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Back in mid-September, I had a colony that lost its queen and developed into a laying worker colony. In an attempt to save the hive, I combined it with a second hive. This merger seemed to be unsuccessful, as about a month afterwards I could find no sign of a live queen and the now combined hive continued to display signs of being a laying worker colony. With it being so late in the year, I left the hive as-is and did not expect it to live through the winter. One week ago, however, I was shocked to find bees flying around on a mild day taking cleansing flights. A few days after that, I listened to the side of the hive and sure enough, the colony was still alive.

I am now trying to figure out what to do with the hive come spring. Obviously, a lot can still happen between now and then and their continued survival through the rest of winter is not guaranteed. Is it possible for a laying worker colony to live through a winter in such a manner as this? Or does this suggest that maybe they do have a queen yet after all? If it is still a laying worker colony, how feasible would it be to introduce a new queen in the spring? Or maybe I would be better off just starting over?
 

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It could be that you do have a queen, but I guess you'll figure that out when it warms up enough to check. If for some reason it is a laying worker hive and it made it thru the winter, your time and efforts are better spent on other things than to try to requeen. Shake 'em out and start over.
 
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