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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Albany, Oregon
    Posts
    26

    Default Queenless in March

    I have two hives, one that's just made it through its second winter. Last week I inspected it and found no queen, no brood, and no eggs. I saw a queen cell about half its completed size.
    I inspected yesterday to see what was new. I saw a larva in the queen cell and it looked to be just about capped.

    My second hive is a caught swarm whose queen has only in the past week started producing eggs and brood. I checked last week and was concerned I'd need to requeen her, but this week things are going well. But there's not enough eggs/brood to share with the other hive. Only two frames have eggs/brood, though the laying pattern is solid.

    I fed both hives honey I harvested last fall that we haven't eaten yet since they were both on the light side.

    My concerns are these:

    1. I saw no drones. It's not supposed to rise about the 50's here. Is it possible she'll mate? Am I right in assuming it'll be another week and a half before she emerges and a week or so after that before she starts laying? There's no telling what the weather will be until then.

    2. They're packing in pollen and nectar, but I'm worried about the population.

    Thoughts? Experience?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    Camas, WA
    Posts
    1,958

    Default Re: Queenless in March

    I have bees in both Camas, WA and in Elmira, Oregon, so both sides of you. Up here in Camas I have very little brood. In Elmira I have hives with 2-3 frames of capped brood, but no drone brood yet. So I would suspect that you will have queen mating problems unless some almond pollinators brought hives home.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Albany, Oregon
    Posts
    26

    Default Re: Queenless in March

    Should I combine the hives and plan on a division in a couple of months?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    Camas, WA
    Posts
    1,958

    Default Re: Queenless in March

    The fact that your other hive just started raising brood and the fact that you now have a larva in your queen cell seem to indicate that:

    1. You still have a queen in both hives.
    2. Brood is just now starting to be raised in your colonies.

    So you can do what you suggest and combine. You can also do that later after you see what happens over the few weeks. Since they are queenright, there isn't the urgency that you might have if the queen was missing. How many bees are in the struggling hive? Personally, a lot of my rash beekeeping decisions have been regretted. So now I take more time in the spring to let hives get started. I actually don't count my winter kill until April 1. It does seem that this winter has been better for me and I don't see any hives that are threatened so I think that I am probably out of the woods, but I don't combine, equalize, etc. until April.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    greer south carolina USA
    Posts
    156

    Default Re: Queenless in March

    lf you have a queen cell about to be capped then you will not have to deal with drone laying for at least 3 weeks. just watch let the bees handle it. worst case scenario if the queen cell does not mate then combine

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