Author Topic: Hive inspection  (Read 596 times)

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Offline lethargicdoc

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Hive inspection
« on: May 17, 2019, 12:00:40 pm »
Today I inspected my hive for the 2nd time.  I bought a nuc 3.5 weeks ago.  The brood that was in there to start has obviously hatched because there were a lot more bees.  This is only my second attempt at keeping bees (last time I failed) but I can not see the eggs, nor can I find the queen.  I do see some capped brood although not as much as last time and not all in the center like last time- more random.  I do see tiny larva to large larva so I know the queen has been in there laying in the last 4-5 days.  But this time the bees were so thick it was hard to see the frames.  After inspecting each of the 6 frames with wax, the bees got really aggravated and climbed out of the hive and were sitting on the side.  I carefully closed the hive so they could calm down.  It was about 9:30 when I opened the hive.  Should more bees have been out foraging?  And what did I do wrong to make them so angry and sit in the side like that.  I think I'm just really nervous that my hive will fail again and I've spent so much money on bees and equipment.  Any thoughts would be good.  Also there was some burr comb on the 6th frame which they just started using.  Is that a problem?  Last time there were a small percentage of drone cells present but I did not see any this time and a lot of the cells were filled with nectar/honey.  Is that just because the queen is new and getting established or is that something concerning.  Thank you.   

Online iddee

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Re: Hive inspection
« Reply #1 on: May 17, 2019, 12:54:30 pm »
Summery:  Perfect hive. Relax.

Details:

3 1/2 weeks ago your new queen started laying in a circle from the center out. Last week they started emerging from the center out and she started laying in the center again.

Now, move two empty frames, one on each side, in past the outer occupied frame. do that again in 1 to 2 weeks.
When they get fidgety, smoke lightly again and they will calm down.

PS. WELCOME
“Listen to the mustn'ts, child. Listen to the don'ts. Listen to the shouldn'ts, the impossibles, the won'ts. Listen to the never haves, then listen close to me... Anything can happen, child. Anything can be.”
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Offline Bakersdozen

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Re: Hive inspection
« Reply #2 on: May 17, 2019, 04:27:53 pm »
Welcome to the forum, lethargicdoc.  Glad to see you posting, not just watching from the sidelines.
Is this nuc still in a 5 frame nuc box?  If so, it sounds like there are ready to be moved up to a 8 or 10 frame box.  If there are in a 10 frame box, perhaps it's time to put a second brood box on top?  If they have drawn wax out on 7 of the 10 frames, put another box on.
The general rule of hive inspections is to do them between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.  That is when most foragers will be out.  There are other factors, such as the temperature, what time the sun hits the hive in the morning, etc. 
Some beekeepers scrap off burr comb because it makes a hiding place for small hive beetle.  Burr comb usually contains drone brood so if you want to scrape it off, it's probably ok to do so.  If you do scrape it off, take the opportunity to exam any capped brood for varroa mites.  They will be reddish dots, sometimes moving around, in with the capped larvae.  If you see some, consider doing a mite count. 
Don't worry about not being able to see eggs or spot the queen.  You have to train your eyes to see both.  You saw uncapped larvae and you said it yourself, "I know the queen has been in there laying in the last 4-5 days."
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Offline lethargicdoc

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Re: Hive inspection
« Reply #3 on: May 24, 2019, 07:12:19 pm »
OK.  So my bees look good- there are a lot of them.  Lots of brood of all ages and moving onto the 9th frame so I added a box and some frames.  But I found queen cells near the center of the hive and near the center of the frame although not right in the center.  I attached a picture.  So are they trying to swarm because they are so crowded or are they superceding the queen or did the queen die (I was unable to find her again) in the last 4 days and they are replacing her?  Do I let them proceed or do I remove the queen cells.  I did not see any larva or eggs in the cells (although I still can't see eggs).  Please help me.

Sincerely,

Beth Phelps







Online iddee

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Re: Hive inspection
« Reply #4 on: May 24, 2019, 07:49:15 pm »
Those are not queen cells. One "may be" a queen cup. The others are drone cells. A queen cell looks like an unshelled peanut. Your hive is doing well.

 Quit worrying, new mama. All is well in the baby nursery.   :laugh:
“Listen to the mustn'ts, child. Listen to the don'ts. Listen to the shouldn'ts, the impossibles, the won'ts. Listen to the never haves, then listen close to me... Anything can happen, child. Anything can be.”
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Offline neillsayers

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Re: Hive inspection
« Reply #5 on: May 24, 2019, 11:09:45 pm »
Welcome lethargicdoc!  :)
Neill Sayers
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Offline Bakersdozen

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Re: Hive inspection
« Reply #6 on: May 25, 2019, 08:16:34 am »
Beth, I try to add a second brood box when they reach 7 frames.  Sometimes it's hard to time that well.  That way they don't get over crowded.  I think I see nectar in those cells.  They probably plugged those cells up so the queen has no place to lay.
I think you have to train your eyes to see cells.  Same with spotting the queen. 
Are you still feeding them 1:1 sugar syrup?  They have a lot of frames to draw comb on.  It takes approximately 8# of nectar to draw out 4-5 frames of comb. That's a lot of work they have to do.   Feeding them will speed up that process and then the queen will have something to lay eggs in.
Hang in there.  There is a lot of learn.
Picture of queen cell and queen cup.


Here is a labeled brood frame from Randy Oliver's web site.


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Offline lethargicdoc

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Re: Hive inspection
« Reply #7 on: May 25, 2019, 08:49:52 am »
Thank you everybody.  I am a nervous bee keeper I guess since I failed last time I tried.  Please be patient with me.  I greatly appreciate all your advice.
Sincerely,
Lethargic doc

Offline Newbee

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Re: Hive inspection
« Reply #8 on: May 27, 2019, 08:27:54 am »
As a fellow newbie nervous beekeeper, I share your feelings Lethergic! Fortunately this is a great group of people who try very hard to help. Keep reading and sharing and asking questions and you will see your knowledge and confidence increase. This is only my 3rd year with bee's (2nd batch of bee's), and while still very ignorant, I've been able to learn a lot. Keep doing inspections, taking photo's, many find logbooks helpful.... And keep asking questions!
One good place to read and research is Randy Oliver's site: http://scientificbeekeeping.com/
Good luck and happy beekeeping!

- Kevin
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Offline lethargicdoc

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Re: Hive inspection
« Reply #9 on: June 02, 2019, 09:05:07 pm »
Ok so I captured 2 swarms that showed up at my Mom's house this week.  The queens are huge and obvious.  But in my original hive I have yet to spot the queen.  I know she's in there though because there is still brood.  Are some queens smaller and less royal? 
What percentage of the brood box will actually have brood in it typically?  And does it matter if all the frames with brood are on one side of the box instead of in the center? 
The other exciting thing is I finally saw some eggs in one of my new swarm hives, just like y'all said...it just takes time and practice.  Thanks for all the help, I really appreciate it.

Offline neillsayers

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Re: Hive inspection
« Reply #10 on: June 03, 2019, 12:52:01 am »
Queens will grow plumper and slower as they age. A swarm queen is at least 1 year old or older. A young queen can be smaller and runnier and more apt to hide.  I caught a swarm here that I lost 2 years ago. The queen still has a little paint on her thorax.

Sounds like your hives on on track.  :)
Neill Sayers
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Online iddee

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Re: Hive inspection
« Reply #11 on: June 03, 2019, 08:30:55 am »
""A swarm queen is at least 1 year old or older.""

That is true for primary, "first" swarms. but secondary, or "after swarms", will have a new queen with them.

"Sounds like your hives on on track.  :) "

DITTO
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Offline tecumseh

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Re: Hive inspection
« Reply #12 on: June 03, 2019, 07:39:50 pm »
a question and a couple of points to make here leatharicdoc...

question first... as to the picture you posted the one thing I would want to know is on which frame (relative to the outsides of the box) did you find this frame... all nucs are not created equal and location here might tell us something important (or not)??? < it is generally not such a good thing to see a new queen producing any quantity of drones.

eggs are hard to see..1)  harder to see on brand new frames with new foundation (ie not black from several issues of brood) and 2) the kind of veil you wear will also make seeing eggs easier or harder < wire type veil being easier and the fabric type veils harder). 
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Offline lethargicdoc

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Re: Hive inspection
« Reply #13 on: June 10, 2019, 01:15:21 pm »
The possible queen cells a saw last time were on frame 2 or 3 of the nuc that I bought this year. 
Today, One of the swarm hives I caught no longer has a queen.  Last week she was there and there was very young brood.  This week only capped brood.  So I put a frame from my stronger nuc hive in there.  I have attached images of a cell on the margin of this frame.  Is this a swarm queen cell?  If so, will the larger nuc hive still try to swarm if I added a new box/ honey super on top (they had filled out 8 of the 10 frames fully of the box I added 2 weeks ago, 18 out of 20 total)  and took that cell away.  It was the only once on the side.  There may have been one in the middle but I know that is for superseding (and its possible they were just big drone cells).  Also, if it is a queen cell, then will the hive that lost the queen use her as a queen?  I also put 2 queen cups in the brood chamber of my nuc hive in the center.  I will remove them in 5 days, hopefully with queens growing in them to put in the hive missing a queen if the one I put in does not work out.  Is this a good plan or not? 

Thank you for all your help.




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Re: Hive inspection
« Reply #14 on: June 10, 2019, 01:58:21 pm »
First, the position of a queen cell is only a hint of whether it is swarm or supercedure cell. Swarm cells can be in the middle of a frame, and supercedure can be on the edge.
Next, I can't tell the orientation of your frame. A queen cell is always vertical, and a drone cell is always horizontal.
The other aspects of your post seem fine.
“Listen to the mustn'ts, child. Listen to the don'ts. Listen to the shouldn'ts, the impossibles, the won'ts. Listen to the never haves, then listen close to me... Anything can happen, child. Anything can be.”
― Shel Silverstein
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Offline lethargicdoc

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Re: Hive inspection
« Reply #15 on: June 10, 2019, 02:15:01 pm »
This cell was at the bottom edge of the frame pointing down (vertical).  If the hive was pretty full, there was only this one edge queen cell and there was young brood, it is more likely a swarm cell though, right?  Do you think I handled it right then?

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Re: Hive inspection
« Reply #16 on: June 10, 2019, 04:00:18 pm »
I think you did well, but I would check it in 5 to 6 days. It should be capped by then and ready to be moved.
“Listen to the mustn'ts, child. Listen to the don'ts. Listen to the shouldn'ts, the impossibles, the won'ts. Listen to the never haves, then listen close to me... Anything can happen, child. Anything can be.”
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Offline lethargicdoc

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Re: Hive inspection
« Reply #17 on: June 10, 2019, 04:31:13 pm »
 
My first post was confusing I see.  Let me try again.

Hive A- strong hive, very full was making the pictured queen cell.  I removed the entire frame and replaced it with an empty frame.  I also added a honey super to give them more space.  I also place 2 plastic queen cups in a brood frame to try to raise up a new queen for Hive B.  In 6 days I will check for young brood in this hive.  I will also remove the queen cups.  I may take another frame from this hive to build up Hive B.  If they were planning to swarm, would remove this queen cell and adding more space stop that?

Hive B- had a queen last week.  No queen this week, no brood either except a small area of capped cells.  Added frame from hive A that contained the queen cell and lots of capped brood and a little c-shapped brood.  Will check in 6 days. If queen cell is capped thats good news but I will also add the plastic queen cups from hive A in case the first queen is a dud or does not emerge.  I may also add an additional frame of brood from hive A again if hive A can handle it.  Will they accept the queen cell/ queens?

Online iddee

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Re: Hive inspection
« Reply #18 on: June 10, 2019, 07:03:11 pm »
NO, NO, NO. Removing queen cells and adding space "OUTSIDE THE BROOD NEST: will not prevent swarming. If not already there, place the empty frame in the brood nest.
Also, I have never known a hive to swarm and leave only 1 queen cell.  Check in 5 or 6 days, looking for several queen cells. Otherwise, your idea looks good.
“Listen to the mustn'ts, child. Listen to the don'ts. Listen to the shouldn'ts, the impossibles, the won'ts. Listen to the never haves, then listen close to me... Anything can happen, child. Anything can be.”
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Offline tecumseh

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Re: Hive inspection
« Reply #19 on: June 11, 2019, 06:57:13 am »
well what Iddee said... if you suspect swarming the simplest policy is to remove the existing queens and 4 or 5 frames in the form of a nuc... set this aside but not too far away and if the queen cell in the older hive does not make it to a laying queen (there is some significant natural failure rate here) you can always add back the old queen in the form of a paper combine...
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