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Is the queen still there?


#1

Hi all, i’m a brand new-bee! I’ve just done my first really full inspection - although if i’m honest i’m still not completely sure of what i’m looking for!

I didn’t see the queen, and although there is brood, there doesn’t seem to be loads of it. i only saw a few larvae, and hardly any eggs - although there were a few on one frame, so Freddie (my queen! :slight_smile: ) has been there recently.

there are a lot of stores, and most frames had at least some capped brood. I’m still feeding them, and as far as i can tell they are still taking it.

I didn’t see any queen cells, although if i’m honest i only really thought about it once i had closed up, so not sure really.

I think i need to treat for varroa too, as i have found a couple of mites on the white base board under the bottom mesh, although there don’t seem to be many.

The colony is very docile and i wasn’t as scared as i thought i would be lol! I do have problems with wasps too, although i’ve now shrunk the entrance as much as i can (about 1-2 cm left), and have put some wasp traps out now.

Basically i’m worried that because I didn’t see much in the way of larvae and eggs, and definitely more stores than brood, that there is a problem. we are heading towards early autumn, although the weather has been lovely apart from a couple of downpours. Should i be concerned? Should there be more brood at this time of year?

Hope that’s not too much burble in one post! Your advice would be very much appreciated, thanks my lovelies!


#2

Sally.

I’ll just make a note or two for you. First when did you start your colony?. Are you running double deep boxes there? I did note you are in the UK so bees n queen should be reducing production n brood size a lot now.

Hmm, I’m am surprised … Why is this your first inspection (just curious) ? At first I was checking mine weekly … N every other week later as swarm season lessen. This time of the year in Northern Hemisphere you shouldn’t have queen cells. Your bees should have most or all of its needed honey supplies already.

Can you supply a pix of your prize Flow-hive …? Have you tried contacting a local beekeeper n/or club for local advice. That is more than a great idea to get you on the right road to beekeeping success.

I’d be treating for mites if I were you but if not I’d be at least doing a sugar-roll check to see how bad you infection might be… There are plenty of vids on You-tube that would be handy at learning about the sugar test.

I’m guessing some more local UK bleek will also see you SOS n reply with some thots n ideas too. It’s a learning curve n we all learn more n more as we go…

Good luck n happy beekeeping,

Gerald near Seattle.


#3

Thank you - i’ve only had the colony a few weeks - it was being looked after at an apiary until about 3 weeks ago when i brought it home (it took lots of jiggery-pokery to get it into the langstroth flow hive from a National Nuc!!) I did a brief inspection about 10 days after i brought it home (i wanted to let them settle and if i’m honest i was a bit nervous…)

So all looked ok 2 weeks ago, there was plenty of brood and eggs, lots of larvae seen, i’ve been feeding them since. I have left them in peace until today as i wanted to make sure all was ok - and there was brood in the frames, but not as much as i thought i should be seeing but i might be wrong! there were a few eggs so i guess that means that Freddie is still there?!

I haven’t got any pics yet really - only of the outside, so wont show you much!! i do have a group i belong to, but i figure i have lots of expertise that i can access more quickly on here lol!

thanks for your response though…


#4

Without photos, or being there in person, it is very hard to comment. It could be normal, as the hive population halves from its peak to the numbers you see in September. This happens because the queen gradually decreases her laying. This is quite a good web site which shows you just how much the bee numbers can change:
http://www.dave-cushman.net/bee/populationdynamics.html

So it could be normal, but without seeing it myself, I can’t be sure. The other thing to remember is that just because the weather is nice, it doesn’t mean your queen will keep laying. Bees have an uncanny knowledge of when the solar solstices happen, and many strains of bees adjust the hive population more on the length of daylight than on how warm it is. So if you have Carniolans, Buckfast or Caucasians for example, you would expect to see laying halt completely over winter. On the other hand, I have Italians (and i live in a very warm climate), so my queen will slow down, but she lays year-round. The disadvantage of that for me is that Italians eat a huge amount over winter - even 40lb of honey stores may not be enough, so I have to be prepared to feed. Beekeeping is more complicated than most people think, if you want to do it well, but that is what makes it fascinating! :blush:

If in doubt, treat. It is safer to treat than not treat, unless you have many hives and can recover from a total loss.


#5

Why be in doubt? Do a sugar roll. I notice not many people recommend this here. This seems like a great way to get an estimate on your mite load. See if you need treatment and check how your treatment worked. I’m a new beekeeper so I may be missing something? I can understand if you have 500 hives, but most of us only have a couple.

I did see that Gerald mentioned it. :slight_smile:


#6

The problem is being sure of the numbers needed to treat at different times of year. 15 per 300 bees is fine in August, but what about September, October, etc? Varroa gets more lethal at lower counts as winter approaches.


#7

Thanks guys - i think i will treat - i did see one mite in a frame, and a few on the base board.

I’m feeling slightly more positive from your comments, and from a couple of the Facebook forums i belong to aswell. the wasp traps seem to be working too!


#8

You saw eggs so your queen is almost certainly still reigning. Is she marked? Some queens can be very difficult to spot.


#9

Yes she is - i’ve seen her once but not since i brought her home! I’m hoping the brood is just slowing down for winter! x


#10

May have superceded. In that case you might have an unmarked queen.


#11

Is that likely? the colony is still quite new. i suppose it’s possible! also i’m not used to spotting yet… :slight_smile:


#12

Even when you are, it can be tricky. I would say I spot my queens about half of the time during inspections. Having said that, I don’t usually try too hard if the colony is peaceful and I can see eggs or young brood. I would rather speed up my inspection than lay eyes on the queen! :blush:


#13

It took me 9 months before I saw the queen for the first time. So aim to beat that. :slight_smile:


#14

ha ha i bet you were so excited when you did!