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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I believe I witnessed one of my hives replacing a queen on Saturday. There were about six bees clustered around her. She was barely moving...I believe close to death. They dragged her out and finally took her over the edge of the landing board. The hive had been a little off lately. Do you think they replaced her and took her out of the hive? I've always thought they balled her, but she was indeed alive, if just. I have videos, but I cannot seem to attach them. Any thoughts on what I saw?
 

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Superseded?, and they were disposing of the mother, & daughter left behind? Seems early for that here, but I don't know about your area.,
 

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I saw something similar last year, even managed to take pictures of it ( talk about being in the right place at the right time ). It happened in May in an overwintered colony and upon inspection multiple capped queen cells were found. Everything looked "normal" when the colony was inspected in April - there was brood, bees and a laying queen.
I wonder what triggered that event.
 

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Watch the hive fairly close for the next 2 weeks. If you do not see new open brood after 4 days, you have a problem. There is a queenlessness test - put a laying queen in a cage and hold it near the hive - right on top of the bars if needed to expose the queen cage to the bees. Watch the reaction. If they attack, they have a laying queen. If they become very interested and feed her, they probably need a new queen, in which case check the hive for queen cells. If you are CERTAIN there are zero queen cells and there is no open brood after 5 days, put a fresh laying queen under a push-in queen cage and let her lay eggs for a few days. If the bees accept her and there are no attack balls, you can then release her.
 

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If they did supercede, it is a bad time of year. There will be few drones to breed with. If it was a supercedure and the queen was replaced, the replacement queen would probably be a dink and I would replace her as soon as queens are available.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I felt lucky to have seen it, as I had not taken into account the fact that a new queen won't encounter enough drones to mate properly. I'm in Florida, so the weather has been okay, but I don't see a lot of drones in the hive.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks for the advice. I'll keep an eye out. I don't have a spare queen (only three hives),so I guess I'll just have to wait for brood to appear. The pattern was shotgun, so she may have been failing. As someone else noted, there may not bee enough drones for a new queen to mate with. I'm in Florida, so the weather is a little on my side, but still not enough floral sources for nectar yet. Do you recommend feeding the hive, just to keep it on the plus side of stores?
 
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