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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Marysville, WA
    Posts
    477

    Default Queen not laying???

    First year beekeeper here so I'm not sure what this means. Did a complete inspection on one of my hives last night and there's no brood and no eggs. I went through this hive bar by bar. I have 7 complete bars of honey and there are 11 bars that were for brood. These brood bars have about a 2 or 3" band of capped honey at the top of each. I DID find the queen on my inspection and she looked healthy and was moving around like she always has. The bees all look healthy and there are alot of them. Each frame I pulled was pretty much covered with bees and they were festooning heavily in the storage area, I assume to build more comb for storage? The bees were very calm and I worked through the hive with no smoke and no gloves and not only didn't get stung but they didn't seem too worried. Usually when I do a big inspection they start pinging of my veil a bit and they really didn't do much of that.
    Do I have a bad queen? Until now there has always been alot of brood. I know that they slow down laying during different parts of the year, but isn't this beyond "slowing down"?

    Should I replace the queen?

    Thanks,
    Mike

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Tucson, Arizona, USA
    Posts
    5,408

    Default Re: Queen not laying???

    In all of these combs, where there many empty cells? The queen will need empty, polished cells in which to lay eggs. If all the cells are occupied with honey, pollen, nectar, or brood, then she won't have any place to deposit her eggs.
    Last edited by Joseph Clemens; 07-29-2010 at 11:10 AM.
    48 years - 50 hives - TF
    Joseph Clemens -- Website Under Constructioni

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Marysville, WA
    Posts
    477

    Default Re: Queen not laying???

    Well there is alot of pollen......I think there were plenty of empties. **** I really thought that I gave a thourghough inpection and didn't really look to see if there were alot of completely empty ones although I "think" there were.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
    Posts
    28,296

    Default Re: Queen not laying???

    Do you know what brood looks like? Some folks don't know the difference between capped brood and capped honey. They don't notice the difference. And what about larval and pupal stages of growth? Do you know what they are supposed to look like? have you been shown.

    You mentioned the numbers of bees and that no smoke was used. Perhaps bees were covering the brood so well that you couldn't see the baby bees in their cells.

    There is much that we can't help you w/ from a distance. More info is needed by us to be of much aid to you. That's why I asked for info about what you know about so we can make some intelligent suggestions.

    Until we know more it is too early for anyone to suggest that a new queen is in order.

    I am tending towards thinking that you have a good queenright colony of bees.
    Mark Berninghausen
    The answers are the end. The questions are the journey. Journey on.



  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Marysville, WA
    Posts
    477

    Default Re: Queen not laying???

    sqkcrk,
    Thanks for the response.
    I have been active in both of my hives this year and have had the pleasure of watching and learning as I've gone along. Up until now I've been able to see eggs, both capped worker and drone brood, and the different larval and pupal stages. While there are alot of bees I was able to see pretty well and when I started getting concerned after a couple bars without brood I "shook" a couple to get a better look. There simple isn't any.
    Don't be concerned offending me......I'm new and I know it. Without accepting that fact I would be stuck in dumbdom.
    Thanks,
    Mike

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Heavener Oklahoma
    Posts
    938

    Default Re: Queen not laying???

    What race of bees do you have this makes a difference at times.

    I have been keeping bees for about 40 years and have seen many things that they do.

    Here in Okla I use to move my bee on soybeans about the last of July
    Have seen when i went to get bees ready for moving almost every hive had no sealed brood or larva The queens had just started laying they had shut down, usually this happen when the flow ended in first part of June and every thing started drying up and no nectar was coming in.

    Don't know if you are in this situation some races shut down if a nectar dearth is on.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Marysville, WA
    Posts
    477

    Default Re: Queen not laying???

    These are Italians. They definitly built up fast in the spring with comb and started laying like crazy right out of the gate.
    I'm just not sure if this is something I should be concerned about.

    Thanks for the response.

    Mike

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
    Posts
    28,296

    Default Re: Queen not laying???

    Mike, do you know what supercedure cells look like? If things are as they seem to be from your observations, and yours are the only eyes available and you seem to have things otherwise in hand, I believe that, for some reason your queen has stopped laying. Which doesn't make a whole lot of sense, but I can\t think of another explanation at this time.

    Even in deep winter queens will lay an egg or two. But I have never heard of a type of bee that takes time off at this time of year. You are in the Northern Hemisphere, aren't you?

    Check again for queen cells, emergency supercedure cells on the face of the comb. The bees would have made these by drawing out a worker cell at an early time in the larval stage of growth.

    Call me in the morning. Heh, heh.
    Mark Berninghausen
    The answers are the end. The questions are the journey. Journey on.



  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Marysville, WA
    Posts
    477

    Default Re: Queen not laying???

    I won't be able to look this evening since I won't be home until after dark, but I will look tommarrow and get back to you. I will admit that I didn't look carefully for queen cells on the first few brood combs. After I started seeing no larvae then I started looking closely and can say for certain that there are none on the last 5 or 6 bars. It will be interesting to check again with this in mind. Maybe I missed it.
    This is good stuff and I can't wait to learn my new lesson.

    Thanks,
    Mike

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Marysville, WA
    Posts
    477

    Default Re: Queen not laying???

    I forgot to ask.........Do they tear down queen cells after the fact? Is it possible that the queen I spotted is a replacement queen?

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Heavener Oklahoma
    Posts
    938

    Default Re: Queen not laying???

    It could have been a new queen

    But usually if they superceed they let the older queen keep laying so if they superceeded there will be brood in the hive

    But some times under certain condition they will swarm while trying to superceed, and you said no brood of any kind so more than likely she was a new queen. If they have some of the combs or polished she is about ready to lay

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Marysville, WA
    Posts
    477

    Default Re: Queen not laying???

    Well, I did a complete hive inspection last night. What a change. I have a laying queen. It appears that she started in the back of the broods nest and has been working forward. I have 3 full bars of capped brood that have very few empty cells which I guess would indicate a good pattern. I then have 4 bars that are a combination of capped brood, different larva stages and eggs. At the front they have a couple bars nearly empty. I did not spot the queen though. I usually don't have trouble spotting her but did this time. Obviously she's there though.
    Another interesting thing was the "walking of the plank" the drones were taking. When I approached the hive there were quite a few bees on the ground both dead and alive. Then when I got closer I realized they were all drones. I started watching and the workers were dragging the drones out and tossing them off the board. Not without a fight I must say. Those drones downright do not want to leave. Interestingly, even though they fight to not get thrown into the abyss, once they get tossed they don't seem to fight it any longer they just wander around the ground and die. Weird

    Man I love this bee keeping stuff. I simply left them alone. I was worried about lack brood and eggs but the bees seemed content. They were storing honey well and they had no problems letting me mess around with them. So, on the advice of some you I left them alone. I'll be darned. they did just fine without me farting around worrying about the queen.

    Good stuff

    Thanks for the advice.
    Mike

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Murfreesboro, TN, USA
    Posts
    318

    Default Re: Queen not laying???

    This is my first year in beekeeping and I learned very fast that no matter how closely I think I inspect the combs, I miss a lot. Now I've made myself a holder to hang the combs on and I take my camera and snap a shot of each side. When I look at them on the computer, I see much more detail, including eggs and larvae that I missed on the first look. It definitely helps to have a longer time to sit and stare at my bees and their work. Just an idea.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Marysville, WA
    Posts
    477

    Default Re: Queen not laying???

    Good idea Stevebee. That would be nice from a studying standpoint.

    Mike

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Leefield (Statesboro) GA
    Posts
    3

    Default Re: Queen not laying???

    I live in SE Georgia USA. It has just begun to get cooler here during the day, today is 65 F with a breeze. I went into one of the hives today and found there were no brood cells, in fact there were no capped cells except for what looked like some pollen. It is now the end of October here; I need a new queen? And if so where do I get one this late in the year?

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