Beesource Beekeeping Forums banner

Brood Frames w/Only Drones

992 Views 16 Replies 9 Participants Last post by  thill
The brood frames in one of my hives have only drone cells, and there are only a few of even those. The remainder of the brood frames are empty. I found the queen, so she is alive. The hive has more bees than any hive I've ever seen--I mean it is packed to the gill with bees. There are plenty of frames of honey and they've started capping a lot of it. This hive thrived over the winter and has been strong this year, but a couple of weeks ago I checked and noticed the lack of eggs and larvae. On closer inspection today, I found NO eggs or larvae other than the few drones. There appears to be nothing else wrong with the hive--no SHB infestation, mite count is next to nothing, no moths, nothing. If not for the lack of brood, this hive would appear near-perfect.

I'm assuming the queen just stopped laying for some reason, but the nurses didn't make supersedure cells. Has anyone run into this before? Do you think the queen might re-start laying again? I know I could go through the rigmarole of re-queening, but I'd rather not; if the hive isn't smart enough to know when to supersede the queen, I don't really want them to propagate.
  • Like
Reactions: RayMarler
1 - 17 of 17 Posts

· Registered
Joined
·
11,653 Posts
The brood frames in one of my hives have only drone cells, and there are only a few of even those.
Most likely this is the last batch of the hatching brood (the long-playing drone brood that is).
Sounds like you are in the summer dearth and the bees are feeling it (no brood) - which is a proper thing to do.
 

· Registered
Joined
·
573 Posts
If none of your other hives are shutting all the way down like this, I’d be a little concerned. You might try giving them a frame from one of your other hives that has eggs on it. If they draw Queen cells, then requeen. Requeening at this point won’t spread the genetics or traits of the Queen currently in the hive since it sounds like she doesn’t have any eggs in there that could be used to raise a new Queen. If there are that many bees in the hive and the queen is failing, it seems like a waste of a strong workforce not to requeen if needed.
 

· Registered
2 then 4, now 11 hives- all doing well, thanks to a lot of help and resilient bees!
Joined
·
1,039 Posts
Sounds like summer dearth, when brood rearing slows way down. Now is the time to do a series of OAV treatments while there is little brood, and another series once the drones emerge.
 

· Registered
Joined
·
11 Posts
Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Hey Tim, Just curious - How did your hive turn out(y) After Aug 1st the post just stopped.
Well, the colony collapsed in either late November or December. There were very few dead bees in it, and I couldn't find the dead queen. There was a LOT of honey, but no brood, despite plenty of empty brood comb. The dead bees weren't deformed.
 

· Registered
2 then 4, now 11 hives- all doing well, thanks to a lot of help and resilient bees!
Joined
·
1,039 Posts
Might be that the queen wasn't mated well and just ran out. Curious that they didn't supersede her.

I'm curious... Had you recently marked that queen? I had a terrible problem with that last year after marking my queens. You can search for that thread.

Anyway... One of my queens had stopped laying completely like yours. (Although most of my hives had problems at the time) As an experiment, because I was running out of ideas, I pulled the queen and some bees and put them in a box. I gave the original hive some young brood from the one hive that were still doing well.

The original hive made a queen and all was well.

The marked queen in the split laid a little, and I thought all was well, but they remained the same size and soon, they killed her or she died or whatever, just like the others. So I gave them some brood from the one hive still going and they made a queen and all was well. It was a scary time for me. Almost lost all my hives!

In my case, I was putting a dot of ink on my queens while on the comb, without pulling her or drying her off by blowing on her. For some reason, a day or two after marking my queen, she would just be gone. Out of 10 or 11 queens, maybe 2-3 survived after marking. I think the solvent in the ink poisoned her and/or made her smell funny and the bees were killing her. But I have no idea why they didn't make Q cells to replace her. The smell threw them off?

That being said, I'm not thrilled with the idea of marking queens anymore. Never again with that pen, that's for sure!

Sorry about your bees. I hope this year is better for you. Thanks for the follow up.
 

· Registered
Joined
·
11 Posts
Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Might be that the queen wasn't mated well and just ran out. Curious that they didn't supersede her.

I'm curious... Had you recently marked that queen? I had a terrible problem with that last year after marking my queens. You can search for that thread.

Anyway... One of my queens had stopped laying completely like yours. (Although most of my hives had problems at the time) As an experiment, because I was running out of ideas, I pulled the queen and some bees and put them in a box. I gave the original hive some young brood from the one hive that were still doing well.

The original hive made a queen and all was well.

The marked queen in the split laid a little, and I thought all was well, but they remained the same size and soon, they killed her or she died or whatever, just like the others. So I gave them some brood from the one hive still going and they made a queen and all was well. It was a scary time for me. Almost lost all my hives!

In my case, I was putting a dot of ink on my queens while on the comb, without pulling her or drying her off by blowing on her. For some reason, a day or two after marking my queen, she would just be gone. Out of 10 or 11 queens, maybe 2-3 survived after marking. I think the solvent in the ink poisoned her and/or made her smell funny and the bees were killing her. But I have no idea why they didn't make Q cells to replace her. The smell threw them off?

That being said, I'm not thrilled with the idea of marking queens anymore. Never again with that pen, that's for sure!

Sorry about your bees. I hope this year is better for you. Thanks for the follow up.
Wow, that's rough. You would think the ink made for marking queens wouldn't be detrimental, but who knows.

I didn't mark my queen. All my hives are from swarm traps, and although marking the queen would sure help me find her when I need to, I prefer not to mark her.

I have three hives left, and they seem to be doing okay.
 

· Registered
2 then 4, now 11 hives- all doing well, thanks to a lot of help and resilient bees!
Joined
·
1,039 Posts
Wow, that's rough. You would think the ink made for marking queens wouldn't be detrimental, but who knows.

I didn't mark my queen. All my hives are from swarm traps, and although marking the queen would sure help me find her when I need to, I prefer not to mark her.

I have three hives left, and they seem to be doing okay.
I'm still not 100% sure what it was, but not sure if I'll be marking any more queens, at least not with that pen.

Glad you have more hives. They say, one equals zero, and two equals one. Three or more seem to be a good idea.
 
1 - 17 of 17 Posts
Top