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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a colony from a removal done earlier this year that is queenright but completely broodless. I have seen the queen as recently as this week - she looks healthy and actually looks like she is in laying shape (she's doesn't look "slimmed down" like she's preparing to fly). The queen shut down maybe two months ago (June), when it seemed like there was a bit of a drought and there might have been a dearth at this yard.

Has anyone seen this before? I've actually seen it once before in a different colony - that colony seemed to struggle all season, then the queen started laying later in the season and the following year did extremely well.

I'm wondering if this is some sort of hygenic trait? I'm thinking there aree definitely no mites reproducing in this colony right now... Note that this colony is in the same yard (my "isolation" yard for removal colonies) as the colony with AFB I killed this week.

-Pete
 

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I've got a colony with the same problem, just a very very few capped drone brood and thats it, not even any eggs but she looks fine. I'll check again this week and if she don't start to lay I'll pinch her and and combine with another colony. Whats your plan?:scratch:
 

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You mentioned you where in a dearth when she stopped laying. Some bees do that naturally. Russians are known for that behavior. It can be good for reducing mites, & conserving stores.
 

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I am seeing this to some degree in all 5 of the colonies I checked today. We have had 100+ degree heat and no rain for 2 weeks or more. The one that was completely broodless (well, some remaining capped brood but no larvae or eggs found). I saw the queen and she looked fine. That was the first colony I checked and thought the queen was no good.

Then I looked into some other colonies, strong ones, and there is still larvae and a few eggs here and there, but all have definitely cut back on the brood rearing.

I decided it may not be the queen, but dearth and not enough bees to cover. It was a weak split with an new homegrown queen, who was laying in the nuc before she was introduced to the split, and still laying in the new hive as of 2 weeks ago. They had plenty of honey and nectar from the split, but may be short on pollen. I may give them a pollen substitute and syrup and see how they do.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I'm good at breaking things that aren't already broken, so in this case my plan is to watch her/them and see what happens. I did put in a frame of eggs/young brood from another healthy colony, and when I pulled that frame the other day to check to see if anything interesting was happening (a supercedure cell?) the only thing interesting I saw was the queen on that frame.

I'm inclined to think (like KQ6AR) that this might be a natural/good trait, so let's just relax and see what happens. My bees are by now mostly from removals and open-mated mutts, untreated and on natural comb. This colony was doing well in the ceiling of a porch for at least 4 years... just the kind of colony I like to have in my yard...

-Pete
 

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Its getting late in the year for me to add a frame of eggs and have them make a new queen so its either order a new queen or combine. With a new queen it will be sept. before they can start to build up again and the numbers will be way down by then as they are getting smaller every day. I think a combine will be best for me, then I can make a split in spring from the combine.
 

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I had 2 this summer that were queens I ordered and made splits with. They laid like gang busters for about 3 weeks and then stopped. I can only attribute it to a borely bred queen. I have talked to a couple people and we agreed sounded like she did not get bred very well.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Hmmm... It's my understanding the workers are actually the ones who control what the queen is doing - whether laying or otherwise. Certainly a queen who *cannot* lay will not lay even when she is being prompted to lay by the workers... but wouldn't she be laying drones if she was poorly mated?

I'm thinking this line is inclined to stop laying during a dearth. I'm going to continue watching them... Maybe I'll feed them and see if that changes anything :)

-Pete
 

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I had two that way last week. Ordered some queens for next week, Golden rod started this week. Check both hives yesterday larva every where. :scratch: Time to make nucs
 

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I've a hive in the same game right now, FWIW. Queenright, but very little brood, good population right now, so I'm letting it ride. I might spray them with HBH and syrup next inspection. We get a decent Sept/Oct flow, so I hope to keep them built up.
 
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