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Tiny but prolific queen

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  • mommyhen42
    I have been going to post this for a while but have been so busy with rescues and family issues, that I really haven t had much chance to get to doing much
    Message 1 of 9 , Nov 1, 2012
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      I have been going to post this for a while but have been so busy with rescues and family issues, that I really haven't had much chance to get to doing much more than reading emails.

      A couple of months ago I did a hive removal and the hive was very aggressive so I killed the queen to let them make a new one. The new queen seems to be producing very nice bees, (as long as I remember to smoke them first)they can get a bit cantankerous if I forget...

      Anyway, I knew that they had a new queen because there was an abundance of brood, but try as I might I simply couldnt find her.

      Then one time while doing my hive inspections I noticed what I thought was a worker, acting like a queen does when her frame is exposed to light, she was moving very quickly and agitatedly. Anyway I then noticed that her abdomen was longish and pointed, so I watched her for a while and sure enough she laid an egg in the proper place in the cell and I also noticed workers tending her.

      I marked her, and have checked several times trying to find a larger queen in this hive and all I find laying is this tiny queen.

      She is so small that she can crawl right out of a queen clip just like a worker, so a queen excluder would never hold back one such as she.

      I also recently hived a swarm that also had a tiny queen, they stayed for a couple of days and then left, there was a queen excluder on the hive, but since she was so small, like my other queen, it was no deterrent to their absconding.

      Has anyone else noticed tiny queens like this?
    • Mike S
      ... You failed to mention your general area.  I am wondering if you might happen to live in an area inhabited by Africanized bees. Mike in LA
      Message 2 of 9 , Nov 1, 2012
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        >>>   ....I noticed what I thought was a worker, acting like a queen....;  ...all I find laying is this tiny queen.   Has anyone else noticed tiny queens like this?

        You failed to mention your general area.  I am wondering if you might happen to live in an area inhabited by Africanized bees.

        Mike in LA
      • mommyhen42
        Actually, yes I do although some hate to see that nomenclature used. I have removed several nasty hives, and my first hive that had moved into my garden was
        Message 3 of 9 , Nov 2, 2012
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          Actually, yes I do although some hate to see that nomenclature used. I have removed several nasty hives, and my first hive that had moved into my garden was likely highly africanized, yet in these hives I typically find "normal" sized queens.
          While africanization is possible and quite likely, this queen is producing a rather docile hive, as long as I smoke them before opening the hive they are always calm and gentle, if I forget however I am inundated with a rather large number of bees, yet they do not follow me very far, nor are usually more than one or two intent on trying to sting me thru my suit.
          I know africanized bees originally tended to be on the small side, they have crossed so much with our European bees that small size is not necessarily a factor in determining level of africanization.
          Our small cell bees from foundationless hives are just as often confused with African bees simply due to their small size.
          I am currently working on a difficult removal of a highly aggressive hive, that becomes incensed when exposed to smoke, which makes handling them even more difficult. I wouldn't be surprised if genetically these bees are highly africanized, if the genetic test were done, yet their queen was of normal size.
          So with that said, I don't think that small size is necessarily an indicator of level of africanization, but of course it is a possibility.


          --- In Beekeeping@yahoogroups.com, Mike S <mws1112004@...> wrote:
          >
          > >>>�� ....I noticed what I thought was a worker, acting like a queen....;� ...all I find laying is this tiny queen.�� Has anyone else noticed tiny queens like this?
          >
          > You failed to mention your general area.� I am wondering if you might happen to live in an area inhabited by Africanized bees.
          >
          > Mike in LA
          >
        • Eric mac
          If smoke is a factor, you may want to try using warm sugar water spray (a fine mist) either alone or in combination with the smoke. I have found that with all
          Message 4 of 9 , Nov 3, 2012
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            If smoke is a factor, you may want to try using warm sugar water spray (a fine mist) either alone or in combination with the smoke. I have found that with all my hives, sugar water is preferable during all checks except the harvest.

            Cheers:
            Eric
          • mommyhen42
            The smoke issue was in a removal/turned cutout that I was doing. Even the sugar water did not change the behavior of this hive. They have since lost their
            Message 5 of 9 , Nov 4, 2012
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              The smoke issue was in a removal/turned cutout that I was doing.
              Even the sugar water did not change the behavior of this hive.
              They have since lost their queen (intentionally) and I will be removing queen cells as they make them, then I will introduce a frame of eggs and brood from one of my docile hives, so that they can make a nice docile queen.

              I have a nicot queen system, but cant get a queen interested in laying in those plastic egg cups. I have since ordered some wax ones, as with everything going on here, I really dont have time to go to home depot to find the right sized dowel to make my own.

              Other than using wax cups instead of those plastic ones, has anyone had any success using this system, and what did you do to entice the queen to lay?


              --- In Beekeeping@yahoogroups.com, Eric mac <godoftheatre@...> wrote:
              >
              > If smoke is a factor, you may want to try using warm sugar water spray (a fine mist) either alone or in combination with the smoke. I have found that with all my hives, sugar water is preferable during all checks except the harvest.
              >
              > Cheers:
              > Eric
              >
            • Mike S
              ... I used the Nicot system several times.  I placed the plastic box in the middle of an empty drawn comb.  I left the queen excluder off and left the frame
              Message 6 of 9 , Nov 4, 2012
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                >>>  I have a nicot queen system, but cant get a queen interested in laying in those plastic egg cups.   ... what did you do to entice the queen to lay?

                I used the Nicot system several times.  I placed the plastic box in the middle of an empty drawn comb.  I left the queen excluder off and left the frame it for about a week before I wanted to introduce the queen to the system.  The bees were using the comb on each side of the box and I guess had "scented"  the box.  I then introduced the queen according to instructions.  The next day I checked the queen and the cells in the box.  She had laid eggs in about 90+% of the cells.   Since that first time I have tried twice.  I misplaced the queen excluder cover and used another one I bought that just about fit.  In that case the queen escaped before laying any eggs.  The second time the queen escaped somehow and I didn't get any eggs laid that time either.  Now, this coming year, I'm going to try the cell punch method advocated by a state club member.  I'll see how that one does.

                I think the critical thing is to get the box in the middle of a frame of drawn comb and to have it in the middle of the brood of the colony from which you're getting the queen and have that frame and Nicot box scented with the hive's scent before you place the queen in the box. 

                Good luck.

                Mike in LA

              • mommyhen42
                There is drawn comb on one side of the box, but I didnt leave the box open to the bees, because the workers can enter it anyway. I will give that a try in the
                Message 7 of 9 , Nov 5, 2012
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                  There is drawn comb on one side of the box, but I didnt leave the box open to the bees, because the workers can enter it anyway.

                  I will give that a try in the spring and see if that helps.
                  Thank you

                  what is the "punch" method?

                  --- In Beekeeping@yahoogroups.com, Mike S <mws1112004@...> wrote:
                  >
                  > >>>  I have a nicot queen system, but cant get a queen interested in laying in those plastic egg cups.   ... what did you do to entice the queen to lay?
                  >
                  > I used the Nicot system several times.  I placed the plastic box in the middle of an empty drawn comb.  I left the queen excluder off and left the frame it for about a week before I wanted to introduce the queen to the system.  The bees were using the comb on each side of the box and I guess had "scented"  the box.  I then introduced the queen according to instructions.  The next day I checked the queen and the cells in the box.  She had laid eggs in about 90+% of the cells.   Since that first time I have tried twice.  I misplaced the queen excluder cover and used another one I bought that just about fit.  In that case the queen escaped before laying any eggs.  The second time the queen escaped somehow and I didn't get any eggs laid that time either.  Now, this coming year, I'm going to try the cell punch method advocated by a state club member.  I'll see how that one does.
                  >
                  > I think the critical thing is to get the box in the middle of a frame of drawn comb and to have it in the middle of the brood of the colony from which you're getting the queen and have that frame and Nicot box scented with the hive's scent before you place the queen in the box. 
                  >
                  > Good luck.
                  >
                  > Mike in LA
                  >
                • Mike S
                  ... what is the punch method?   The Cell Punch  Method is a means by which the larva is not handled directly at all. The general classification of this
                  Message 8 of 9 , Nov 7, 2012
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                    Good evening.  You asked:

                    >>> 

                    what is the "punch" method?

                     

                    The Cell Punch  Method is a means by which the larva is not handled directly at all. The general classification of this method would be “cell punching.” In this method the entire worker size cell with an egg or appropriate age larva is removed by cutting or coring it out with a variety of tools. Two of the hazards of grafting (mechanical damage and starvation) are eliminated. Since the whole cell is removed, the larva is not touched directly in any way and it is removed intact with its food supply uninterrupted. The cell is now mounted on the exact type bar used for mounting artificial queen cell cups in the Doolittle Method.

                    This “cell punch” method is the method that I have used until recently. The selected queen is isolated on a frame of drawn medium (or regular) brood wax foundation. After two to two and one-half days this frame is used to cell punch eggs, thereby assuring that the youngest possible age larvae will be used for queen-production. The younger the larvae that are used, the more ovarioles, or egg-producing structures, the queen will have and thus her vigor and productive life will be greater. This method is still somewhat labor intensive, but it eliminated the hazards that I was concerned about and so I was satisfied with the procedure and the results.<Jerry Hayes>

                     

                    The kit I got was produced by one of the members of the Alabama Beekeepers Association.  It included a “punch” ring with a handle, some wooden bases upon which to attach the “punched” cell, some wax which is used in melted form to attach the punched cell to the wooden disk, and about six wooden disks to use as the base for the queen cells that are built.

                     

                    The actual cutting ring which is used to cut out the desired cell is a very short piece of tubing with an inner diameter about the size of a dime which has been sharpened on one side.  This is attached to a wire handle with a wooden handle on the other end.   The wooden disks were disks cut from an old broom handle.  Personally I would use a dowel rod with a large enough diameter that it would allow the queen cell to be hung between two brood frames and have the wood disk rest on the top bars of the two adjoining frames. 

                     

                    The cutting ring is heated by placing it in a can of water which is heated by a heat source (a portable heat plate) along with a small can of wax which would be used to attach the cut-out cells onto the wooden disks.   The frame which contains the cells you wish to punch should be a frame with wax foundation, drawn out, and containing eggs or one day old brood.   Personally, I think I would prefer the cells with one day old, or less, brood so there isn’t as much danger of the transferred cell drying out during the transfer from the brood frame to the queen cell frame.  The selected cell is centered inside the cutting ring and then the hot ring is pressed all the way through the drawn comb and the circular ring of comb is withdrawn from the comb.  Gently handled, this cut tube of comb is then attached to the wooden disk with a couple of drops of hot wax..  This base is then attached to the bar on the queen cell frame with more drops of hot wax.  This is done multiple times until you have as many queen cells attached to the bars on the queen cell frame as you desire.  All the time that you are doing this, you keep a warm, moist towels covering over both the frame of brood when not being manipulated and l over the queen cell frame.   This is done to keep the eggs or young larvae in the transfer cells from drying out.  Upon completion of the placement of prospective queen cells onto the queen cell frame, the frame is then placed in the queen cell starter colony. 

                     

                    That is the cell punch method of obtaining initial queen cells.

                     

                    MIKE in LA

                     

                    Source of the Jerry Hayes introduction is actually a description of the Hopkins method of queen raising: 


                  • mommyhen42
                    Thank you for the detailed description. I think I can make that one work!
                    Message 9 of 9 , Nov 9, 2012
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                      Thank you for the detailed description.
                      I think I can make that one work!

                      --- In Beekeeping@yahoogroups.com, Mike S <mws1112004@...> wrote:
                      >
                      > Good evening.  You asked:
                      >
                      >
                      >
                      >
                      >
                      >
                      >
                      >
                      >
                      >
                      >
                      >
                      >
                      >
                      >
                      >
                      >
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                      >
                      > >>> 
                      > what is the "punch" method?
                      >
                      >  
                      >
                      > The Cell Punch  Method is a means by which the larva is not handled directly
                      > at all. The general classification of this method would be “cell punching.” In
                      > this method the entire worker size cell with an egg or appropriate age larva is
                      > removed by cutting or coring it out with a variety of tools. Two of the hazards
                      > of grafting (mechanical damage and starvation) are eliminated. Since the whole
                      > cell is removed, the larva is not touched directly in any way and it is removed
                      > intact with its food supply uninterrupted. The cell is now mounted on the exact
                      > type bar used for mounting artificial queen cell cups in the Doolittle Method.
                      >
                      > This “cell punch” method is the method
                      > that I have used until recently. The selected queen is isolated on a frame of
                      > drawn medium (or regular) brood wax foundation. After two to two and one-half
                      > days this frame is used to cell punch eggs, thereby assuring that the youngest
                      > possible age larvae will be used for queen-production. The younger the larvae
                      > that are used, the more ovarioles, or egg-producing structures, the queen will
                      > have and thus her vigor and productive life will be greater. This method is
                      > still somewhat labor intensive, but it eliminated the hazards that I was
                      > concerned about and so I was satisfied with the procedure and the results.<Jerry
                      > Hayes>
                      >
                      >  
                      >
                      > The kit I got was produced by one of the
                      > members of the Alabama Beekeepers Association.  It included a “punch” ring with a handle, some wooden bases
                      > upon which to attach the “punched” cell, some wax which is used in melted form
                      > to attach the punched cell to the wooden disk, and about six wooden disks to
                      > use as the base for the queen cells that are built.
                      >
                      >  
                      >
                      > The actual cutting ring which is used to
                      > cut out the desired cell is a very short piece of tubing with an inner diameter
                      > about the size of a dime which has been sharpened on one side.  This is attached to a wire handle with
                      > a wooden handle on the other end.  
                      > The wooden disks were disks cut from an old broom handle.  Personally I would use a dowel rod with
                      > a large enough diameter that it would allow the queen cell to be hung between
                      > two brood frames and have the wood disk rest on the top bars of the two
                      > adjoining frames. 
                      >
                      >  
                      >
                      > The cutting ring is heated by placing it
                      > in a can of water which is heated by a heat source (a portable heat plate)
                      > along with a small can of wax which would be used to attach the cut-out cells
                      > onto the wooden disks.   The
                      > frame which contains the cells you wish to punch should be a frame with wax
                      > foundation, drawn out, and containing eggs or one day old brood.   Personally, I think I would
                      > prefer the cells with one day old, or less, brood so there isn’t as much danger
                      > of the transferred cell drying out during the transfer from the brood frame to
                      > the queen cell frame.  The selected
                      > cell is centered inside the cutting ring and then the hot ring is pressed all
                      > the way through the drawn comb and the circular ring of comb is withdrawn from
                      > the comb.  Gently handled, this cut
                      > tube of comb is then attached to the wooden disk with a couple of drops of hot
                      > wax..  This base is then attached
                      > to the bar on the queen cell frame with more drops of hot wax.  This is done multiple times until you
                      > have as many queen cells attached to the bars on the queen cell frame as you
                      > desire.  All the time that you are
                      > doing this, you keep a warm, moist towels covering over both the frame of brood
                      > when not being manipulated and l over the queen cell frame.   This is done to keep the eggs or
                      > young larvae in the transfer cells from drying out.  Upon completion of the placement of prospective queen cells
                      > onto the queen cell frame, the frame is then placed in the queen cell starter
                      > colony. 
                      >
                      >  
                      >
                      > That is the cell punch method of
                      > obtaining initial queen cells.
                      >
                      >  
                      >
                      > MIKE in LA
                      >
                      >  
                      >
                      > Source of the Jerry Hayes introduction is actually a
                      > description of the Hopkins method of queen raising: 
                      >
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