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Thread: Queen less

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2015
    Location
    brimfield, MA, USA
    Posts
    5

    Default Queen less

    Hi, newbee from Western mass.

    Looks like my hive is queenless. I have no brood at all, capped or uncapped. There are some open queen cells, but I didn't see a queen it all.

    Lots of capped Honey and quite a bit of nectar +2 brood boxes full of bees.

    Do I have time to requeen? Seems like it's late in the season.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2015
    Location
    Champaign, Illinois
    Posts
    1,526

    Default Re: Queen less

    Open queen cells and the condition you describe sounds a lot like you're in process of getting your newly hatched queen mated.
    Young queens are masters at hiding and you probably have either a virgin or newly mated queen that has not started laying eggs yet.
    Give it a week or two or if you have another hive stick a frame of eggs and larva in and see how they react.
    If they build queen cells then you were actually queenless If not you get the idea.
    Internet credibility is an oxymoron

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Ojai, California
    Posts
    2,115

    Default Re: Queen less

    Welcome to Beesource!

    Aunt Betty is probably correct - but be ready to add a new queen anyways. That newly hatched queen may take several weeks before she is laying a solid pattern and bringing the population up to survive winter. September is awfully late to be swarming, and this threatens the colony's chance of survival later in the Winter.

    If you do not mind spending a little bit of money (perhaps $30 or less), order a queen and introduce her under a push-in cage, over some emerging brood. If she's already laying eggs like gangbusters, you'll likely in crease the colony's chance of building up in time for Winter.

    Another possibility is to combine a swarm or a nucleus colony that is queenright. That not only provides a queen that is laying NOW, it boosts the population, too.

    There is a big advantage to this. As the population goes up, the colony's ability to gather pollen and nectar increases dramatically. If you have a late summer / fall flow - goldenrod comes to mind - then this may make the difference between a dead-out and a smokin' hot colony increasing like a brush fire next Spring.

    A nucleus colony may cost $175 (a swarm costs the price of catching it), if you can get one this late in the year, but you'll likely make it back next Spring when you'll be able to divide the colony and raise a new queen.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2015
    Location
    brimfield, MA, USA
    Posts
    5

    Default Re: Queen less

    Thanks for the posts.

    I should have stated, I'm a one hive keeper at this time.

    So, if I understand, I've got 3 options.
    1. Do nothing and wait to see if a new Queen is coming up.
    2. Buy a mated Queen.
    3. Buy a nuc with a Queen and combine it with my original hive.

    My question is, because I don't think waiting is a good idea, if I buy a mated Queen or nuc and introduce her/them to my hive, what happens if there is a Queen coming up?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    Shreveport, Louisiana, USA
    Posts
    1,568

    Default Re: Queen less

    Quote Originally Posted by bcantell View Post
    My question is, because I don't think waiting is a good idea, if I buy a mated Queen or nuc and introduce her/them to my hive, what happens if there is a Queen coming up?
    If your current queen has mated, the bees will likely try to ball the new queen. If you have a virgin queen, the bees may try to ball the new queen or the two queens may fight till one dies. That may leave you with a virgin who may or may not successfully mate. You could smoke all your bees through a queen excluder and see if that leaves a queen by herself on the excluder. But occasionally a virgin may be able to squeeze through. If you could find someone nearby with a frame of eggs and and very young larvae that they would sell or give you, you could put that in the hive to see if they make an emergency queen cell. If they don't that means that you have a queen or one or more laying workers.
    David

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2015
    Location
    brimfield, MA, USA
    Posts
    5

    Default Re: Queen less

    No clear cut process I guess.

    "Ask 10 beekeeper a question and get 11 different answers"

    I love that, it's what makes this a challenge.

    I think I'll give it a week and see if any positive change happens, if not, I'll go the mated queen route.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Queen less

    Bees have, for eons, replaced their own queens with a high degree of success without human intervention. As soon as we start to meddle, the success rate seems to fall, in my experience.
    It may turn out to be poor advice but I'd let them alone.
    Let me never fall into the vulgar mistake of dreaming that I am persecuted whenever I am contradicted. - Emerson

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2016
    Location
    Mogollon Rim, Arizona 85933
    Posts
    453

    Default Re: Queen less

    Like Beeman said leave em alone for the month
    you most likely have a virgin I bet, and she could bee out on her tryst.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Ojai, California
    Posts
    2,115

    Default Re: Queen less

    It is one of the choices, but the beekeeper needs to know his area and to be able to read the year's flower crops. If you know that you have a good chance of a huge goldenrod flow, let them re-queen. If not, and you choose that option, be prepared to feed them up to 2 boxes of bees weighing 130 lbs. before Winter.

    My money says this year in my area has ZERO flower bloom left. I don't expect the rabbit brush to feed them too much, not even 2 frames of honey.

    A supercedure queen is usually far less stressful to a colony than an emergency queen. Many hives will tolerate 2 queens, mother and daughter, laying eggs at the same time for a while.

    You'll usually find only 1 or 2 supercedure queen cells of different ages up in the central part of a comb. This is usually in response to spotty brood pattern or low numbers of bees and brood.

    Swarm cells tend to occur on the bottoms and sides of combs in greater numbers, and usually all of the same age within a day or two.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2015
    Location
    brimfield, MA, USA
    Posts
    5

    Default Re: Queen less

    Quote Originally Posted by DavidZ View Post
    Like Beeman said leave em alone for the month
    you most likely have a virgin I bet, and she could bee out on her tryst.
    Obviously, leaving them alone for a month is the easiest option.

    My concern is, if I do that and then no Queen comes up from the ranks, I'll have to re-queen and there won't be enough time to build the hive to get through winter.

    I probably do have a virgin queen, cause I have several empty queen cells. At least they look like queen cells.

    I'm going to let them sit for a week and report back what I find.

    Hopefully I'll find some eggs, or better yet, some capped brood.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Oct 2015
    Location
    brimfield, MA, USA
    Posts
    5

    Default Re: Queen less

    Quote Originally Posted by bcantell View Post
    Obviously, leaving them alone for a month is the easiest option.

    My concern is, if I do that and then no Queen comes up from the ranks, I'll have to re-queen and there won't be enough time to build the hive to get through winter.

    I probably do have a virgin queen, cause I have several empty queen cells. At least they look like queen cells.

    I'm going to let them sit for a week and report back what I find.

    Hopefully I'll find some eggs, or better yet, some capped brood.
    I got good news today, I opened the hive and found I have one foundation with capped brood and larvae. It wasn't there last week, so guess I got a laying Queen. I must have thought the beebread was nectar. There were no capped brood a week ago Saturday.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
    Location
    Kamloops, BC, Canada
    Posts
    658

    Default Re: Queen less

    Glad it resolved itself.

    Another option would have been to buy a queen, so a small split with a nuc and introduce the queen to it. Once that queen starts laying you can introduce a frame with brood from the nuc to the big hive. Queen cells? destroy them and combine.

    If not wait for the new queen to lay, then combine. You have a decision to make on which queen to keep.

    Next year maybe try raising a couple of nucs to overwinter for situations like these even if you only want one big hive.

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