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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Are there any "ques" to tell if you have a queen in your hive between the Emerging and Laying stage?

One of my hives recently swarmed. By the time I could get to the hive a week or so later, I found a hatched queen cell. Could not find the queen (three deeps of brood and two honey supers) but noticed the bees were acting like they had a queen. While I disassembled the hive they were fanning at the entrance and around the lower box's edges when I had the top boxes removed. I've only ever seen this behavior when there is a queen present, to fan the pheromones to the bees "lost" outside the hive.

I do plan on waiting another week or so to see if I can find eggs to worry too much, but I have a spare queen I can put in there in the off chance they are in fact queenless. Would it be best to take the time to try and find her? Let nature take its course?

This hive is VERY strong and having a nectar flow here I want to keep the numbers up. I'd almost rather find the queen, put her in a nuc in another apiary and requeen the hive with a laying queen to get eggs back in there ASAP.

What would you do?
 

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Had the same thing happen to me. I added a frame of young brood and eggs, checked in 3 or 4 days to see if they built QC. Mine did not. Checked again in 10 days, I had eggs and young brood, I am queen right now.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Not quite the same as I have a hatched out queen cell. There are also plenty of queen cells about to be capped...and there is larvae and capped brood in the hive...just no eggs.

I'm also curious if I let any of these queens hatch in there, will the "new" queen (if she's in there) leave with another swarm?
 

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Plenty of queen cells about to be capped, a large population, and a hatched out queen tells me they will probably swarm again. I'd split w/ the remaining cells then you can recombine some later if you want.
 

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Yes, they will swarm again if too many queens in the same hive. By the time they are finished there isn't
many bees in the original hive. For this reason I only leave 2 of the best qcs in there. The first one to hatch
will kill off the remaining qc.
The only way to find out of a queenless hive is to put a frame of eggs and larvae to test it. If they make some qcs in a day or 2
then you know they are queenless now. A hive with a virgin will seldom make another qc. Either way they will abandon
the qc once the mated queen is laying again. By then you should know which one to keep.
If you have the extra laying queen then you can use the egg/larva to test after that you can put the mated queen in when they are indeed queenless. Waiting for another week or 2 is just a waste of time.
 

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I was told by an old beekeeper that if they are bringing in Pollen then there is a 99% chance there is a queen in the hive. I've never been queenless yet though. I am sure going to test the theory when it happens to me.
 

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From my experience the foragers will bring in pollen for food storage. With or without a queen they
still need to eat and survive too. I am not saying that the old beekeeper is right or wrong. I am
looking at what is going on inside my hive now. They still bringing in nectar and pollen when the hive is
queenless. Maybe they know that one day I will bring them a new queen, huh.
 

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I inspected my hives on March 20 and found one queenless. Good population of bees, no brood, some uncapped nectar. I added a frame of honey and a frame of brood, eggs, pollen from another hive.

I have continued to watch closely. All others were bringing in pollen except for the queenless one. The workers were still bringing in nectar, full bellies on the landing board, small bodies going out. No sense of urgency.

Tuesday, April 8, things changed. Pollen started coming in on 1 in 5 bees. Urgency picked up the pace, land go in, hit the entrance and fly off. Flights increased 3 fold over the past few days with no major change in the weather. Right on schedule, there must be a queen. I will confirm it Sat when I do the next round of inspections.
 

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From my experience the foragers will bring in pollen for food storage. With or without a queen they
still need to eat and survive too. I am not saying that the old beekeeper is right or wrong. I am
looking at what is going on inside my hive now. They still bringing in nectar and pollen when the hive is
queenless. Maybe they know that one day I will bring them a new queen, huh.
I'll agree with that,I made up a nuc-to let them raise there own queen.So I know there is not a queen in there,But to day I noticed they was bring in a lot of pollen
 

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I've seen pollen coming into queenless hives. Probably not as much as when they have a queen though. :)

I still consider it a good sign to see pollen going in. In my view, bees crowding at the entrance with pollen on their legs is that 99% sure sign of raising brood. :)
 

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>Are there any "ques" to tell if you have a queen in your hive between the Emerging and Laying stage?

Give them a frame of eggs and open brood and see what they do.

>I was told by an old beekeeper that if they are bringing in Pollen then there is a 99% chance there is a queen in the hive.

A lot of people believe that. I have not found it to be true.

The time period from emergence to a fertile laying queen can be from 4 to 21 days. Over that they will be drone layers. I expect to see eggs within two weeks after emergence 90% or more of the time.
 
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