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Thread: Am I Queenless?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    adair county, kentucky, usa
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    461

    Default Am I Queenless?

    Am I queenless is probably one of the most asked questions in bee keeping. Five days ago I was going through some of my hives, starting to winterize them. When I found one that I thought was queenless. I checked the hive frame by frame, and couldn't find a queen. There was no brood at all in the hive, and in all appearances the hive was queenless. I took a frame of eggs and brood from another hive and installed it in the supposed queenless hive. Then yesterday, four days after adding the brood frame, I went back to check the hive to see if they had started any queen cells. They had not. I went through the hive frame by frame again, but still no queen, but knowing they had not started queen cells, I knew there had to be either a queen or queen cells somewhere in that hive. Today I decided to take another box with me and as I inspected the frames I put them in the extra box. As I moved frames and inspected each thoroughly I was sure the queen had to be in the old box so I kept looking at the vacant space in the original box. After removing 6 frames, I finally found the new queen on the bottom board of the old hive. She is definitely a new young queen, so now my new concern is, did she get properly mated this late in the year? I will keep an eye on them and if I don't see some positive results in a few days I will just combine them with one of my nucs.

    The point I am trying to make here is most of the time when you think you are queenless you really aren't. Usually you just didn't see the old queen or you may have a new young virgin queen or maybe all you have is a queen cell, but if you have any of those you are not really queenless. New bee keepers wind up getting so many expensive queens killed because they think their bees are queenless, and in reality they are not. I know, I have made that same mistake several times. Now I have learned if when given a frame of eggs and brood a hive does nor start queen cells, they will not accept a queen you try and introduce. Sorry to be so windy, but I thought this experience may help some new bee keepers!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Heavener Oklahoma
    Posts
    932

    Default Re: Am I Queenless?

    I have had late queens that i never found eggs in late fall then in February found sealed brood.
    if you still have drones and warm enough days and they are still lot of bee i would let theM alone.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Rader, Greene County, Tennessee, USA
    Posts
    6,587

    Default Re: Am I Queenless?

    For the new beekeepers out there thinking of starting with just ONE hive, this is a perfect example of why two hives is a much better plan.

    Without a second hive, you would have no possible source of a frame of eggs/larva to use in diagnosis.

    Graham
    USDA Zone 7A Elevation 1400 ft

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Location
    Honey Hive Farms, Winfield Missouri
    Posts
    357

    Default Re: Am I Queenless?

    Honey Hive Farms,

    The eggs tell a lot of the story, so if you think you have a new queen you may just have to wait it out and check for eggs in 15 days.

    NOTE:
    Do you still have drones in your hive, then she may get mated.
    If this doesn't work our in say 25 days, you may need to merge with another hive
    Did you see any Queen cells new or hatched if so then again this tells a lot of what happened (always pull of the old queen cells as this way you will know when you see a new one)

    Tim Moore
    Honey Hive Farms "Saving the world one bee at a time"
    www.HoneyHiveFarms.com

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    adair county, kentucky, usa
    Posts
    461

    Default Re: Am I Queenless?

    No, I did not see any old queen cells. I'm assuming the bees tore them down after the queen hatched. I know this is a new queen because the old queen was marked, she was also jet black and the new queen is stripped. I have 20 hives scattered around on 220 acres. I have been checking them and getting ready for winter and in going through those hives I may have seen a total of 50 drones. So I am concerned about her mating. I do have some nuc boxes of bees that I saved to use for combining with my other hives just for this type of emergency.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Location
    lake hopatcong nj
    Posts
    353

    Default Re: Am I Queenless?

    Quote Originally Posted by Rader Sidetrack View Post
    For the new beekeepers out there thinking of starting with just ONE hive, this is a perfect example of why two hives is a much better plan.

    Without a second hive, you would have no possible source of a frame of eggs/larva to use in diagnosis. O


    I am guilty. Started my first and only hive july 8th. I knew it would be a challenge. Needless to say, I will be ordering 5 packages and building 7 brood chambers with bottom boards and covers this winter.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    McClure, OH
    Posts
    1,017

    Default Re: Am I Queenless?

    So far, the weather has been good as far as nice weather for mating. I think you have a pretty good chance of her being mated or getting mated in the next week (depending on when she emerged).

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    Palmdale, CA
    Posts
    68

    Default Re: Am I Queenless?

    Very true, but sometimes they are queenless. I had a hive with no eggs or larva. So I dropped in some eggs and larva from another hours. 24 hours later there was not even a hint of a queen cell being started, so I was sure that there was a queen. A little over a week later there were 11 capped queen cells. So I guess they were queenless after. I try to be careful, but I must have rolled her somehow.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    adair county, kentucky, usa
    Posts
    461

    Default Re: Am I Queenless?

    Quote Originally Posted by Hilltop View Post
    Very true, but sometimes they are queenless. I had a hive with no eggs or larva. So I dropped in some eggs and larva from another hours. 24 hours later there was not even a hint of a queen cell being started, so I was sure that there was a queen. A little over a week later there were 11 capped queen cells. So I guess they were queenless after. I try to be careful, but I must have rolled her somehow.
    I always wait four days after installing a frame of brood and eggs,before looking for queen cells because with eggs they can wait as much as three days before starting the cells. If they let more than four days pass without making a cell then you can usually be sure there is a queen present.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    McClure, OH
    Posts
    1,017

    Default Re: Am I Queenless?

    Accidents happen. That's why I keep a queen cage or a queen clip on me and if I spot the queen during an inspection, I put her there for safekeeping until I am done. I release her after I have put the frames back in the box. Less chance of crushing her this way.

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