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I have 6 hives with at least 5 of them hopelessly queenless as far as I can tell. I started noticing that the bees were filling in the cells (areas that were otherwise generally used for brood) with nectar/honey and pollen. I couldn't find eggs so I knew something was wrong. I started looking for my queens (about half of which were marked). Gone.
I have a theory, but I could be way off here...
My apiary is on a farm. The farmer gave a 1-time application to his 40+ acres of corn with glyphosate (roundup). Could this have an effect on queen fertility?
The reason I ask, I haven't found many queen cells. So, my theory is that the queens went infertile, but were still present, along with pheromones. Then, once the hive got rid of her because of infertility, it was too late (larva too old) to make queen cells. I know this theory is somewhat flawed since they can usually detect when she has stopped laying and will then supersede her. So, I need a better theory.
I've even tried to requeen 3 of them, unsuccessfully.
Any ideas would be greatly appreciated.
 

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Roundup is supposed to be fairly gentle on bees unless he sprayed the hives directly. Seems like fixing your queenlessness problem should take precedence over figuring out what where the queens went. Does your queenright hive have brood to spare?
 

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did you happen to do any mite control right before you lost your queens, like say MAQS?
 

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I have a theory also that is predicated on Roundup being a herbicide, not an insecticide. Perhaps, an insecticide was mixed with the Roundup, but still doubtful that is the problem. Maybe your bees swarmed and you have virgins who haven't begun to lay. Or maybe they didn't return from their mating flights.
How did you try to requeen?

Alex
 

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There's a good chance at least one of them swarmed.
It's spring + Back-filling brood nest + No brood present + Unsuccesful attempts at re-queening = you've got some virgin queens or recently mated ones.

Doubt roundup is a factor.

The "missing queens" are second season queens right? In other words they were reared in 2016?
 

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I have no queen at all, but possibly queen cells in one hive, no eggs, and starting to run out of any brood at all.
I requeened with queen cages and a few attendants. They were good laying queens with that were removed from their original hive only a couple of hours before I put them in my hives.
I had recently checkerboarded so they should've had plenty of room.
 

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Your descriptions sound a lot like a lot of swarming has or is happening, back filled, no laying, won't accept new queen. Cells could have been missed, taken down, not yet made, etc. I have had swarms with 15+ cells, and as little as 5-6. Bees back fill the nest before swarming and it generally stays there till a new queen is about to lay, which they then clear it out as needed.
 

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I have 6 hives with at least 5 of them hopelessly queenless as far as I can tell. I started noticing that the bees were filling in the cells (areas that were otherwise generally used for brood) with nectar/honey and pollen. I couldn't find eggs so I knew something was wrong. I started looking for my queens (about half of which were marked). Gone.
I have a theory, but I could be way off here...
My apiary is on a farm. The farmer gave a 1-time application to his 40+ acres of corn with glyphosate (roundup). Could this have an effect on queen fertility?
The reason I ask, I haven't found many queen cells. So, my theory is that the queens went infertile, but were still present, along with pheromones. Then, once the hive got rid of her because of infertility, it was too late (larva too old) to make queen cells. I know this theory is somewhat flawed since they can usually detect when she has stopped laying and will then supersede her. So, I need a better theory.
I've even tried to requeen 3 of them, unsuccessfully.
Any ideas would be greatly appreciated.
The idea that roundup had anything to do with your queen problem is simply crazy. There is no other way to state it other than crazy.
 

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I have no queen at all, but possibly queen cells in one hive,
You say possibly? IE, you don't know? My guess would be swarming. The failure of the introduced queen could indicate the presence of a virgin.

The correct way to find out will be to put comb with eggs into affected hives and see if they raise queen cells. The result of that will tell you what to do.

As you say you only have one queenright hive and "at least" 5 queenless hives, you'll have to judge just how much brood to take from the queenright one, if you cannot put eggs into all the queenless ones do as many as you can, observe the results in a week, and at that point decide where to go with this.
 

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In your area I would imagine that you are in a nectar dearth and it's probable that the queens shut down egg laying because no nectar or pollen was coming into the hive. Five out of 6 hives don't just go queenless at the drop of a hat. If they didn't do that, they swarmed.

Roundup didn't do it. I spray it around the base of my hives multiple times a year to control vegetation.
 

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In your area I would imagine that you are in a nectar dearth and it's probable that the queens shut down egg laying because no nectar or pollen was coming into the hive. Five out of 6 hives don't just go queenless at the drop of a hat. If they didn't do that, they swarmed.
this. they most likely are taking a brood break. mine are doing the same thing.

you may have one or more that are having queen issues, but it's really hard to tell this time of year when there are no eggs or brood, even if you happen to see a queen.
 

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I'm seeing steady egg laying still in most of my colonies though that will shut down over the next 2 weeks as bees prepare for the summer dearth.

Oldtimer is spot on with suggesting what to do. I would cut strips of comb with eggs and very young larvae from a comb in the hive with laying queen and press the strips into a comb in each of the 5 hives that appear queenless. If they need a queen, they will raise one. If they have a virgin, they will ignore the strips. Either way, it is easy to make a decision from that point.
 

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dearth is arriving early here. there was virtually no progress seen in the supers over this past week. i'm seeing capped and emerging worker brood only with no or very few eggs and open brood. they have also stopped rearing drones and the biggest colonies are bearding.

this is interesting to me because it appears as though the moderation in brooding preceded the change in flow, as if it was 'anticipated', as opposed to responding to the change as it occurred.
 

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as if it was 'anticipated'
Bees have more sensitive flow barometers than we do. I've seen them do this many times over the years. They respond to the flow ending.

I remember running Italians back in the 1980's. They would keep right on brooding through the summer and hit fall with huge colonies.
 

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'sensitive flow barometers', i like that. i may be reading too much into it but it's hard not to get the sense that my bees are very much keyed into the ebbs and flows here.

lagrange is about mid state. chances are the flow is waning there as brad suggested. i do like the idea about giving a frame of eggs (if available) just in case.

the colonies here that still have appreciable brood are the caught swarms and splits. the established colonies appear to be transitioning for the dearth and beginning their mid season brood break.

how unfortunate that will be for the mites.
 

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I remember running Italians back in the 1980's. They would keep right on brooding through the summer and hit fall with huge colonies.
Or in my experience several times, starve to death unless fed in late summer from turning all their honey into brood. I'll keep no more Italian bees.
 

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I had recently checkerboarded so they should've had plenty of room.
wow, so much speculation, and no answers to the op's question

That was easy...here's the answer he supposedly checker-boarded.
so many n00b's break the broodnest mis takenly calling it checkerboarding.

OP what exactly did you do? Did you actually read Walt's paper on how to checkerboard?
Sounds like you cracked the brood, and breaking the broodnest will cause your problem, checkerboarding the honey supers will not.
 
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