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baggieboing 

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Hi everyone, further to my posts last week about my suspicions that I have a drone laying queen, it seems that I have been proved right.:(
Mike (Dulwich Gnome) very kindly came round to inspect my hive this morning to give me the benefit of his advice.

The Bees were extremely well behaved (despite my newbie clumsiness) and allowed a thorough inspection.

On 2 to 3 frames there was sealed drone brood. It was not irregular in pattern and was centralised on each frame in a tight group. There was not a lot of it (maybe 40-50 sealed cells each side of the frame) and there was evidence of unsealed larvae. Some of the cappings were slightly irregular in height and not uniform but I dont think unusual enough to be any more suspicious.
There are plenty of bees,covering most frames, lots of activity, plenty of stores and pollen going in and to all intents and purposes a really happy, prolific and productive colony, just no worker brood!!!

So, what are my options? Shall I simply let nature take its course and allow it to die out over the next few weeks?
Do I have enough time to get a mated Queen in there (if I can find one) and still have enough bees left to nurse the brood etc?
Do I bust a gut to try to save what has been a wonderfully gentle colony? Or do I just let them die and buy a Nuc in April?

What do you all think?
Anyone know if I can get a mated Queen as a matter of urgency?
Is it worth the risk?

Many thanks in advance, and also thanks to Mike and Karin (Polyanwood) for their invaluable support.

Nick
 

sahtlinurk 

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welcome to the club, i got the same problem. Will go now and try to find the queen and then unite with another one. If i can't find her will just shake them off and hope they will find a new home in my other colonies.

Good luck with yours
Lauri
 

baggieboing 

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Good luck, I'm afraid I dont have another colony to unite them with:(:(
 

jezd 

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Good luck, I'm afraid I dont have another colony to unite them with:(:(
BB, is she laying a blanket of drones or is it patchy?

is the queen from late 2009 season?

(i should have read your post sorry, i'm just lazy today :) )
 

baggieboing 

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Its a blanket (though not prolific). It was a swarm from last year, so no idea how old she is (unmarked)
 

oliver90owner 

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So, what are my options?

Here is my post from last week, again. The advice will not change just because a week has gone by. Accept you have lost that colony (the queen) and do something with whaqt you have left - your only assets in this are the live worker bees.

baggieboing,

Your best plan of action is likely to find a local beekeeper who would unite them with a nuc or weaker colony with a view of returning some bees to you at the earliest opportunity. They would do this if strong, healthy and a drone laying queen can be removed just before uniting. They would not particularly want laying workers or a diseased colony.


There is no other real alternative unless you can get a mated queen from somewhere PDQ.

Regards, RAB
 

jezd 

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anyone supplying queens this season yet (Europe wise)?
 

Midland Beek 

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You won't get a mated queen in the Northern Hemisphere at this time.

But ... you might be able to buy a nuc. However, spend 100 plus quid on a nuc and you really don't want to jeopardize it by uniting it to a duff colony with a drone layer of a queen.
 

baggieboing 

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So, what are my options?

Here is my post from last week, again. The advice will not change just because a week has gone by. Accept you have lost that colony (the queen) and do something with whaqt you have left - your only assets in this are the live worker bees.

baggieboing,

Your best plan of action is likely to find a local beekeeper who would unite them with a nuc or weaker colony with a view of returning some bees to you at the earliest opportunity. They would do this if strong, healthy and a drone laying queen can be removed just before uniting. They would not particularly want laying workers or a diseased colony.


There is no other real alternative unless you can get a mated queen from somewhere PDQ.

Regards, RAB

Thank you for the advice, if you dont mind I will leave the sarcasm to one side as I dont need it.
Many thanks
 

Onge 

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Sorry to hear of your plight.

If I had a spare queen you could have it.

Have you asked pete at the club?
 

baggieboing 

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Sorry to hear of your plight.

If I had a spare queen you could have it.

Have you asked pete at the club?
hi mate, nice to hear from you.
Not asked Peter, might try Bob as well and see whats out there.
 

The Hyde Ranger 

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Just suposing that if a frame with a few eggs or young brood could be obtained from another beek and the drone layer was despatched, would the bees make a substitute queen to keep the colony going for the time being, weather and temprature permiting of course so as not to chill the brood, I don't have any bees or experience yet so please go easy with me if this wouldn't work
 

sahtlinurk 

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by the time the new queen emerges, starts laying ( if any drones near by) and then the first generation emerges you will not have any bees left. bit too long for winter bees to survive.

Lauri
 

Repwoc 

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What about the drones currently in sealed brood in this hive? Might be a couple hundred by the sounds of it.
 

baggieboing 

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Looks like a Nuc and starting again is the best option.
Anybody got early Nucs ready?
 

cutnrun 

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Very new beek here but I thought I would add something to the topic.

At the first apiary inspection on Sunday our BKA apiary have also got a hive with a failing queen laying drone brood. There is another weak hive so the plan is to merge the 2, sorry I know this doesn't help you BB

anecdotally it was mentioned that there life of a queen does seem to be getting shorter from 4-5 years a decade ago to 2-3 years at the moment.

Then followed a discussion about causes, but verroa and fewer drones as a result got the most consensus. Any thoughts?
 

oliver90owner 

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Repwoc,

Quite right. Half the genes would be retained!

baggieboing,

Go for it. You never know - where there is life, there is hope. It may be best part of a month before you are going to get her laying, another 3 weeks before any brood hatch (apart from the added frame), so a long shot, but you might get some bees to keep it going in the meantime. With little or no brooding, the workers may last some time.

Regards, RAB
 

oliver90owner 

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cutnrun,

Some queens might have lasted 4-5 years, but not so many. Not many beeks would keep a queen that long unless a breeder. So, certainly not an 'average'.

That said, I would think that most are changed every two years, if they get that far. Skewed data then; no chance for a long productive lifespan! Also a couple years ago many were superceded twice in the same season, so that reduces the average age considerably.

Statistics apart, oxalic acid treatment may well affect the queen. Unsuitable imported queens, while getting a huge honey crop, may not last too long. Mating has been a problem for a few poor summers. Drones are the target of mites for the better (for the mite) breeding rate, so are probably fewer or poorer quality. They are also culled as a varroa control method, so fewer still. So it goes on. Probably the reason for so many imported queens (full circle). Colony losses must also result in a lost queen.

Queen losses with 'scrub' queen replacements are also a bit of a downer, too.

Also, although it may not be an aim, the queen suppliers are not going to breed long-life queens, are they? Their livelihood might be at stake! Maximum honey crop and docility traits are the driving force they are relying on for sales.

Regards, RAB
 

shonabee 

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When I was queenless last summer, I did notice that the bees were far less active than they had been. It was several weeks before new queen started laying. I wouldn't like to suggest that this is solely down to queenlessness, and nor would I want to argue with anyone that queenlessness was even part of the reason at all: observation of one hive by one new beek is never going to be "hard evidence"!

But as you've nothing to combine your drone-layer with, then dispatching her and adding a frame with eggs might be worth a go particularly if there is anything at all in my observation above - not much to loose after all.
 

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