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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Western Illinois
    Posts
    111

    Question Confused... me, not the bees

    As you may recall I had a million swarms this year (OK, not a million, but eight out of only two hives). Our state inspector came over yesterday (great guy!) and we were going through one of those two hives and found a ton of bees but no larvae, eggs or brood anywhere. We tore that hive apart (had three supers on it with two deeps). No queen found. But the strange thing is that the hive was gentle as can be and didn't act queenless at all. He suggested that I might want to combine one of my swarms with this hive. Seems like good advise if I don't have a queen in this big hive. But I guess I'm not convinced. The bees really were acting normally. And my swarms are building up nicely and I really don't want to "lose" a hive by combining unnecessarily. And then again, I don't want to lose this big hive by stupidity or naivety. Suggestions please?! Do I wait and check again this weekend? Go ahead and do as he suggests? Other ideas? THANKS!

    Chris

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    Location
    Greenville, TX, USA
    Posts
    4,379

    Default

    Virgin queen?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Western Illinois
    Posts
    111

    Default

    That's my thought but shouldn't I have seen the little princess? I'm pretty good at finding the queen, but you may be right, there were quite a few bees in the hive. So, should I wait? When to check?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Trumbull, CT
    Posts
    406

    Default

    A frame of eggs is what I use when I'm not sure about the queen.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Sacramento,California,USA
    Posts
    3,682

    Default

    Yep, me too, I'd try adding a frame of eggs/hatching larva just to insure they have something to work with incase it is truly queenless.

    Virgin queens are little buggers and are harder to find, for me, than laying queens.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,142

    Default

    A frame of eggs and open brood will answer the question.

    http://www.bushfarms.com/beesfallaci...nobroodnoqueen
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Western Illinois
    Posts
    111

    Question

    Thanks for all your help. I went through the hive on Monday. Digging through 2 medium supers and two deeps in order to find the queen was hot sweaty work. I can't lift a full deep and so I took out frame after frame and inspected them for brood, eggs or the queen. Nothin'. The hive was full of older bees. Tons and tons. And this hive had swarmed four times this spring. Now they were starting to get testy. So I took four frames of capped honey with bees on them and gave them to some of my swarms (they'll probably just fly back). I then found a frame of 1-2 old eggs from a new package this spring (they had superceded their queen just a few weeks back) and gave them to the big hive. I couldn't find any frames with larvae or capped brood. Hope they know what to do with the frame. They seemed to ignore it even though there was not an egg or brood in the place.

    So how long do I wait until I check for a new queen? Can I wait until I see eggs? (3 weeks?) I keep adding supers since the girls keep filling them but soon their numbers will be reduced won't they?

    Thanks!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,142

    Default

    A frame of eggs and brood will not only answer the question, it will ensure the solution to any underlying problem except laying workers. A subsequent frame the next two weeks will even resolve the laying workers. In a few days they will have noticeable cells. In three or four weeks they will have a laying queen. Of course if there is already a virgin, in two weeks they will probably have a laying queen.
    http://www.bushfarms.com/beesmath.htm
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Western Illinois
    Posts
    111

    Default

    Thanks Michael!

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