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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    landenberg, pa
    Posts
    8

    Default no brood in hive, but plenty of bees

    I went through one hive last week to see how things were going. It has 2 deep brood chambers, a medium super, and a small super. I didn't extract honey last year because I wasn't sure how much honey to leave for the winter. So, one brood chamber and the medium super were full of honey and pollen in the fall. The other brood chamber had pollen honey and brood.

    When the weather got warm in March, I went through the whole hive. There was still honey, pollen and lots of bees. The frames in one brood chamber had a nice brood pattern with honey around the corners and bees in various stages of development. I also flipped the brood chambers, so the top one was put on the bottom, and the bottom one became the second story, and then closed everything up.

    Last weekend I went through the whole hive again. There are still a lot of bees, but not quite as many as in my other hive. I also found a whole bunch of queen cells (probably about 10) that were opened and hanging on the frames. As I got near the bottom I noticed that there wasn't any brood. No capped cells and no new eggs/larvae, but lots of new uncapped honey everywhere. I found two queen cells that looked like they were closed, but I am not sure if there was anything in them or not. I left them hanging since I didn't see the queen or anything that looked like brood. By this time I was starting to worry.

    I went through the hive again this weekend. The hive looked the same as last week(minus the queen cells that I removed), lots of honey but no brood. I talked to a friend who suggested that maybe the hive was honey bound and told me to extract everything. Yesterday I extracted everything except the bottom brood chamber. Now, I'm not sure how long I should wait to see if the queen(if there is one) starts to lay again. Will the bees move the honey out of the bottom chamber so she can lay her eggs there, or should I have extracted it also? Help.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Fayetteville, Arkansas
    Posts
    203

    Default Re: no brood in hive, but plenty of bees

    From what I understand, if you are already finding open queen cells then you may have missed a swarm. Usually the hive will swarm 2-3 days before the first queen cell opens. Also the lack of brood means the original queen was not laying and preparing for flight for the swarm. I would give it more time before changing anything else. You probably missed a swarm and the new virgin queen had to take a mating flight and has not begun to start laying yet. That can easily take 3 weeks from hatch time.

    Sully

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    landenberg, pa
    Posts
    8

    Default Re: no brood in hive, but plenty of bees

    If they swarm before the new queen hatches, could I have destroyed the new queen when I removed all of the cells?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Fayetteville, Arkansas
    Posts
    203

    Default Re: no brood in hive, but plenty of bees

    yes you could have destroyed her. But i did this early in april myself as I did not know any better either! If you saw two QC that were open on the bottom you probably still have a new queen in there. I would just watch and see what happens and not change anything around right now.

    Sully

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Alachua County, FL, USA
    Posts
    6,914

    Default Re: no brood in hive, but plenty of bees

    Welcome Heidi!
    americasbeekeeper.com
    beekeeper@americasbeekeeper.com

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Seneca, sc
    Posts
    830

    Default Re: no brood in hive, but plenty of bees

    You said you had another hive. I agree to wait, except put a frame with eggs in this hive. If they make cells you don't have a queen, but you will in less than 16 days. If you do nothing the days you are waiting are days that your bees are getting older. Remember that bees only live around 45 to 60 days this time of year.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    landenberg, pa
    Posts
    8

    Default Re: no brood in hive, but plenty of bees

    Too late, I went out and put some of the newly extracted frames down in the brood chamber to give her some room to lay, but many of the newly extracted frames already had some honey in them. And I checked out the two queen cells that were left, and they were opened on the side/back, so I think that this is a good sign.

    Heidi

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Raeford, NC
    Posts
    157

    Default Re: no brood in hive, but plenty of bees

    Keep notes, with dates on your inspections, wether on the lid of the hive with a sharpe or in a note book. When you are having troubles, it helps to keep accurate dates and pay attention to the calander of events for queen bee rearing. Noting when you saw a queen cell, no brood, when the cells were noted as opened... follow with a weekly check.

    IT seems like forever when things are actually going just fine. A Swarm happens, and for a week or two the hive seems to be stalled and weak. But if you checked it 5 times in 2 weeks it seems like months when it just takes 2 weeks to (or less) to start showing recovery.

    3 days or an egg to hatck
    8 days capped,
    16 days emerge
    28 days queen is laying... (forever when things are iffy)

    Of course there is some +/- factors in there but I think these numbers are the generally accepted days

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    landenberg, pa
    Posts
    8

    Default Re: no brood in hive, but plenty of bees

    I think that my other hive is in pretty much the same situation, however, there was some capped over brood that I saw on Sunday when I was extracting, but again, I didn't see anything that was uncapped. And, there was just a little of capped over brood left to hatch. I am also looking for someone local who might have mated queens for sale because my second hive is boiling over with bees. They are laying out on the front of the hive and the weather has not been that warm yet. So, I need to split them I think, at least once, maybe twice before they decide that they are too cramped and swarm. Also, when is the right time to put on another super. Should the uppermost super be almost completely capped over or just have most of the frames pretty full?

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Raeford, NC
    Posts
    157

    Default Re: no brood in hive, but plenty of bees

    If you have 8 or more frames of comb in the box, add another box.

    Some times we put the new box under the existing super to open up space in the middle of the hive especially if it's packed with bees.

    Another option is to pull a few frames from the existing honey super and place them in the empty super to entice the bees up (swapping frames between the full and empty super effectively checkerboarding the supers)

  11. #11
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    landenberg, pa
    Posts
    8

    Default Re: no brood in hive, but plenty of bees

    Thanks, I realized that yesterday when I was posting this stuff. It all blurs together. I am always nervous about squashing the queen when I go through the hive. This is my 2nd summer of beekeeping. The first year I was just a bee haver. I got the bees, but I wasn't sure what to do, so I just watched them. Luckily they did everything right and made it through the winter then. Now (last week), I have started to keep a bee journal. I should have done it right away. So, if it is a new queen, it could be 3 weeks until I see anything?

    Heidi

  12. #12
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    landenberg, pa
    Posts
    8

    Default Re: no brood in hive, but plenty of bees

    I like the idea of adding another box under the existing super and checkerboarding. Do the frames have to be drawn out, or can I put in new frames with foundation for them to draw out?

  13. #13
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Raeford, NC
    Posts
    157

    Default Re: no brood in hive, but plenty of bees

    If you have a new queen (just hatched) it could be up to 2 weeks for her to lay. A few days to get to fly, a few days to mate, then she can start laying. I just put the book down with all the details in it I was using as a reference (Beekeeping by Michael Bush).

    I have made a personnal move not to look through a split, or hive more than once a week. We did 20+ splits this spring and once a week I'd check each nuc for progress as most were started with swarm cells ad several frames of bees and supplies. Each nuc could have been a diffrent start date. So I just put a sharpe marker in my bee suit pocket and started keeping notes on the nuc tops, "date- event", And it makes it so much better.

    Another thing, don't go looking for the queen, be as minimally invasive as possible. The first week after the splits, just check for occupancy, making sure the bees haven't left, the second week pull a (only enough )frames and look for the queen to have emerged, by the 3rd week expecting to see signs of a good queen, eggs, larve. 4 th week if no signs of eggs (assumed to have started with a capped swarm cell at time of split) consider recombining with a larger split with a good queen.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    landenberg, pa
    Posts
    8

    Default Re: no brood in hive, but plenty of bees

    Thanks for the "bee calendar". I haven't done any splits yet. This will be my first, so the week by week check list is very helpful.
    Heidi

  15. #15
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Raeford, NC
    Posts
    157

    Default Re: no brood in hive, but plenty of bees

    Keep in mind my little calander is a generality that works for me. If your doing splits that are started without a queen cell, you may need to relook the queen rearing calander as it may take 28 days +/- 5 from when an egg is laid to when a new queen is laying.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    landenberg, pa
    Posts
    8

    Default Re: no brood in hive, but plenty of bees

    OK. I'll give some leeway. As with most things, it can vary a little. Thanks again.

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