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Can a hive be started with ONLY a mated queen in an empty, combless hive, provided that pollen patties and sugar syrup are fed?

Lacking any help from workers, would she build her own comb to lay eggs in in order to get the ball rolling.

Understandably, this would be the slow boat to get a hive started... I am more curious if it can be done at all.
 

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Despite her name, the queen is pretty helpless on her own, relying on workers for her own maintenance, for comb building, defending the hive and for general decision making.

Wayne
 

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No. You need to understand a bit about how a colony works. The queen just lays. She never leaves the hive after mating (unless she is swarming). Thus all pollen and honey is brought in by worker bees. Once she lays the queen does not tend to the eggs or larvae. They are tended by the worker bees. This means that the worker bees feed the larvae and care for them as well as bringing in food, etc. Remember too that the hive will only build up as quickly as the bees can cover the brood and the queen will not lay past what is manageable for the hive. So the smaller the number of frames or size package of bees you start the slower the have will build up.

Hope that helps.

"Warp speed Spock."
 

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I might suggest purchasing or checking some books out of the library that discuss how honey bees work, colony organization and what the roles of the different types of bees are. All your questions will be answered and it's fun reading. Everyone should acquire this basic understanding before attempting to keep honey bees.
 

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I second AC's response, this is BASIC, BASIC stuff that must be understood before you get your bees. Books are good reading and are invaluable but in the meantime a google search on BEEKEEPING BASICS should keep you busy and well informed after only a few hours. Good luck and have fun.:thumbsup:
 

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I would have to reread some stuff to tell you all the details and accurately, but queens and workers are very different. Worker bees do not develop large ovaries but do develop glands that make wax, royal jelly and such. As far as I know a honeybee queen has no way of feeding young or making wax among other things.

All this said, I have wondered how many bees it would take in early spring to have a chance of building up enough to survive a winter where I live. A brood cycle is 21 days. If you feed them and it was warm enough, how many larvae can a honeybee take care or or raise? I have no idea. I have considered putting a mated queen and 100 bees in a one frame nuc just to watch. For some reason, I seem to just need to know these things. If I remember this come May, I might just do it.
 

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Basically you have to look at a colony of bees as a single complete organism, none can survive without the others. This is why we say that swarming is procreation and not the laying of eggs in the hive. The production of brood is more akin to the replacement of cells in your own body. That is the way I look and marvel at the honeybee colony anyhoo.:)
 

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You can start a hive with only a mated queen. That mated queen will die but you will still have your hive. What you need is a colony of bees with a queen to place in the hive to become a working organism using the hive you provided for them.
 

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I would have to reread some stuff to tell you all the details and accurately, but queens and workers are very different. Worker bees do not develop large ovaries but do develop glands that make wax, royal jelly and such. As far as I know a honeybee queen has no way of feeding young or making wax among other things.

All this said, I have wondered how many bees it would take in early spring to have a chance of building up enough to survive a winter where I live. A brood cycle is 21 days. If you feed them and it was warm enough, how many larvae can a honeybee take care or or raise? I have no idea. I have considered putting a mated queen and 100 bees in a one frame nuc just to watch. For some reason, I seem to just need to know these things. If I remember this come May, I might just do it.
If you are planning on experimenting and trying this, make sure you do it with 100 nurse bees. Any old bees will eventually die out, and in two weeks you are likely to have 50 bees (some die early, some get lost, ect).
 

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No way and waste of time effort and money.

After five years of standard Langstroth hives, I think a 3# package from a reputable provider is the easiest way to start. A good source will help if you have a problem like a non-laying queen which is what I had.

The cheapest way to start is a top bar hive.

A great resource is Michael Bush's site http://www.bushfarms.com/bees.htm.
 
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