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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
As a newbee that probably lost the queen I am wondering how long a hive can survive without a queen? I did a walkaway split and it looks like there is no queen in either since there are no eggs or larvae in either of them. There are some queen cells in one which I put some of them in each. Just wondering if no queen is made when can I expect to last bee to go? Right now there is lots of honey + pollen in each. Would 2 months from the last hatching be about it?
Hoping for the best and preparing for the worst!
 

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Six weeks.

Life length of summer worker bees is about 42 days.

It will be a viable colony that can be saved for a shorter time - maybe 30 days.
 

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I believe it's the open brood pheromones that age the worker bees (that's why winter bees live longer); so if there is no open brood, I'd say the existing workers could live longer than the average 5 weeks. By the time you get a queen though, the population may have dwindled down to nothing. You may still need to combine the 2 hives before winter even if the 2 do manage to requeen.
 

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I believe it's the open brood pheromones that age the worker bees (that's why winter bees live longer); so if there is no open brood, I'd say the existing workers could live longer than the average 5 weeks.
???

I believe the open brood pheromones keep the ovary development in worker bees subdued to avoid a laying worker issue. I have never heard longevity contingent or being affected by pheromones. My understanding is winter bees live longer (assuming all things being equal) because they are not working themselves to death foraging.
 

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???

I believe the open brood pheromones keep the ovary development in worker bees subdued to avoid a laying worker issue. I have never heard longevity contingent or being affected by pheromones. My understanding is winter bees live longer (assuming all things being equal) because they are not working themselves to death foraging.
http://www.ars.usda.gov/SP2UserFiles/Place/64133000/PDFFiles/201-300/295-Harbo--Effect%20of%20Brood.pdf

http://www.beekeeping.com/articles/us/thiele/new_beescience.htm

I guess I only got part of my statement correct. It's not the open brood pheromone that ages the worker, just raising brood seems to age the worker bee. These 2 links are not where I first read about it, but I can't find that other paper at the moment.
 

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>There are some queen cells in one which I put some of them in each.

I would let the hives raise a new queen if they can. Do your bee math, give them 30+ days from egg to laying queen. Chances are at least one of the hive will raise a queen, the hives that don't recombine them back to weaker hives to give them a boost before winter.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks for all the input. Just wanted to know what to look for if the worst should happen. I have a couple of queen cells in each so I'm hoping for the best. My problems started in trying to clean up the burr comb due to improper spacing. If Honey bees were like fire ants it would not be a problem. There are hundreds if not thousand's of queens in one colony.
 

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The colony will dwindle away as the bees die off. Depending on how much they forage, they could last a couple months (I have two hives that failed to requeen in June right now, still plenty of bees) without the last of the bees drifting off so long as they have stores. An empty hive, you may get a handful of bees refusing to leave in six weeks or so.

I think I may have transferred a queen accidentally to a small swarm hive this summer, or they re-queened themselves twice (a problem with packages around here). However, that hive wasn't happy when I let them inspect a new queen in a cage while the hive that swarmed and then failed to make a queen in late May seemed to be delighted with the same queen. I'll check again tomorrow to be sure before I set things up to let her out.

Peter
 
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