Queenless hive but can I re-queen?

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robmort 

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2 weeks ago a hive had no signs of eggs or uncapped brood so I added a frame with eggs/young brood. 2 days ago still no sign of eggs or young brood and no Q cells produced either. That should indicate a Q present but seems very unlikely. Should I add a queen or what?
 

pargyle 

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First you need to think about why there was no eggs or brood in the hive two weeks ago ... have you seen any queen cells ? What's the history of the colony ? Any signs of disease ?

These have been strange times weather wise down here on the South Coast - have the colony had enough stores ?

There's a few things that will stop a queen laying or cause a brood break and the most obvious one is the hive swarmed and you have a virgin in there waiting to get mated ... or has recently mated and is taking her time to get going.

Is your queen marked ? Have you see her lately ? When did you last see eggs and brood at an inspection ....

Much to consider before you make an assumption there's no queen and splash out on a new one ...
 

hemo 

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Simply adding a queen without being 100% sure will lead to the new one (highly likely) being killed.
If they swarmed and you were unaware then there is highly likely a VQ is present, the fact no QC/s were produced from the added eggs/young larvae would appear to back this up.
A VQ may not mate or start laying for approx. 28 days could be as much as 35 so you still have at least a window of 12 -21 days to go yet.

To know more we need a better account and time line of when last eggs were seen.
 
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madasafish 

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As above.
Also if a QE and super on, check Q is not laying in super.
We have seen that a number of times with Plastic QEs..
 

robmort 

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Thanks for the replies. After a rapid build up and brood on many of the frames, a month ago a queen cell was left in after a split. There were and are plenty of stores with one super on with no QE. No disease. For a month there have been no eggs or young brood and the colony is in danger of dwindling away.
 

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So this was a split with a queen cell?
Considering the bad weather that ensued it might be possible that the virgin hasn’t mated.
If there are polished cells in preparation for a queen to lay then I would wait another week.
If there are sufficient bees you can find her and requeen with a mated queen. If not then find her and unite with another colony. If you can’t find her shake them out?
Lots of choices
Time and time again people post questions without giving the whole picture which emerges slowly as the thread progresses.
Best to give a whole history of a colony from the outset.
 

robmort 

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I've tried to find a queen in there to no avail. Will try again. There are still plenty of bees and they're agressive. If I shake them out is it to shut down the hive and make them beg into other colonies, and leave any queen behind?
 

GuyNir 

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I've tried to find a queen in there to no avail. Will try again. There are still plenty of bees and they're agressive. If I shake them out is it to shut down the hive and make them beg into other colonies, and leave any queen behind?
If shaking out, remove everything from the stand, so they have nothing left to come back to.
 

hemo 

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Thanks for the replies. After a rapid build up and brood on many of the frames, a month ago a queen cell was left in after a split. There were and are plenty of stores with one super on with no QE. No disease. For a month there have been no eggs or young brood and the colony is in danger of dwindling away.
A month a day doesn't help much time line wise, it is better to put up dates to help cypher timings. Date of split, age of queen cell left was sealed or open.

A month of no brood but you say you added a frame of brood in #1.

2 weeks ago a hive had no signs of eggs or uncapped brood so I added a frame with eggs/young brood. 2 days ago still no sign of eggs or young brood and no Q cells produced either. That should indicate a Q present but seems very unlikely. Should I add a queen or what?
So approx. 14 days ago could be less ( no date time line). Did you leave them too it or when did you check to see if cells were raised.
 

hemo 

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Aggression if not present previously may be a sign of being QL.
 

Boston Bees 

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I've tried to find a queen in there to no avail. Will try again. There are still plenty of bees and they're agressive. If I shake them out is it to shut down the hive and make them beg into other colonies, and leave any queen behind?
Hmmm

In my experience (less than others here, certainly), if there is a queen, they won't beg their way into other colonies, they will just cluster around the queen (perhaps on the old stand, or on the floor, or wherever she goes) and then swarm off to find a new home, which is somewhat inconvenient for the recipient.

So personally, if they have not responded to a test frame (indicating that they think they have a queen), and definitely don't have laying workers (which would be indicated by lots of eggs splattered into cells, and drone brood), then I wouldn't shake out at present. I would continue to search for that queen

Waiting another week is a good option.

Another option, to help find the queen, would be to move the hive to a new stand (3m or more from the old one, facing another direction perhaps), which will shed all the flying bees (which will indeed beg their way into other colonies, as the queen won't be present for them to cluster on). That will leave just the nurse bees and make the queen easier to see. Or you could use a queen excluder to filter them somehow.
 

jenkinsbrynmair 

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In my experience (less than others here, certainly), if there is a queen, they won't beg their way into other colonies, they will just cluster around the queen and then swarm off to find a new home
Done it loads of times with an unmated virgin or drone layer. a sorry handful might hang around and cluster about the queen but the rest soon disperse.
SWMBO and I once sat on the patio watching a shaken out colony mill around and eventually disperse, an hour or so later a walk up to the area where the shakeout took place revealed a small (a few dozen or so) clump of bees with the elusive queen in the middle.
I don't even bother looking too hard for them any more
 
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Boston Bees 

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Done it loads of times with an unmated virgin or drone layer. a sorry handful might hang around and cluster about the queen but the rest soon disperse.
SWMBo and I once sat on the patio watching a shaken out colony mill around and eventually disperse, an hour or so later a walk up to the area where the shakeout took place revealed a small (a few dozen or so) clump of bees with the elusive queen in the middle.
I don't even bother looking to hard for them any more
Fair enough, that's good to know.
 

robmort 

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I waited another week and still no signs of queen so shook them out as advised.
I lost the queens in 3 other nucs/colonies in the same period probably due to swarming and the weather. After uniting one with a good nucleus above a QE 4 weeks after larvae disappeared, as I was merging the frames from the 2 parts I was puzzled to find some eggs and larvae in the Q- part so unless the old queen suddenly started laying again, I suspect it may be a DLW. Don't know if the queen from the nucleus has survived yet.
 

ANDubuis 

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Simply adding a queen without being 100% sure will lead to the new one (highly likely) being killed.
If they swarmed and you were unaware then there is highly likely a VQ is present, the fact no QC/s were produced from the added eggs/young larvae would appear to back this up.
A VQ may not mate or start laying for approx. 28 days could be as much as 35 so you still have at least a window of 12 -21 days to go yet.

To know more we need a better account and time line of when last eggs were seen.
2 splits made April 13th took 45-50 days before I saw eggs.
 

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