Results 1 to 7 of 7

Thread: Queenless hive?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Salt Lake City, UT, USA
    Posts
    52

    Default Queenless hive?

    First year beek, with one Warre hive. I thought all was going well, until I poked into the hive today to do a quick inspection. Now, I'm not so sure...

    The good: Bees have lots of stores left, and there seems to be a pretty good number of bees. Maybe not quite as many as were in the package I installed with last summer, but still enough that I think they'd fill one of the 3 boxes they have access to right now. They are out collecting pollen, and from what I saw today have at least some cells where they are putting away nectar as well.

    The bad: I pulled a couple of frames to see how they were doing, brood-wise. This is what I saw:

    http://people.westminstercollege.edu...ees/frame1.JPG
    http://people.westminstercollege.edu...ees/frame2.JPG

    (High-res closeups available if anyone has followup questions.)

    It looks to my inexperienced eyes that I have a VERY spotty brood pattern that is 100% drones. I'm assuming that this is not "normal" for this time of year, and am thinking it means I have no queen in the hive. Is that a reasonable guess, or is there something else I'm missing?

    Now, for he hard part: It's gonna be a couple weeks before we have queens available locally. Any chance I can wait that long, or should I be looking for one via mail ASAP?

    Any thoughts/help would be most appreciated!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Blacksburg, VA
    Posts
    447

    Default Re: Queenless hive?

    uber- Yep they're drone cells. Was this in the middle of the cluster or out nearer the edge? If it was not in the middle of the cluster, these could be the drones that they naturally raise. Often when pollen is coming in, it means you have a queen, but not always.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Salt Lake City, UT, USA
    Posts
    52

    Default Re: Queenless hive?

    Dead center in the hive box. Frames 4 and 5 (out of 8) in the top box. In the middle box, there were no capped cells at all.

    I'd been watching the pollen come in and knew that was usually a good sign. Now, however, I'm doubting that...

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Blacksburg, VA
    Posts
    447

    Default Re: Queenless hive?

    Do you know a fellow beekeeper that would sell you a frame of eggs and young brood? They could raise a queen. Do you have enough workers in the hive and also drones flying?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Salt Lake City, UT, USA
    Posts
    52

    Default Re: Queenless hive?

    Quote Originally Posted by rkereid View Post
    Do you know a fellow beekeeper that would sell you a frame of eggs and young brood? They could raise a queen. Do you have enough workers in the hive and also drones flying?
    Alas, no luck on frames of eggs/brood. As a first year newbie, I only know a couple of folks. None of their haves are string enough that they feel they can spare frames. Bummer.

    Looks like I get to scramble and look for a new package, since I hear the odds of requeening successfully are slim to nil. Thanks for your help in confirming that my suspicions were on target, though.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    Location
    Greenville, TX, USA
    Posts
    4,397

    Default Re: Queenless hive?

    If you have one box of bees and 3 boxes on the hive, you have too much room for the bees to control. Reduce it down to one box that the bees can actually use and see what happens. It's likely that the bees are spread to thin. Unless you see multiple eggs per cell, I wouldn't assume you have laying workers at this point. Re-queening shouldn't be a problem if you don't. But it's early. She may be getting ready or not. Reduce, feed, and see what happens.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Salt Lake City, UT, USA
    Posts
    52

    Default Re: Queenless hive?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ross View Post
    If you have one box of bees and 3 boxes on the hive, you have too much room for the bees to control. Reduce it down to one box that the bees can actually use and see what happens. It's likely that the bees are spread to thin. Unless you see multiple eggs per cell, I wouldn't assume you have laying workers at this point. Re-queening shouldn't be a problem if you don't. But it's early. She may be getting ready or not. Reduce, feed, and see what happens.
    Hmmm... Since I'm in a Warre hive, with the smaller hive dimensions, that means it's roughly equivalent to being in just two 8 frame medium boxes. I know a lot of folks overwinter in more volume than that w/o any issue. That said, I'm probably gonna steal out the empty bottom box today and freeze it to protect from wax moths. So, maybe I'll get lucky when they have less space.

    Thanks for the idea. I'll give it a try, as I have *nothing* to lose.

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
Ads