A Queenless surprise!

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Nordicul 

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Hi All,
This was my first experience of possible Queenlessness so be gentle!

When I looked in the hive for first time at the of March there was only a handful of capped brood no eggs, larvae or Queen seen. (She was last years Q had Queened themselves though Q not found)

On next inspection No more capped brood eggs, larvae or Q seen, hive though hive was calm, nectar and pollen a plenty.

I delayed putting a test frame in for another week my thinking being that if they did make Q cells there would be few drones to mate any Q made.

So, inspecting today the test frame which went in four days ago I found no Queen cells only capped brood and larvae on the test frame..... however I did see a big QUEEN, but before I could catch her she disappeared.
I didn’t see any eggs but my inspection was not thorough, interrupted by the Q appearance.

So where to now?
Could a Queen just be off the lay for so long and it will start again?
Is it a barren Queen which I need to catch and despatch, and give them another frame?
Should I cut my losses, catch Q squish and combine?
Or something else?

Tia Nordicul
 

enrico 

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Personally I would wait. The first batches of eggs are not easy to see. They can be off lay for a few weeks. Not sure if time lines here. Was she laying well last year? Was she a late queen last year? Gut reaction? She will come through. I would give her at least another week.
E
 

Nordicul 

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Personally I would wait. The first batches of eggs are not easy to see. They can be off lay for a few weeks. Not sure if time lines here. Was she laying well last year? Was she a late queen last year? Gut reaction? She will come through. I would give her at least another week.
E
Thanks Enrico,
I need to get a better handle on keeping historical records of my hives which change via splits/ artificial swarms/ combinations or those who did their own thing!
She was late Queened and an Autumn combination no real chance to check laying pattern.
I have patience though, so will give them a week or so.

Again thanks
 

Gilberdyke John 

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Hi All,
This was my first experience of possible Queenlessness so be gentle!

When I looked in the hive for first time at the of March there was only a handful of capped brood no eggs, larvae or Queen seen. (She was last years Q had Queened themselves though Q not found)

On next inspection No more capped brood eggs, larvae or Q seen, hive though hive was calm, nectar and pollen a plenty.

I delayed putting a test frame in for another week my thinking being that if they did make Q cells there would be few drones to mate any Q made.

So, inspecting today the test frame which went in four days ago I found no Queen cells only capped brood and larvae on the test frame..... however I did see a big QUEEN, but before I could catch her she disappeared.
I didn’t see any eggs but my inspection was not thorough, interrupted by the Q appearance.

So where to now?
Could a Queen just be off the lay for so long and it will start again?
Is it a barren Queen which I need to catch and despatch, and give them another frame?
Should I cut my losses, catch Q squish and combine?
Or something else?

Tia Nordicul
I note you joined the forum a while ago but are you relatively new to actually having bees? Your comment nectar and pollen a-plenty may be a clue. Is there actually room (ie empty cells) for the queen to lay or is the hive nectar bound?
 

Levitt53 

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Thanks Enrico,
I need to get a better handle on keeping historical records of my hives which change via splits/ artificial swarms/ combinations or those who did their own thing!


Again thanks
I found this after a couple of years. Concentrate your records on the Queen rather than the colony. You'll find it much easier to follow then. When you get a few colonies it enables you to identify your good Queens regardless how often you move them around with splits, nucs etc. You can also name them and do family tree graphs - endless fun for a spreadsheet freak like me!
 

oliver90owner 

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It is nearly the end if April. You are in the south of Ireland. Don’t wait too long. It’s time to requeen - one way or another. Is this (presently) a reasonably strong colony? Any polished cells, which look as though they are being readied for brood? Done a nosema check? What is the state of your other colony?

Up to you how you proceed - unite or requeen - but needs to be actioned quite soon, so that you can continue with two colonies again, as soon as practicable.
 

Nordicul 

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I note you joined the forum a while ago but are you relatively new to actually having bees? Your comment nectar and pollen a-plenty may be a clue. Is there actually room (ie empty cells) for the queen to lay or is the hive nectar bound?
Hi John,
Think I’ll always be relatively new to having bees, but yes I have had them since 2018. Presently three hives(profile updated) last year was first time got 3 supers honey of the two other hives. They are on single bb’s

Yes, you might be right about the “nectar bound” when I first inspected there were stores aplenty and it was the first time I’d come across so much nectar and pollen in the middle of a hive....my thinking, bees know more about what they’re doing than I do, so I did not intervene...will need to search forum for “nectar bound” action.

Question? why would bees do something (nectar bound) that would be harmful to the development of their hive
 

elainemary 

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Personally I would wait. The first batches of eggs are not easy to see. They can be off lay for a few weeks. Not sure if time lines here. Was she laying well last year? Was she a late queen last year? Gut reaction? She will come through. I would give her at least another week.
E
Thanks for this advice - have had a similar situation. Queen mated and laying extremely well last season - back in sept on 16 frames of brood. She’s been v slow this season, still only 4 frames brood and when I looked yesterday seemed to be plenty of eggs on those frames. Wondered whether the v cold nights had slowed her down, but next door hive in same apiary is doing well. Have observed this with a couple of other colonies where slower than expected but still laying worker brood.
Decided to give her another couple of weeks and donated a good frame of sealed brood from the other hive that would benefit from an empty comb. No disease in either.
 

Nordicul 

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It is nearly the end if April. You are in the south of Ireland. Don’t wait too long. It’s time to requeen - one way or another. Is this (presently) a reasonably strong colony? Any polished cells, which look as though they are being readied for brood? Done a nosema check? What is the state of your other colony?

Up to you how you proceed - unite or requeen - but needs to be actioned quite soon, so that you can continue with two colonies again, as soon as practicable.
Thanks Oliver, more food for thought ....and action!

Have to confess that i’ve never been looking for “polished cells” hard enough to find eggs in them , but I’ll look up how to identify them and when next I have a fellow beek over get them to show me. Other 2 hives way ahead 4-6 frames fully capped brood. No Nosema check.

Thanks again
 

Erichalfbee 

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Hi John,
Think I’ll always be relatively new to having bees, but yes I have had them since 2018. Presently three hives(profile updated) last year was first time got 3 supers honey of the two other hives. They are on single bb’s

Yes, you might be right about the “nectar bound” when I first inspected there were stores aplenty and it was the first time I’d come across so much nectar and pollen in the middle of a hive....my thinking, bees know more about what they’re doing than I do, so I did not intervene...will need to search forum for “nectar bound” action.

Question? why would bees do something (nectar bound) that would be harmful to the development of their hive
Backfilling the brood nest with nectar is a sign for immediate attention at this time of year
 

Nordicul 

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Hi All,
Finally, today caught the elusive Queen (now departed 😂) in the “Queenless” hive....united the orphans with a neighbor.24FC11A9-D435-4D09-ABA1-7B5EA9858A1B.jpeg
 

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