All hail the queen

All hail the queen

PostBy: lowfog01 On: Sat May 25, 2013 11:15 am

I got a call on Tuesday that the queen breeder had 2 of the queens I wanted available now instead of in June. Did I want them? Why, yes, yes I do. I began my search for the old queens that afternoon. The nail polish I'd marked them with was gone so I had to search each hive frame by frame. This is much like playing where's Waldo. You look for the difference in shapes and sped. I found one and quickly trapped it behind an queen excluder (a screen used to keep the queen from lying eggs in your honey surplus) and the end of the hive. :)

On Weds finding the queen in the other hive was a real learning experience to say the least. The bees in that hive had taken a vote and decided the existing queen wasn't doing the job and disposed of her. In her place they built a peanut shaped queen cell and started raising a replacement queen. When I came looking for the queen, I found the empty queen cell and a small, young queen. The queen wasn't even laying eggs yet. I suspect the hive had been without a lying queen for 7 to 10 days. Not good. From egg to bee takes 21 days and a gap in the timeline can be disastrous. In this case the bees set up a Catch 22 in that the forager bees kept bringing in the nectar and since no one was using the cells for eggs, they put the nectar in those cells. Now, the hive is honey bound and the new queen - I put in - who wants to lay eggs has no place to lay them. This could be bad. :( I put the young, under performing queen behind the excluder so I could find her again quickly and hoped the newly purchased queens would come on Thursday.

Thursday morning I called the Post Office to let them know of the queens' expected arrival and was informed that they had already arrived and could I come and get them. No one had to ask me twice. My daughters and I took out the old queens and installed the new queens that afternoon. From the outside everything looks good but I'll know when I go inside the hive this afternoon. Hopefully, they will both be laying up a storm. I'll move several of the nectar filled combs to the other hive then, too. That hive will need it for winter food and the empty combs I take from it are needed in the other hive to provide egg space. That's why people say to always have at least 2 hives or share a pair of hives with another beekeeper. As long as they are a standard size, you can always strengthen a weak hive from the stronger of the two.

You maybe wondering why I felt the need to get new queens. Well... I'm changing species of bees. I have Italian bees now and they have genetics that do not winter well and can't fight off mites and other pests so well. I am getting New World Carniolians - from Eastern Europe. They winter better, eat less of the stores honey and build up numbers in the spring faster. They are also more resistant to mites and other pests. The Italians are brown and black while the NWCs are black striped and smaller. In about 6 weeks the hive will be all NWCs. Cool huh?

There's always something new to learn in a beehive. Take care, Lisa
lowfog01
 
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Mark II & Mark I

Re: All hail the queen

PostBy: McGiever On: Sun May 26, 2013 9:17 am

I have 5 hives that all made it through the winter. They are of various genetic backgrounds. I notice different traits between them but again, one trait...they all survived the winter.
Being a beekeeper since I was a young lad, I along the way had hoped to some day select and raise some queens myself...after I retire from employment. ;)

Queen raising sure doesn't take a long wait...just 14 days from egg to adult...but it is a exacting science to get it done with optimum results. :)
McGiever
 
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Re: All hail the queen

PostBy: lowfog01 On: Sun May 26, 2013 4:19 pm

Congratulations on getting those hives through the winter. That's a major accomplishment with your winters.

You are right, queen raising is a little too time consuming and needs to much attention to detail for folks with a day job. I actually got my new queens from a supplier in Ohio. Many folks around here get theirs from CA but I wanted queens raised closer to my climate. Not to mention I'm a little scared of getting Africanized traits in stock from CA. I am developing hives of "survivor" bees. By this time next year my hives will have no comb drawn from foundation. The naturally sized cells should eliminate the majority of mites and the bees can learn to live with the few that are left. My goal is not to have to treat the hives with chemicals. Sam Comfort and others are having good success raising "survivor" bees in upstate NYC and Maine so I should be able to do it in my milder climate.

My hive with the supersedure cell seems to have accepted the newly installed queen. After 5 or 6 days of no sign of a queen other than the newly hatched, unmated one, the hive has quieted down and they are bringing in pollen again. Come Tuesday I'll go in and look for eggs/larva to make sure. Overall, both hives are doing well and I should be able to get some surplus honey off at least one of them. I guess I'll see what the summer brings.

I hope you have a great weekend, Lisa
lowfog01
 
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Mark II & Mark I


Re: All hail the queen

PostBy: Freddy On: Sun May 26, 2013 4:56 pm

Thanks for the update. I find it interesting! I hope the new queens work out.
Freddy
 
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Re: All hail the queen

PostBy: McGiever On: Sun May 26, 2013 8:56 pm

As a gauge to both of our seasons...today I seen the first clover blooms in my side yard where the hives are located.
I should see yellow sweet clover in another week or so and then white sweet clover in early July.
Should not be long and the yellow or tulip poplar will bloom here and then also in early July the American Basswood or Linden blooms...we are fortunate to have some of the tree honeys around here. :)

Lisa, you must have anything blooming sooner than when we have here.

I am always amazed by the honey production in the state of Alaska...20 hours of daylight in the summer gives the bee very little *Slack Time* :D
McGiever
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: AXEMAN-ANDERSON 130 "1959"
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Re: All hail the queen

PostBy: anthony7812 On: Sun May 26, 2013 9:28 pm

My hat goes off to you beekeepers. WOW too mess around in a hive, that takes some guts. Now im not up to snuff on beehandling but isnt the queen surrounded by soldier type bees? :out:
anthony7812
 
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Re: All hail the queen

PostBy: McGiever On: Sun May 26, 2013 10:39 pm

Well, not soldiers, it is more like her "Court"...they more so just "Pamper" her needs. Yes, she is the center of the hive, but really just an egg laying machine. If her performance goes down they will raise another replacement queen. This is part of what Lisa's one colony was doing...when she stated..."Queen Supersedure"
Without a mated queen, the colony is destined to perish. The colony's purpose in life is to survive and increase it's chances to perpetuate the species...swarming is their way of reproducing at the colony level.

A little tid-bit: A worker is a female (with undeveloped reproductive abilities) and a drone is a male, but both come from an identical egg...the worker egg gets fertilized (queen knows to release one stored sperm when egg is laid in a smaller size cell in comb) and drone egg is NOT fertilized. (queen knows not to release a stored sperm when egg is laid in a bigger size cell in comb)
McGiever
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: AXEMAN-ANDERSON 130 "1959"
Hot Air Coal Stoker Stove: HARMAN MAGNUM
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Re: All hail the queen

PostBy: VigIIPeaBurner On: Mon May 27, 2013 12:01 am

When I did have bees, I raised most of my own queens. It helps if there are other good beekeepers in your are to attain good drone populations or you'll need your own drown colonies.

Black Locust is currently in bloom. Acasia honey, the sweetest there is :) It's difficult to get a surplus of because the flower is fragile. 30 mph gusty winds like we're having rip them apart. I always managed the hives for the Black Locust flow but it was always tough managing their urge to swarm in the period of minimal nectar before Locust bloom.

Ah yes, Basswod honey is my favorite. I have so little left :(

Beekeeper's riddle:
    What has a Grandfather but no Father :?:
VigIIPeaBurner
 
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Re: All hail the queen

PostBy: lowfog01 On: Mon May 27, 2013 12:43 pm

Unfortunately, in my area most of the blooming flowers are useless for honey production. Around here they tend not to be fruit producers but rather mock versions of the real things - like mock cherries or Bradford pears. They don't produce any nectar or fruit so they are useless for honey production. We do have a few trees that are good for honey like the Redbud Tree but they're are most already gone. Sadly it's hard to find a fruit tree in the suburbs. No one wants to deal with the them or the harvest. As I'm replacing trees and other plantings I try to replace the old with a food bearing plant. If the bees like it, too, so much the better.

My honey will be wildflower honey - weeds to the majority of other folks in the neighborhood. I think clover from over at the parkway will be the major contributor but there's a lot of flowerbeds and back yard vegetable gardens around. I'm happy because when I was in the hive the other day I saw that the bees had produced about 4 inches of capped honey on 3 of my honey bars. Yum boy, I can hardly wait for the fall. Lisa
lowfog01
 
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Mark II & Mark I

Re: All hail the queen

PostBy: freetown fred On: Mon May 27, 2013 1:55 pm

Lisa, I'll stick with the wild flower honey any day :)
freetown fred
 
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Re: All hail the queen

PostBy: rberq On: Mon May 27, 2013 7:42 pm

VigIIPeaBurner wrote:Acasia ... flower is fragile. 30 mph gusty winds like we're having rip them apart.

There's a big apple orchard near us. They brought in bee hives, the trees went into full bloom, then it poured rain and the wind blew for about 9 days and knocked off the apple blossoms. So, will there be any apples??? :( Do bees work in the rain?
rberq
 
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Re: All hail the queen

PostBy: VigIIPeaBurner On: Mon May 27, 2013 8:25 pm

rberq wrote:
VigIIPeaBurner wrote:Acasia ... flower is fragile. 30 mph gusty winds like we're having rip them apart.

There's a big apple orchard near us. They brought in bee hives, the trees went into full bloom, then it poured rain and the wind blew for about 9 days and knocked off the apple blossoms. So, will there be any apples??? :( Do bees work in the rain?


No, they don't like flying in the rain. There'll be apples, just not as many and some might be more misshapen. There are other native pollinators but most of the native pollinators don't get enough of a head start population wise. Apples aren't native, they came from Europe and so did the honeybee. Colonist brought them to pollinate ... apples!
VigIIPeaBurner
 
Hot Air Coal Stoker Furnace: Keystoker Koker
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Re: All hail the queen

PostBy: Wiz On: Tue May 28, 2013 5:24 am

Excellent post, thanks for sharing. I found this to be a interesting topic.
Wiz
 
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