Queenless colony; bees don't seem to want a queen
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  1. #1
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    Default Queenless colony; bees don't seem to want a queen

    I have what appears to be a queenless hive. There is no sign of eggs or uncapped brood. From another hive in a different yard I pulled 2 frames that were a mixture of a small patch of capped brood, uncapped brood of different ages and eggs and placed them in the hive in question. This action took place this past Monday, May 19. Today, May 23, I opened this hive and pulled these 2 frames, expecting to see queen cells being formed.

    I saw no queen cells on these, or any other frames; what I saw on these 2 frames was a large mass of capped brood, surrounded by some rather mature open brood.

    I pulled every frame, and did not see any eggs or uncapped brood. There are some drones around, but no sign of a laying worker.

    I am wondering:

    1. if I purchase a queen and try to introduce her will they ball her?
    2. I will have a queen cell from another hive in 4 or 5 days. If I pull that frame and place it in this hive what is the likelyhood that they will destroy the cell?

    I appreciate any opinions.

    Phil

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  3. #2
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    Default

    I would check every frame and make sure you can say for 100% no queen. I have had a queen stop laying because she wasn't being fed enough.

  4. #3
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    Default Re: Queenless colony; bees don't seem to want a queen

    Quote Originally Posted by nhoyt View Post
    I have had a queen stop laying because she wasn't being fed enough.
    How do you know that was the reason she stopped laying?
    http://OxaVap.com Your source for the ProVap 110
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  5. #4
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    Default Re: Queenless colony; bees don't seem to want a queen

    Quote Originally Posted by philip.devos View Post
    I have what appears to be a queenless hive. There is no sign of eggs or uncapped brood. From another hive in a different yard I pulled 2 frames that were a mixture of a small patch of capped brood, uncapped brood of different ages and eggs and placed them in the hive in question. This action took place this past Monday, May 19. Today, May 23, I opened this hive and pulled these 2 frames, expecting to see queen cells being formed.

    I saw no queen cells on these, or any other frames; what I saw on these 2 frames was a large mass of capped brood, surrounded by some rather mature open brood.

    I pulled every frame, and did not see any eggs or uncapped brood. There are some drones around, but no sign of a laying worker.

    I am wondering:

    1. if I purchase a queen and try to introduce her will they ball her?
    2. I will have a queen cell from another hive in 4 or 5 days. If I pull that frame and place it in this hive what is the likelyhood that they will destroy the cell?

    I appreciate any opinions.

    Phil
    I would give the hive a frame with queen cell (gentle with transfer) AND a frame with eggs. I would also notch few cells like I would for OTS (On the sport) queen making. Mark the frames so there is on confusion.

  6. #5
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    Butler Co, Missouri, USA
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    Default Re: Queenless colony; bees don't seem to want a queen

    1. Yes. Virtually guaranteed.

    2. 50/50 chance

    I'd bet there is a virgin in there that failed to mate. Bet you have to find and kill her to fix this hive.
    Hindsight is 20/10, not 20/20...
    I always have an idea what I shouldn't have done after the fact.

  7. #6
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    Default Re: Queenless colony; bees don't seem to want a queen

    Maybe your queen is worn out but the hive has not figured out that in needs to replace her yet. I would consider shaking the entire hive thru a queen excluder to make sure you do not have a queen before trying anything else.

  8. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by snl View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by nhoyt View Post
    I have had a queen stop laying because she wasn't being fed enough.
    How do you know that was the reason she stopped laying?
    I added food and she started up again.

  9. #8
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    Wharton, Texas, USA
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    I’ve had a few colonies that are intent on being queenless it seems. Same situation as you discribed. Food is not the issue in my case because they are almost honey bound in the bottom deep. Maybe it’s the intense flow they don’t seem to be focused on queen rearing. I added a queen and or merged with a weak colony and they accepted in all instances accepted without any issues. I would say the situation you described is not abnormal maybe it’s the time of year.

  10. #9
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    Default Re: Queenless colony; bees don't seem to want a queen

    Be a magician; poof it disappeared.
    It is not true that you cannot teach an old dog new tricks.
    They can learn them, they just can't do them.

  11. #10
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    Default Re: Queenless colony; bees don't seem to want a queen

    If you still have capped worker/drone brood on frames that were in the hive prior to adding the others, thereís a good chance there was a supercedure, they tore the cell down, and thereís a virgin in there. I would wait for another week to see if thatís the case.
    Rod

  12. #11
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    Default Re: Queenless colony; bees don't seem to want a queen

    Yeah. Change my vote to Rod's.
    It is not true that you cannot teach an old dog new tricks.
    They can learn them, they just can't do them.

  13. #12
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    carney, maryland, USA
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    Default Re: Queenless colony; bees don't seem to want a queen

    THANKS ALL for responses.

    As some have posited, I agree there is a reasonable chance that there is a virgin queen (small) in there, and I can't see her. I will wait another 10 days to see if she mates and starts laying. At any rate, with the 2 frames I had added with lots of eggs and brood, there will be a lot of workers by mid-June.

  14. #13
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    Feb 2018
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    Spring, Texas
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    Default Re: Queenless colony; bees don't seem to want a queen

    I disagree.

    Old dogs are just like old married guys we can do the tricks but just can not hear the commands.

  15. #14
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    Default Re: Queenless colony; bees don't seem to want a queen

    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 42y 40h 39yTF

  16. #15
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    Finally figured mine out. There was indeed a very small virgin running around in there. She was smaller than the workers. I only noticed her after shaking bees off frames into box and observing their behavior closely. Not sure where she came from.

  17. #16
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    Default Re: Queenless colony; bees don't seem to want a queen

    >Not sure where she came from.

    She's probably been there for the last three weeks...
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 42y 40h 39yTF

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