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I checked on my two hives today. Hive #1 has been the more active, heavier hive. I pulled the frames in the brood chamber, and for the first time ever, I FOUND THE QUEEN! Woohoo! I was pretty excited. Lots of brood, honey, pollen.

Hive #2 has been my slower, more lethargic hive. I pulled the 10 frames in the hive body and found a few drone brood cells capped, lots of honey uncapped, pollen here and there, but no brood, no larva, no eggs. These girls are actively foraging, flying fairly well steady all day. I couldn't find a queen there, but that doesn't mean she isn't there. Like I said, the other one was the first time I've found the queen.

My question is this: Could this hive be queenless and still working? Obviously, they would be doomed if there's no brood, but why would they still be working? I thought the best thing to do would be order a queen first thing Monday morning and hope there's time to still save this hive.

Any thoughts? Seen this before? And...where do I get a good queen in the Pacific Northwest?
 

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Yes the hive will still work with out a queen. You have to be careful of how long you let a hive be queen-less, if they go too long you will have laying workers.If I could not find a queen or any eggs I would take a frame with some eggs from the #1 and give it to #2. If they are queen-less they will raise a queen, if they do have a queen they will raise them as workers. In a few days you will know either way. If you can avoid it you do not want a laying worker hive!!
 

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They will keep foraging while queenless, and can even store more honey because they don't have brood to feed, and after a few weeks there will be very few if any house bees - everyone will be foraging. Of course they will also produce a laying worker sooner or later. If you can give them eggs/open brood every week it will help prevent that and eventually they'll produce a queen. Otherwise order one asap.
 

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yes, they will work until they die out. I find queenless hives will put honey in every cell. Not good. I would take a frame of eggs from the other hive and insert into the queenless hive. (Flip flop 1 frame from hive to hive) Just be sure not to move your queen. Some brush the bees which is ok too. Go back and check the frame you move in 10 days and look for the queen cell, (be careful not to damage the cell) and go back in 26 days from the day you transfer frames and you should have a laying queen!
 

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I have this very thing going on in one of my hives. I started 4 hive this year (1st year beek). While doing an inspection I did not find any eggs or larva and no queen in one of my hives. I was told to remove the queen cells and order a new queen which I did. My 1 deep box was almost completely full of honey and pollen. I got the new queen and place her in the hive, after 36 hours she was out and moving around the frames. after 5 days she was gone. I was then told that some times if the workers have filled the box up they will push the queen out. I was told to add another box and try again. I put my new queen in Friday and will wait a couple of days to see what happens. Good luck. I have been fighting with this one for a couple of weeks. I hope I can save it.
 

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If you put a foundationless frame right in the middle of the brood nest (or where it should be) they will usually start festooning and drawing comb on it almost immediately, and the queen will usually lay in that new wax before the cells are even drawn all the way out.
 

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You could have a new queen that hasn't started to lay. Adding a frame of older open brood will help the morale of the colonie.

You should try one last time to find a queen before buying one otherwise your purchased queen could be killed. If you do want to buy a queen, I would still add some older open brood. And closed brood if you can.

If you want them to raise a queen add a frame of eggs and tiny "c" shaped larva.

If you decide to buy a queen you might contac:
http://www.oldsolenterprises.com/

And yes, the bees will be able to store more honey since they aren't feeding brood.

Good luck.
 
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