Author Topic: Giving a young queen the axe.  (Read 1574 times)

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Offline efmesch

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Giving a young queen the axe.
« on: March 20, 2016, 04:55:23 pm »
I never thought I would eliminate young a queen with such pleasure.
I went through my hives this afternoon and found one hive with plenty of polished, empty cells waiting for eggs.  After finding one big queen cup and no brood whatsoever, the first thought that came to my mind was that the hive had somehow gone queenless---but their behavior didn't agree with that conclusion.  The bees were calm and busy.  Then I came across the queen.  She had emerged from a queen cell I placed in the prepared hive in the fall.  Her abdomen was dark and slim.   Something had obviously gone wrong with her matings.  At this time of year all the young queens are golden, plump and heavy.
To my good fortune, I discovered a nice sized prime swarm that had moved into a stack of empty supers not more than a meter away and the queen looked like everthing one could desire. She had already filled a few frames with brood. 

With nary a second thought, I took the non-laying queen, gave her a squish and threw her away. I took the swarm with the queen, organized the frames properly and put them on the floor of the eggless hive, covered it with slit newspaper and placed the original hive on top.  Many of the swarm bees continued returning to the stack of supers so I removed the frames they were on and used them to strengthen some other hives and took away all the boxes so that there was nothing to return to.  Last step was to place the emptied supers near the entrance of the newly organized hive with the hope that  the remaining bees hanging on would eventually enter that hive or one of the  others nearby.

Time will tell if I did the right thing.

Offline Perry

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Re: Giving a young queen the axe.
« Reply #1 on: March 20, 2016, 04:58:41 pm »
If she hadn't been laying since the fall I imagine you did about the only thing you could.
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Offline efmesch

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Re: Giving a young queen the axe.
« Reply #2 on: March 20, 2016, 05:13:53 pm »
The hive's population had definitely increased since the fall and wasn't all that bad.  Not strong, but not dieing out either.  There were some patches of drone brood.  That's why I figured it must have been poor mating.  I think she simply emptied out her spermatheca and was biding her time doing nothing or laying drones.

Online iddee

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Re: Giving a young queen the axe.
« Reply #3 on: March 20, 2016, 05:22:58 pm »
Were all the drone brood capped? If so, could you have checked the hive between 21 and 24 days after the egg the queen came from was laid? Could she be a virgin just getting ready to lay? Otherwise, why would the bees have the cells polished and ready?
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Offline efmesch

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Re: Giving a young queen the axe.
« Reply #4 on: March 20, 2016, 05:43:56 pm »
Not all the drone brood was capped.  The polished cells were worker sized.  I figure she laid eggs in the drone cells that she found and when there were no more available she didn't resort to laying drone eggs in the worker cells.
I can't possibly imagine that she was a virgin or recently mated.  She was too long to be a virgin and there were no remnants of queen cells in the hive.  When I last checked the hive (about three weeks ago) all seemed  normal and in order.

Offline apisbees

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Re: Giving a young queen the axe.
« Reply #5 on: March 20, 2016, 05:58:36 pm »
  She had emerged from a queen cell I placed in the prepared hive in the fall.  Her abdomen was dark and slim.   Something had obviously gone wrong with her matings.  At this time of year all the young queens are golden, plump and heavy.
My thoughts are like Iddee's they could have emergency superseded the poor failing queen. the queen will not change colors. If she was golden and now is dark. Queens are slim until they start laying.
But No crying over split milk. You had a solution that worker for you, the hive is re queened.
In the case of the bees raising emergency superseder cells the bees will still tolerate the drone laying queen. It will be the virgin queen that will expel the old queen, some times they do not bother to expel her. This being said the drone brood you were seeing may not have came from her.
I had a case two years ago that when trying to analyze what was happening in the hive I was left with the what if's and could be scenarios. So I opted to wait another week before passing final judgment.
Honey Judge, Beekeeping Display Coordinator, Armstrong Fair and Rodeo.

Offline efmesch

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Re: Giving a young queen the axe.
« Reply #6 on: March 20, 2016, 06:07:48 pm »
I should have taken some pictures.  The thought crossed my mind while I was working the hive, but, somehow in the heat of doing the job, the camera got ignored.
Maybe next time?

Offline Lburou

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Re: Giving a young queen the axe.
« Reply #7 on: March 20, 2016, 06:34:23 pm »
I should have taken some pictures.  The thought crossed my mind while I was working the hive, but, somehow in the heat of doing the job, the camera got ignored.
Maybe next time?
I'd be interested in the queens you use in Israel, post some pictures Ef.  :)
Lee_Burough