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Thread: Lost Queens

  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Location
    Lyme, NH, 03768
    Posts
    1

    Question

    I have two hives from packages. Both queens have gone (with no sign of queen cells being created.) - the last time I positively saw them was 1st July. There is very little unhatched brood left and no sign of any laying workers. Should I just try to introduce replacement queens? Given that the books say that introducing a replacement queen into a colony with no brood is problematic, what is the best way of overcoming this?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    Central Square, NY, Oswego County
    Posts
    814

    Post

    You can introduce a queen using a cage with her in it. Place her in a 3 inch by 3 inch cage one side against the comb with her having access to the comb. The other side workers can feed her. She will start laying eggs and they will accept her no problem. See
    http://members.aol.com/queenb95/QnIntroInstr.html

    I use this cage method all the time. Acceptance is always guaranteed since she is laying eggs and the workers have no choice.
    Good luck.
    Dan

    [This message has been edited by bjerm2 (edited July 21, 2004).]

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    45,427

    Post

    If you saw a queen on the 1st you could easily have a virgin who isn't laying. If you have a frame of brood put that in. If not, you can try the queen introduction, but I'm betting they will kill the queen and a week later you'll find brood and a different queen (the virgin that was already there). Unfortunately, they COULD also be queenless.

    It takes 28 days from an egg to a laying queen. If they raised one starting on the 1st she would NOT be laying yet.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Location
    Stronghurst,Illinois
    Posts
    168

    Post

    I have 2 that have no queen or brood at all now . One I brought back from a fallen tree branch that had 3 frames of brood and 2 queen cells .

    The other was a split that had a queen that was laying ok . Now there isn't any brood left and the population is about to start a downhill slide I am afraid .

    Will the cage intro work for these colonys ?

    Drifter

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    45,427

    Post

    >I have 2 that have no queen or brood at all now.

    It's normal if they were rasing a queen to have no brood at all for a while. It's 28 days from egg to a laying queen with good mating weather. A virgin queen is almost impossible to find.

    >One I brought back from a fallen tree branch that had 3 frames of brood and 2 queen cells .

    How long ago? Less than 28 days and there would be no reason to expect eggs yet.

    >The other was a split that had a queen that was laying ok . Now there isn't any brood left and the population is about to start a downhill slide I am afraid .

    Again, if they superceded her you could have a virgin queen and not see any brood yet. It depends on when you did the split, but it still takes 28 days to get from an egg to a laying queen.

    >Will the cage intro work for these colonys ?

    Not if there is a vrigin queen. But yes, if there is not it should work fine.


  6. #6
    dtwilliamson Guest

    Post

    What makes a virgin queen so hard to find? I have a nuc that had 3 queen cells hatch so I figured that I ought to be able to find one of them even if one would be dead outside the entrance. I looked for some time and couldn't find any of them.

    They hatched on approx. 7/16 so I should wait about 14 days from that day before I can expect to see eggs right?

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    45,427

    Post

    >What makes a virgin queen so hard to find? I have a nuc that had 3 queen cells hatch so I figured that I ought to be able to find one of them even if one would be dead outside the entrance. I looked for some time and couldn't find any of them.

    1. They are much smaller than a laying queen becuase their ovaries are not fully developed and their spermathecae are not full.

    2. They are much faster than a laying queen.

    3. They are much more shy than a laying queen. They TRY to hide.

    4. They are less likely to be on the COMB than a laying queen. They may be on the side of the hive, the bottom of the hive or running out the door

    5. They may not even BE in the hive, they may be doing an orientation flight or mating.

    I have medium depth 2 frame mating nucs and I can only find them about 50% of the time.


    >They hatched on approx. 7/16 so I should wait about 14 days from that day before I can expect to see eggs right?

    Yes, if the emerged on 7/16, that's right. If the HATCHED on 7/16 then they won't emerge for another 13 days and won't lay for another 14 days after that.

    I know it's easy to mix them up, I do myself sometimes when I'm tired.

  8. #8
    dtwilliamson Guest

    Post

    AH yes! Emerged is the word I was looking for! I knew it didn't look right when I typed it but I had a mental block and couldn't think of the word I was looking for!

    Thanks for the reply and friendly correction!

    Dan

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