "potential problems" bees could encounter, foul brood, chalk brood, nosema, varroa, tracheal mites, etc..  After reading of all these frightening possibilities I came to think that the poor bees would fall down dead at the first opportunity.  What I didn't understand, and was told later, is that the books listed ALL the possible things that COULD go wrong and not necessarily what WOULD go wrong.  My understanding is that yes, bees will do whatever they can to raise a queen, use larva that is too old, etc. and I've seen them try to  make a queen out of a drone before (they were desperate).  However, given what they need to make a good queen, they will always choose the best option.  The word ALWAYS makes me cringe, but that's my understanding.  Given a choice they will raise a good queen.  Maybe take a step back and breath brother, breath.?  If they have or had what they need they SHOULD be okay.  One thing I would recommend, if I may, is don't rush them.  Leave them be long enough for the queen to emerge, mate, and start laying. then, give them another week.  We made the mistake of rushing to "make sure everything was okay" and did more damage than if we'd have left them alone.  I understand that feeling of impending doom and wondering, worrying, about what all could go wrong.  Maybe sometimes we just have to trust.  As I said, I may be WAY off base so wait for others to verify your next step.  Sending positive waves, Ted
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Offline Robo

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Re: Second guessing my queen
« Reply #2 on: March 26, 2017, 09:35:19 AM »
Southerners can get away with a poorer quality queen than us northerners.   I have seen too many supercedure/emergency queens fail going into fall.   Here is a piece I wrote awhile back about emergency queen.   Just remember,  even poor queen appear to be good queens when conditions are ideal (summer).  It is when times get tough that the poor ones fail.

https://beevac.com/can-you-afford-emergency-queens/

I'll also add,  although bees are capable of making emergency queens,  it happens very rarely in feral colonies. No where near the amount "we" beekeepers force them into doing walk-away splits.

I'm also not advocating every just buy queens.  There are ways backyard beeks can make quality queens with ease.  Check out OTS queen rearing.
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Online Wandering Man

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Re: Second guessing my queen
« Reply #3 on: March 26, 2017, 09:46:52 AM »
Quote
Leave them be long enough for the queen to emerge, mate, and start laying. then, give them another week.  We made the mistake of rushing to "make sure everything was okay" and did more damage than if we'd have left them alone.  I understand that feeling of impending doom and wondering, worrying, about what all could go wrong. 

Well, we have decided to give the new queen another week. But, not because we are being thoughtful. 3Reds is off for a week to babysit grandkids, and doesn't want to miss the search for the new queen.

Yet another example of us doing the right thing for the wrong reasons  ;D
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Online Wandering Man

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Re: Second guessing my queen
« Reply #4 on: March 26, 2017, 09:56:01 AM »
Thanks for the link, Robo.

I think it's probably true about our queens not having to be as hardy. They don't have to survive long frozen winters. They do have to survive confusing fluctuations in temperature, though, as we'll have a couple of cold days sandwiched between warm days throughout the winter.
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Offline Lburou

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Re: Second guessing my queen
« Reply #5 on: April 04, 2017, 03:31:30 PM »
Hardy or not, a queen event over winter is death to the hive without human intervention...Unless you live near Wandering Man.  He can probably mate queens year around.  :)
Lee_Burough

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Re: Second guessing my queen
« Reply #6 on: April 04, 2017, 03:42:52 PM »
Speaking of Queen Events, my queen is gone, and presumably dead.  When we looked in the donor hive, we found no eggs or larva, and so we merged the two hives back together five days ago.

We looked in the hive today to make sure the queen was ok.  We could not find her.  She was marked, and should have been easy to spot.

There are two capped queen cells in the hive and two uncapped queen cells.  We just went through the hive and found a little bit of brood, no eggs.  She must not have survived the merging of the two hives.

I've ordered a new queen.  She should arrive next Tuesday.  We will install the queen cage as soon as she leaves, and then we are leaving town for 10 days. 

Now we can only hope that the new queen finds her way out and starts laying eggs while we are gone.

What an adventure ...
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The road just sits ...
It is how we approach the road that makes it hard.


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Offline vvand111

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Re: Second guessing my queen
« Reply #7 on: April 06, 2017, 01:02:43 AM »
adventure indeed I hope it works out for you. At least you are looking and trying the correct things involved for bee keeping.

 

anything