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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Oceanside, New York
    Posts
    80

    Default can a hive survive the winter without a queen?

    Dear all,

    I am concerned, have been since the fall, that I am without a queen. At the end of the summer, I had noticed an inordinate number of drones, suspecting I had a hive that lost its queen, and therefore the workers were laying only drones.

    So far my hive is not dead, I notice on decently nice days, upper 40's to low 50's that there are workers coming out for their cleaning flights.

    Is it possible for my hive to thrive throughout the winter without a Queen? Or the fact that it is still alive, the colony, point to the possibility/likelihood that I still have a queen present?

    Anyone knowledgeable enough to chime in I would appreciate a response.

    thanks so much,

    larry

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Hudson, WI USA
    Posts
    2,237

    Default Re: can a hive survive the winter without a queen?

    Larry, I would be inclined to think a queen is still there. On the warmest day you have coming take a look-see. You will know when you see if the capped brood is worker or drone.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Gaithersburg, MD
    Posts
    361

    Default Re: can a hive survive the winter without a queen?

    I'd be willing to bet the queen is there if the cluster is still decent size. Stick your ear on the box they are in and then tap once w/ your knuckle. If you hear a decent buzz/roar sound then everything is probably okay. If you are really worried then crack them open and take a quick look at a frame or two on a day that they are flying--the warmer the better.

    Chances are you noticed all the drones last fall because the bees were kicking them out and not letting them back into the hive. They sometimes do this in preparation for winter.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Location
    Thousand Oaks, CA
    Posts
    33

    Default Re: can a hive survive the winter without a queen?

    Bees live on average about a month. Queens can live up to two years. Without queen pheromones your bees will immediately try to requeen, and if they fail they will either die or leave within a few weeks (or more likely within a week.) The best way to know if you have a queen still is to look for brood. If you have new brood you are most likely fine. They tend to slow down their production in winter. In short, no, your bees will not survive without a queen.

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