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Discussion Starter #1
I am really upset about this. I just did my 3rd hive inspection. 4 hives installed on april 11th. 1 hive is pretty much dead and that one I wrote off. Now The 3 remaining of the newly installed are all queenless. I checked the first 2, and I see no brood. There were supersedure cells in there last week and most of them are now gone. I checked the 3rd hive and there is tons of capped drone brood. there is a lot of other brood and some of that looks like its getting capped as drone brood as well. I'll assume I have a laying worker in this one. Now I have to find new mated queens and re-queen 3 hives. What if I am mistaken and the original queen is in there still and I introduce a new queen(slow release from cage obviously)? I have one over wintered hive that came out of winter ok but a little weak. I really don't want to sacrifice any resources from that hive. It is my only hive that is doing what it is supposed to be doing. Oh and one of the hives had a queen that was all white but dead. I assume they tried to make a queen and failed (or I failed rather)

I am really upset by all of this and if anyone can please offer me any advice or confirm that re-queening is the best option, please feel free to chime in. As of now, I am going to go fishing to decompress and get my mind off of this as I await good, knowledgeable responses as I normally receive. I can not stress enough that this is the last time I will ever get package bees. Nucs all the way for me from now on. what a pain this has been. thanks in advance for your time and listening to my rant as well. fish on!

todd
 

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If you somehow, while looking for a queen, you overlook the resident queen, a new replacement queen from supersedure, a queen cell, or eggs/young larva that the bees could use to raise a replacement queen with. Or if they've gotten to the point where laying workers are uncontrolled (at that point the laying workers are usually treated as if they were a queen or queens). If any, or all of the above are actually true, then it will be very difficult to successfully introduce a replacement queen to these bees. Best remedy would be to give them a comb/frame containing worker eggs, once per week, for three or four weeks. But, if you don't have at least one established colony, or access to a colony for the necessary brood, successful requeening is possible, but very difficult.
 

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Does the timeline work so that the hive with supercedure cells last week, may now have a hatched queen, perhaps still a virgin or just beginning to lay? If so it may right itself but the original package bees are getting old -- and you have about 21 days, or maybe more, before more bees hatch.

Open brood is best. Could you buy an existing hive (I see some for sale here sometimes) and split it into your hives? (Expensive brood!) Without open brood your options are limited.

Even if you get and introduce mated queens, the package bees are getting old, and the bee population will be small before new bees begin hatching.
You might combine at least one hive with your successful hive to strengthen it, and do a split later. Even that has risk -- what if these package bees have disease?

Or can you get another package and combine some of these bees with it to boost its numbers?
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Mr. clemens,
are you implying that I am missing something? Because I want to really hope that I am. My thoughts right now are how the heck can all 3 hives have a problem with their queens? And I must admit, I didn't look all that hard for the original queen or new queens. The one hive did have sealed up queen cells hanging from the middle of the frame. I swear the population on 2 of the hives has grown. I should see some brood though, I know I'm not missing that. I see open brood and capped brood so easily on my successful hive. golly I don't know what to do. as you can tell, my fishing trip failed to calm me down. lol.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks all for replying. I have to sleep on this and figure out what I am going to do. Maybe I will open up my successful hive and see If I am comfortable donating a frame of open brood to one of these bum hives. Perhaps start nuc shopping or full hive shopping as suggested above.
todd
 

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Sorry about your problems, you have one big plus, you now have a hive that over - wintered, you are right in not wanting to rob from it at this time. I would make sure I kept the overwintered hive's entrance reduced and I would feed them until they won't take the sugar water any more, this should build them up to a point that they can be split into two equal colonies. I would wait for a couple more weeks to see if the new queen they made starts laying, if so I would then combine the queenless ones into the queen right one. In the meanwhile I would look for someone selling local queens. In times like this I tell myself "they are only bees and I don't make my living raising them"
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Stan.vic,
thank you for your response. I don't know why I am stressing so bad. Part of me says that they are just bees but the other part of me hates failing. I will continue to pamper the over wintered survivor. Its still just a single. Hopefully I can build it up in time to make a good split. Thank you again for responding.
 

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Thanks all for replying. I have to sleep on this and figure out what I am going to do. Maybe I will open up my successful hive and see If I am comfortable donating a frame of open brood to one of these bum hives. Perhaps start nuc shopping or full hive shopping as suggested above.
todd
You did mention you had capped brood and drone brood.
Make sure you look for eggs. A laying worker will invariably lay multiple eggs in a cell and usually not upright in center of the cell.
http://www.beesource.com/resources/elements-of-beekeeping/beekeeping-glossary/laying-worker/

Eggs will affirm a queen better than looking for her will.
 

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The hives that superceded probably has a virgin queen that emerged, check in 2 weeks for eggs and brood. The drone problem is either the queen was poorly mated and ran out of juice or laying worker, as mentioned look for 4-5 eggs per cell and eggs laid on top of pollen etc... It will be hard to requeen a laying worker w/o introducing brood frames to it over 3 weeks or shaking it out and putting an established hive in it's location so all the bees fly back to it and have to beg their way in.
 

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I just meant that sometimes queens are difficult to locate. Some even like to hide, while their hive is being examined. Those kind of queens can really make it difficult. And if you have a hive or two with virgins, virgins are quite different from mated/laying queens, they look different and behave differently - sometimes they're even out flying around, so that adds to the complication of trying to locate them.
 

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Todd,
I feel your frustration, you did mention that one of your hives had at least 3 queen cells on a frame, these queen cells can be carefully cut out and given to each of the hives, right now I feel this would be the best option and if the hives actually do have young queens at this point then the added queen cell shouldn't hurt anything the bees will sort it out.

You are running out of time on these old package bees so whatever you choose to do must be done quickly. Combining the presumably failing hives into 1 hive and treating it with open brood from your strong hive is another last ditch option, splits can be made later to get you back to your original hive counts.

All is not lost yet but as you know you are on the ropes, decisive action is what's needed at this point.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Thanks mr clemens. Im going to go in and take a really good look today. I am also going to take a look at my successful hive and see how much open brood there is and mildly consider borrowing some open brood for atleast one of the troubled hives(not the one with all the drone cells). Also, I was not offended by your post, I was really hoping that I missed something and there was nothing to worry about. But I have to be realistic and recognize that there is a problem now and I thank you for your advice. I will repost the outcome in the near future if and when I achieve a result.
Todd
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Bill, thank you. That seems like a pretty good option. If a queen cell is sealed, is it a gaurentee there is a queen inside? I've been wondering how there could be no brood at all at this point accept for a few queen cells.
 

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One can only assume there is a queen it the cell, if a hive is in a bad way sometimes the bees will try making queen cells and the cells will have drones in them but at this point in time it would be worth the time spent to place these cells in the 3 hives and see what happens.
 

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I added another link for you in the previous post, All my best and I hope all goes well for you, let us know how everything turns out. :)
 

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Discussion Starter #20
http://s1371.photobucket.com/user/trottet1/library/?sort=3&page=1

ok here is an update with photos. I went back into the hives today to cut queen cells out and distribute them to the hives. Only thing is, on one hive, I think they hatched. they are open and kinda brownish around the opening. nothing inside. (this may be good?)

I see a really nice queen cell and it looks a little transparent and I can see a dark mass inside. I will assume a queen. you will see this in the photo. should I let it be and allow it to emerge? This is the only queen cell that I can see. My intention was to cut the queen cells out and put them in the other hives. Now , I am not really sure what to do. I took a close look at my successful hive and I just don't feel it is strong enough for me to take from it. Should I just do nothing at this point and hope for the best but expect to accept failure and prepare to order a few nucs?
 
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