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A Newbie's New Bees


Today marks 8 days since my very first queen was probably released. I opened up my little 8 frame hive and inspected every frame. I saw pollen in various shads of orange and yellow. I saw nectar/ syrup. I saw capped something, either honey or capped brood. I saw plenty of comb on 6 frames, some comb on the 7th but no comb on the frame nearest the entrance.

I didn’t see eggs but my eyes are probably too old. I didn’t see developing larvae but perhaps I didn’t look in the right places. I did see some different shades in some cells but I thought it was probably pollen.

I’m concerned my queen may not have survived so I think I may invest a few more $$ in a new one. Is this good insurance or should I be hoping my ignorance is the problem rather than queenlessness?


Day8, I would wait a little longer, however you should be seeing some developing larva in the cells. Capped honey will be at the top of the frame whilst brood should be a half moon shape covering about one third of the frame. If you have capped brood, it is generally a yellow or mustard colour whilst capped honey is off-white


Thanks very much for the reply and pic Rodderick. From what you say and the location, I think I saw capped honey. Bees were clustering in the centres of the combs so possibly this is where there are developing larvae.

I’ve spoken with an apiarist who can supply another queen by mail. His advice is that the activity of my bees indicates I probably do have a viable queen. I will check in another week.

I videoed my little event today and will attempt to edit it this evening If it’s any good I will post it here.


@sciencemaster Queens can be tricksy and hide - My Emerald is a great one for that - Did you happen to mark the queen before she was released??

This years Queens are Blue next year are white - this helps find the queens more easily. Some beek only buy one pen/marker and all the queens will be the same colour. I prefer - for a bit of added cost - to use the correct year colours, it means that you can judge the age of the queens at a glance.

I’m a bit sad and name my Queens - the name corresponding to the colour - hence Sapphire is this years Queen and Emerald was last years Queen.

The chart corresponds to the year ie this year is 2015 so the colour is Blue - as a general rule of thumb Queens don’t live much more than 5 years so it works - that is if you don’t just use white for every Queen like some beeks near me do.


Love the mnemonic. I’m very good at forgetting them! I do remember the closer the couple, the less the torque.

I saw my queen in her little cage when I first put the bees into their hive. She seemed too precious to touch. I checked she had been released after a few days and retrieved the empty queen cage. Actually holding a queen bee and marking her thorax is a long way past my current skill set. Perhaps one day.

I do like the way you name your queens. It’s not sad at all. Mine is queen Flo as in Flow Hive not Flown Away.


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I mark all my home grown queens white (easy to see…you try looking for a green or yellow queen when half the foragers are loaded with green or yellow pollen!). My hive records will indicate their age. Caught queens are marked dayglo orange.
Have a look here then practice on your drones…but use a different colour.


These are pretty neat, have not seen this before. I have just replaced 5 queens and after having to kill the first couple a couldn’t see past the waste of it and began offering them for free to a good home (preferably away from kids and pets) they are surprising easy to handle and don’t sting, finding them is the hardest part.


A video or close up photos of a few of your frames from the middle of the hive will help us a lot in identifying any issues.


I am certainly not an expert and this is my first season however a great piece of advice I got was to keep looking at the activity going into the hive. Rather than constantly disrupting the hive and opening it too often to check for eggs and larvae if you see pollen going in there is most likely an active Queen as the pollen is used in the brood cells.


Hi Glenn, that’s a good indication of activity for sure, but it might not necessarily always be queen activity. If a hive goes queenless, a worker will begin to lay unfertile eggs to make lots (I mean lots) of drones. The pollen will be required to raise them.


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I’ve done a long boring 8 minute video but I need to edit it down to something more respectful of other people’s time. Thanks for all the advice. It really is appreciated. I’m going to open the hive again on Sunday and I’ll take some pics then.


My girls christened me tonight! One sting on the finger and another on the forearm.

I had been checking them each evening,mainly looking for SHB attracted to the ventilation holes. This evening I picked up the big Makita torch instead of the LED torch. Big mistake! The girls chased after the torch as soon as I came close. One of them buzzed me almost all of the 50m back to the house.

Half an hour later and the forearm has a small swelling but no pain. I can still feel the finger but it isn’t particularly painful. Reminds me of when I was caned as a lad. I took a hot shower to dissipate the venom. It seems to have helped.


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The only way of knowing 100% if the queen is laying is when the brood is sealed. Raised brood with round caps in worker comb is not good, especially when it starts looking like all the worker comb has raised brood with round caps. That’s something that needs fixing up as soon as possible.


You can spot drone cells quite easily before they are capped as the bees begin to raise the cell walls well before


Here’s an edited version of the video I made a few days ago. I will take more pics and video when I open the hive tomorrow. https://youtu.be/04Sr-9BBgsg


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G’day Mate YehI got that lecture 4 months ago as well - if you know the Queen is not on there OK but if you drop her in the grass - Not good - Rooky lesson # 1 Join the club - enjoy your bees- Rooky lesson # 1 Join the club - enjoy your bees - Rooky lesson # 1 Join the club - enjoy your bees :bee: :bee: :bee: :bee: :bee: :bee: :bee:

Honey has white- cream caps on the edges
Brood had cream brown caps in the centre
Pollen somewhere between
Eggs are hard to see until someone generally points them out
Larvae easier to spot the grubs in the cells