I am a very new beekeeper. In July, I aquired 3 established colonies from an old man who wanted to down size. All the woodenware was in great shape and he had requeened each hive this past spring. I have inspected the hive each week so I could learn what to look for. The hive in question is the largest (boiling over with bees). It came with bottom board, 1 deep with 10 frames, queen excluder, a super that had 9 frames of honey, inner cover and top. Right away I put a second deep with frames and foundation on(about July 20th). They have only drawn out parts of 2 frames. When I inspected last weekend I could not find the queen. I could not find any eggs, or larvae. I only found 3 capped brood ready to hatch. I found 3 large long half constructed cells that kind of look like the pictures I have seen of queen cells. There are still tons of bees, so I assume they have not swarmed, but could they be getting ready to, or has the queen just died??? Is that normal in September?? Do queens stop laying for a few days in the fall sometimes?? I will check the hive again on Sunday. What should I do, if anything? Thank you,
I replied to this once but it disappeared before the reply even posted.
I'll try again.
First, you need to identify the "3 large long half constructed cells". If they are peanut shaped and pointing down they are probalby queen cells. Here's a picture of an emergency cell.
A supercedure cell:
A swarm cell:
A newly made cell will be white. An old cell will be brown. A queen cell from an emerged queen will often be in tact so much that you can't tell it's emerged or it will have just the cap missing and be dark. A queen cell that has been torn down is usually dark and has the side torn out.
If what you have is an emerged queen cell, then my guess is that they swarmed and that's why you have no brood and can't find the queen. PROBABLY you have a virgin queen, who is quite quick and shy and hasn't mated or started to lay yet. But it's difficult to tell for sure. She also could have gone off to mate and gotten eaten by a dragon fly or hit the windshield of a car. So you COULD be queenless or you COULD have a queen that will start laying any day.
If you have another hive, put a frame with some eggs in it in and see if they start a queen. If they do, you would probably be better off to buy one. If they don't, keep an eye on them and see if they don't start having brood shortly. It takes 28 days from the egg to a laying queen. In that amount of time all the brood will emerge and there will be no open brood at the point where the new queen is just about to start laying.
It is also possible that the cells you see on the bottom point sideways, in which case they are drone cells.
If the 2nd brood box is not going well after 3 weeks. check the bottom one to see if they have filled out at least 8 frames. also see if the bees are clinging together as you slide a frame to get to the next one;if so they probably are queenright. also if the bees are bringing in lots of pollen and the bottom brood nest has single eggs in each cell on at least one frame the queen is still there. if you find multiple eggs in cells the queen is gone and you have laying workers...