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Colony intent on committing suicide, not sure what to do now?

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CliffDale 

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I picked up a colony that had no brood in it. I placed a frame of eggs in the colony and they duly made q cells and queen did hatch but I think she cleared off with a cast. Definitely no queen in the hive. A second attempt was made but with a sealed queen cell from another hive. This too was shredded by the bees.

The colony is still quite strong, covering 11 frames. I'm scared to unite with another hive just incase they kill off a good queen.

I'm now stuck as to what I should do.

Do I let them die off and start again or give them some more eggs from another hive?

I have 2 hives like this. The second hive I have bought in a Buckfastleigh queen but I have a feeling this queen is doomed also. She has been caged for 3 days and during the last inspection, the cage was being 'balled' by bees.

Now all they have to do is eat through the candy and i reckon she will be gone by tomorrow.

Open to suggestions how to save the colonies please.

Cliff
 

jbr 

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I am in a similiar position. How long can a strong colony remain queenless before it becomes a disaster? I have a queen on order but she may not arrive for another 2 weeks. Thanks.
 

CliffDale 

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I am in a similiar position. How long can a strong colony remain queenless before it becomes a disaster? I have a queen on order but she may not arrive for another 2 weeks. Thanks.
The problem is that my colony don't seem to want a queen. They are collection pollen and nectar but they are filling up the brood boxes.

I'm thinking of removing the bees and starting again! I'm not sure what to do to save them.
 

andypigeon 

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have you got a virgin in the hive
 

FenBee 

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Read Peter Kemble's method of queen introduction using a nucleus made up of young bees and emerging brood. See KBS Queens

Might help ... good luck.
 

CliffDale 

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Been through the hive about 6 times and not seen anything. Certain there is no virgin in the hive.

Checked by long standing beek and he says the same.
 

oliver90owner 

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If they don't want a queen there is likely two reasons. Either there is a queen present or there are laying workers.

Move the hive to a location some way from it's present position and site a replacement box (with some of the bee-less frames) on it's present site. Allow a day and re-queen. Alternative is to dump all the bees in the grass away from the hive and replace the empty-of-bees hive back on its location. Either way will sort out whether there is a queen or laying workers. The flying bees will return to the original box and the rest will be lost.

You would more easily find a queen, if there, with a few stragglers by moving the hive box and checking when all the flying bees have departed.

Fairly simple manipulation. The bees that have been flying will know where to go. Those that don't, won't. I suspect you have a 'scrub queen' that you are unable to locate among the bees.

RAB
 

darrenperrett 

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Hi Cliffdale.
How long ago did your Q cells hatch and swarm ?
Maybe you didn`t see a Q because she was out on a mating flight ?
I would pop in another frame of eggs to see what happens.

Darren.
 

admin 

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It sounds like a scrub queen to me.

Remember you are not looking for a laying queen that is long and slow,you are looking for a queen the size of a worker but with a pointed bottom and fast on the comb.

One of my most disliked jobs to do in beekeeping is having to find one,its a bl**dy pain as it often takes at least 3 attempts to find her!!
 

Midland Beek 

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I placed a frame of eggs in the colony and they duly made q cells and queen did hatch but I think she cleared off with a cast. Definitely no queen in the hive. A second attempt was made but with a sealed queen cell from another hive. This too was shredded by the bees.
If they have reared queen cells on the test frame, then they were queenless. If they have subsequently torn down a sealed queen cell, then there is a queen in there, and presumably a virgin queen that is looking to mate.

Hope for a successful mating. If not you will end up with a drone laying queen. Kill drone laying queen and unite to your other colony.

The second hive I have bought in a Buckfastleigh queen but I have a feeling this queen is doomed also. She has been caged for 3 days and during the last inspection, the cage was being 'balled' by bees.

Now all they have to do is eat through the candy and i reckon she will be gone by tomorrow.
Sometimes a new queen can attract a lot of interest, especially if they are queenless, and you can get a scrum of inquisitive bees around the cage. If they are looking to kill the queen, usually they are very agitated and can be seen biting at the cage.

If you think the bees are really intent on killing the caged queen, then you have probably got a queen in there already, and presumably a virgin.
 
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