NZBF: Re-Queening - understanding the colonies behaviour

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7
2
Karapiro
Experience
Hobbyist
Hello, we are newish bee keepers.
Installed 2 new hives, 1 x 5 frame nuc Into a new langstroth 1 F/D super 10 frames total, and 1 package into a top bar.

Nuc came with 1 frame of capped brood. All looked well on first inspection (2 weeks post install), or so we thought.

We completed a full inspection 2 weeks post installation, to discover no new brood or grubs. We ordered a new queen. We installed her in her plastic cage yesterday (1 further week from last inspection aprox 4 weeks from initial installation). We did have a practice swarm? 2 weeks ago, but all bees returned to the hive after a few hours. (Don’t know if such a thing exists but they left then they came back)

On installation of new queen, we observed a few bees casually checking out the new arrivals in the cage. but once we closed up the frames the entire colony started to buzz loudly, very loudly.

Is this good news or ominous?

Any other recommendation?

The other hive is a top bar and doing well compared with it’s sister hive.
 

Josh

Gold
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Christchurch
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Hobbyist
Welcome Pixie. Did you get the nuc of someone who visits/uses this forum?

Has the supplier had a chance to have a look at the Nuc for you?
 
7
2
Karapiro
Experience
Hobbyist
Q cage is wedged between 2 frames drawn comb, horizontal.
supplier is in Auckland we are in a different time zone - oh I mean different alert level.
we obtained both orig nuc and replacement queen from the same supplier, well regarded and reputable.

I’ve estimated the hive has likely been without brood for between 2 & 3 weeks.
Was the super fanning humming in unison good or bad?
 

Mummzie

Staff member
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Tasman
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From what you have described- I would suggest good-( the hive is excited at getting a queen), and I presume you have had several discussions with the supplier about your course of action in re-queening- and the likelihood of a self raised queen.
I would like to be reassured you removed the tab from the cage so the queen can be released.

Welcome to the huge learning curve of first year beekeeping.
 
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7
2
Karapiro
Experience
Hobbyist
From what you have described- I would suggest good-( the hive is excited at getting a queen), and I presume you have had several discussions with the supplier about your course of action in re-queening- and the likelihood of a self raised queen.
I would like to be reassured you removed the tab from the cage so the queen can be released.

Welcome to the huge learning curve of first year beekeeping.
Hello and thank you All,
yes tab dutifully removed. Good wad of fondant in situ. Yes to discussions with supplier. They just provided excellent guidelines on installing a new queen. Just not what we might see in terms of colony behaviour.

its our 3rd year first requeening. Very exciting.

We figured it’s nature, and what will be will bee. 🙂
 
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Trevor Gillbanks

Staff member
Founder Member
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Palmerston North
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Hello,
no we checked each frame as we put them in.
Then it sounds as though you were ripped off. There should have been 2 frames of food, 2 or 3 frames of brood at all stages. It should have been ready to go into a 10 frame box almost immediately.

However, the queen can get killed during transport etc, but there should be eggs and uncapped brood as well in the colony.

Sorry
 
7
2
Karapiro
Experience
Hobbyist
Then it sounds as though you were ripped off. There should have been 2 frames of food, 2 or 3 frames of brood at all stages. It should have been ready to go into a 10 frame box almost immediately.

However, the queen can get killed during transport etc, but there should be eggs and uncapped brood as well in the colony.

Sorry
Hmmm, I don’t think so. Our supplier is very reputable and has been very helpful. The queen was alive on receipt of the nuc, we removed her before we introduced the new one.these things happen I guess.

hopefully our new queen will Be the ticket.
meanwhile thanks for your insight.
 

Alastair

Founder Member
8,171
9,408
Auckland
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Semi Commercial
We did have a practice swarm? 2 weeks ago, but all bees returned to the hive after a few hours. (Don’t know if such a thing exists but they left then they came back)

What happens with "practise swarms, is they are not actually a practise, bees don't do that.

It means they tried to swarm but the queen was not able to join the swarm, most usually because she can't fly. When the swarm realises it is queenless there is no point continuing and the swarm returns to the hive.

Mostly in these cases the queen is killed. If you watch it happening you see the bees chase the queen ever more aggressively in an effort to get her to fly. She will often be eventually worn out and battered to death, the hive ends up queenless.

The hive has normally prepared queen cells with baby queens inside before they swarm, and will make another swarm attempt once they hatch.

If your hive made a swarm attempt 2 weeks ago, then next time you looked there was no young brood, it means that the queen is gone, most likely because of the swarm attempt. However they would normally have some queen cells prepared, which hatch, and one of them will become the new queen. But first she has to make a mating flight / flights, and it will often be 2 to 3 weeks from when the swarm left until the new queen is laying eggs.

So if the normal course of events has been followed in your hive, the new queen the bees made will be about to start laying eggs anytime.

However Mummzie is correct, if a hive is queenless and has been for a while, then you introduce a caged queen, the bees will often start vigorous nasanov fanning and the hive can have a "hum". But this effect can also be caused by other reasons such as excessive smoking.

So just based on what you have said it is not possible to completely tell what is going on, but your hive should end back up with a queen, either the one they made themselves, or if for some reason that failed, the one you have introduced.

For the future and from my own experience, back when I was selling queens I used to get a lot of calls from people whose hives had swarmed, then the person had a look and found the hive had no young brood and looked queenless, so they would order a new queen. I always refused to sell them one, because nearly every time if they just waited the needed time frame for the new queen to start laying eggs, all would be well. I would tell them to get back to me if they could find no brood 4 weeks after the swarm which would mean the new queen failed, then I would sell them one.
lots of people got back later and said yes the hive had a new queen, and thanked me for not needlessly taking their money.
 
7
2
Karapiro
Experience
Hobbyist
What happens with "practise swarms, is they are not actually a practise, bees don't do that.

It means they tried to swarm but the queen was not able to join the swarm, most usually because she can't fly. When the swarm realises it is queenless there is no point continuing and the swarm returns to the hive.

Mostly in these cases the queen is killed. If you watch it happening you see the bees chase the queen ever more aggressively in an effort to get her to fly. She will often be eventually worn out and battered to death, the hive ends up queenless.

The hive has normally prepared queen cells with baby queens inside before they swarm, and will make another swarm attempt once they hatch.

If your hive made a swarm attempt 2 weeks ago, then next time you looked there was no young brood, it means that the queen is gone, most likely because of the swarm attempt. However they would normally have some queen cells prepared, which hatch, and one of them will become the new queen. But first she has to make a mating flight / flights, and it will often be 2 to 3 weeks from when the swarm left until the new queen is laying eggs.

So if the normal course of events has been followed in your hive, the new queen the bees made will be about to start laying eggs anytime.

However Mummzie is correct, if a hive is queenless and has been for a while, then you introduce a caged queen, the bees will often start vigorous nasanov fanning and the hive can have a "hum". But this effect can also be caused by other reasons such as excessive smoking.

So just based on what you have said it is not possible to completely tell what is going on, but your hive should end back up with a queen, either the one they made themselves, or if for some reason that failed, the one you have introduced.

For the future and from my own experience, back when I was selling queens I used to get a lot of calls from people whose hives had swarmed, then the person had a look and found the hive had no young brood and looked queenless, so they would order a new queen. I always refused to sell them one, because nearly every time if they just waited the needed time frame for the new queen to start laying eggs, all would be well. I would tell them to get back to me if they could find no brood 4 weeks after the swarm which would mean the new queen failed, then I would sell them one.
lots of people got back later and said yes the hive had a new queen, and thanked me for not needlessly taking their money.
Thanks Paul.
excellent info. What you describe is likely what I saw. Bees leaving and returning.

On our first inspection we did see several queen cells, about 6. Rightly or wrongly, we did break down the cells. It’s tricky to know what the right thing to do is when you are on the spot mid inspection. That is the practice we had observed at the bee club we belonged to before moving south. So it’s what we did. we checked each frame as thoroughly as we could and didn’t locate a new virgin queen.

The original queen was in residence on that inspection. I was expecting they might swarm Given the presence of the queen cells but from what I had read the queen cells weren’t plentiful enough. But they did anyway - well skipped off to the nearest little bush and then went back home. Was a sight to see.

On next inspection, one week later, the original queen was located just not laying. That’s when we ordered a new queen.

We didn’t use the smoker when we installed her because it was raining and the damn thing kept going out. The loud buzzing started the instant we lowered the frame with the queen cage into the hive. The mass of bees were slowly migrating on foot toward that frame. Because it was raining (I held the umbrella over the hive), we didn’t keep the hive open long. Put the frame in and closed it up.

Tomorrow is the 5th day since installation of the new queen. I am keen to have a peek to see what has been going on. All signs at the entrance seem calm and normal. Though I realise it’s not the best indicator.

Thank you once again for your comments and insight.
 
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7
2
Karapiro
Experience
Hobbyist
Thanks Paul.
excellent info. What you describe is likely what I saw. Bees leaving and returning.

On our first inspection we did see several queen cells, about 6. Rightly or wrongly, we did break down the cells. It’s tricky to know what the right thing to do is when you are on the spot mid inspection. That is the practice we had observed at the bee club we belonged to before moving south. So it’s what we did. we checked each frame as thoroughly as we could and didn’t locate a new virgin queen.

The original queen was in residence on that inspection. I was expecting they might swarm Given the presence of the queen cells but from what I had read the queen cells weren’t plentiful enough. But they did anyway - well skipped off to the nearest little bush and then went back home. Was a sight to see.

On next inspection, one week later, the original queen was located just not laying. That’s when we ordered a new queen.

We didn’t use the smoker when we installed her because it was raining and the damn thing kept going out. The loud buzzing started the instant we lowered the frame with the queen cage into the hive. The mass of bees were slowly migrating on foot toward that frame. Because it was raining (I held the umbrella over the hive), we didn’t keep the hive open long. Put the frame in and closed it up.

Tomorrow is the 5th day since installation of the new queen. I am keen to have a peek to see what has been going on. All signs at the entrance seem calm and normal. Though I realise it’s not the best indicator.

Thank you once again for your comments and insight.
Oh, we did remove the original queen before introducing the new one
 


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