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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2015
    Location
    arvada, colorado
    Posts
    9

    Default Is my hive queen less?

    I'm a new beekeeper this year.
    The package I put in 4 weeks ago was doing great - filled an 8-frame deep with nice brood + honey/pollen and were gentle as lambs. My last inspection was about a week ago where I did see eggs.

    Today when I inspected them they were very aggressive and flying at me nonstop.
    I only saw brood that was 6-8 days old + capped brood. No eggs.
    Newly drawn comb had nectar and none of it was dry.
    There was one single queen cell, capped, hanging from a bottom center frame.

    Does this sound like a queenless hive to you folks with more experience???

    ALSO,
    If it is queenless, is it okay for me to let this queen cell hatch out or should I replace her with a mated one?? I started my package a month later than most people in my area and am worried about the time it will take for an in-house queen to hatch and start laying again.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2015
    Location
    Midland, Michigan, USA
    Posts
    139

    Default Re: Is my hive queen less?

    It sounds like, by accident, you killed the queen on your last inspection. It would be ok to use the q cell, but if you want them in full swing sooner, then a bought queen would be fine

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2015
    Location
    arvada, colorado
    Posts
    9

    Default Re: Is my hive queen less?

    Thanks for your input beestudent. That's another reason I think it could be queenless, since the timing of my inspection seems to coincide with the age of the newest larvae.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Location
    Battle Ground, WA
    Posts
    235

    Default Re: Is my hive queen less?

    These things happen, not catastrophic at all. Given the time of year (dearth coming or here) it's actually a great time (and learning opportunity) to let them requeen themselves with the cell they built. More bees this time of year simply eat more food that could better be used during the long winter. You have plenty of time to allow the process play out in time for the bees to build a good cluster for winter. Since you said new/package, I assume your bees are drawing comb as they go? If so, they will continue to do so if you feed them 1:1 syrup or still have a flow going. If you go that route, you are about three weeks away from having a new laying queen. To be sure things are progressing on schedule, it's not a bad idea to check the hive a week from now to see if the virgin has in fact emerged. The cell will be opened on the bottom as if someone cut the tip off with a razor blade. At that point, if it's open you can button it up and check for eggs a couple weeks later. If the cell isn't open you could still order a queen in plenty of time to restart the hive. BTW - if they are ready for a new box, move a couple frames of brood up to the middle and keep them working on drawing comb.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
    Location
    Trousdale County, Tennessee
    Posts
    529

    Default Re: Is my hive queen less?

    Most, and seems to be especially true this year,packages requeen with supercedure queens. An after solstice supercedure queen is second to none. If you had killed the queen during your last inspection they would have started several emergency queen cells, instead of just one lone cell. So it is very doubtful that's what happened. Let mother nature proceed. I would only buy a mated queen if for some reason this cell doesn't make it to being a laying queen. Otherwise there's nothing to say they wouldn't supercede the queen you buy and you're in the same boat.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2015
    Location
    arvada, colorado
    Posts
    9

    Default Re: Is my hive queen less?

    With a supercedure is it normal for the bees to get aggressive and eggless?
    Also, do I have any worries about a swarm with the bees backfilling and filling new comb with nectar?
    I gave them a second deep when they were about 70% filled in the first deep.
    I'd like to let them make a new queen if they still have time to get strong and ready for winter. It's encouraging that they could make a great queen at this time of year.
    Thanks!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    Cumberland Va.
    Posts
    2,805

    Default Re: Is my hive queen less?

    It sounds to me like your bees already swarmed. Let them raise their own and hope she makes it back. If not, then you can buy a queen. G

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Location
    Battle Ground, WA
    Posts
    235

    Default Re: Is my hive queen less?

    Not having to raise brood for a month will actually help them better prepare for winter. It takes a lot of nectar/honey/syrup and pollen to raise brood, some say up to 60 lbs in a month for a big hive. Stores is what they need for winter, when a new queen starts laying in a few weeks she will easily lay enough to give your hive a good winter cluster. Left alone, they would have started shutting her down by backfilling and reducing her space to lay during the dearth for this very reason. Enjoy the ride, they know what to do.

    Many beeks, me included actually pinch or remove queens at this time of year for this very reason. Save winter resources, provide a brood break which is good for mite control and to insure we go into winter with young, newly mated robust queens.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Knox, Pa. USA
    Posts
    2,165

    Default Re: Is my hive queen less?

    The Post Solstice Queen theory is in reference to a queen produced after the summer solstice of the previous year being superior to a queen produced in the spring of the current year.

    A supersedure is when the hive inhabitance decide that a queen is not performing well and choose to replace her in hope that the new queen will produce better. However the fact that the hive has No brood at all. indicated a missing queen. In the case of a supesedure the new queen is developed, and emerges, sometimes it is she that kills the existing queen, sometimes because of genetic association she does not. In which case she breeds, and begins laying in the presence of the original queen, at some point the attendants will stop feeding her and she will parish. Again this does not always happen, sometimes the two queen coexist within the colony for an indefinite period of time.
    You may have to feed them through the dearth as the front range generally dries up in mid summer. But you should be Okay

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2015
    Location
    arvada, colorado
    Posts
    9

    Default Re: Is my hive queen less?

    I'm very apprehensive about thinking they may have swarmed already. Just because my numbers were lowering from the original packaged bees dying off and now my numbers are finally increasing nicely. I think I'd see a big drop in bee population? But, I know anything is possible!

    I guess with the input here I am leaning towards letting the hive do their thing and see what happens. I love the idea of a queen who is mated with strong, adapted, local drones. Worst case scenario I can buy a mated queen in a few weeks from now, but I hope my hive will pull off making a new queen.....Or maybe they're not queenless and just about to swarm :/

    Do you think I'll continue to have a more 'hot' hive until the queen is hatched?

    My start in beekeeping has been a roller coaster ride for sure! This is yet another very interesting surprise teaching me another great lesson. Thanks for the input, guys!

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Location
    Battle Ground, WA
    Posts
    235

    Default Re: Is my hive queen less?

    Yes, they are most always a bit pissy when they are queenless. They also can get that way in the dearth, you have double pissy conditions.

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