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Perpetual Queen Replacement Confusion

697 Views 3 Replies 3 Participants Last post by  Domestic Sasquach
Not worried... just confused most of the time since starting with bees. I have several hives but there is one hive that I just can't figure out and was wondering if anyone has seen something like it before.

This hive is not growing in numbers, and will not keep a queen. A queen will start laying and work on a frame or two, then there will be a single (sometimes two) queen cells built and capped. There will be no new eggs for a while until the queen cell hatches the new queen and she gets mated. Then the new queen lays on a frame or two and the process of the new queen cells starts over. The overall numbers of bees has remained fairly constant so it does not appear that there have been any swarms leave. The hive overwintered and then started this stuff the last week of February which seemed crazy early so I figured the first was just a poorly mated queen but they are building queen cells for the third time now. :scratch:
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I would say that the colony has a disease problem, nosema or the viruses that bees are infected with. The queens can be infected and the bees keep trying to replace them. Try giving the colony a couple of frames of sealed and emerging brood and a frame of unsealed brood from one of your other colonies. If you have a capped queen cell it speeds up the process. Your nurse bees can infect the larvae so nurse age bees from another colony may help solve the problem.
How big is the hive and how dense? Are there enough bees to control the space? Some hives fail to thrive because they just don't have enough density of bees to do the job. You might try downsizing them for awhile to see if that will jump start them. The queen replacement could be because of environmental factors.
I didn't think about the disease possibility as I have not really seen any typical signs of it...

The hive is pretty small. Last month I moved them out of a ten frame deep into a five frame nuc because there is only the couple (sometimes three) frames with brood and bees and then i left them two frames of honey/nectar/pollen.
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