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Discussion Starter #1
I've been away and checked the hives today and two were fine but one of them is missing a queen and has no brood or eggs. This hive has two lower deeps for brood but it lacks any eggs or brood and the deeps are being filled with pollen and honey. I have a queen excluder screen separating the deeps from the upper two medium boxes. One of the mediums is full with honey, the other is half full. There is still a good supply of bees in the hive and they were very calm. Is adding a new queen the best choice to save the hive? I'm concerned about time..
 

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Put in a frame of eggs and young brood from one of your other hives. Check back in 4 days and see if you have queen cells.

If you have queen cells, you have the choice of buying and inserting a mated queen (I would tear down the queen cells first), or allowing the cells to emerge, mate and return. Buying the mated queen will save you 2 weeks.

If they do not make queen cells from the frame of milk brood you inserted, then you may already be queenright. Perhaps you hit a dearth and your queen stopped producing eggs. Or perhaps you had a late-season swarm and you just happened to inspect during the short window where all capped brood from the old queen had already emerged and the new queen had not started laying yet.
 

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Thanks for your comment. I think the hive has been queenless for a couple weeks maybe more. Absolutely no eggs, no brood, no larvae. and looked thoroughly for the queen to no avail. What are the chances that inserting a caged queen would work?
 

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You mentioned you've been away, but didn't say how long. You may very well have a queen in the midst of mating flights or just isn't laying yet. Normally cells would have been drawn if the hive went queen-less. I'd try the frame with eggs first, as mentioned.
 

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Thanks, away for a coupe months. I looked thoroughly for the queen so certain she's not there. The other factor is that the lower deep brood frames are now mostly filled with polland and liquid, not sure if its honey as none of the cells are completely full and none are capped. There would be very little if any room for her to lay eggs. I'll most likely have to remove some frames to give her room.
 

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if you have 2 more hives....
take 1 frame with some brood and new eggs....
inspect the frame to assure you do not transfer the queen from that hive...
Put it in the queen less hive... They will make a queen
 

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I'm not sure about ME but in GA, the queen shuts down laying during the dearth. When I started beekeeping, I made the mistake of thinking that the hive was queenless during the dearth so I introduced a new one and it was instantly balled.
 

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i was saying give them some eggs....
if they need a queen...
they will make one...
if they are not queen less...
no harm is done
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Yes, that could work but, I am more concerned about time for them to make a queen, mate and begin laying eggs. The hive is weak, so was thinking about both adding a queen and a frame of brood. My reason for adding the brood with the queen is because I'm unsure if there are currently enough nursing bees.

Thanks for your comments,
Greg
 

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Thanks for your comment. I think the hive has been queenless for a couple weeks maybe more. Absolutely no eggs, no brood, no larvae. and looked thoroughly for the queen to no avail. What are the chances that inserting a caged queen would work?
If they are queenless, and have not started producing laying workers, it should work well. However, if they are not, they will kill her.

That is why I think you should put in the open frame of milk brood (eggs with very young larva). If they start making queen cells, then you know they are queenless. If they do not make any queen cells, then a queen is present (or workers have converted to laying). You will know something in less than four days from insertion of the frame.

If they make cells, buy a mated queen and install her with a cage. Tear down the queen cells before installation. Assuming you can get a mated queen immediately, you could have a laying queen in your hive within a week from the day you transfer the frame of milk brood.

On the other hand, if you don't mind purchasing a queen that has a 50/50 shot of getting killed, you can go ahead and insert one in a cage for a few days and then release her. If she makes it, you were queenless and now have a queen. If she doesn't, you are out the $$ for the queen.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Thank you, Sounds like a good idea. I'm going to check and see if I have a frame of brood to install. I do have access to obtain a queen $$.
 
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