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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
One of my hives overwintering tired with a queen who I've been watching but they still don't have any eggs even though my other 3 have for a while. She was a supercedure late last summer and I never saw her lay any eggs then either but would they keep her through winter if she wasn't matted or laying? I gave them a frame of eggs and larvae to see if they make queen cells but just curious if anyone else has ran into this?
 

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If she hasn’t laid an egg since supercedure late last summer she’s not going to start any time soon (ever). Pinch her and give them a frame of eggs or requeen.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Ok thanks, I wasnt sure if she would wait to mate until this spring if she hadn't but never heard of a hive keeping a queen all winter for nothing. Think it would be worth putting her in a 3 frame nuc to see what she'd do as an experiment or just pinch?
 

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You may not have seen her lay eggs personally, but does that mean there's no open or capped brood? You can usually look at a queen to see if she's mated, for one thing she's fatter and longer than a virgin, and of course nurse bees behave differently around a mated queen.
If she's mated, there should be a semi-circle of nurse bees facing her, etc...

In any case, I'd think you'd have laying workers by now if there's really been no brood since last summer.

And really, I know winter bees can live longer, but if she's been the only queen in the box since last summer, I think your bees would have died long before winter.......

And before you pinch a queen and try to let them raise a new one from eggs, make sure you have drones.
 

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Some queens won't lay until there is an abundance of nectar and pollen coming into the hive. Have you tried adding a feeder and pollen pattie to her hive? That's what I'd do before I pinched her. I have some small nucs that I can't see any eggs being laid right now, but they don't have much coming in at this point either.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
There hasn't been capped or open brood at all since late last summer or early fall. I bought a queen in summer and she either died or was killed a couple weeks after and they requeened with her but I never saw any sign that she mated. Here is a picture of her from a few weeks ago. She's slender but I have a laying queen thinner than her. Thoughts?
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Sorry, also I did put some patties on in February and they have dry sugar blocks on top now and they are bringing in pollen as of recent.
 

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Maybe I'm thick, but if you are sure there's been no brood since last summer/early fall, how would you still have any bees alive? I think she was laying then and she's shut down now and won't start laying until she "wants to," as was mentioned by ruthiesbees. Especially if she's got Russian in her. The Italians will brood up until everybody starves, but Russians are more patient. You'll swear they can't make it because they are a cluster the size of a tennis ball, but as soon as a certain trigger point is reached, they will explode and swarm when you still think they might be starving in there.

I just think you'd have no bees if a queen hadn't laid eggs in that long.
 

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Ruthiesbees said:
Some queens won't lay until there is an abundance of nectar and pollen coming into the hive. Have you tried adding a feeder and pollen pattie to her hive?
I would try this approach before disposing of a queen. You should see drone brood & drones if she never mated. It wouldn't surprise me to see her start laying when there is an abundance of nectar available (simulated with sugar syrup).

c-bees has a good point about winter bees dying off soon. If no eggs a week after feeding sugar syrup, pinch her and combine with another hive. Split that hive when queens are available.

When did you add the frame of brood?
 

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Had the same thing happen. Had a queen fail and they superceded her late in the year. I'm guessing she didn't mate will since they superceded that queen in January. I haven't seen a single egg from the new queen and with our heavy rains fear she never mated. She is larger than a virgin, but not quite "huge" like a queen should be.

I added a frame full of emerging brood with fresh eggs. My guess is they will try to replace her... But if by some miracle she does start laying, I'll get to keep that genetic line.

I had a "talk" with her today. With temps in the upper 60s all week, I gave her one week to straighten up. If she doesn't, and the girls don't try to replace her, I'll have to pinch her myself.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Went back to my notes and it was 10/23 when I attempted to combine her hive with another.

I had bought a queen a month or so before with a red dot that was much larger than her and she was gone at the next inspection so I added frames of eggs from another hive and they raised queen cells but I didn't think they would work but I waited them out and never saw eggs. On 10/23 I did the entire combination and as I was putting the inner cover on, I saw an unmarked queen fall to the ground. I picked her up and put her on a frame and they didn't ball her so I remove the top box that I had added from the other hive and set it back in it's original location and took it back to 2 hives. After this I would check weekly until it was too cold and never saw eggs, larvae, or capped brood so I assumed they were going to fail but after it got colder I did the tap on the side and there was a good buzz all winter and they made it. I thought the same thing about the bees dying off if she hadn't laid but they never did. Not sure how or why they survived but I will feed syrup and see what happens.

Thanks for all of the input!
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Well they didn't build out any queen cells to supersede the current queen. I put sugar water in the feeder and will continue to monitor.
 

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At this point I would wait and be patient. We often think we know what the bees should be doing. IMO Unmated she would be laying drone eggs in worker cells with bullet shaped caps. No pheromones and you would have laying workers. you have neither. Placing in a frame of eggs/ brood is a good idea as it may trigger her to start. I had a couple Russian queens wait till very late last year, was a bit unnerving. Put a queen cell in there when you have one. then pinch her. else let it play out.
GG
 

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I had a queen who started being a drone layer apparently sometime after Dec 2018. Plenty of bees in the hive, thankfully. She laid a beautiful frame of drone brood (on a green plastic drone frame where it belongs) but apparently never laid good worker brood. Giving her two more weeks to see if things improved was just a waste of two weeks. Lots of drones had hatched and some are now flying -- I guess trying to mate. She had laid some drones in worker cells (I'm hoping I didn't develop laying workers). This week I pinched her and gave the hive a frame of young brood and eggs to see if they successfully raise a queen.
One of my mentees has a hive that apparently lost queen and developed laying workers. Gave 2 frames of brood & eggs together to begin the process of trying to turn them around. From you message, I think I understand that you have other hives to get frames of brood from. If you need help, let me know, as we are practically neighbors.
 

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Had the same thing happen. Had a queen fail and they superceded her late in the year. I'm guessing she didn't mate will since they superceded that queen in January. I haven't seen a single egg from the new queen and with our heavy rains fear she never mated. She is larger than a virgin, but not quite "huge" like a queen should be.

I added a frame full of emerging brood with fresh eggs. My guess is they will try to replace her... But if by some miracle she does start laying, I'll get to keep that genetic line.

I had a "talk" with her today. With temps in the upper 60s all week, I gave her one week to straighten up. If she doesn't, and the girls don't try to replace her, I'll have to pinch her myself.
Apparently my talk worked, I checked today and saw EGGS and more EGGS! I think she was a newly hatched virgin queen since the hive decided to replace their poorly mated queen they superseded late last year. That's their 3rd queen in 5 months. This one is much fatter than when I last saw her. I'm betting she went on her mating flights in the last week and just started laying in the last 48 hours.

The frame of brood/eggs I added is being tended to and they didn't attempt to draw a new queen.

Sometimes patience is the answer...who am I kidding, it's bees! Patience is usually always the answer.
 

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mtnmyke, also do not rule out that there could be 2 queens in the hive the skinny one in the pic and the fat one you now see. Somewhat common to have a superceded queen and her daughter in the same hive. we all have the mind set to stop looking for a gueen once we find one.
Stay open minded and good luck.
GG
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
I had a queen who started being a drone layer apparently sometime after Dec 2018. Plenty of bees in the hive, thankfully. She laid a beautiful frame of drone brood (on a green plastic drone frame where it belongs) but apparently never laid good worker brood. Giving her two more weeks to see if things improved was just a waste of two weeks. Lots of drones had hatched and some are now flying -- I guess trying to mate. She had laid some drones in worker cells (I'm hoping I didn't develop laying workers). This week I pinched her and gave the hive a frame of young brood and eggs to see if they successfully raise a queen.
One of my mentees has a hive that apparently lost queen and developed laying workers. Gave 2 frames of brood & eggs together to begin the process of trying to turn them around. From you message, I think I understand that you have other hives to get frames of brood from. If you need help, let me know, as we are practically neighbors.
Thanks for the input, I'll be sure to let you know if I need anything! Would love to come to one of your yards to learn a thing or to either some day this spring/summer. I mow that cemetery right near you and Mike so I'm always close by.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
So I've given them sugar water and theyve barely taken any over the last few weeks. Still no eggs. I couldn't find the original queen so they may have killed or kicked her out but I added two frames of eggs and larva and nurse bees and they didnt start any queen cells even though i even tried notching some. Wouldnt they have tried to make a queen? They did start cells on other frames but none with actual eggs.
 
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