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aseeryl 

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Big problem. The queen has been missing about 10 days now- I think this maybe my fault as I marked her with a blob of non toxic children's paint. Since then no further brood or eggs. Last of the previous grubs are hatching out now and all cells are empty. I just noticed a capped queen cell (uncapped 2 days ago) and a couple of other empty ones.
Do I wait and hope that this one cell (an "emergency" type on the foundation) develops and hatches - ? does capping mean that there is a viable larva inside or could it be empty, or do I get a new queen by post - they are available.
These are native"Welsh" black bees that we are supposed to conserve - a replacement at short notice would be imported.
Advice welcome.
 

Heather 

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IMO You have lost the queen - they may have objected to the smell of the paint and balled her- so killing her. personally I would just use the one capped queen cell - leave that safely to develop and destroy the other 2. And next time use the proper stuff to mark your queen :)
if they killed her 9/10 days ago then they would have been able to use a young egg to start again so the queen should be decent quality. And if JUST capped it fits in with that timeline
 
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anwe 

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Capped Q cell usually is viable under this time frame and circumstance. Expect about 3 weeks to go before she starts laying depending on weather.could you put the cell in a nuc and put in a new Q to keep the hive strong then decide which to keep if the native comes good.
 
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Firstly don't see how it's your fault unless you perhaps killed it!

Sounds as though they haven't swarmed and what you see are emergency cells. (Given the number) If there's a sealed cell then you could wait for it to hatch and then mate. Could be nearly a month before it starts laying. By then it will be the end of August.

There are those who say that a queen from an emergency cell is inferior though I'm not sure. You may also want to keep an eye on two other things namely the weather ( is it going to be good enough for several mating flights?) and the amount of drones around. (there are far less this time of the season)

You can also of course purchase a q for about £25. In theory she will be well mated and be ready to go and she will be with you by the end of the week. However, this is also a risk as you will need to destroy all the Q cells and hope she survives the introduction. I've had experience of both sucessful and unsuccesful introductions! If she doesn't survive then your colony will be hoplessly queenless.

On balance, at this stage of the season I'd go for the latter option though with beekeeping there are no certainties.

Good luck
 

Heather 

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Cannot agree to split the colony to nuc and hive- there are no new brood so it will be weakened anyway. I would keep the one colony strong as pos to be ready for the new queen breeding. (this is why 2 hives minimum is a good rule of thumb).
The 2 empty cells- if the queen was ok 10 days ago I doubt they are hatched queen cells- did you observe them earlier- or are they just play cups??
It would seem you have a queen in the sealed cell - leave the hive alone and look about 30th- just to evaluate. If you look late evening or very early morning you wont interfere with a virgin flight... She will be out July 31st - then mating first decent day after( within 7 days hopefully)

I have had no probs introducing bought queens and they have been good - from easybees - your choice...
???several mating flights - thought it was one good outing!!
 
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aseeryl 

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Thanks for the fast replies.
A couple of other things I noticed (apart from a couple of prowling wasps - now dead)
There are no drones now, there were some 10 days ago. Might they have been killed off or flown away. The hive is not full, brood chamber only, its only been going about 7 weeks but was progressing nicely. One hive only so no access to a nuc box. Would the old queen swarm and leave the hive queenless? Either way, queenless now.
Also food reserves are very depleted - previously good. I've put up some sugar syrup feed.
As was said, it's going to be late on by the end of August and the weather is lousy, the season will be drawing down by then.
Perhaps if I take Heather's timing advice wait a week and see if the QC opens, if not then get a replacement and hope for the best. I don't want to end up losing the lot as I said these are native bees.
This is going to be a worry.
 

Heather 

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If she was a good queen, laying well she may not have laid drones- my colonies vary some no drone, some still very present - so there should be quite a few still in the upper atmosphere to give her a good time.

I very much doubt she swarmed - They dont go and leave a hive queenless. A new queen will instigate the old queen to go.
I reckon they didnt like the paint and dumped her. Never mind- its all a learning curve!!
Good luck with the queen hatching. Just leave them be for a little while to sort themselves out.
 
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This may be a lesson in using the proper marking stuff.

I'm the first one to moan about using expensive stuff if I can find cheaper elsewhere. Well I was until I used tippex on a queen and then she was killed because they didn't like the smell. I now use the proper stuff as I don't want to take risks with the most precious item in beekeeping.

This was my lesson learned.
 

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