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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Pitman, New Jersey, USA
    Posts
    34

    Default Possible Queen less hive

    I did an inspection of my one and only hive yesterday, and am a little concerned that my hive is queenless. I've only been doing inspections once a week, but I take a look at the hive at least once a day from the outside. Everything looks business as usual. Bees are coming and going. Returning loaded with pollen. Lots of activity at the entrance. During my inspections for the past few weeks, the bees have been very manageable. I've only used the smoker once and that was during my first inspection in the beginning of may. They are really easy to work with. The concerning part is that I've got no capped brood, and as far as I could see, I've got no eggs either.

    About a month ago, I took a video and posted here of my queen laying. Two weeks after that, I did an inspection, and the frame she was on had a good sized patch of capped brood. I decided to look into the bottom deep, and noticed alot of capped brood there as well. But I also saw some frames (that were part of the nuc I bought) that were very poorly drawn out. I looked like the comb was built on a piece of flat clear plastic (like cellophane) and some spots were missing, others were very lumpy. When I was returning one of the ugly frames, the bees got really loud all of the sudden. Not violent, just loud. I had a sneaking suspicion at that point that I had possible killed my queen.

    So for the next week, I observed from the outside and everything seemed fine. Last week during my inspection, I noticed that most of the brood had emerged, but there was still some capped on some of the frames. Lots of capped honey, but no new capped brood.

    Then yesterday I did another inspection. I looked at frames in both deeps. It looks like all of the comb that was filled with brood is being back filled with honey. I couldn't find any brood at all. I didn't see any queen cells either though. The bees are still pleasant to work with, and are still working their stingers off, but they aren't increasing their population at all.

    My questions are;
    1. Does this sound like a queenless situation? I am terrible at finding the queen. I looked, didn't see her.. That doesn't mean a darn thing though.
    2. If I am queen less, wouldn't (or shouldn't) my bees have tried to make a new queen by now?
    3. Should I order a queen? If so, any recommendations on where and what kind? And how should I introduce a new queen to a hive that I can only speculate is queen less?

    Like I said, this is my only hive. I just started in the beginning of may, so I have no idea what I'm doing. Any advice you could give me would be greatly appreciated.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    Shediac, NB, Canada
    Posts
    83

    Default Re: Possible Queen less hive

    Do you have a mentor that could give you a hand/second opinion?
    If you are indeed queenless, the bees should be showing erratic behavior in the hive & the sterile bees will be laying in empty cells (2 or eggs per cell) in a random manner. There would likely be queen cells as well but stranger things have happened - we had a hive swarm last year. Virgin queen disappeared - likely hit by a car or eaten by something before she could return from mating. No new queen cells formed but we did the other symptoms.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Auckland,Auckland,New Zealand
    Posts
    6,129

    Default Re: Possible Queen less hive

    If there is no brood, then your queen has been gone at least 3 weeks. When the hive went queenless the bees will have raised some more queens. The young queen will take mating flights probably around now. She is a so called emergency raised queen, and they often have around a 75% mating success, the other 25% do not make it to laying queen stage.

    So if it all works out you will have a new laying queen in the hive in maybe 2 weeks, although I'm not quite sure what the starting date was. If it does not work out, eventually some of the workers will start to lay eggs as described by Bolter.

    So the plan for now, would be wait 2 weeks then if no laying queen come back to the thread to talk about what to do next.
    44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Pitman, New Jersey, USA
    Posts
    34

    Default Re: Possible Queen less hive

    Ok, that might make sense. It was more than three weeks ago when I though she may have been killed, and I've noticed the amount of brood decreasing with every inspection. I just assume they are hatching. Tuesday was the first time since then that I've looked into the bottom box, so it's possible (i suppose) that the queen cells have come and gone already. I'll give it two more weeks and see what happens.

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