help! Dead Queen
Hi all, Wonder if anyone can help. I'm a newbie, started my first hive a bit late in the year with a nucleus and this years queen. Bees were lovely, quiet and easy to work. Everything seemed to be on track but we have had a very cold wet summer. The hive did not seem to be expanding at the rate I expected but I had put this down to poor weather conditions. A few weeks ago, I went to check and found the queen on the ground in front of the hive. There seems to be no reson at all for this. No sign of any queen cells previously, still plenty of stores. Checking the frames, I found eggs and larvae at all stages including new laid eggs. Anyone got any ideas??? Since it was too late to requeen, I decided to try and maintain the remainder of bees to at least prduce stores and drawn frames to start again next year. However, the girls have become very aggressive. Just approaching the hive brings them out in droves dive bombing and stinging. Is this normal???:confused:
eileen 1st sezs:
Checking the frames, I found eggs and larvae at all stages including new laid eggs. Anyone got any ideas???
this evidence suggest that you have a very active queen on board. there could be any number of reason for the dead queen on the ground including: a double queen hive, supersecedure, a newly mated queen that simply became disoriented, plus several other possible reasons.....
then eileen sezs:
However, the girls have become very aggressive. Just approaching the hive brings them out in droves dive bombing and stinging. Is this normal???
there are a couple of reason for defensive behavior beyond just plain mean bees... this may include temporary queenlessness and robbing. if the eggs, larvae, sealed brood were continous enough throughout the hive I would likely rule out queenlessness. at this time of year robbing and defensive behavior to confront other robbing bees would be my first GUESS. and yes robbing is quite normal (a bit more so in itialian bees than others, or at least that is what the literature suggest).
Even if something has happened to your queen, your bees should make another....since they have eggs and young larvae to work with.
Scotland UK ?
If this is Scotland UK there is no chance at all that they can raise a queen and have her mated at this time of year. Your only hope is that this hive had 2 queens, are you sure this is your queen, did you have her marked. I cannot think that it could be a disoriented queen at this time of year in Scotland.
I would suggest that if you know any beekeepers in the area ask them if they have a weak hive that may fail through the winter, and do a combine. In order to take a hive through the winter without a queen you would have to keep putting frames of brood in, and as you have only 1 hive that is not an option. The fact that you are still finding eggs suggests that there were 2 queens. Next year you need 2 hives life is much easier.
How long do you think the hive has been queenless?If you have eggs in 3 days you have a laying queen.What is your weather like now?
Thanks for the response everyone. To answer all.
I found the dead queen three weeks ago. It was definitely the queen, she was marked. She was obviously recently dead since there was recent sign of queen activity. There has been no sign of any new queen activity since then and all the capped brood has gone so I don't think I have another queen. I just wondered if the fact that the bees are now so aggressive is due to the fact that they have no queen. I also wondered how long I can keep the remaining bees alive if I feed them. We are now into sub zero temperatures at night.
Keep up the good work guys, it's great for us newbies to have someone to sound off to.
We are now into sub zero temperatures at night.
assuming the day time temperatures are also quite low this is another reason to suggest that the queen (if you still have one?) has shut down for the year. so you still may have a queen in the hive even though you don't see eggs or larvae.
and yes queenless bees typically are very defensive.
if you deside to feed (I never read any description of the hive's condition in regards to resources? and this being another possible reason for a queen to shut down egg production) how fast and frequently the hive empties a feeder is something of an indicator of whether they are queenless or queen right? some hives seen to have to first learn where the feeder is... but after they know where the feeder is located a queenright hive will (given warm enough temperatures to access the feeder) empty a feeder on a most predicable timetable. a queenless hive's timetable for removing the feed will be quite sporadic and many times they seem to ignore the feeder altogether.
good luck to ya'....
Wow subzero not looking forward to that at all here.
I agree the queen has sut down for the winter.If you found the dead queen 3 weeks ago the weather was allready cold.Maybe you found the dead superceded queen.Soit is worth a shot to feed them ans see what happens in warmer weather.The bees may just be more agressive from cold weather.So i would not assume they are queenless from the agressiveness.Good luck you may be surprised on the outcome.
[QUOTE=Mitch;270299]Wow subzero not looking forward to that at all here.
eileen in scotland might be using celcius. since zero degrees celcius is equal to thirty two degrees ferenheit it might be cold but not sub zero ferenheit cold.
Yes you are quite correct below -0 C and not -0 F. I think most queens have stopped laying now but a few still have capped brood.
Maybe you found the dead superceded queen.
or the weaker of two queens in a two queen hive.
tecumseh quite correct
And the fact that this hive is still surviveing in cold weather no matter if is is 0c of 0f still to cold for brood rearing
I think I feel a bit more hopeful now. I was pretty disappointed and worried that I had done something wrong. I did have a look for another queen but didn't want to spend too long since the bees were relly agitated and it was quite cold so I just filled up the feeder and left them to it.
I did have a look for another queen but didn't want to spend too long since the bees were relly agitated and it was quite cold so I just filled up the feeder and left them to it.
you are displaying good instincts in regards to the hive's survival. If you do have a queen wait until weather is more appropriate to inspect closely.... with cooler temperature you risk chilling the cluster and with warmer temperature brood rearing becomes much more obvious. if the hive continuously takes up feed* then quite likely you still have a queen in this hive....
*feed take up should somewhat be relative to the hive's population and temperature when access to the feeder is possible.
Are there day old eggs? This is an easy way to confirm the presence of a queen with only the pulling out of one frame. Remember, you can easily kill the queen which you are trying so desperately to find. When I find day old eggs my search is over.