Monday, May 28, 2012

Six Week Surprise

In the center of the photo is a queen cup.  It's round and hanging facing down.  

The bees in the Flower Lang decided to build a queen cell.  Experienced beekeepers told me that it's normal to see these built and torn down.    We did see the queen that day, but not very many eggs.   Also there was syrup in the brood comb - not a good sign.    We saw huge celled comb at the perimeter of the hive - likely where they will make more queen cups.  

We might be seeing preparations for supercedure.   

If the bees don't like the queen, they'll raise another one.  Actually they'll raise a bunch.   One is raised in the center of the hive and others will be raised on the outer edges of the hive.   The extras are for insurance.   Say the first new queen goes out to mate but doesn't come back.    They'll have another queen there just in case.   

Why do bees supercede?    They know the queen.   If there's a problem with her, they'll know and they'll take steps to replace her.   Could be she's sick or damaged or misfiring.   The bees'll know.

If this queen cup is much longer when we inspect next and if we find others, we'll know they're serious.  If we see few or no eggs, we'll know why they're serious.    Even if the queen is still there, we'll know they're going to supercede and we'll just stay out of the way while they do it. 

If the cups are gone, we'd expect to see a lot of eggs and business as usual.   If the cups are gone but there are few eggs, I'll consult the experts.  

Should be interesting.

4 comments:

  1. I've said it before and I'll say it again...fascinating little creatures. Keep up these posts...love them!

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  2. Maybe she can't put enough eggs because she didn't found a lot of males to mate??? what a wired comment!!! sorry about that!

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  3. I just realized reading this how much bee keeping is like watching a soap opera. ;D People have said that watching chickens is better than watching TV; I have to say that the same comment applies to watching bees.

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  4. I have a hive now, where the queen about to be replaced. The bees have got 3 supersedure cells going, and I'm not planning to intervene with them either.

    I've seen bees raise their own replacement queen before, and I've been very happy with the resulting new queen. We must have a good Drone Congregation Area around my house, because the new queens raised in my hives are very prolific and healthy!

    Chris

    Show Me The Honey Blog

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