Hi Brad,Hi everyone! I’m Brad and new to the forum. I posted my intro in the welcome area.
I am having lots of trouble with queens this year it seems. Made it through winter with one hive that was quite strong. Unfortunately, I split them about 3 days too late as the hive swarmed exactly 3 days after I performed a walk-away split and added room.
The good news is I caught the swarm. Included the queen. As a matter of fact, while I was collecting the swarm, she regally fluttered right past my head, landed on top of a couple of her fellow subjects, and walked right into my nuc box like she owned the joint. That colony is doing fabulously well.
The parent hive they left behind, however, it not well at all. My immediate inspection of the parent hive after the swarm revealed a new queen. That was about one month ago. A week later and since - no eggs, no brood, no queen. I added a frame of brood from another hive. A week later there were 4 queen cells. Three days ago - still not queenright, all queen cells opened or gone except for one queen cell still closed. The colony still “acts queenless.” So do we possibly have virgin queen somewhere that I didn’t see or do we have the one last attempt for them to make a queen with that last queen cell?
Royal Issue #2: Ordered a package of Carniolans and installed. Accepted queen. Excellent brood pattern on inspection three weeks ago. Two weeks ago, fewer eggs. Three days ago - only scattered capped brood. Irregular bullet caps in worker brood. No queen on inspection. Three supersedure cups present. Only one cup looked like a queen may have emerged. And something I’ve never seen before - workers were chewing a queen larvae out of a queen cell. Inspection today - two queen cups present. Looks like may be one more queen cell still closed (hard to tell because in a strange place on corner of frame). Didn’t see a virgin on inspection. Hmmm...what to do? My gut tells me to give them a week and see if we have a virgin queen right now. Suggestions? Is a Carniolan virgin harder to find? I’m accustomed to looking at Italians.
Thanks for insight and expertise! Anyone else having “royalty issues”? I’m thinking I’m about to purchase a new regime.
It isn't unlikely at all that a hive with a new virgin queen "acts queenless". It can easily take 1-2 weeks until the first eggs appear. The best way to find out if it really is queenless is to put a frame with eggs or 1-2 days old hatched larvae and see if they start to build QCs.
The 2nd scenario however sounds very strange. However, the virgin queen may have been on its flight during the time of your observation, or may did not succeed on mating, was either fallen before returning or was not fertilized properly and got killed.
My personal recommendation for the future, that if you have 4 queen cells and a queen, split the hive into 5 - 2 frames with each QC and all the other frames with the queen. This way you prevent swarming by giving more space to your original queen, and at the best scenario you'll have 5 mated queens, but if you want to make only 2 hives, you can always kill the other 3 queens and merge their frames. You only increase your chances of successfully split a hive this way, without a real loss of production capacity.