Beesource Beekeeping Forums banner

Can someone please explain this?

1397 Views 4 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  Randall Clark
About 2 weeks ago, I had a hive that I checked on and discovered nothing but empty, drawn comb. No food stores, no pollen and no sign of brood or larvae. I started feeding as much sugar syrup as they will take and in no time, they have filled up several frames with the syrup. A few days ago, I checked on the hive again, primarily to see if I could find any sign of brood and discovered somewhere between 8 and 10 queen cells, with most of them capped. Two were not capped and I observed larvae in both of them. Also, I did observe a few cells of waht appeared to be worker larvae, so apparently the queen is still in there.

My question is this.... ZI can understand with the dearth and lack of food stores why the queen shut down. But why all of a sudden, so many queen cells?

Not complaining, as I split a strong hive and was able to start a Nuc and even get a Nuc going for a relative... Just curious and trying to learn a little more.
1 - 5 of 5 Posts
Hi Randall,
If I were to make a guess, assuming that two weeks ago you had no brood, no eggs, and no larvae, but now you have queen cells and some worker brood, I would guess that within the last two weeks your queenless hive was taken over by a swarm with an old and possibly failing queen. She laid eggs and the first priority for the workers was her replacement. When they had "enough" queen cells, the left the other eggs as worker brood. Just a quess!
I would say the queen shut down because nothing was coming in. You started feeding queen starts to lay. Workers thought the queen was lame when they got eggs they made a new one. maybe.
Without knowing whether or not you initially had a queen makes it harder to guess what is going on.
My guess would be you have a laying worker which will only produce drone. you could open a couple of the queen cells to check. The drone larvae will be fat like a drone. If they are queens they will be shaped like a queen.
YES... there initially was a good queen. This hive was from a captured swarm in the spring. We have been extremely hot and dry here in central OK and this is not the only hive that the queen has slowed down on laying. I truly believe the queen is still there and am almost positive another colony did not move in. I think the hive simply ran out of food source inside the hive and there is very little for the bees to forage on right now. I have noticed increased egg laying since I have been feeding all of my hives. I was just curious as to the quantity of queen cells. It seemed like an over-abundance.
1 - 5 of 5 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.