Beesource Beekeeping Forums banner

Are they queenright?

2315 Views 11 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  cmonkey
Hi all, I've been lurking for a while and finally have a question for you. I'm a new beek, with one hive started this spring. I went in today and didn't see a single egg. 99% of the frames had brood (capped and uncapped), pollen, nectar or capped honey. There's an empty super on the two deeps, but they haven't drawn it out at all. I put it on nine days ago and there isn't a single complete cell. I found one supersedure cell and one swarm cell and I left them both alone. I didn't want to risk being left with one cell and no current queen, and something happening to that one cell. I guess I'd rather run the risk of swarming than risk having no queen at all.

TBS, I'm a little worried the queen is gone. I had a visit from Pooh the 27th of May, although there wasn't any damage, s/he just knocked the hive over. I did a post-Pooh inspection on June 5 and found two supersedure cells. I decided to risk it and cleared them out. I went back in on the 17th and spotted the queen. There was a great pattern of eggs and it looked like they were all getting along famously.

Today, though, I wonder if she either died or they killed her. I also wonder if she just doesn't have anyplace to lay, so she'd twiddling her thumbs.

Of all 20 frames in the deeps, there was the equivalent of one side of a frame that was empty and not drawn out. EVERY other cell was filled with brood, nectar, pollen or honey. I mean it was CRAMMED full. And I love seeing that, I do, but I don't know what it means. Swarming tendencies?

I'm not sure how old the cells I saw were. They were both intact as far as I could tell. I've never seen an opened one, though, so it's entirely possible I overlooked it.

I have another deep and frames on order, but they won't be here for at least a week. Do I put the second super between the two deeps and hope they draw that out fast? I put an ad on CL to borrow/rent an extractor, figuring I could empty a few frames and put them back. If she's in there, then she'll have plenty of room to lay. If she's not, then I get a bit of honey and there's room for the new queen to go to work.

Am I on the right track? Thanks so much for any advice. I did a little searching on honey-bound hives but I didn't find much about honey bound and possibly queenless.

FWIW, I don't think they've swarmed and that's where the queen went. That hive is packed to the gills with bees. They may be preparing to beat feet, but I'd be astonished if they already had. Also, I saw a fair number of drone cells, but I don't think it was a huge number, and I think it'd be a bit early for a laying worker to have set up shop, no? It was less than a month ago that I saw the queen and her great laying pattern...

See less See more
1 - 12 of 12 Posts
Keep in mind if they hive swarmed it may be three weeks before you see eggs or a queen that isn't so small and fast you can't find her. But also keep in mind that a frame of eggs is always good insurance if you're in doubt.
If you have an excluder between the deep and the super, remove it.
I went in today and didn't see a single egg. 99% of the frames had brood (capped and uncapped)
Worker brood is capped around 9 days, so you've had a queen at least 9 days ago. If you saw very small larva, that would indicate that you've had a queen within the last week.

As long as you have open brood, you shouldn't have a laying worker problem (assuming the open brood was from the queen!).

Did you check the bottom of the frames for swarm cells? If the colony is preparing to swarm, the queen will stop laying prior to swarming so she can slim down to fly.

I wouldn't do anything just yet, but would check again in a week.
I have a couple of hives that have done the same thing this year. Leave them bee. They probably backfilled the broodnest just as mine did and then off'd the queen(thats what mine did) and are making a new one. I have deduced after asking here that if they are chaining(staying all together) that they either have the ability to make a queen and or have already made one. It was a good idea to leave them bee for a week as Indy said and just keep an eye on them. As we are all learning, that's what I did and have done thus far. A thin queen and or even a virgin can be a chore to find sometimes.
Wow, thanks! Okay, let's see: there's no excluder in the super, so she has full access as soon as they've drawn the cells out a bit. I checked the whole hive and found just the one supersedure and one swarm, so who knows if that was really a swarm cell or what.

If they've already swarmed, man alive, they must have built up a huuuuuuge number of workers beforehand. It seemed more full than it has in the last inspections.

I'd put a few empty frames in if I had any, but all I have are super frames. I may just pop a couple in and deal with the comb later, just so they have more room. I don't have access to an extractor, though, and I hate the idea of crush & strain when I don't have drawn out frames to give them. Then again, we're having a crazy bloom right now...

They seemed to be in a pretty good mood, though a bunch fell onto the ground and just sort of wandered around. I didn't see any honey, so I don't think they were eating before they went back inside. Mostly they seemed ... I don't know, bored? When I smoked them, they went right to work to fan it out of the hive like they always do, but I guess since they've had that super on for 9 days, I expected at least one frame to be drawn out. It's like they've just gone on strike. That's what makes me think the queen is gone, because they haven't bothered to fill those empty frames. Fie.
See less See more
My queenless hive that i just tossed a queen into the other day was the exact same way. They almost seemed lethargic...bored, whatever. When I found their queen in the wrong hive, i put her in a cage and set her in the hive and they just went ballsitic in a good way. The whole tempurment of the hive changed so I figured why not just release her. So i did 2 days ago and checked on the yetserday. She is doing good and they tore down all 6 of the capped queen cells they had. When one of those queens hatches, they will get a bit more lively. Pretty cool to witness.
Oh, I hope so! And I really hope they get cracking on the supers before the basswood blooms. Best honey I've ever had!

I'll check them again next week and see what's up.

Does it make sense that they didn't draw the super out at all because they aren't queenright? They just don't know what to do when she isn't in residence so they're just kind of lost? Otherwise I don't know what to think.
"...They almost seemed lethargic...bored..."
i've also heard it called "demoralized"
Hm. I wouldn't say demoralized, at least not hugely. They're still going out on foraging runs, but it just doesn't look like a happy hive. We'll see.
"...They almost seemed lethargic...bored..."
i've also heard it called "demoralized"
I have been looking for that word since i typed that post...thank you....its bee driving me crazy. Demoralized is the best i have heard it yet
Well, well, well. There are at least four more queen cells in there today, capped. I also saw several uncapped cups, with larvae in royal jelly. So I guess maybe she is in there but they're only letting her lay in cups? Most of them look to be swarm cells, but if they're forcing her to select the queen cells, maybe they just want a viable queen and it's not a swarm threat? It seems crazy to have one out of a new-this-year colony, but I suppose it's a good sign. I'd hate to see them go this time of year though. Not much chance they'll make it, I think.

I didn't go into the bottom deep because all three kids are home and that's a recipe for disaster. But Something is going on in there. I hope they aren't planning on swarming. I don't have any equipment to put them in.

I did get a call from the CL ad, and the woman I talked to has unused equipment. Is it a disaster in the making if I put the queen frames in a few deeps to see what happens? I like to think it might keep them from swarming and I could then consolidate the hive after they hatch and I see what's up.

Not much more wax on the frames in the super. They seem listless, although they're sure working the hell out of the queen cells. :lpf: I'm scared to go in and count how many are in the bottom deep.
See less See more
1 - 12 of 12 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.