Queen Bee dead in Winter - Page 2
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  1. #21
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    tacoma, wa. usa
    Posts
    180

    Default Re: Queen Bee dead in Winter

    Quote Originally Posted by drone74 View Post
    Hi All, I have a hive that just lost its queen. It is a very strong hive- they are doing great with the huge exception of having just lost their queen. I figure I cannot re-queen in the winter b/c no one is selling queens now I assume. I have one weaker hive that still has their queen.. should I just join the 2? Should I wait it out until late winter when I can purchase a queen? I figure I will have laying workers soon enough, but figure I could just drop in a frame of brood to fix that in the spring... but not sure if waiting around with laying workers would cause issues other than the obvious slowly declining population. However, I figure it would be best to hear from other people who know more before I make any decisions.

    Thanks in advance.
    It's far, but queens are available year round they claim...Hawaii https://www.ohbees.com/collections/big-island-queens

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  3. #22
    Join Date
    Dec 2015
    Location
    Sawyer County,WI USA
    Posts
    369

    Default Re: Queen Bee dead in Winter

    Quote Originally Posted by fieldsofnaturalhoney View Post
    I doubt you are queen less in December based upon that, it would be very unusual for a colony to kick out & ball there only queen. More likely, they had two queens going into Winter & one was being removed. Oldtimer pointed this out & some other scenarios.

    Yeah, this is the direction I'm leaning too. As bees naturally die off over winter, decreasing cluster size, another queen might not be tolerated as it was back in September, and it is highly unlikely that the colony would kill off its only Mama.

    It is December after all, just 3 days passed the solstice and even Virginia still has plenty of winter left before Spring arrives, no?

  4. #23
    Join Date
    Apr 2017
    Location
    Aylett, Virginia
    Posts
    4,143

    Default Re: Queen Bee dead in Winter

    Quote Originally Posted by drummerboy View Post
    It is December after all, just 3 days passed the solstice and even Virginia still has plenty of winter left before Spring arrives, no?
    Yep, down here we have another 8-10 weeks to go. Heck, the coldest part hasn't even gotten here yet.
    Thankfully, the bees are smarter than I am. They are doing well, in spite of my efforts to help them.

  5. #24
    Join Date
    Jun 2015
    Location
    Deep Brook, NS, Canada
    Posts
    605

    Default Re: Queen Bee dead in Winter

    I'm thinking in North Carolina, your colonies may never go entirely broodless. Even in Nova Scotia here they are starting to rear brood in January.
    I would wait a week or so for a nice day and look for uncapped brood. If there isn't any, you may not have a queen, or you may have a failing queen.
    At that point you can always combine them and make a good strong split in the Spring. The worst that can happen is they fight it out.
    Plan B: combine them with newspaper, plus a queen excluder. Once you see drones, move some eggs up and they should make a new queen in the top box.
    I want bees that make up for my mistakes.

  6. #25
    Join Date
    Sep 2018
    Location
    Jacksonville Fl
    Posts
    21

    Default

    Location is key to finding a solution here. I still have lots of brood and a decent drone population in North Florida.

  7. #26
    Join Date
    Nov 2016
    Location
    Beaverton, OR
    Posts
    7

    Default

    To produce a queen in the spring you're going to need a population of mature drones which takes about 45 days from the egg. Also, queens typically don't fly and mate below 68 degrees. Without these two conditions you will not get a well-mated queen in the spring . I have successfully used QMP strips (available from suppliers) as a substitute for the queen for short periods of time (2weeks). This may be worth trying. You could also try placing the weaker colony on top of the suspected queenless colony with a single screen (#10 mesh) between the two, and create an upper entrance above facing the opposite direction. This would allow the queen pheromones to be transferred by contact between the workers but would not let them access the queen physically and possibly kill her (if the other queen was still present below). The heat rising off of the larger colony (below) would help the weaker colony (above) survive through the winter. They can be permanently combined in the spring, if required, but if both queens are present and healthy, they can be separated again. I regularly overwinter nucs on top of full colonies using this method.

  8. #27
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    Isle of Wight, VA
    Posts
    2,793

    Default Re: Queen Bee dead in Winter

    here in Hampton Roads part of Virginia, the queens have picked back up again. Just did an inspection on my long langstroth. The queen has about 5 frames laid with eggs at the top. So far, our January is looking pretty mild, although that always tends to change. But I am seeing pollen being brought in as well as uncapped nectar, so they are finding some natural food somewhere. Depending on what part of NC the OP is in, the queens should be starting a patch or two of brood now.

  9. #28
    Join Date
    Apr 2017
    Location
    Aylett, Virginia
    Posts
    4,143

    Default Re: Queen Bee dead in Winter

    Ruth, that is good to know. I have not pulled frames since October. If you are seeing eggs and brood already, I need to get the pollen patties on this weekend. Ah, nothing like 60 weather to make one forget it is winter.
    Thankfully, the bees are smarter than I am. They are doing well, in spite of my efforts to help them.

  10. #29
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    Isle of Wight, VA
    Posts
    2,793

    Default Re: Queen Bee dead in Winter

    Quote Originally Posted by JWPalmer View Post
    Ruth, that is good to know. I have not pulled frames since October. If you are seeing eggs and brood already, I need to get the pollen patties on this weekend. Ah, nothing like 60 weather to make one forget it is winter.
    Are you on FB? I posted a video on the Virginia Beekeepers page, if you are. Beautiful tiger striped queen. My bees are ignoring the pollen sub that I bought from Tractor Supply, but others in Lynchburg are showing the bees all over the pollen sub.

    I wouldn't normally go in mine just yet, but have a mentee that wasn't sure if her bees went into winter with an unmated queen, as she couldn't see eggs. I told her mine normally pick up after the winter solstice, and this gal was right on target. Didn't see any open brood, only frames and frames of eggs.

  11. #30
    Join Date
    Dec 2019
    Location
    North Carolina
    Posts
    7

    Default Re: Queen Bee dead in Winter

    UPDATE:

    I was able to go into the hive today and found that the strong hive had their queen which means I put the queen that was getting balled into the wrong hive.. I am currently looking for a queen for the other hive (checked and no brood or eggs etc)- will check locally first and then check the links in this post . Ug.... at least the strong hive will remain strong...

    The strong hive has been gathering a lot of nectar.. I suppose it has been warm, but I am wondering where they are getting nectar so early? They are also bringing in a good amount of pollen and have a good amount of brood. I am hoping they don't build up too quickly and then get crushed by a quick freeze...

    Thanks for everyone's help and responses.

  12. #31
    Join Date
    Jan 2018
    Location
    Decatur / Cullman, also. 35603
    Posts
    798

    Default Re: Queen Bee dead in Winter

    What about combining them. You may find a queen local. I'd not trust shipping one in at the start of winter. Also, feed them well in early spring, and check on what they have now. If brooding, they will burn some resources up fast.

  13. #32
    Join Date
    Dec 2015
    Location
    Wake Forest, NC
    Posts
    109

    Default Re: Queen Bee dead in Winter

    Quote Originally Posted by drone74 View Post
    I live in North Carolina, US.

    For whatever reason, the bees were balling her- I found them out on the ground right next to the hive.... I had to run off to another commitment right before I discovered this, so I was not sure what to do, so for better or worse (assuming worse), I put her back in the hive. She might be alive, but it has been too cold to check the last couple days, so I am assuming the worst. I did not find her body outside the hive, so maybe she is not dead, but seeing that she was getting balled, I figure they were going to kill her. I was hoping I was wrong, but I didn't have much time to make a decision.

    I have dealt with laying workers before, but I realize that first time might have gone more smoothly than it might go in other cases.

    Thanks for the welcomes
    It may be that your colony was in the process of re-queening, but they have balled the virgin queen after coming back from her flight. It is odd to me that this has happened to you during December, usually it is February with the Red maples blooming that the colonies will supersede. We do have henbit and dandelions blooming through winter, but I don't notice a very strong nectar flow from our colonies here in North Carolina at the moment. Our colonies do have a moderate amount of drones though so there could be a light nectar going on even during mid-winter.

    I have had virgin queens balled by their own colony when I split one year in Spring during March and the splits were so small they were not able to forage in the cooler Spring weather. While the booming colonies were brooding much from the nectar, at the same time the small splits (around 3 frames total each split) seemed were not getting any nectar and was as if they were in a dearth of nectar even though it was Spring. The little splits went queenless, and one queen I saw was outside of the hive still alive but torn up by the workers (I saw this queen days before in the nucleus hive). The small splits wound up queenless. I have this same problem during the summer dearth here in North Carolina. The bees will ball the queen during the summer dearth every time if the split was a large and strong colony, though small splits mate their queens consistently even during the summer dearth, as long as you can keep them alive in the stressful time of the hot summer dearth (I feed sugar syrup if splitting in the dearth).


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