Too late to add frame of eggs to queenless colony in MD?
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
    Location
    Frederick, MD
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    53

    Default Too late to add frame of eggs to queenless colony in MD?

    A fellow beekeeper in mid-MD has one double-deep 10 framer with queen, eggs, brood of all stages. The second colony is also double deep, but it is queenless. The second colony has a top box 100% full of capped honey or nectar. Bottom box has some pollen, lots of open comb. Both boxes have lots of bees, but no queen. Is it too late to transfer a frame with eggs from the first colony into the second colony in hopes of the queenless colony making a new queen? It will be 16 days before she emerges. Too late, I think. Right? Maybe best to just combine the two colonies?

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2015
    Location
    Mercer county pa. Usa
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    157

    Default Re: Too late to add frame of eggs to queenless colony in MD?

    Yes, it's too late to try to make a new queen. Need to be 100 percent sure the hive is queen less though. It's common for queens to shut down egg laying at this time and not all queens are equal. The queen if she has stopped laying will shrink in size and be hard to spot. Might want to shake hive through excluder to be sure. If you are indeed queen less, its time to combine or let the hive parrish, if you think the bees may have viruses.

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2017
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    Aylett, Virginia
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    3,846

    Default Re: Too late to add frame of eggs to queenless colony in MD?

    Dave, if the hive appears strong, let it ride out. It is way too late to produce a queen and chances are good there is a queen in there that has stopped laying. If your friend does not see some brood by mid Feb., he should plan on adding eggs as soon as he sees capped drone brood in the other hive. Not a guarantee for success, but a better plan than combining IMO. A queenless hive that is strong now should overwinter just fine, but the bees will dwindle rapidly come March if no queen is present.
    Thankfully, the bees are smarter than I am. They are doing well, in spite of my efforts to help them.

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Massillon, Ohio
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    5,592

    Default Re: Too late to add frame of eggs to queenless colony in MD?

    Quote Originally Posted by davemal View Post
    Is it too late to transfer a frame with eggs from the first colony into the second colony in hopes of the queenless colony making a new queen?
    I think yes, but, that might be a way to check to see if the colony is actually queenless. If they start to build queen cells they will have their answer. If they do, I would try my best to find a queen for sale somewhere to introduce to the colony after cutting out the queen cells to increase the odds they make it through winter.
    To everything there is a season....

  6. #5
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Algoma District Northern Ontario, Canada
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    4,810

    Default Re: Too late to add frame of eggs to queenless colony in MD?

    Quote Originally Posted by JWPalmer View Post
    Dave, if the hive appears strong, let it ride out. It is way too late to produce a queen and chances are good there is a queen in there that has stopped laying. If your friend does not see some brood by mid Feb., he should plan on adding eggs as soon as he sees capped drone brood in the other hive. Not a guarantee for success, but a better plan than combining IMO. A queenless hive that is strong now should overwinter just fine, but the bees will dwindle rapidly come March if no queen is present.
    I kept one queenless going for about 3 weeks with some donated brood this past spring. They started cells but I kept tearing them down till drones were starting to emerge. June 10 they hatched a queen and were off to the races.

    Edit; Just seen Mikes post. I agree, too late to start a queen from scratch. Better to know they are queenless rather than have them create more problems by raising a drone layer.
    Last edited by crofter; 10-20-2019 at 06:02 PM.
    Frank

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
    Location
    Frederick, MD
    Posts
    53

    Default Re: Too late to add frame of eggs to queenless colony in MD?

    Good tips. Thanks.

    Both colonies were treated with Apivar in spring. No treatment since. Ugh.

    The strong queenright hive (#1) has 20% mites with some DWV. But still with lots of brood all stages and lots and lots of bees. Very calm. I know viruses are there, though. The second #2 hive has 10% mites and gets agitated quickly. I am sure it has no queen. No remnants of any capped brood at all. Easily agitated. Noisy. All my own hives 10 miles away have brood in them as does his hive #1, so queens are not slowing down at all in our area. Consequently, I do not think #2 has a queen that had just stopped laying and is now trimmed down. But, boy, you guys gave me lots to think about!

    Since both are full of mites and probably have viruses, we will OAV hive #2 since it is broodless. At the same time, we will put Formic Pro on hive #2. Full treatment. Then we will do a newspaper combine. I know none of these treatments will restore the health of the virus-infected winter bees already made, but I think it is better than doing nothing.

    Question: Is there any reason we could not combine colonies right after the queenless hive #2 has been OAV'd and Formic Pro has been added to the queenright hive #1? I think OAV has a nearly instantaneous affect on mites, so any need to wait longer than, say, 15 minutes or so before doing the combine?

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2017
    Location
    Aylett, Virginia
    Posts
    3,846

    Default Re: Too late to add frame of eggs to queenless colony in MD?

    OAV is not quite that fast acting. I would wait three days and then do the combine. I do not hold out much hope for either colony if mite loads are that high this late.
    Thankfully, the bees are smarter than I am. They are doing well, in spite of my efforts to help them.

  9. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
    Location
    Frederick, MD
    Posts
    53

    Default Re: Too late to add frame of eggs to queenless colony in MD?

    Quote Originally Posted by JWPalmer View Post
    OAV is not quite that fast acting. I would wait three days and then do the combine. I do not hold out much hope for either colony if mite loads are that high this late.
    OK. Makes sense. Thanks.

    I agree about the prospects for both colonies. As is often said, our failures are often times our best teachers.

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