Queenlessness!

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Joined
Dec 19, 2021
Messages
15
Reaction score
3
Location
Edinburgh
Hive Type
National
Number of Hives
7
I've created a problem with one of my double brood hives!

Earlier in the season, June, I moved the queen into a nuc to increase my number of hives, which is now doing well in a full hive.

The existing hive, with queen cells, I left to re-queen with a couple of charged QC's. This didn't happen, I assume and I realise, this may have failed due to any number of possibilities, ie. poor choice of queen cells, one q kills the other, lost whilst mating, bees not taking to new queen, queens not emerging, etc.

After realising it was queenless I tried a frame of eggs and brood. Again, the bees created QC's and I did a similar thing as before, selected a couple of charged QC's and left them to it.

Again, failure! queen appeared to have emerged from the sign of the cell ( my limited understanding, from what I’ve seen! ), left them to it for 3 weeks, still no queen.

Finally, I tried putting a sealed and open queen cell into the hive, this time didn't open the hive for almost 3 weeks.

Still nothing, by this time the hive is building up with a lot of pollen and almost a couple of brood boxes of stores!

Earlier in the year, June, I did successfully ( or jammily ), manage ( sorry, the bees did, with a wee bit help! ) to build 2 nucs and re-queened 2 hives, the first time round!

Even now, in the hive in question, there are still no signs of laying workers and the bees are still very calm on the comb, as they have always been.

As these bees are 'getting on' I was hoping for some thoughts on what to do next with this hive?

My thoughts would be to either
  • learn how to identify viable charged queen cells
  • unite them with a hive with a fairly big colony
  • unite them with a new queen that I have building in a nuc box, now on 6 frames.
I appreciate time is running out for the last scenario and might be safer to leave the nuc to overwinter.

Any thoughts would be much appreciated and even, on how I could have handled this better!

Many thanks
 
I’m not in a position to offer advice but I’m interested in the answer from those who are.

I also have a Q- colony which has raised QCs from an introduced frame of BIAS. I know that the advice of some is to thin the QCs down to 'one good one' but like you I really not clear what distinguishes a 'good one' from a less good one and so I’ve left all 5 QCs in and plan to let the bees decide which queen to keep.

if that’s wrong I’d also like to hear.
 
A good Qc is one that is open, big and well dimpled. If you have few bees and intend to try to raise a queen I would thin them down to one or two that way they will get more attention from the few nurses
 
Hello

I have a similar situation to caberfeidh. I made a split in June (taking original queen in a nuc more than 3 miles away where all is well) . But no eggs or brood now in August in the original hive. Test frame that included eggs and under 3 day larva in Aug used - but no qc built so i' m thinking that confirms an unmated virgin queen is present(?)

So i'm plannig to reunite the original hive with the queenright nuc (over newspaper). There's still plenty of bees in the original hive plus the test frame which is hatching now. But to do so, i think i need to find and kill the unmated virgin queen? But i can't find her.

I'd be grateful for guidance please ?
 
Hi

Thanks Jenkinsbrynmair. It's the 3rd test frame actually (!) so fairly sure :(

I'd be most grateful if anybody can please confirm if it is necessary/essential to find and remove the unmated/not laying virgin queen before uniting the hive with my queenright nuc ..?
 
Thanks so much. Will have another go at finding her on the next calm day, if I fail again, I'll shake them out in front of queenright hive.
Thanks so much for your help - much appreciated.
 
Hello

I have a similar situation to caberfeidh. I made a split in June (taking original queen in a nuc more than 3 miles away where all is well) . But no eggs or brood now in August in the original hive. Test frame that included eggs and under 3 day larva in Aug used - but no qc built so i' m thinking that confirms an unmated virgin queen is present(?)

So i'm plannig to reunite the original hive with the queenright nuc (over newspaper). There's still plenty of bees in the original hive plus the test frame which is hatching now. But to do so, i think i need to find and kill the unmated virgin queen? But i can't find her.

I'd be grateful for guidance please ?
Not necessarily an unmated virgin. It could just as easily be the original queen has run dry but still in there producing pheromones.
 
One of our hives took 5 test frames before we knew she was Q+. HRH had taken a long brood break due to heat of the Spring and lack of forage early Summer. Hive now heaving. My bee partner was ready to give up on the 2nd frame. I, however, am a Taurus ♉. Keep the faith.
 
One of our hives took 5 test frames before we knew she was Q+
a test frame is never a method to test for the presence of a queen as queenless colonies will also sometimes not make a queencell. In your case, each of the five test frames would have indicated that you may have a queen, So I don't really get what you mean?
The only definitely positive result you can get with a test frame is if they make a queencell
 
a test frame is never a method to test for the presence of a queen as queenless colonies will also sometimes not make a queencell. In your case, each of the five test frames would have indicated that you may have a queen, So I don't really get what you mean?
The only definitely positive result you can get with a test frame is if they make a queencell
Hi. 'test frame' meaning an opportunity to make a queen cell
 
One of our hives took 5 test frames before we knew she was Q+. HRH had taken a long brood break due to heat of the Spring and lack of forage early Summer. Hive now heaving. My bee partner was ready to give up on the 2nd frame. I, however, am a Taurus ♉. Keep the faith.
Thank you! TA-DA - found her! And marked her - easier to spot now :(
 

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