HappE Honey Bee Farm
Average Developmental Period
(Days until emergence)
Start of Fertility
up to Day 3
up to Day 8½
Day 8 until emergence
Day 23 and up
nearly 200 mg
up to Day 3
up to Day 9
Day 10 until emergence (Day 11 or 12 last moult)
(range: 18–22 days)
nearly 100 mg
up to Day 3
up to Day 9½
Day 10 until emergence
approx. 38 days
nearly 200 mg
Development from egg to emerging bee varies among queens, workers and drones. Queens emerge from their cells in 15,16 days, workers in 21 days and drones in 24 days. Only one queen is usually present in a hive. New virgin queens develop in enlarged cells through differential feeding of royal jelly by workers. When the existing queen ages or dies or the colony becomes very large a new queen is raised by the worker bees. The virgin queen takes one or several nuptial flights and once she is established starts laying eggs in the hive.
A fertile queen is able to lay fertilized or unfertilized eggs. Each unfertilized egg contains a unique combination of 50% of the queen's genes and develops into a haploid drone. The fertilized eggs develop into either workers or virgin queens.
The average lifespan of a queen is three to four years; drones usually die upon mating or are expelled from the hive before the winter; and workers may live for a few weeks in the summer and several months in areas with an extended winter.
What types of natural ingredients are safe to use outdoors that won’t harm honey bees?
Any spray with chemicals organic or not will kill your bees if they contact it. The recipe below will not kill your bees unless you spray it on them directly since it is not a systemic insecticide. Spray it at dust or better yet dark will make it much more effective as the insects are typically more active.
Bio-safe Plant Spray Recipe
2 ½ tablespoons vegetable oil
2 ½ tablespoons mild dishwashing liquid
1 gallon water
The spray repels aphids, lace bugs, mealy bugs, scale, spider mites and whitefly.
Do not spray in sun
Spray backside of leaves
Spray in the evening
Spray again after five days
Information courtesy of the University of Florida IFAS extension in Pasco County
A Review of Research into the Effects of Neonicotinoid Insecticides on Bees by the Xerces Society of Oregan
Some of the major findings of the report include:
Supercedure Cells Swarm Cells
During spring build-up, beekeepers often search for swarm cells in order to determine if the hive is preparing to swarm. But what is a swarm cell and how is it different from a supersedure cell?
First of all, the term “cell” usually refers to an oversize structure attached to the comb in which a queen will be raised. This can be confusing to new beekeepers, because there are regular “cells” all over the place—in fact, a comb is nothing more than a series of interconnected hexagonal cells. Confusing as it may be, however, when beekeepers talk about “cells” they are usually referring to queen cells.
Drone cells are often in the vicinity of swarm cells but should not be confused with them. Drone cells usually occur in groups at the edge of the frame, and there may be hundreds of them. They are much bigger than worker cells, and some people describe them as “bullet-shaped,” although I would guess the people who use that term have never seen a bullet. I would describe the surface of drone cells as “pebbly” or like cobblestones. In any case, the surface is rounded whereas worker cells are flat on top.
Pebbly textured drone cells. Flickr photo by blumenbiene
Queen cells are very different. When completed, they look like a peanut shell—rough-textured, elongated, perhaps an inch overall (2.5 cm), and they hang vertically off the frames. Once you see a completely finished and capped swarm cell it is usually too late to stop swarming, so you have to learn to identify them before they are finished. In their unfinished form they are called queen cups. Queen cups are prepared for the existing queen to lay eggs in.
Peanut-shaped queen cell. Flickr photo by blumenbiene
Now, more confusion. The term “queen cup” is also used by beekeepers to describe a commercially manufactured product that is used to raise queens. Their purpose is the same—a place to lay an egg that will be raised as a queen—only the commercial ones are made of wood, plastic, or perhaps wax. The ones you are looking for are made by the bees and have been described by others as “teacup” shaped—although I think they look more like tiny bowls. After an egg is laid in a cup, the cell is enlarged into the “peanut” shape by the workers.
Queen cup. Flickr photo by blumenbiene
Now, in case there are people who can actually follow this description, I’ll add another layer of confusion. A cell hanging off the middle of the frame somewhere is usually a supersedure or “emergency” queen cell. A cell hanging off the bottom of a frame is usually a swarm cell.
Supersedure cells are often begun after the eggs are laid. The bees, knowing they need to replace the queen, begin feeding royal jelly to a young larva they have selected. They build a supersedure cell around this larva (or several larvae) and it hangs down from the face of the comb. Swarm cells, however, are built in preparation for swarming and are not intended to replace the queen, but to raise a second queen. This way, there will be a queen for the part that swarms and a queen for the part that stays.
If a colony is in two brood boxes, the swarm cells will almost always be found hanging from the bottom of the upper row of frames between the two boxes. When beekeepers hunt for swarm cells they frequently just tip up the upper brood box and examine the bottoms of the exposed frames.