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how soon can i identify the queen?

 
John Master
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I have a nuc I split off and they made 6 queen cells. one finally hatched and the other 5 are intact. I want to pull the other 5 out and perhaps barter them but how do I know I have a new mated queen? I cant see her, she hasn't laid eggs yet (she hatched in the last day or so). I looked over all the frames and cant see her. there are drones present, I made sure to put a frame in with some drones so she had a chance of getting mated. Trying to decide what to do at this point. What is a reasonable price for a Russian queen cell?
 
Troy Rhodes
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Queens are unlikely to mate with drones from her colony. They have to take a mating flight to a DCA (Drone Congregating Area). These are places that are obvious to the bees, but not to us. She flies there, mates with several different drones to get all the sperm/genetic diversity she will every need, and flies back pretty much ready to go.


You'll just have to wait till you see new eggs, or find the queen...


 
John Master
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I will keep checking for eggs, two queens hatched in that colony so hopefully one gets mated and starts laying soon. Any idea when I should expect to see eggs? Home many days from hatch to eggs if you had to guess? I hate constantly disturbing them unnecessarily.
 
Troy Rhodes
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It's 2-3 weeks after she hatches, and 2-3 days after she takes the mating flight.

I check 3 times per year now, whether they need it or not. Or if I think there is funny business going on...


 
John Master
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Traded one frame with queens and one frame with drones and 8 empty frames for 10 beautiful frames of built comb. Should be a great start for this new colony.
 
John Master
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Troy Rhodes wrote:It's 2-3 weeks after she hatches, and 2-3 days after she takes the mating flight.

I check 3 times per year now, whether they need it or not. Or if I think there is funny business going on...


Thank you, I will check every other day now and when I see eggs, I will transfer the nuc into a full size colony. I put two fresh frames of brood from another colony into this nuc so they have a continuous supply of new workers hatching.
 
Troy Rhodes
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I would leave them alone for at least a week...

Bee's are smart, they'll figure it out 99% of the time.

Every time you open the hive, you set them back 1/2 a day or so.

 
tel jetson
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Troy Rhodes wrote:Every time you open the hive, you set them back 1/2 a day or so.


that seems like a pretty conservative figure to me. I would also add that each inspection comes with a risk of injuring or killing the looked for queen or rolling workers and stressing the colony.

I typically open my hives just once in a year at harvest time, and they do quite well.
 
Troy Rhodes
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That's best case scenario if everything goes well, the weather is 85, a light breeze to no wind, I don't have to pull all the frames, just a few, etc. A minimally invasive inspection.


If it's a violent protracted inspection with a lot of smoke and cold weather and squashing a lot of bees, yeah, that's very bad. Sure, you could kill the queen or piss off the colony so they pull up stakes and leave.

 
tel jetson
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yeah. I would guess that with practice, you would get faster and injure fewer bees, too, which would diminish the negative impact and increase the likelihood of that best case scenario. combine that practice with thoughtful observations of hive entrance behavior and the noise a colony is making, and you'll be in even better shape.

my own preference is to short-circuit that learning curve altogether and skip inspections entirely, while still observing entrance behavior, et cetera. your 99% figure might be a bit optimistic, but given a chance, bees do work out their own business a large majority of the time. and if they don't, swarm season will generally take care of the issue.

I certainly recognize that I'm in a small minority of beekeepers, though. in my own mind, I frame it as a spectrum between a desire for control and a desire for whatever the opposite of that is. liberty? anarchy? I don't know. I just know that I do not feel any compulsion to meddle, and my bees seem to do at least as well as those of folks who expend a lot more time and effort with various interventions. I certainly won't claim to be setting any honey harvest records, but my ratio of resources used to useful products obtained feels pretty good to me.


apologies for hijacking the topic a little bit. when I hear a question like how soon can I identify the queen? another question immediately springs into my mind: why would you want to?
 
John Master
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My reasoning is because this was a split, had a queen cell open and none of the other 4 were taken out (which left me to wonder if she was viable). From what I know when a queen emerges she usually destroys all the rest of the cells in that colony. A second queen cell opened and I wanted to see her in the colony so I knew whether she was present, or if needed to get a queen, or give them day old larvae to build more viable queens. If this was May I wouldn't be so jumpy but I want them to get up and running with plenty of time yet to build up some stores for the winter.

 
tel jetson
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your reasoning is fine, it just doesn't match up with my own beekeeping practice. I could have added to my previous post another question that immediately occurs to me: why make splits?

I don't mean to suggest that there are no good reasons to split colonies, just that none of them are at all compelling to me. and maybe, with a little nudge in the right direction, they wouldn't be so compelling to you, either. who knows? feel free to ignore my proselytizing, though. diff'rent strokes for diff'rent folks.
 
John Master
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It's alright, there is no doubt that no two beeks are the same, I am new to this as of last season so part of it was to know how to go about it, but mainly I had a good strong hive early from a package that I started as well as some empty gear to put it in. Bought two pkgs last season and they left on us, bought 4 pkgs this season and was hoping to turn them into 5 or 6 if I could so that (assuming we lose half) I still have enough hives to split again and fill up my gear without having to shell out another 5oo for more bees. Now we'll see if it works out!
 
tel jetson
steward
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paying for bees is no fun, so I don't blame you. on the other hand, I've got 12 hives (I think. it's hard to keep track sometimes. maybe more than 12.) and I've never paid for bees. just swarms and cutouts.

buying bees is no fun, but there are alternatives.
 
John Master
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Also put up 5 swarm traps this year so hopefully by the end of the year I get at least a swarm. I used some beat up honey supers with wooden plates stapled to the top and bottom and an old ratchet strap to hang them in a tree. Would be fun to add to our hives with freebees.
 
John Master
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found 5 queen cells that were very mature in my other queenless hive. I carefully used my hive tool to scrape inward in 4 directions to the queen cell and pluck it from the frame. Confident I took it off without wrecking it. Put it in a mason jar with a screened lid and put it over a hole in the lid of my nuc. Now when she emerges she will be tended to through the screen but I will see she is out and alive and that they accept her. I can mark her and put her in the hive and hopefully she will mate and start laying. should be interesting.
 
I agree. Here's the link: http://richsoil.com/cards
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