Failing colony without queen. need help
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2019
    Location
    Harrisonburg, Virginia
    Posts
    6

    Default Failing colony without queen. need help

    I have a colony that the queen disappeared from. I put in frames of eggs and brood but the eggs disappeared and the brood hatched out. I put in a frame that has a queen cup and a few more frames of brood and started feeding the colony to try to make it strong enough to survive the winter. Is it a good choose to try to save the colony or if I should just combine it with a stronger colony. We have mild winters here in Virginia and I think that the colony can gain enough strength to survive.

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Auckland,Auckland,New Zealand
    Posts
    10,038

    Default Re: Failing colony without queen. need help

    They would have raised a virgin queen from some of the brood you gave them. Wether she is still unmated, or has passed her time and disappeared, depends on how long ago you gave them the brood.

    So to decide wether to save the colony or combine it, a few things need to be considered. How many bees does it have and how old are they. IE, is it possible for this hive to requeen and still end up a decent colony in good enough shape to make winter. Secondly, does it have a queen, maybe an unmated one. This should be determined prior to a combine. Also, the age of a potential virgin queen should be determined so you know if she may start laying soon, in which case, give the hive some time.
    "Every viewpoint, is a view from a point." - Solomon Parker

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2014
    Location
    England, UK
    Posts
    1,450

    Default Re: Failing colony without queen. need help

    Oldtimer has given good advice, albeit based on "it all depends" - which of course is absolutely appropriate.

    I notice you've already invested several frames of brood on this colony, and as yet still have an unclear result. I've had this happen to me a few times, when something goes wrong with the requeening of a colony and it becomes unclear to pin-down exactly what - particularly, is there a virgin still present ? (they can be exceedingly difficult to spot)

    At some point difficult decisions need to be made - especially if substantial resources have already been donated to that colony. Is it worth investing any more resources ? Is that colony worth saving now anyway ? What complications can arise if a virgin (now 'out of time') is still present ? It's a tough call, and there's always that temptation to add 'good money after bad', so to speak.

    It might be a better plan, for example, to use some resources to start-up a new nucleus colony, rather than plough more into this old colony - then, when that nuc is fully functioning, add this old colony to it by a 'stand-swop' - to absorb it's foragers, and then combine the remainder of the bees 'through the front door' via a shake-out, in order that it's guards can deny a virgin or any laying workers entry.

    LJ
    A Heretics Guide to Beekeeping http://heretics-guide.atwebpages.com/

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2017
    Location
    Dane County, WI, USA
    Posts
    2,900

    Default Re: Failing colony without queen. need help

    Quote Originally Posted by William Shulgan View Post
    I have a colony that the queen disappeared from. I put in frames of eggs and brood but the eggs disappeared and the brood hatched out. I put in a frame that has a queen cup and a few more frames of brood and started feeding the colony to try to make it strong enough to survive the winter. Is it a good choose to try to save the colony or if I should just combine it with a stronger colony. We have mild winters here in Virginia and I think that the colony can gain enough strength to survive.
    You must have a hard date marked on your paper calendar - IF this colony is not stable by July 31st (plug your own appropriate date here) - I am terminating this colony and redistributing the resources.
    Done.

    Exception: the queen (IF alive and laying) is special - than keep investing into it and keep afloat - because it is worthy and special.
    Former "smoker boy". Classic, square 12 frame Dadants >> Long hive/Short frame/chemical-free experimentations.

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