26 July 2013

Drone layers and queen cells

We all hope that a new queen will mate successfully, but it doesn't always work out that way. Bees do work to a timetable, once the colony has got going, but a new queen will sometimes bide her time before starting to lay. It might be nice to see if a new queen is laying, and to be able to see eggs, but a too early check can be disruptive for the colony - and there's always that risk of crushing the queen.

Two of my colonies should have had actively laying queens by, at the latest, 5th - 8th July. The latest time the first eggs would be capped would be 15th July, so there wasn't any real need to open up before then.When I inspected I was disappointed to find that both colonies had drone laying queens.

Nucleus headed by poorly mated queen
I wasn't really surprised that the little queen that was found in the bee shed hadn't mated well, but it was disappointing all the same.

This is what I saw:

The signs of a drone laying queen are clear -  there's a good laying pattern, but there are only sealed drone cells.