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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
It seems that 2 of 15 over wintered hives are Queenless . One I noticed on the initial inspection and quickly got a Queen in the hive.

The second hive is separate from the others ...it is actually on a patio. When I checked it the top box had a scattering of drone cells just along the bottom of the top bar of the upper deep. I thought this a bit odd as it was still so cold out. I made the mistake of not pulling out the frames but the weTher was still freezing most of the time. The bottom was literally empty so I reversed them.

I have not been back in the hive but noticed less front porch activity and less pollen going in than for the other hives. When I opened it that row of scattered drone cells were still there...unopened! There was absolutely no other brood. There was pollen and nectar in the drawn comb. When I opened the drone cells they were white larvae...some well developed..but they were dead. No smell, not stringy, not discoloured. There was no undeveloped worker cells or brood. There were no eggs.

I wondered if those drone cells were chilled when I opened the hive a few weeks ago?...there were perhaps a dozen scattered dead drone cells.

Is it common to come out of winter without a Queen? I try to be careful when I handle boxes and and frames but it is possible I squished a Queen without knowing.

There are still about 7 frames of bees...maybe a few more so hope they are able to rebuild.
 

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Yes, I too have noticed that sometimes a hive will be queenless at the end of winter. Does not happen very often, but it does happen.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I did do an OA vapour treatment in January. What is the chance this killed the 2 queens?
Also I can't get the Queen for a week. Would it be advised that I give them open brood tomorrow?
If I do that and they build a QC it would be in the "sensitive" period about the time the Queen would arrive. Would I then be best to put the Queen in the hive with the Queen cell...would the bees pull the QC apart...or should I put the new Queen a nuc and hold her there until I see if the QC hatches and the Queen from it mates and starts to lay.
If I could leave the QC in the hive with the purchased Queen then I could pull it just before hatching and put it in a nuc.
I have never managed QC and Queens before so direction would be appreciated.
Thanks.
 

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I have not used OAV so can't comment on that question.
Adding a frame with eggs will tide them over until the new queen arrives.
When the new queen arrives, destroy all queen cells started, then introduce the queen in her cage. If you don't destroy all the queen cells, the hive may decide to keep their own started cells and kill your new queen.

If you want to make a split, then remove the frame with queen cells and make up a nuc for it, then intro the queen in her cage.
 
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