Simply Resourceful

Simple ways to be more conscious about how we use our resources.

Queen Bee Has Tight Boundaries

So...after introducing the 2nd nuc of bees in early June, I have performed 2 hive inspections to make sure this queen is healthy and laying eggs.  Both inspections confirmed that she is indeed alive and laying, but the problem is, she is only laying on the original 4 frames that came from the nuc!  There are empty frames of drawn comb next to her, but she refuses to lay eggs in them!

At first glance when opening the hive, one would assume that all is well because the bee population is in fact really large and they are filling out frames with comb, etc.  When digging a little deeper, you will notice drawn frames with no eggs and larvae but 4 frames packed to the edges with capped brood, pollen, and nectar.  It's almost like the queen works really hard and then takes a vacation until the cells are empty.  This discovery after 2 months is a bit unnerving for a beekeeper.  I did notice 2 uncapped queen cells which could indicate a replacement queen, but I have been told that most hives keep a queen cell around as a warning to the queen...

I don't know if there is anything a beekeeper can do to encourage expansion.  I thought I could switch frames around but I have always been told that this a no-no.  Thoughts anyone?

Sorry, no pictures for this post.


Christopher Beeson July 23, 2012 at 8:08 AM  

I don't have a clue why your queen won't lay in more than the original 4 frames.

Sure is strange when/where a queen will use comb sometimes!

I think you'd be safe to alternate brood & drawn comb frames to encourage her to lay in the drawn frames, as long as you have enough population to cover the brood when it's spread out a bit.

If your daily temps are above 100*F like ours, the queen may just be temporarily slowing down and not laying quite so vigorously due to the heat right now.

If you try a technique to encourage the queen to use more frames, let us know how it works out!

Holly July 23, 2012 at 4:22 PM  

Thanks Chris for your thoughts! I don't plan to go into the deep recesses of the hive for the rest of the summer unless I suspect something is wrong; but if I do, I will switch a frame or two around and see what happens. From past experience, the hive gets quite testy as the fall approaches and they don't fancy to the beekeeper visiting the nursery.

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A weekly update on our adventures of trying to be more self-sufficient by using resources wisely. We explore a variety of topics that most broadly fit in the "Homesteading" category, i.e. beekeeping, organic gardening, edible landscaping/fruit forest, food preservation/canning, woodworking, soap-making, and environmental stewardship.

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