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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
One of my long hives is doing something odd.

Three weeks ago, this hive had several frames of capped brood, and was my most populous colony. Last Thursday, I took a look, and there was no brood. I didn't examine every frame carefully but saw no fresh queen cells, though there were some old ones here and there. I took a frame of freshly made wax from another hive that had brood and eggs in all stages and put it in this hive. Today I looked and the bees have made no queen cells, though they have capped some of the brood in the center of the frame. I assume this means they may already have a queen-- maybe a virgin.

I surmise that this colony swarmed, though there still seem to be lots of bees. I suppose it's possible I squashed the queen 3 weeks ago, but if I had, wouldn't they have made cells? Does this explanation seem at all plausible?
 

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I had checked my hive late jan. To see who they where... I spotted the queen in there and she way laying. Went back two weeks later to feed because they where a little weak and there was no queen. I did see a queen cell though. I went back the other day and there was a virgin queen, just hatched. I would presume that it would be easy to miss that happening especially this early when your not expecting it or inspecting the hive frequently.
 

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Because there is no brood, that means whatever happened to the queen was at least 3 weeks ago. Because the new queen pupal stage is shorter than worker, that means there could have been enough time for the bees to remove the queen cell since it hatched. It also means that is there is a virgin & she mates successfully it will not be too long till she is laying.

What you did putting the brood in as a test is exactly the right thing to do.

Odds are within the next couple weeks you will have a laying queen again. However problems happen, the main ones are the new virgin fails to mate, and there is a recent phenomena where a laying queen will sometimes just shut down. The bees do not make a new queen because she is still in the hive.

best plan work out your time frames & if no laying queen within the time frame she should be then post again and we figure what to do next.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Just a quick update: Oldtimer's advice was good. I waited until today to check the hive again, and there was new capped brood, so they do have a queen now.

I think it's a tendency for beginners like me to want to do something, anything, when things go wrong. This tendency was made worse with me, because last summer when I was out of town for a month, that hive went laying worker, and it took me a couple months and a lot of resources from my best hive to put things right. I didn't want to have a repeat, so that's why I put a frame of eggs in as soon as I noticed that there was no brood.

Well, I'm happier now. I lost one hive over the winter to queenlessness, but the 5 remaining here in FL are doing pretty well; I just split the best one, a colony headed by a Beeweaver queen. I'm ordering a couple more queens from Beeweaver.
 

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It probably won't make you feel any better....but I still do it once or twice a year. I convince myself that a hive is queenless....go back a week later to put in a replacement....and voila!....brood.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
It probably won't make you feel any better....but I still do it once or twice a year. I convince myself that a hive is queenless....go back a week later to put in a replacement....and voila!....brood.
The most embarrassing mistake I've made so far was last spring when I brought a couple of nucs up to the North Country. They turned out to be packages on comb, so there were no eggs or brood for a week or so after I hived them. I was pretty sure I had no viable queens, so I wandered around the neighborhood until I found a local beekeeper who'd sell me frames of eggs. This took several days, and when I opened the hives to put the new frames in, I found brood. I had to take the frames back. Fortunately, she was kind enough not to charge me for my foolishness.

I left her a nice plywood nuc box, and promised to buy a nuc from her next spring.
 

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I left her a nice plywood nuc box, and promised to buy a nuc from her next spring.
You bought yourself some lifelong goodwill.....simply for returning a kindness. A bargain at twice the price.
 
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