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OK. Let's try another. Again, if the experience beekeepers could wait until tomorrow to let the beginners think a little, I would appreciate it.
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SCENARIO

You are inspecting a hive and you notice, although the hive seems healthy and happy, there is no open brood. On closer examination you don't see any capped brood nor even any capped drone brood. Also no eggs. You do find an old queen cell up in the middle of a frame.

What is most likely the state of the hive?

What are most of the possible causes of this state in a hive?

What is the most likely cause of this state in the hive?
 

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I would think that the old queen has died and there is a new queen that hasn't made her mating flight or just hasn't started laying yet, i would check the hive again in about a week and see if i see any eggs or larva then.
 

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In this scenario I would say the original queen is still in the hive but has stopped laying for one reason or another. The hive is in the process of superceedure to replace the old queen.

Possible causes:
Advanced age of queen
Poor mating of queen
Poor genetics of queen
Injury to queen

I don't know the most likely cause of this condition. There are so many variables like age of the hive, chemical damage, etc

Brian
 

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An OLD queen cell?

Perhaps the new queen was lost on her mating flight.

Or, perhaps, since they are happy, the queens mating flight was delayed due to weather and she is not laying yet.
 

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The bees made only one swarm or emergency queen cell and the queen died before it emerged. The other bees and old queen swarmed leaving the parent hive queenless.

The life cycle has been interrupted too long for it to be a viable queen cell. Other queen cells might have been constructed and the virgin queens emerged only to be lost or killed. Those queen cells could have been cleaned away.

My guess.
 

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The "hive seems healthy and happy" and "no capped drone brood" is what throws me. My perception would be that a queenless hive that long without brood would appear anything but healthy and happy. I'm going to go WAY out on the limb here and suspect that I was inspecting this hive for stores as it is wintertime and spring buildup hasn't yet begun....If they have plenty of stores, close the hive and go to the shop and paint those new supers!!

David
 

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No capped brood, not even drone brood. I say the queen was superceded or died, the new queen hatched after fourteen days. The drones still have a week & a few days to go. The new queen takes a week or so to get ready to mate, a few more days to get ready to lay, I think that it's possible that there's a fresh queen just about to get started.

Colony is happy. Mine was about as angry as I've ever seen with no queen. No eggs means probably no laying worker. I'm guessing a supercedure/emergency queen who's just about to start laying.
 

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NOT A CLUE... but. I'll assume they aren't going to swarm (not a swarm cell) since swarm cells are on the bottom. If the cell is "old" and the queen has been out awhile then I may have a laying worker, her eggs may be eaten by other workers, will have to look at probably combining with a queen right colony. I also may have workers eating the queens eggs, need to requeen? If the old queen cell is capped and waiting for the new queen to emerge I would say that the old queen is dead, for what ever reason and the hive is eagerly awaiting the birth of their new virgin queen.If I couldn't find the old queen I would be almost completely convinced of this. If this is a one brood box hive with no honey supers and if the brood cells honey filled, they need room. If the cells are just empty I would dive back in the books, beesource, beemaster, extension office and start talking to other local MORE experienced beekeepers. But stick with my new queen analysis, unless advised otherwise. I'm getting long winded again and will leave it here and read what the rest of you said!
 

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OH yeah also forgot if queen is out and brand new then she may be getting ready to mate or just finished and is learning how to lay eggs.
 

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I know this one! Maybe..

I'd not automatically assume the hive is queenless. That's an easy conclusion to jump to but a hive queenless long enough for there to be no brood at all, capped or otherwise, wouldn't appear "healthy and happy". As for the likely causes of this condition:

1) Honey bound... no room for brood. Though you don't mention that it appears honey bound, so it probably isn't. An examination would show this condition quickly. Besides, a healthy queen that *wants* to lay could probably find room for a few drones at least.

2) The old queen has shut down for a while, possibly due to inclement weather or being stressed through being moved (this happened to me a few times).

3) The old queen was superceded as evidenced by the old queen cell and the new queen either hasn't mated yet, or hasn't started laying yet.

I'd say the most likely cause is 3 above, old queen dead, new queen not laying yet. The lack of brood of any age indicates there hasn't been a laying queen in the hive for 3 weeks or more. If the old queen was superceded because she wasn't wasn't laying well, it would be 2+ weeks before a new queen could be raised and another week before she started laying- nearly a month- which is plenty of time for any old brood to hatch.

George-
 

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Discussion Starter #14
MORE SENARIO:

(BTW this is not just theoretical, I've done precisely this when I was inexperienced)

Let's take this one step further. As a newbee you panic, assume queenlessness and buy a queen, pay overnight shipping and install her in a candy cage. Four days later you came back and find her dead in the cage, panic and buy another queen.

What do you think was the cause of the queen's demise?

What do you think will happen to the next queen?
 

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the bee's killed the new queen you installed because there is already a not yet laying queen in the hive and if you order and put another queen in the hive she will be killed also.
 

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There was a supercedure. I think it's 28 days before the new virgin queen has hatched, mated & starts laying. The facts that the hive is happy and that the replacement queens are being killed off is the proof of the pudding. Do nothing and check back later.
 

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My BEST guess in a scenario like this is that the old queen was killed by some accident (probably caused by the beekeeper) and they have raised a new one. It's really the same scenario as question number three was except we opened the hive a couple of days earlier in the process and the new queen hasn't started to lay yet.

If it was a supercedure, usually there is no real break in brood because the old queen keeps laying at least until the new one emerges. Sometimes she keeps laying until fall.

But if a queen is killed you have a time delay long enough for ALL the brood to emerge before you see eggs from the new queen.

The problem with this senario (at first anyway) is the hive MIGHT be queenless. The emergency queen may have flown off to mate and hit a windshield on the way back, or met a swallow (they don't call them swallows for nothing
) or met with some other ill fated end. We don't have evidence to KNOW that they do or don't have a queen. So I would put in a frame of brood and wait and see. That way IF they are queenless they can raise one and if they are not, they needed some brood anyway.


Of course once I added the queen and they killed her, it becomes more likely that they HAVE a queen, even though I didn't see eggs.

You need to remember how logic works. If you find single eggs and healthy brood you know you had a laying queen within the last three days (meaning it's very likely that you have one now). But the converse is not necessarily true. Just because you DON'T find eggs does NOT prove there is no queen. It just proves there is no LAYING queen. Yet.

I asked these elsewhere but lets' try one question here:

How long from when the old queen was accidently killed to when I will most likely see eggs?

How long from when the old queen to when I should worry that I don't see eggs?
 

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Without digging out my books....

>How long from when the old queen was accidently killed to when I will most likely see eggs?

A month.

>How long from when the old queen to when I should worry that I don't see eggs?

A month.

George-
 
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