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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Rogue River, OR
    Posts
    37

    Default Requeen or let them try to resolve matters

    Inspected Top Bar hive today. The broodnest area looks to be largely full of honey/nectar, very little brood, just a few capped old brood. No larvae, no eggs. We did find what we think are 2-3 supercedure cells, two of which were mushed and torn a bit when bar was pulled out. Saw larvae within. Third cell looked dark and closed. There's some room for a queen to lay but nothing in it. We almost never are able to find the queen and didn't this time. Again, no eggs or uncapped brood that we could see.

    We were feeding because there were almost no honey stores and tons of brood, now there's a lot of capped honey and no brood. We'll stop feeding to let them make room in the nest, but are wondering:

    - does lack of eggs/brood mean she just ran out of room and/or it's that time of year?
    - does lack of eggs/brood and presence of cells suggest she's dead/something's wrong? This was not an old queen and previously was going gangbusters with brood.
    - should we hope for the best?
    - or, given the lateness of the year, try to obtain a queen and see if the hive is interested?

    This is our only hive right now, so we don't have brood to pull from another hive. Weather is currently pleasant but it is fall and it will start cooling off soon. There may be drones around from other hives/colonies, but we sure don't have any.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    St. Louis, Missouri, USA
    Posts
    626

    Default Re: Requeen or let them try to resolve matters

    I'm still pretty inexperienced but I think you need to try to find your queen. If you don't have one don't wait for them to try to sort it out, it is too late in the season. It may even be getting late to find one yo purchase.

    Last year my hive that dwindled out in the spring, they tried to make a supersedure queen in the fall. I could never find the queen in that hive but there were eggs and larvae present so I destroyed the cell as it was too late in the season. I think they dwindled because their queen didn't make it through winter.

    I'm not sure what your weather is like but my nucs gave their drones the boot after a few nights in the 50's, the queens were still laying eggs though. At least they were last weekend. Until this weekend it hadn't been down into the 40's.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Josephine County,Oregon,USA
    Posts
    137

    Default Re: Requeen or let them try to resolve matters

    Hi Dixieswife

    My Carniolans are in exactly the same state now that you have except I found no queen cells when I checked everything a week ago.I've never seen my queen(s) ...the first one OR the daughter that took over and did well until this last inspection confused me. My hive was full to the max and it's reduced by half. Looks like just a little more than a package. That could be "normal" since it froze once here already and Carnies are said to be quite weather-wise,but I don't Really know either. No drones for me for over a month now. My bees are still bringing in pollen from somewhere and I'm still feeding so they can make wax easy and cap all the uncapped syrup and nectar.But there is robbing at the reduced entrance now too....robbing but no fighting I've seen since so few bees are on the landing board now that it's so cool. The guards used to be obvious in the warm weather but I never had robbing at all until this last month. Looking in the window, a couple of bees inside might be robbers running around but all the majority Seem to be working on the combs calmly. Last time I was worried about the new daughter-queen everything worked out. Now I'm just plain "unsure" about their status; Again! I don't know if your bees being in the same "stage" is consoling or if we both have a Problem!!! I don't even know if I can get a queen this late. Let me know what you've done! HappyBeeing

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Rogue River, OR
    Posts
    37

    Default Re: Requeen or let them try to resolve matters

    Quote Originally Posted by HappyBeeing View Post
    Hi Dixieswife

    My hive was full to the max and it's reduced by half. Looks like just a little more than a package.
    The hive has lots and lots and lots of bees right now. They are foraging and have been stocking pollen. Lots of capping as well. Out of about 20 bars, 17 or so are all honey. Brood scattered on the remaining three and not a lot of it; much of the rest is open nectar or pollen. They seemed noisier than usual, buzzing wise, though these are pretty mild-mannered bees; isn't a noisier/restless hive suggestive of a queenless hive?

    I'm not sure where you are in Josephine Co, but Old Sol Apiaries is more or less "down the road" from us here in Rogue River. We pinged them to see if they have any survivor queens left. We might get one and see how the hive reacts to her. I've seen many videos showing how you can tell if the hive is all "Oh boy, a queen! Yay!" or "grrr, a foreign queen!" before committing to putting the queen in the hive. It's a $30.00 expenditure at most.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Cookeville, TN, USA
    Posts
    4,065

    Default Re: Requeen or let them try to resolve matters

    A noisy hive this time of year is also caused by them fanning to cure open nectar. If you think you might be queenless or have a failing queen then you should replace her IMHO - and queen cells are not a good sign this time of year. Try to get an experienced beekeeper to help you find the old one. If you haven't already you should join a club - then maybe someone could help you out.
    Since '09-25H-T-Z6b

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Location
    Lansing, Michigan
    Posts
    30

    Default Re: Requeen or let them try to resolve matters

    I am in Michigan and checked my hive a few days ago. I have some capped brood, but no eggs or larvae. I did not find any signs of queen cells. This is my first year as a beek, so I'm not entirely sure with what to expect in the Fall time. My grandpa started his top bar hive this year as well and we opened his hive yesterday and found that he also has no brood! Two different hives, miles apart, in the same situation. I can't imagine that we both are queenless...

    I hope the bees are just slowing down because neither of our hives had any signs of queen cells. I'm not sure if I should be looking to buy a new queen or hope that they are just preparing for winter. It sure it nerve-wrecking!
    Brittany (MI beek)

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Location
    Lansing, Michigan
    Posts
    30

    Default Re: Requeen or let them try to resolve matters

    I checked my hive again.. Full of brood and larvae. I don't know what her deal was... Maybe she was tired and just needed a break lol.
    Brittany (MI beek)

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    St. Louis, Missouri, USA
    Posts
    626

    Default Re: Requeen or let them try to resolve matters

    Quote Originally Posted by bkristanne View Post
    i checked my hive again.. Full of brood and larvae. I don't know what her deal was... Maybe she was tired and just needed a break lol.
    yay!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    Isle of Wight, VA
    Posts
    490

    Default Re: Requeen or let them try to resolve matters

    2 weeks ago when I did an inspection in my top bar, they had backfilled most of the brood nest with the syrup I had been feeding them. Only a small area of eggs and uncapped brood on the edges of each frame. I stopped feeding the heavy syrup and added a new bar to the brood nest and switched to light syrup. Looking through the window, the bees have been busy building comb on the new bar, but we've had 5 days of rain, so I haven't been able to do a full inspection to see what they are filling it with. I can see the worker bees returning with pollen, and they are also all over my Russian olive bush so there is a bit of nectar to be had as well. I'm expecting this to just be their fall ritual as they get ready for winter. I'm hoping that next year, they will have put up enough honey that I don't need to feed the syrup.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Rogue River, OR
    Posts
    37

    Default Re: Requeen or let them try to resolve matters

    Quote Originally Posted by bkristanne View Post
    I checked my hive again.. Full of brood and larvae. I don't know what her deal was... Maybe she was tired and just needed a break lol.
    I'm glad to hear! Hope that happens for us. Haven't been able to hook up with a local queen supplier and we are waiting for a warm enough spot of daylight that isn't overcast/rainy to peek in again and see what's going on.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Josephine County,Oregon,USA
    Posts
    137

    Default Re: Requeen or let them try to resolve matters

    As usual I think I mentally overreacted to what I didn't see and my hive is just fine too, like bkrisanne.(I was on the edge of trying to find a new queen for a week) It's been too cold to inspect but I'm throwing up my hands. The population was a bit larger than I thought since it turned out I had a lot of fliers on the cold day when the hive was in the shade and I looked. After all,an egg-laying break is normal sometime in the Fall for a queen and my hive ousted their drones over a month ago; so I just plain think now that they are preparing for winter and "doing their thing".
    ............ If I had a dollar for every time I doubted them this first year.............. !!!! HB

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Location
    Lansing, Michigan
    Posts
    30

    Default Re: Requeen or let them try to resolve matters

    I agree! I have been in a panic many times this summer LOL. Mine seem to be doing great. I was confused when I saw no brood because I did not see any swarm cells or anything. I hope yours turn out well! Good luck this winter! : )
    Brittany (MI beek)

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