Both Hives Queenless And No Eggs, My Plan OK?
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  1. #1
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    Default Both Hives Queenless And No Eggs, My Plan OK?

    Both my hives were attacked by a bear and they are queenless since May 8th. I have lots of capped brood, but unsure if they are viable at this point. No eggs or larvae. So, they are hopelessly queenless, I do not have any egg donor frames and I can't get a queen until May 21st.
    My Plan:
    I can get a 5 frame nuc now. I am thinking of putting frames with the most eggs/brood and queen in my weakest hive and one frame of eggs in my strong hive to suppress laying workers. On the 21st, I will add the queen to the strong hive.
    Questions:
    Can I just wait until the 21st and get 2 queens or am I risking the hives going to laying workers? It would be about 18 days from going queenless before the queen is released and laying eggs.
    Any reason to put the queen in the weaker hive? My reasoning for going with the strong hive is that I have a chance at some honey with one strong hive. Of course, this all depends on whether the capped brood is viable. As it is, I have lost the maple flow and will miss most of the dandelion which is just starting here.
    I was going to call the nuc seller and ask if he could make up one with all frames of brood and no stores. I have plenty of frames of honey banked. Is there any reason why he should charge more? Not saying he will, but started wondering if brood is more valuable than honey and pollen.
    Thanks for the input. J

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  3. #2
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    Default Re: Both Hives Queenless And No Eggs, My Plan OK?

    Yes, he may charge you more for all brood. However, doing a combine on one hive and moving a frame of young larvae and eggs into the other queenless hive to let them requeen themselves will save you from buying nuc and queens. By the time you get the queens in, the hive may have requeened itself.
    Beek since 2016: Hardiness Zone 9a: in NW Florida

  4. #3
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    Default Re: Both Hives Queenless And No Eggs, My Plan OK?

    Jade: I don't have any eggs or larvae to donate. They are hopelessly queenless. It boils down to should I buy a nuc tomorrow to get eggs to suppress and a queen in the nuc to lay, or should I wait to get 2 queens on the 21st without risking laying workers. J

  5. #4
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    Parthenon, Ar,USA
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    Default Re: Both Hives Queenless And No Eggs, My Plan OK?

    Fivej,

    The two queens will likely be cheaper. Either way will work but there is a risk of laying workers the longer they have to wait.

    If you go with the nuc, I'd install the queen and one frame of brood in one hive and the rest of the brood in the other. The queenless hive will raise queen.

    Hope this is helpful, good luck.
    Neill
    Herbhome Farm USDA zone 7a

  6. #5
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    Default Re: Both Hives Queenless And No Eggs, My Plan OK?

    I would combine all of the remaining bees with the nuc, then split off a bunch of them with a purchased queen when you can get one. You might also consider using a vial of queen substance pheromone. Is there any capped brood left? IIRC, it's actually brood pheromone that suppresses LW, and even after that it takes a bit more for LW to get going. I don't think you're out of luck for collecting some honey since things are a bit tardy this year, and you still have locust and basswood. Even down here, I have only just barely begun to have fruit blossoms. And your bees won't have to completely redraw all the combs from scratch, will they?

    But still, it's only 4 more days until the 21st, so may be two new queens would be a better bet.

    Nancy

  7. #6
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    Default Re: Both Hives Queenless And No Eggs, My Plan OK?

    Thanks All. Nancy, there is lots of capped brood but I was under the impression that open brood pheromone suppresses LW. I am not sure that the capped brood is viable as it was 29 degrees that night. When I inspected yesterday, I did not see any signs of them uncapping the brood. Used a hive tool to uncap a few and I honestly couldn't tell if they were alive. They didn't look obviously dead though either. Yes, thankfully I still have plenty of drawn comb. If the brood manages to survive, I would have enough of a population to keep both hives going. J

  8. #7
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    Default Re: Both Hives Queenless And No Eggs, My Plan OK?

    Are you certain that they haven't attempted to make a queen from what was present after the bear?
    Horseshoe Point Honey -- http://localvahoney.com/

  9. #8
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    Default Re: Both Hives Queenless And No Eggs, My Plan OK?

    Astro I did a thorough inspection of one hive and am as confident as you can be that there are no queen cells. The other hive needs another look as it started raining (as per usual) so I was going quicker than I would have liked. Thanks for the reminder. I have jumped the gun on this before. J

  10. #9
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    Default Re: Both Hives Queenless And No Eggs, My Plan OK?

    Of course open brood is more LW-suppressing (than capped brood), but surely since the bear was there eight or nine days ago, some of the now-capped brood was still likely open brood for some period afterward. That would have delayed the start-clock of the LW-issue, so you may have more time than you think. (I think I read it was 21 days w/o brood, or about a whole brood cycle.)

    It's still early for open-mating (I have drones here, but not tons and tons of them and the weather has been iffy) , so a mated queen is probably your best bet. Do you want me to check that for you?

    An emergency cell made right afterwards would be just-hatched, or nearly so, about now so keep an eye out for one and/or a virgin queen running around about. (If it ever stops raining - tomorrow seems promising.)

    Nancy

  11. #10
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    Default Re: Both Hives Queenless And No Eggs, My Plan OK?

    UPDATE: So queens are selling out very quickly this year. The ones available for this week just sold out before I called. The soonest I can get another "northern/mutt" type of queen is the 30th. So I am getting a spring nuc tomorrow. My plan is to put a frame or two of eggs in one hive to suppress lw and see what they do with it. For the rest of the nuc, I am going to place it above the other hive with the queen in it on a Snelgrove board and keep feeding the other hive a frame every week until I get a queen or they make their own. My thinking is I can hopefully suppress LW, use the nuc to produce eggs, obtain greater acceptance of the queen introduction when I eventually combine. Also buy some time and make sure I haven't missed a virgin queen or queen cell somewhere. I have been through both hives twice now and see no evidence of them having made a queen, but I could easily miss a virgin queen.
    On the bright side, at least some capped brood survived. I tore off some caps and they looked good and I am seeing some orientation flights. I did see some larvae that has me concerned, but they fall just within bee math of being eggs when the bear hit.
    Suggestions? I keep re-thinking this wondering if I have missed something. Thanks, J

  12. #11
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    Default Re: Both Hives Queenless And No Eggs, My Plan OK?

    Quote Originally Posted by Fivej View Post
    UPDATE: So queens are selling out very quickly this year. The ones available for this week just sold out before I called. The soonest I can get another "northern/mutt" type of queen is the 30th. So I am getting a spring nuc tomorrow. My plan is to put a frame or two of eggs in one hive to suppress lw and see what they do with it. For the rest of the nuc, I am going to place it above the other hive with the queen in it on a Snelgrove board and keep feeding the other hive a frame every week until I get a queen or they make their own. My thinking is I can hopefully suppress LW, use the nuc to produce eggs, obtain greater acceptance of the queen introduction when I eventually combine. Also buy some time and make sure I haven't missed a virgin queen or queen cell somewhere. I have been through both hives twice now and see no evidence of them having made a queen, but I could easily miss a virgin queen.
    On the bright side, at least some capped brood survived. I tore off some caps and they looked good and I am seeing some orientation flights. I did see some larvae that has me concerned, but they fall just within bee math of being eggs when the bear hit.
    Suggestions? I keep re-thinking this wondering if I have missed something. Thanks, J
    I would go thru the whole thing very thoroughly , 8 days after the bear hit there should be no larvae. I bet you still have a queen in there somewhere. If there is no Queen then, If it were me I would likely put it all in one stack, give the NUC queen a week to 10 Days and then do a Split, Wait 10 more days and do another. try for 3 same sized hives in 3-4 weeks.
    Could also ping your local Beek List and see if someone has Queen Cells. I had 15 last week.. so others may be inspecting and "cutting" them out. Or if someone "knows" their hive swarmed there could be some left inside the hive.

  13. #12
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    Default Re: Both Hives Queenless And No Eggs, My Plan OK?

    Time to mellow.
    You are within the normal queen replacement for an emergency queen, would not even worry about LW until June 8th, and then I would not worry much. Even with a failed queen return, a hive will usually not go LW until you have a chance at a 2nd try.

    Put some eggs in both , shake off the bees to keep you nuc pop, and your two hives have nothing better to do than raise a few orphans. give your nuc empty frames for her to go nuts with.
    It is hard to design a safety net that some will not use as a hammock.

  14. #13
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    Default Re: Both Hives Queenless And No Eggs, My Plan OK?

    Thanks! I will forge ahead. Salty, I couldn't find any real definitive info on how long before a hive goes LW. Hate to have to deal with it so playing it conservative. J

  15. #14
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    Default Re: Both Hives Queenless And No Eggs, My Plan OK?

    Quote Originally Posted by Fivej View Post
    Thanks! I will forge ahead. Salty, I couldn't find any real definitive info on how long before a hive goes LW. Hate to have to deal with it so playing it conservative. J
    There was a thread a while back where 5 weeks was the earliest. Sooner than I have seen. Do not believe anybody has set out to study the question by making a bunch go LW, so remains a bit of a guess.
    It is hard to design a safety net that some will not use as a hammock.

  16. #15
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    Default Re: Both Hives Queenless And No Eggs, My Plan OK?

    Quote Originally Posted by Fivej View Post
    Thanks! I will forge ahead. Salty, I couldn't find any real definitive info on how long before a hive goes LW. Hate to have to deal with it so playing it conservative. J
    Its good to play conservative, especially when something like this happened to both hives and you have no other options.
    However, I dont think the LW issue is as simple as open brood. For example, hives requeen themselves and spend atleast 2 to 3 weeks without any open brood at all while they wait for the new queen. But then again, I just witnessed a small swarm that has no queen (I looked everywhere) that went LW within a week in their new box.

    Good luck.

  17. #16
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    Default Re: Both Hives Queenless And No Eggs, My Plan OK?

    The darn bugs just don't all play by the same rules. J

  18. #17
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    Default Re: Both Hives Queenless And No Eggs, My Plan OK?

    This may have been discussed earlier. A great temporary fix for a queenless hive is Temp Queen (used to be named Bee Boost) queen pheromone. I always have several tubes in the freezer to use when I need it. It lasts a very long time; enough time for you to wait for a new queen to be shipped. Several times, I've used a tube for a week or so, put it in the freezer and used it again another time. I wouldn't be without it.

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