What to do with a queenless colony?

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JamezF 

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As mentioned in the "apiary" thread, I have a colony that I believe came out of the winter queenless but still appears to have far more bees than I'd expect if that were the case. There are no eggs or brood that I can see and haven't been during any of my inspections (though the workers are bringing in both nectar and pollen) and they're now starting to get a bit stroppy.

I feel I should have one more check perhaps at the weekend and if there's still no sign of a queen, move the hive to the other end of the apiary leaving a brood chamber on the current site, give it an hour or so and then attempt to smoke the remaining bees through a QX. If I find a queen that way then clearly I'm a numpty, but if I don't then I'm tempted to move the closest hive to the original site a little closer and attempt to unite them through some newspaper. Or I could just remove the original hive and stand and shake them out to beg their way into another colony.

Any thoughts on this, or other ideas?

James
 

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It’s not to raise a queen. It’s to see if there is one. Three days and you’ll know.
it’s likely best to shake them out anyway but I’d still like to know if they were mine.
 

JamezF 

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I should perhaps add... I would have tried a test frame a while back, but the colonies I have at home seem to have really struggled through the last winter and took a long time to build up so I wasn't keen to take a frame away from them. In fact it's only really now that I'd be prepared to do so.

James
 

JamezF 

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It’s not to raise a queen. It’s to see if there is one. Three days and you’ll know.
it’s likely best to shake them out anyway but I’d still like to know if they were mine.
Ah yes, good point.

James
 

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I'm not sure this is correct, but is it the case that if there is a laying worker/s in the colony (just started but you can't see eggs yet) and you add a test frame, the bees won't try to raise a queen as they believe they already have one (as in, they think the laying workers are queens because they apparently produce enough queen -like pheromone)?
 
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JamezF 

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No - they'd all find their way into a new home - it's just good sense to shake them out - before long you will have laying workers and a heck of a mess on the comb
Oh, right, I see. I've only had laying workers once before and that was in a colony elsewhere that I felt very unhappy inspecting during the first Covid lockdown because of the risks to other people, so it got ignored for far longer than desirable before I found out.

James
 

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Bees are very old. They are not able to feed larvae ot queen larvae.

If you are not willing to kill them, give to them a frame of emerging brood. Them buy to the a mated queen.

There is no idea to try that they rear a new queen, which will be mated after a month. Then second month that new bees start to emerge. Then it is end of June, and all those bees are dead.
 

Finman 

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I'm not sure this is correct, but is it the case that if there is a laying worker/s in the colony (just started but you can't see eggs yet) and you add a test frame, the bees won't try to raise a queen as they believe they already have one (as in, they think the laying workers are queens because they apparently produce enough queen -like pheromone)?
If there are laying workers, they have drone larvae too. And laying workers are not one, they are tens. Often bees try to rear queen or two from a drone larva

That is old story, that a worker layer would bee like a real queen. That was noticed to be false 20 years ago.
Antipodes, you should update your knowledge about worker layers.

Workers layer colony may have 20% layers.

If I have worker layers, first I give to the colony a larva frame worker laying stops, because bees are not any more desparately queenless. They calm down. They have fresh larvae and they can now rear an emercengy queen.
.
 
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Finman 

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But it was said, to shake them out is the best option. As Bible would say, the colony's days are numbered.
 

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If there are laying workers, they have drone larvae too. And laying workers are not one, they are tens. Often bees try to rear queen or two from a drone larva

That is old story, that a worker layer would bee like a real queen. That was noticed to be false 20 years ago.
Antipodes, you should update your knowledge about worker layers.

Workers layer colony may have 20% layers.

If I have worker layers, first I give to the colony a larva frame worker laying stops, because bees are not any more desparately queenless. They calm down. They have fresh larvae and they can now rear an emercengy queen.
.
I'm not sure you read my post properly or have read and understood the thread properly. No one was suggesting that a queen should be raised from this colony so you didn't need to worry about that. Dani was merely suggesting that a test frame be given to see if there is a queen in there. I said worker/s , including the plural as I understand that the numbers of laying workers will likely increase with the passage of time. Also, you must understand that I also said "just started but you can't see eggs yet" in other words, as the laying worker/s may have only just started there will be no drone larvae yet.
 

Finman 

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I'm not sure you read my post properly or have read and understood the thread properly. No one was suggesting that a queen should be raised from this colony so you didn't need to worry about that. Dani was merely suggesting that a test frame be given to see if there is a queen in there. I said worker/s , including the plural as I understand that the numbers of laying workers will likely increase with the passage of time. Also, you must understand that I also said "just started but you can't see eggs yet" in other words, as the laying worker/s may have only just started there will be no drone larvae yet.
I know these things so well that I do not need to read these texts properly.

If laying workerS start, they are many. That is why there is a punch of eggs on the bottoms of cells. I know because I have made a test. I took all egg combs off and after couple of hours there was tens of eggs again.
Second test was to give worker larva frame to the nuc, and the laying stopped.

I got often laying workers in mating nucs, when I took the mated queen off. The huge number of eggs revieled that is not a production of one worker queen. Later I read that worker policing.

Forget this duscussion.
 
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Erichalfbee 

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I should perhaps add... I would have tried a test frame a while back, but the colonies I have at home seem to have really struggled through the last winter and took a long time to build up so I wasn't keen to take a frame away from them. In fact it's only really now that I'd be prepared to do so.

James
You don’t need a whole frame. You can cut a small piece out
OR
Leave the frame in for three days then put it back where it came from
 
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