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Missing Queen(s)

519 Views 3 Replies 3 Participants Last post by  BenjaminM
I've got two new hives, installed March 24.

They were both doing well. A couple of weeks ago I asked about when to add a second box because they looked like they were really starting to get full.

I found in one hive, several swarm cells (about 6 I think) all off the bottom of the frames. There were still a couple of frames which had not been filled out so I decided to hold off on the additional box and just keep an eye on things.

About a week later I inspected the hive and could not locate the queen. I'd marked her several weeks prior. But I just owned it up to her hiding well. The population had grown even more so I went ahead and stuck the new box on both hives.

Later that week I went back though the hive and still could not locate the queen. The swarm cells were all still in place so I figured it'd all work out.

Last week I opened it up and what do you know. There was a nice fat queen running around on of the frames in the bottom box. I marked her. She was the only queen I saw. Three swarm cells were open, and I guess they took down the other two or three.

This week I went back into the hive and that new queen is no where to be found. I don't see any signs of eggs being laid.

Should I give it a few days and go back though the hive?

Should I go ahead and stick a frame of freshly laid brood from the other hive?

It doesn't look like I've lost any significant amount of the population. I am assuming none swarmed.

I'm assuming the new queen killed the other queens, assuming they were viable to start with. She did look swollen, so I would have though she was mated, but as I said I don't see any signs of eggs. Maybe she wasn't mated yet?

When I marked the original queen, I caught her by hand. A speck of paint got on one of her wings, but she laid for a couple of weeks afterward, so I doubted that I damaged her.

When I marked the new queen I used one of those one hand catchers. It went smooth enough. I am assuming if she was still a virgin, marking her would not have mattered?

Any thoughts?
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· Registered
Double/triple/quad 10-frame langs
1,647 Posts
Sounds to me like you were too late putting on the second box, and your original queen swarmed, capped brood emerging was enough to make it so that you didn't notice that there were bees gone.

As far as where the next queen was when you looked, you'll have to do the math- it takes 16 days from egg to new queen emergence, then it takes some more time for her to get mated and start laying. If she was successful, you should start seeing the signs not too long from now.

· Moderator - In Memorium
Aylett, VA 10-frame double deep Langstroth
6,767 Posts
I never mark a virgin queen. Too many chances to mess things up. You need to be much more specific with dates. No way to know where you are in the requeening process other than that last week you had a presumably virgin queen running around in the hive. Give her at least another week or two to start laying and do not look for her until then. Hives with virgins queens should be left alone until you see pollen coming in or three to four weeks have elapsed since she emerged.

· Registered
228 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thank you both for the replies. I am pretty sure BadBeeKeeper is right that the original one swarmed on me.

Going forward JWPalmer I am going to use your line of thought about not marking virgins. Also my apologies about the lack of specific dates. It definitely demonstrates the necessity of journaling, a practice which I need to work on.
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