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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
HELLLLLLLLPPPPPPPP!!!!!!!!!

Today is a very odd 60f degree day in December, and I went out to the hive and bees were out and about as expected.
As usual, there were about a dozen dead workers lying about on the ground- they seem to either get old or chilled regularly. I assume this is natural, and they look healthy otherwise- no mites or deformed wings.

But this morning I found THE QUEEN lying dead outside the hive on the ground!!!!! :beg: :beg:
Here is a picture to confirm:


WHAT DOES IT MEAN???????????? Should I be devastated????
What should I do???

Except for today, temps are now in the 20-30s at night and 30s-40s daytime highs....too cold to go hive opening and inspecting anymore. Drones are nowhere to be found- I'm sure they got kicked out long ago.

Please help me understand and calm down!!!! I'm pretty shaken up....they all seemed so healthy and happy! :cry: AAAAAGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!
 

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How do you know this hive didn't have a supercedure queen in the fall and you actually had a 2 queen hive for the past few months and thats just the old queen that finally died? shoot I dont know but when I could inspect the hive I would look for another queen and if the didn't have one I would combine it with another hive using the news paper method. maybe someone else has more on this. I never look at my hives until spring ;)
 

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At this point, I don't know where you would get another queen.

I would just pull for TWT's observation. If possible, do a quick inspection to look for the queen (go FULL protection - they will be VERY defensive).

You might put the queenless hive over a queenright hive and separate them with a double screen. If the queenless hive actually has a queen, both hives could persist queenright in that configuration and you could separate them in the spring.

If the hive is actually queenless, the pheromones from the queenright hive should keep the cluster until spring when you can get a queen.

Alternately, the only other thing that I can think of is to assume the worst and pre-emptively combine with a good colony. You will have a better chance at saving the bees, have one REALLY strong hive and, you can split them in the spring when queens are available again.
 

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>60f degree day in December, and I went out to the hive and bees were out and about as expected . . .
The "out and about" bees "could" be robbers.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I only have the one hive....it was my first hive, a gift that we moved to my house on Halloween. The person who gave it to me had only the one hive, for about 4 years it was totally healthy on its own. :cry:

This dead queen was freshly dead- plump and flexible, not stiff and dried up.

Could a hive have two queens for a while?? I thought a new queen would immediately kill the old queen?? :s
 

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Often, much more than we thing, two queens are present, mother (old) and new daughter. Is is possible the colony supercedured back in good weather.
 

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A 40 degree day is OK for taking a quick peek. Open it up & look. If the bees are missing, then possibly CCD ? The redish discoloration in the abdomen gives me this feeling. Some queens last several years, others only a year or less. There is probably more tendency to clean house on warmer days. Above all, RELAX ! If the recruits are there and are in their cluster they have a good chance to make it into Spring to produce another queen. The cluster may even mean that there is a queen.
 

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also if there are any eggs or very young larva, they will make a new one, I would think it won't be a great queen, but you could change her in the spring.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thank you all for helping me!

I've calmed down a bit.

First- SwedeBee- this queen looks exactly as she did when we saw her 5 weeks ago, before the move....her abdomen was a beautiful reddish mahogany color back then too when she was healthy and alive. She appears not to have changed.

Bees seemed to be coming and going normally from the hive today for a 60F day, with no apparent battles going on.
Last time I opened the top and looked in was Thanksgiving day and all looked well then, with lots of activity and honey.

I called Sam Comfort today- who went through the hive frame by frame with me back around Halloween before we moved it together. It all looked good back then and we found at least the one queen (who looked exactly like this dead one). And then, 26 days after we moved the hive to my house, I found one white worker larva tossed out the door, just getting its gray eyes. That told me there was still some fertile egg laying happening after the move (since the max from egg to hatchling is about 24 days)...so the queen made it past the move and kept laying.
Sam said this dead queen was pretty unusual in December.
Between that discussion and the forum advice I've been getting, I decided not to open the hive and go through it until Spring. The reason is, as some of you stated, that basically there is nothing I can do either way to fix anything...or even to know for certain what the situation actually is.

I mean, if I look through the whole 2 deep hive and don't find a queen- that could mean either there is no queen OR that I simply didn't see her.
If I look through the hive and do see a queen...then either all is well OR it's a new virgin queen and since there are no drones around anymore there's no telling how or if she will fare over the winter at all. So just seeing a queen wouldn't necessarily solve all my problems either.

Either way, there's nothing I can do now but wait until Spring and then go see if there's Trouble in River City.

My biggest goal with this hive was to continue this particular gene pool of extremely gentle acclimatized bees that had done well for years with no treatments to speak of. For that i am counting on a new queen daughter from the old dead queen. :(
I will just have to wait through the whole winter now, not knowing what to expect in the Spring.

When i think of the odds against my even having seen her majesty there on the ground amongst the other usual brave dead and debris tossed about....I could so easily have overlooked her and not noticed at all!

Thanks for your support and interesting different thoughts on it.

i feel pretty bad as you can imagine, but i am going with the hopeful idea that a new queen was there and mated already before the move and before the drones were gone, and we just didn't see her, and that this was the old queen who was allowed to die off naturally. Since my bees are so gentle, perhaps they were kindly enough to allow the old queen to hang around in her dotage. I'll hang on to that optimistic thought through the winter. :eek:

There will still be a few 45F degree days where I can just take off the top briefly to make sure there is normal bee activity inside, without disturbing frames. At least I will see if the hive has been abandoned or something.
 

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This thread reminds me what I don't miss about living where Winters are colder. Yesterday I started another small batch of queen cells (seven). In a few more weeks I'll have another batch of new queens. There are still many drones around, but nowhere near as many as during Summer. Due to the lower amount of drones I think that some of the queens I raise during Winter may be inferior to those I raise in Spring and Summer.

I'm afraid that, even if your hive has the brood to raise a replacement queen, that you may not have enough drones or warm enough daytime temperatures to have her properly mated.
 

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Maybe the picture exposure is off a bit. It's hard to focus all 4 of my eyes these days.

A queen is not necessary to lay a queen egg, nor do I know if she even can lay a queen cell. No doubt, if the colony is and appears healthy, a worker bee will step up and lay a queen egg near spring for their harvest days ahead.

Just keep the questions coming and your prayers will be answered.
 

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A queen is not necessary to lay a queen egg, nor do I know if she even can lay a queen cell. No doubt, if the colony is and appears healthy, a worker bee will step up and lay a queen egg near spring for their harvest days ahead.
Do what :scratch:??

G3
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I'm afraid that, even if your hive has the brood to raise a replacement queen, that you may not have enough drones or warm enough daytime temperatures to have her properly mated.
Indeed...there are NO drones around for over a month now. Quite a few nights below freezing and dipping into the 20's nowadays.
My hope is that a new queen was produced over a month ago when there WERE drones and she mated then....and that the old queen hung around for a month before dying.

I just have to have faith that this hive knows what's it's doing.
 

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A queen is not necessary to lay a queen egg, nor do I know if she even can lay a queen cell. No doubt, if the colony is and appears healthy, a worker bee will step up and lay a queen egg near spring for their harvest days ahead.
I think the odds are better that Santa will bring a new one than that a laying worker will produce a new queen near spring. Unlikely Omie is raising Cape Honey Bees. According to my reading, it is reported to happen but very rarely, in other species of bees.

Wayne
 

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What Omie doesn't know is that this is a prank being played by a neighbor or someone else that knows bees, ordered a queen, killed her and left her for Omie to find in front of the hive... :lpf:

Sorry, just trying to make light of it since more than likely there's nothing Omie can do about it until spring anyway.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
A slight update....
Today is 48F and sunny and calm....so I figured I'd just pop the hood to see if the gang is in fact all still there, to make sure the dry sugar was not blocking any traffic routes or ventilation, and to observe their general mood over losing a queen.
First this morning I watched them for a while coming and going from the hive.
There were several workers washboarding the upper entrance, and workers were coming and going from both top and bottom entrances.
I saw a couple coming in with small amounts of pollen on their legs. I also saw a couple of dead workers get hauled out of the hive and dumped a few feet away. there were a few leaving with tiny balls of dry sugar in their mouths, obviously having decided to get rid of some of the mountain camp sugar I had put in the top. Or maybe those were sugar crumbs that had fallen down in the combs and didn't belong there. Everything seemed normal.

I puffed some very light smoke about and then removed the outer and inner lids...

The 10 lbs of mountain camp method sugar was nicely positioned and there were plenty of big pathways around it for the bees to go where they pleased around the top area there. It had formed a nice crust where I had sprayed it with water after laying it on the damp newspaper back on Thanksgiving day when it was 60F.

Everyone was there in the hive, moving busily around on the frames on this nice sunny day.
They were in a seemingly good mood... active and focused on their work. Nobody was irritable or came after me. I put the covers back on to leave them to their business. After today the weather will get colder again, certainly too cold to look under the covers.

At least now I can say there was no CCD at work here, right?
 
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