View Full Version : Lost Queen
05-12-2005, 04:18 PM
I have two TBHs installed at the same time. It seems that I've lost the queen in one of them. I am relatively new, so when I could not find her last week (she is/was clipped and marked) I chalked it up to me being queen-blind. I looked again yesterday, and no queen. The hive seems to be suffering from "failure to thrive" as compared to the confirmed hive. Lots of other telltale signs that she is gone. Should I transfer a bar with new eggs from one hive to the other, or order a queen quickly? I tried to order a queen today, but it seems that they are a little hard to find these days. What do you all think?
05-12-2005, 06:49 PM
I would try the bar of eggs at this point if there isn't any eggs or brood in the queenless hive, even though it might slow down your other hive.
05-13-2005, 09:14 AM
A bar of eggs is the best move if you can. They may have superceded the old queen already and she's just not laying. They also may be queenless. The eggs will resolve things either way.
05-13-2005, 01:20 PM
I ordered a queenie today- she'll be here by tuesday. If I had to wait longer, I'd try placing a bar of new eggs. If things go sour, I'll set in a new bar in seven days. Either case, it will be a long year for these girls...
05-13-2005, 02:43 PM
The problem is, if there's a supercedure queen in the hive the bees will kill your new queen. Of course there is the possibility that there isn't.
05-13-2005, 03:43 PM
Yeah, there could be. They are so new I'm not sure that they had time for a supercedure. I did not find any evidence of a supercedure cell either. I'm hoping that one week will not be too long to find out... Thanks!
05-17-2005, 09:32 AM
Okay- the Queen arrived yesterday. This is a day earlier than I expected, which is good. I did a quick inspection and found capped cells on the outer-most comb. I'm thinking they might be emargency queen cells. I have some pictures here:
How do you advise that I install the queen? I've fed her and the 'court' some sugar syrup this morning. Thanks.
05-17-2005, 10:00 AM
I don't see any queen cells. Which picture?
A queen cell is vertical. Hanging down. A drone cell is horizontal.
The problem with installing the queen is that you don't know that there isn't:
1) a queen cell
2) a virgin queen
3) the old queen somewhere in the hive
In any of these cases they will kill the new queen.
A frame with some eggs is the best way to tell for sure if they are queenless or not. If they are not, you need to resolve that before installing the new queen. If they are, then you need to destroy the cells they started on the frame of eggs you gave them and then install the new queen.
05-17-2005, 10:04 AM
I finally got the pictures. You have a laying worker with dozens of eggs in every cell. The laying worker can manage to lay them in the bottom if it's a drone cell or if it has some pollen in it.
They will kill your queen, most likely, no matter what you do. But your best bet would be a push in cage on a frame of emerging brood from another hive. That MIGHT work. Youre other choice is just brush them all off and remove all the equipment and let them move into your other hives. Another option is brush them all out AND put the queen on some emerging brood from another hive. That might increase the odds of them accepting the queen.
05-17-2005, 10:21 AM
Wow. That does not sound good. What if I find the laying worker and remove her? I know, a needle in a haystack. But, there are only four drawn combs, so the haystack is not that huge.
If I leave the laying worker be, the colony will perish, correct?
Can you send me a link to an image of a push in cage? I have no idea what that is. I only have one other hive (TBH) started at the same time as this one. I guess I am getting a quick education...
05-17-2005, 10:49 AM
>Wow. That does not sound good. What if I find the laying worker and remove her?
First, there are probably several of them. Second you'd have to watch them for hours to catch one laying. I've only succeeded when it was in a two frame nuc and I only had to watch two frames and I still had to watch a long time.
>I know, a needle in a haystack. But, there are only four drawn combs, so the haystack is not that huge.
And if you catch one you won't catch them all.
>If I leave the laying worker be, the colony will perish, correct?
>Can you send me a link to an image of a push in cage? I have no idea what that is.
(fourth picture down)
>I only have one other hive (TBH) started at the same time as this one. I guess I am getting a quick education...
Yep. I'd be tempted to brush them all off on the ground, remove all the equipment and let them all move in with the other hive. Then in a few days you could take a frame of emerging brood and put the push in cage on it with your new queen and see if you can get them to start over.
05-17-2005, 11:03 AM
Okay. Now I'm on a mission, and some more questions. I'll opt for brushing all the bees to the ground and removing that hive for the time being.
1. What do I do with the four bars with comb? Should I install them in with the other hive? Maybe this would be a good excercise to test their ability to remove all those old eggs and debris from the cells...
2. How do I keep my new queen alive until I put her in the push in cage? (Michael- Thanks for the images)
3. How do limit the impact to my elderly neighbor of all these bees brushed off to the ground?
4. what time of day is best for this operation?
Thanks. I don't think I would have made this one work out on my own...
05-17-2005, 12:59 PM
>1. What do I do with the four bars with comb? Should I install them in with the other hive?
That's what I would do.
Maybe this would be a good excercise to test their ability to remove all those old eggs and debris from the cells...
The strong colony will.
>2. How do I keep my new queen alive until I put her in the push in cage? (Michael- Thanks for the images)
A drop of water a day and keep her in a quiet dark place.
>3. How do limit the impact to my elderly neighbor of all these bees brushed off to the ground?
The bees will fly directly back to the old location. (so you need to remove all the equipment before you start brushing them off). If your neighbor is not between where you brushed them and the old location it probably won't be a problem. They will circle a little and drift into your other hive. They will drift sooner if the other hive is close to the old hive's location, of course.
>4. what time of day is best for this operation?
The middle of a warm afternoon would be ideal. I guess part of it also depends on how far the other hive is. They need a little time to find it and the further it is, the longer it will take.
05-17-2005, 01:33 PM
Again, clear and straight-forward advice. Thanks. I've been searching the forum alot and have seen the 'brush and settle' technique recommended quite a bit. Here is my tentative plan:
1. Tomorrow afternoon, move the hive to the other side of the yard (about 60 feet), brush the hive empty, and retreat to the house... The other hive is presently about five feet from the queenless one.
2. Feed and hydrate the newly delivered queen for three days.
3. On day three (Friday evening), I'll take a frame with (hopefully) emerging brood and as many bees as I can keep on it (except for the queen, of course), and place it in the new hive in the old location.
4. Then, I'll set the queen (no attendants) in her push in cage on the frame, making room for the cage by brushing some bees off into the TBH.
5. Wait several days (easy to do since this is me observation hive- I can do some non-invasive watching).
6. Release the queen after some of the newly emerged brood has accepted her.
I'll get some hardware cloth in town today to make a cage. Also, I'll try to get some photos to document this approach. Hopefully it works.
Thanks once again.
05-20-2005, 09:03 AM
I'd wanted to order a Carni queen for August- or sooner if needed - Anyone know a supplier of Carni's?
Try Tarheit, who posts on this board. I hear his queens are great. His email address is (replace the words with the correct symbols and remove the spaces) :
tarheit at watchtv dot net
I'm going to requeen this fall with his queens. I understand they are bred from NWC.