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Hi,
I'm a new beekeeper in Southern NH, I bought 2 packages that came from Georgia in early April. I have each hive setup in 10-frame medium boxes; I have been feeding sugar syrup and pollen patties since I installed them. Both seemed to be doing okay, then 1 started to noticeably do better (I call it Hive 2), lots of bees, brood and comb. I added a second medium brood box and nothing has happened, no expansion. I looked them over and there isn't much for brood, they do have lots of sugar syrup stored and I think some actual honey too. I decided to re-queened my "hive 1" because their numbers were really dwindling and I was afraid if I didn't step in they would just wither away. Since I was already getting 1 queen I decided to re-queen Hive 2 as well because they just don't seem to be growing, BUT i cannot find the queen. The hive started with a painted queen and I haven't seen in her weeks. I didn't see any queen cells either, I've been in the hive every 7 days or so checking things over.

My new queens arrived yesterday and I found the queen in Hive 1, pinched her (I felt bad but I think it was for the best) and strapped in the queen cage and expect her to be released and turn that hive around...

Hive 2 - I spent over an hour trying to find the queen, no sign of the painted queen I started with but I did not see a non-painted queen either... is it possible the hive is queen-less? i know it is quite possible I just can't find her... What do I do though? I have the new queen strapped in there but I'm afraid they'll kill my new queen if there is an old queen kicking around...?????

Thanks for your help!


Kelly
 

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Sometimes its just easier to look for eggs. If you have single eggs in the bottom of cell standing on end, you have a queen. It could take a package a whole season to build numbers up if they dont have drawn comb when you hive them.
There is always the exception, but I have found that is often the case.
 

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I checked on things today and milling around the queen cage in my 2nd hive was the queen! Interestingly the original painted queen who was doing well (in my opinion) was superseded with a queen that didn't seem to lay... ah well---------hopefully the new queen will get things back on track!
 

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Michael Palmer has a video on how to check for queenlessness in a hive using a caged queen. Since you have a caged queen, you can use it to check your hive.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RX3BgnOkozs
Is this also accurate for a hive with a virgin queen? I have 3 hives that I "think" are queenless (no eggs or open brood), but they all had a single queen cells that are now empty, but some look like they were chewed open by the workers (larvae used to make emergency QC of unknown age or quality).

I'm picking up just one queen tonight from a local guy. Plan to try the Michael Palmer test tomorrow to determine which hive to put her in.
 

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I would suspect that if there is a virgin queen, that the virgin might come to the caged queen and try to kill her through the cage wire. Just a suspicion as I've never witnessed it, but that's what virgins do most times, is kill un-emerged queen cells and older laying queens in the hive.

Emerged queen cells have the very tip of them cut out in a perfect round circle. Queen cells torn open from the sides have been destroyed because a different virgin has already emerged. Be wary of trying to add a queen to a hive where the tip of a queen cell has been open in a round circle, you most likely have a virgin in there and she won't let a mated queen be introduced.
 

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Myself, I would take one frame of brood and bees from hive one and leave it in a new hive where hive 1 is located and move hive one to a new location. Let the single frame and the field bees release the new queen. (slow release) The remainder of hive 1 will do fine without field bees as you are the field bees by feeding.

Give the virgin in hive 2 time to prove herself or not.

I do not know how long it takes for a hive to develop loyalty to a new virgin, good question I've never seen answered.
 

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If using Michael Palmers test like in the video, and it shows queenlessness, and they are receptive as in the video, can you just release the queen immediately, or should you still let them eat the candy? Thanks
 

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A caged queen has stopped egg production and laying, they hive you intro her into wants an actively laying queen. It is safer to let the bees release her as it gives her time to get in shape to be laying with all the attention she gets from the bees through the cage wire. However, I sometimes do just release her and most of the time it works out great. Sometimes though, when I check the next day, they are balling her, so caged introduction is safest way.
 

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Thanks Ray. the queens I have caged were just caged yesterday morning. I picked them up at the apiary (Wilbanks) and they assured me they were not banked. Also, How long does the hive have to be queenless before they will respond like Mike Palmer shows in the video. I just split a super strong hive into a total of three. I still estimate that there are more than 30000 bees in each new split. It was a triple deep, with three full supers. it was as tall as I am (over 6') on the stand.
Thanks for your help.
 

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How long does the hive have to be queenless before they will respond like Mike Palmer shows in the video.
Ohhhh, probably ten or twenty minutes to an hour. Some hives may take longer, but I doubt it. Hives know when the queen is missing with a minute or even less maybe. When set with the lid off after removing the queen, I've seen them start roaring in about 20-30 minutes.
 

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Here's what I figure about the timing for laying workers. When the last of the sealed brood emerges, if the hive is hopelessly queenless (no queen, no virgin, and no open larva) those last to emerge will be laying workers pretty soon, maybe a few days to two weeks time. I'm figuring within about ten days, before they go on their orientation flights, but I'm guessing.
 

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I think it is easier to see when it does not happen. Going LW is more of an evolution than a revolution. There is always 1 to 3 % LW in a healthy hive from what I read here. So it is more of, when does a hive attach it's loyalty to the Laying workers rather than a proper queen. It does not happen at the end of a split, or out to 35 days or so, give them brood and they will typically try again. Mating nucs can have at least one miss without going LW.

The trigger event, loss of a laying queen, is usually a missed event by the keeper, or it would be a quickly cured event and not result in LW.

A hive suddenly going LW, as often quoted, not likely true.
 
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