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Discussion Starter #1
I noticed reduced numbers over the last couple weeks. A thorough inspection revealed some stores, some drone brood here and there, NO BROOD, and no queen.

Honestly, I don't think I'm good at finding the queen, so she might still be around.

So I'm thinking I might be queenless. The hive is till VERY gentle. How does this happen? Any thoughts would be appreciated.

Thanks,

Ken
 

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Do you have any other hives? If you do, drop in a frame of eggs from the other hive they'll let you know what's going on by either making queens out of some of the eggs or making them all into worker brood. You'll know within a week as you'll see queen cells developing.

I've found the larger the hive the more agressive and loud they become when they are queenless, I've found the exact opposite when dealing with smaller hives. It's like they are in a funk. There are exceptions to this rule though! Of those hives that have lost queens, I've had about 5 % of my mating nucs have queens that don't make it back from their mating flights. Of the full strength hives... who knows? But it does happen on occasion.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks for the info D.

I don't have another hive. I just ordered a queen.

I'm thinking of introducing her in a top medium super with a queen excluder just in case the old queen is still around (I highly doubt it though).

I'm estimating that I have only around 10,000 bees left in this hive. Hopefully there will be enough nurse bees left to do the job and help turn this hive around.
 

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I'd leave her in the queen cage and keep the hive as small as possible. The bees will normally quickly tell you if there's another queen in there. Normally when I introduce a queen to a hive that's been queenless for any period of time they will migrate to her quickly and start offering her food by extending their tongues. You can see the bees realize there's a queen and start heading that way like cattle beeing called to food. It's great to watch. If they get agressive and start biting the cage and arching their abdomens in a stinging motion you may have a queen in there. Leave her in there and give them a few days to get adjusted then review before opening the cage though. If they are still acting agressively you may need to look them over closely for another queen.
 

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Local feral survivors in eight frame medium boxes.
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Most (but not all) "queenless" hives have a virgin queen who will start laying any day and who will kill any queen you try to introduce. The best soution is open brood so they can start a queen if they need one, the laying workers won't take over and it won't interfere with a virgin queen. Plus you won't waste your money on a queen who will only get killed.

http://www.bushfarms.com/beesmath.htm
http://www.bushfarms.com/beesfallaci...nobroodnoqueen

There are few solutions as universal in their application and their
success than adding a frame of open brood every week for three weeks.
It is a virtual panecea for any queen issues. It gives the bees the
pheromones to suppress laying workers. It gives them more workers
coming in during a period where there is no laying queen. It does not
interfere if there is a virgin queen. It gives them the resources to
rear a queen. It is virtually foolproof and does not require finding a
queen or seeing eggs. If you have any issue with queenrightness, no
brood, worried that there is no queen, this is the simple solution that
reuires no worrying, no waiting, no hoping. You just give them what
they need to resolve the situation. If you have any doubts about the
queenrightness of a hive, give them some open brood and sleep well.
Repeat once a week for two more weeks if you still aren't sure. By then
things will be fine.
 

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post #6 is the reason its recommended that everyone have 2 hives. good luck,mike
 

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Looks like they were friendly to her. I'd still let them chew their way through the plug to release her. I would remove the super as well. Too much space to defend will end up stressing them. Considering they won't have an infustion of fresh bees for another 3 weeks if all goes well the overall population will have dropped dramtically. Good catch realizing they were queenless before it was too late.
 

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To me it almost sounds as if this colony through off multiples swarms and chewed down the swarm cells. Let us know if they accept your queen.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
The hive sits on a hive scale, so I know it didn't swarm. I take measurements every day of the weight, so even a small swarm would have been noticed.

I really do find it strange that my queen would just disappear. But that seems to be what happened. Throughout the course of a month I noticed fewer and fewer bees and absolutely NO orientation flights. I got in there and could find no brood, eggs, swarm cells, or queen. A month aver the queen was gone, there are no eggs or brood visible. That's why I'm introducing a queen.

Very strange.

It is if my queen just disappeared.
 
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