Queenless in Janurary
I check my hive entrances daily, weather permitting, in an attempt to determine what is going on inside. For the last three days the weather has been in the low 30's at night with highs in the low 40's during the day so very little to observe. The last warm spell was a couple weeks back and I had lost a hive, no bees dead or alive in a hive that had produced very well and with a queen that I liked very much for her gentle brood. To get to the story, this morning, It is climbing toward the middle 70's and while watching the entrances I notices one hive to which the bees were not bringing in pollen. No Queen ? Opened them up and sure enough no queen, no brood except for a few drone cells, no queen cells, old or new and no queen in site. Could she have swarmed during the last warm spell ?There is plenty of honey and pollen in the hive. They were very aggressive, as most hives are when they don't have a queen, and after six or more kisses from the stripped end, I went for my brand new cool suit. I gave them a frame of brood, with larvae of all stages, couldn't see eggs through the veil but assumed they will be there, in hopes they will raise a new queen on their own. There were no drone cells in the hive from which I removed the frame of brood. It seems too early for Queens to develop and breed. If they start today it will still be the middle of February when she is ready for her mating flight. I think the weather has them all screwed up, they are working the Camellias in the morning and are loaded with pollen. Just wondering what your thoughts are.