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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Austin, Texas, USA
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    14

    Default New Hive, might be Queenless...

    So I "rescued" a hive that had moved into a bird house at the end of September. They had built comb all around the outside of the birdhouse. I cut the comb free and moved everyone into a hive. Things seemed to be going great: comb building, new brood, lots of foraging, but then I opened them up last week after noticing a change in behavior. There were no signs of a queen. Most frames were full of honey and there were no signs of brood or eggs. I waited a week and checked again today, still no signs of eggs or brood, just honey.

    I am fairly new to bee keeping. This is my second hive. Should I be worried? Is this normal fall behavior? Am I queenless??

    I have another hive that is queen right and doing well.

    What are my options at this point?? Any advice will be appreciated.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Asheville, North Carolina, USA
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    552

    Default Re: New Hive, might be Queenless...

    I would put in a frame of empty comb and check later. Maybe they're honey bound.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
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    Auckland,Auckland,New Zealand
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    Default Re: New Hive, might be Queenless...

    Was the queen laying in it after you did the transfer? If so, when something happened to it they would have raised a new virgin which will prevent successful introduction of a purchased queen. So your options are to put a comb with eggs in and check 5 to 7 days later to see if there are queen cells. If there are, they have no queen of any kind, you can kill the queen cells and safely introduce a bought queen. If there are no queen cells they may have a virgin or laying woirkers. Come back here and ask & we cantalk you though what to do about that.
    44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).

  4. #4

    Default Re: New Hive, might be Queenless...

    No certain answers. You might be seeing a normal fall brood shutdown.
    It may be that the hive's genetics are enough different from your second hive that one is still brooding and the other not.

    Then, as OT pointed out, you may have a virgin or recently mated queen. Or...you may be queenless.

    Regardless, it would be a good idea to follow his advice.
    Dan www.boogerhillbee.com
    Experience is a hard teacher because she gives the test first, the lesson afterwards

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Austin, Texas, USA
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    14

    Default Re: New Hive, might be Queenless...

    After I first put them in, I definitely saw one frame get laid and then develop brood. That frame is now full of honey. There isn't a laying worker, as there are no eggs or brood. I never saw any queen cells and there aren't any now. I also have a queen excluder on the bottom of the hive to help keep them there after the transfer.

    If I introduce a frame and they raise a virgin queen, will she be able to find drones this late in the season? Are there still commercial queens available?

    All advice is appreciated.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Warrior, Alabama
    Posts
    1,067

    Default Re: New Hive, might be Queenless...

    Putting in the frame of new eggs from another hive is your best diagnostic as oldtimer said. That will tell you what you need to do.

    Then you can see if you CAN do what you need to do. If you can't consider a newpaper combine with the other hive to see them through winter. Then you can split them in the spring.
    Old Guy in Alabama

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Austin, Texas, USA
    Posts
    14

    Default Re: New Hive, might be Queenless...

    Thanks, i was starting to research the option of a newspaper combine. Things are getting a little chilly around here and my hives are about half an hour apart. If I transfer a frame, do I need to keep bees on it? What temp should I try to keep things?

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
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    Auckland,Auckland,New Zealand
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    Default Re: New Hive, might be Queenless...

    Just shake the bees off a suitable frame with eggs in it, then transfer it to the hive you think may be queenless.

    But as Beemandan correctly said, it could be normal winter shutdown so you'd need to talk to other beekeepers in your area to see what's happening in their hives. Some breeds, such as carniolans, shut down sooner than other breeds, such as italians.
    44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).

  9. #9

    Default Re: New Hive, might be Queenless...

    Quote Originally Posted by bee_safe View Post
    If I introduce a frame and they raise a virgin queen, will she be able to find drones this late in the season? Are there still commercial queens available?
    If there are still drones in your hive...then you might be able to assume that there are others in the neighborhood. She would also need some warm afternoons to make mating flights. I don't know enough about your climate to guess.

    I might add that transporting a frame with eggs for half an hour has its own risks. The eggs and larvae may dry out. They may get chilled.

    Also if you chose you might be able to get a queen from one of the Hawaiian producers. I believe they have them year round....but it might be a bit pricey.

    Under the circumstances, were it mine, I'd just leave it as is. When spring arrives...if it is queenright it'll be ok...and if not, you can start again. Tinkering with your hives this late in the season places them both at risk.

    Good luck.
    Dan www.boogerhillbee.com
    Experience is a hard teacher because she gives the test first, the lesson afterwards

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Austin, Texas, USA
    Posts
    14

    Default Re: New Hive, might be Queenless...

    Thanks guys. Seeing as this is my first winter, I don't know exactly what to expect. I will check on my other hive and compare. I guess I will just have to let this one ride and see what happens.

    So it is normal for the queen to stop laying for a while in the winter?? With as warm as it has been, I assumed that they would still be going strong. We have not had a freeze yet and afternoon temps still reach the upper 70's.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Asheville, North Carolina, USA
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    552

    Default Re: New Hive, might be Queenless...

    They don't stop based on temp. They base it on hours of daylight and incoming nectar. Are there any empty cells? I still lean towards being honey bound.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    DFW area, TX, USA
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    1,054

    Thumbs Up Re: New Hive, might be Queenless...

    Quote Originally Posted by bee_safe View Post
    ...snip... With as warm as it has been, I assumed that they would still be going strong. We have not had a freeze yet and afternoon temps still reach the upper 70's.
    I don't even think it is Fall yet in Austin, I would expect a light honey flow close to the city now, Thanksgiving frequently still has temperatures in the 70's in that part of Texas..
    The sooner you put eggs in there, the sooner the bees can tell you what is going on. BTW, I'm surprised no one has recommended removing the queen excluder (that allows drones and unmated queens to fly....).
    Last edited by Lburou; 11-18-2012 at 10:16 PM.
    LeeB
    I try to learn from my mistakes, and from yours when you give me a heads up :)

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Long Beach, Ca
    Posts
    66

    Default Re: New Hive, might be Queenless...

    I went through this about a month ago. I decided I wasn't sure what was going on, or what I was going to do about it. So I let them be and now things are fine.

  14. #14

    Default Re: New Hive, might be Queenless...

    Quote Originally Posted by Lburou View Post
    BTW, I'm surprised no one has recommended removing the queen excluder
    Whooops! I missed that important piece of information.
    Dan www.boogerhillbee.com
    Experience is a hard teacher because she gives the test first, the lesson afterwards

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
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    Auckland,Auckland,New Zealand
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    Default Re: New Hive, might be Queenless...

    Quote Originally Posted by codyjp View Post
    I went through this about a month ago. I decided I wasn't sure what was going on, or what I was going to do about it. So I let them be and now things are fine.
    If the OP would have checked to see if they had built a queen cell we would know if this could be possible. Still not clear if the hive had useable larvae in it after it was moved.

    If there is an actual date for when the hive was moved, we can tell you when you may expect a new laying queen, assuming the old queen was killed at the time of moving. The OP can then know when to take action, if the new queen doesn't happen.
    44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).

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