Natural Beekeeping

Top Bar ApiRevolution has begun! Lets make some inexpensive Top Bar Hives and let them be pesticide free on their own natural comb! Che Guebee is a rebel bee fighting for the survival of the Biodiversity we all depend on and which is seriously endangered by deforestation and mono-crop agriculture! What kind of teaching have you got if you exclude nature?

Friday, May 24, 2013

Empty Queen Cups

Che Guebee Apiary

I have split my hives on the 18th of May, which was 6 days ago. The Queenless hives had 3 days to move less than 3 days old eggs into the Queen Cups. I decided to open those hives today and see if the Queen Cups are occupied with a growing Queen larvae.

I first opened the weaker hive and found a few empty queen cups and only 1 occupied Queen Cup which was very long and frosted from the sides. I'm sure they will cap it in the next day or two. I was surprised to see this colony deciding to only make 1 Queen - ??? They usually make several Queen Cells in case of emergency. Anyway, that Queen Cup looks very long and I'm sure they will raise a very nice Queen.

The stronger Queenless hive had only several empty Queen Cups but none with a larvae in !!! Alarm !!! This was not good at all!
I expected to see at least 3-4 valid queen cups with developing larvae in them, but nope, none had life in it. I'm just guessing that I made the split at exact time when the whole brood nest was occupied with developing larvae. Most of the brood combs are dark and seeing the tiny eggs through the veil is very difficult yet Im almost sure I saw eggs when I made the split.

Bees note in a very short time that the Queen is no more in the hive. Their Queen Pheromone is gone and they immediately switch to raising a new Queen. They do this because the eggs must be less than 3 days old to develope into a Queen (less than 3 days old eggs are fed with Royal Jelly). More than 3 days old larvae is fed with Bee Bread (pollen, water and nectar) instead of royal jelly and this very diet decides whether the larvae will become a Queen or a Worker Bee. The Queen larvae is exclusively fed with Royal Jelly.

So I had to act NOW so they have a chance to make a Queen. They needed a comb with freshly laid eggs and I took this from their original Queen which was split into a new hive. I swapped it with a fully capped brood comb which the Queenright hive got instead.

Now the Queenless hive can "move" the fresh eggs into Queen Cups and raise new Queens.
I will check this hive in 5-6 days to see if the Queen Cups have larva and if not I will have to combine the two hives which are related and let them build swarm cells when they feel it right time for it. I will keep an open eye to make a split before they cap the Queen Cells. But lets hope they use these new eggs wisely this time :)
I've got new gloves. These are much thicker than the yellow rubber gloves
used in households and the bees cant sting through it. Two bees tried to
sting me but the sting couldn't penetrate the thick rubber. These gloves are made
for those handling pesticides and have two layers. They are fairly flexible and I can
easily go through the entire hive with sensitivity. I can feel the top bar very well. 

I have placed a clay water pot I found in our local second hand shop near the
hives. The stone and the sticks make sure not many bees get drowned.
They work this pot a lot. This pot was filled to the top yesterday and it already
sunk considerably. Some of it must be due evaporation on such warm day.
Its good to teach bees where to get their water, otherwise they might drink
from the dogs or chicken water bowl instead, or even your neighbours
dripping tap ;)

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