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General Q&A, Bee chat and only Bee chat please
 #3259  by Chrisbarlow
 25 May 2019, 17:13
It happens , that's why when choosing a queen cell from a colony they always say pick an open one with a grub inside that looks well fed
 #3268  by Patrick
 26 May 2019, 11:44
It can also happen when a virgin queen has emerged and the exit “flap” at the tip is resealed by workers. You think is this ever going to emerge? Next thing eggs everywhere, she actually came out at the normal time. If you open them up you quite often find a worker entombed within. You can usually tell if they have been resealed by scratching slightly at the edge of the tip, the top will reopen as a flap rather than a ragged hole.

Good to hear you opened it to have a look. Can tell you quite lot about what is or has been going on, lot of people just cut or crush them out and miss the opportunity.

As Chris rightly says, sometimes they prove to be duds or likely problems, which is difficult to know from the outside but there can be clues such as being overlong and thin, a smooth exterior or short and stumpy, sometimes little bigger than a capped drone cell or bent as it encounters an obstruction such as the bottom bars.

“Pick a good queen cell” is often more problematic in practice than it suggests. Perhaps “the best available all things considered” is a rather less punchy but more honest line. :)
 #3269  by Caroline
 26 May 2019, 16:42
Patrick wrote:
26 May 2019, 11:44
“Pick a good queen cell” is often more problematic in practice than it suggests. Perhaps “the best available all things considered” is a rather less punchy but more honest line. :)
I work on the assumption that the bees will pay best attention to the first couple of queen cells raised, and that they will be the best fed; so when removing queen cells I leave the oldest looking one, as in the wax has seen more 'traffic'. I know this goes against the usual rule of selecting an open cell, but it's worked for me so far.

When I recently removed 19 queen cells from a colony, leaving a recently emerged cell and the virgin queen in the hive, there was only one other queen ready to emerge (the oldest looking cell of the 19), when opened the other 18 cells the queens were far less developed.
 #3274  by AdamD
 27 May 2019, 09:35
You make a good point Caroline. On a number of occasions I have been called to look at a colony and find an open queencell and the assumption that the prime swarm has already long gone. Has the colony swarmed a second time, but with the virgin that emerged or is she still in the hive? There is no way of knowing apart from a 'guess' based on the number of bees in the box although this is unreliable. If you leave a single queencell in the hive, the potential virgin, if she is there, will leave with a swarm which you don't want - and often there is pressure in a back-garden environment to avoid swarming at any cost as it upsets the neighbours. So the hope is that you will be able to 'pull' virgins, i.e. open the queencells carefully and find at least one that is ready to emerge. As you point out, often there is just one and the others are several days from being ready. If there are none that are ready, you have a problem as you could have made the colony hopelessly queenless if the virgin had already gone.

So does the colony produce a clutch of queencells and then a clutch more with the "plan" that the mated queen will go, then the first virgin will also swarm. Would this make sense from the bees point of view?
However the above is assumed to be when the colony makes it's own preparations. It's not so easy when there are a fair number of emergency queencells.

As you point out Patrick, "pick a queencell" is not always so easy!
 #3277  by Chrisbarlow
 27 May 2019, 11:45
Checked over three colonies and a nuc with a queen cell. The nuc looked like it was dimishing quick so threw it out. The three colonies were all needing space however I only had 2 spare brood boxes. I added the the brood boxes to the two strongest and the third I removed 5 frames and split them between the other two for empty frames. Not ideal but a solution
 #3279  by Alfred
 27 May 2019, 16:33
Bought 20kg sugar ,4cans of blowtorch fuel and 3 pairs of marigolds for £12.
Made up some syrup and went to see the ladies.
One feeder dry, the others were well on their way.
Went back to car, took off suit ,got stung in the neck.
There's gratitude....

Didn't get antihistamines when shopping .
Wife suggested that an immunity would prevent further stings.
Yes dear.
I'll get onto that pronto.
 #3280  by Patrick
 27 May 2019, 17:00
Good luck with immunity from stings 😂!

I no longer get a swelling response to stings on my hands or arms but still hurts. Stings elsewhere such as face or neck I still get lumps and bumps.

Occupational hazard but can’t say I enjoy getting whalloped.
 #3281  by Japey Edge
 27 May 2019, 17:22
Patrick wrote:
26 May 2019, 11:44

Good to hear you opened it to have a look. Can tell you quite lot about what is or has been going on, lot of people just cut or crush them out and miss the opportunity.

As Chris rightly says, sometimes they prove to be duds or likely problems, which is difficult to know from the outside but there can be clues such as being overlong and thin, a smooth exterior or short and stumpy, sometimes little bigger than a capped drone cell or bent as it encounters an obstruction such as the bottom bars.
Yeah I tried not to trash the cell straight away - I wanted to see what was going on inside. Not a thing. Dry. It was quite small compared to what I saw in the association apiary last week.

Think they're just trying to have my life.

So I go back in 5 days to see if they have made any more QC's.. What if it is forecast to rain until day 7 or 8?
 #3282  by Patrick
 27 May 2019, 21:39
When books say don’t go in unless it’s sunny and warm, it was sometimes based on people who worked close to home and had the choice.

There are times when you need to go in and do a specific thing or the consequences could be much more significant than any theoretical downsides. Sorting out queen cells is one such time. A bit of rain won’t do anything more than probably make them a bit fiesty. A cold spell may hypothetically chill some brood slightly but you will close up and it will be fine. I have never actually encountered chilled brood as a result of doing anything to a healthy colony, so don’t sweat it.

Most of the things you have to do are quite quick if you just do them and leave everything else to a nicer day. Just get in and get out.
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