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Discussion Starter #1
I have a hive with a lots of honey and winter worker bees and apparently no queen. There is not a single egg, larva or capped brood cell showing; empty cells are clean with no signs of illness. Of course I can never find the queen. It is still early here to open-mate a queen although pollen is being foraged by some colonies this early in the season. I also saw some drones hanging around other hives today. This is the second time I have come into early Spring with a queen issue in what was a strong colony. She built up well all summer and into the Fall. Last year it was a drone laying queen. Now this hive will likely progress to drone laying worker status.

Advice needed: Do I add brood comb and nurse bees to suppress drone laying workers until I can get a mated queen? Or admit bad luck and merge the colony to make use of the resources? Or let them go and avoid the possibility of transfering some undetected disease? This was an early 2019 Spring nuc that grew rapidly into a 10 frame hive by Fall. It's a shame to have survived winter with a and not have a viable queen.

Eight other colonies are doing well including one I predicted would be a dead-out by now. This Fall-high-Varroa-count colony has bees, brood and orientation flights plus a good cluster temperature. It is an early Spring here but winter may come back quickly.

I blew it by not having over-wintered nucs with laying queens to support Spring issues.
 

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I had same thing on a couple hives, I just combined with a queenright hive, you could just split them later with a new queen.
 

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I kept one queenless colony going for more than a month last spring by giving them frames of open brood from another hive. Probably 3 times and they started cells which I tore down cause no drones yet. They finally emerged a queen on the 10th of June.

I got burned the year before by combining a compromised hive with others: EFB! - once bit, twice shy. With no brood to examine it is not real easy to identify.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
So, it's not a crazy idea to add brood! Essentially kick creating an early nuc until I can add a mated queen. In my case that is a month away - approximately. Or possibly reach open mating season in late April to early May. Thanks, I'll give it a shot.
 

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You can add a frame of eggs/young larvae and see what they do. No queen cells, you’ve got a queen in the hive.
 

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You've seen drones, so it's most likely not to early to raise a queen. I would throw in a frame with eggs from one of my other strongest hives if it was me. If there is not a queen they'll make one. If there is by chance a virgin queen, she'll soon mate and be laying. It will also delay turning laying worker if there is a drastic queen problem. Throw in a frame with eggs can never hurt, and many times helps out.
 
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