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Sutty

From Glossop, North Derbyshire, UK
BeeKeeping Supporter
Joined
Mar 11, 2021
Messages
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Location
Glossop, North Derbyshire
Hive Type
National
Number of Hives
4 to 12!
I looked in one of my hives for the 1st time today (as well as checking & uniting some others.
I'd noticed this hive hasn't been busy, and if anything getting less so.
It overwintered on double brood. The bottom box was essentially empty with no brood. I found about 4 frames of brood in the top box with very patchy brood pattern, there were eggs and BIAS but a small nest only. I did see what looked like a play cup with an egg in it too (removed).
I couldn't find the queen despite going through them several times, and I even tried sieving the contents of the top box through a QE into the bottom box with no success.
I had originally been going to remove this queen and unite with another hive.
I've put a QE between the 2 boxes so I can narrow down the queen's location when I look next.
Any other ideas/advice as to what to do next? I'm thinking shake them out and unite the box with another hive, though they may cluster around a queen on the ground.
 
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Maybe she was falling and died within the last couple of days? Can you reduce to 1 box and put a Qx vertically in between the 4 frames? I have cut one out which I use to restrict queen movement when needed.
 
Maybe she was falling and died within the last couple of days? Can you reduce to 1 box and put a Qx vertically in between the 4 frames? I have cut one out which I use to restrict queen movement when needed.
I wondered if she had died very recently too - it's just that the odds seem small as there are still eggs!
I guess I could shake them onto a board leading up to a nearby colony.
 
I wondered if she had died very recently too - it's just that the odds seem small as there are still eggs!
I guess I could shake them onto a board leading up to a nearby colony.
A strong colony then who would dispatch any intruding queen. You don't want to run the risk of letting them battling it out if there is one.
 
Did this recently with a duff queen who wasn't laying, a tiny cluster stayed with her. You should be able to spot her as they start marching.
 
I looked in one of my hives for the 1st time today (as well as checking & uniting some others.
I'd noticed this hive hasn't been busy, and if anything getting less so.
It overwintered on double brood. The bottom box was essentially empty with no brood. I found about 4 frames of brood in the top box with very patchy brood pattern, there were eggs and BIAS but a small nest only. I did see what looked like a play cup with an egg in it too (removed).
I couldn't find the queen despite going through them several times, and I even tried sieving the contents of the top box through a QE into the bottom box with no success.
I had originally been going to remove this queen and unite with another hive.
I've put a QE between the 2 boxes so I can narrow down the queen's location when I look next.
Any other ideas/advice as to what to do next? I'm thinking shake them out and unite the box with another hive, though they may cluster around a queen on the ground.
I'd leave them as they are for another two weeks.
It's possible there was a supersedure queen somewhere (perhaps flying). I've found them super, super tricky to find. I had one a few months back not dissimilar. Brood but no queen visible, young or old (went over each frame extremely thoroughly about three times). A few weeks later, a new and laying young queen...beautiful pattern.
No evidence of any opened queen cell (when I went through them initially), that might have produced a queen.
 
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I'd leave them as they are for another two weeks.
It's possible there was a supersedure queen somewhere (perhaps flying). I've found them super, super tricky to find. I had one a few months back not dissimilar. Brood but no queen visible, young or old (went over each frame extremely thoroughly about three times). A few weeks later, a new and laying young queen...beautiful pattern.
No evidence of any opened queen cell (when I went through them initially), that might have produced a queen.
Can't see it being an ongoing supercedure as there's has clearly been a queen present and laying in the last 3 days.
Quite a few capped drone cells in worker cells dotted amongst the capped brood too, makes me think a failing queen.
I'll check in a few days/a week and see if there are still eggs present.
 
Can't see it being an ongoing supercedure as there's has clearly been a queen present and laying in the last 3 days.
Quite a few capped drone cells in worker cells dotted amongst the capped brood too, makes me think a failing queen.
I'll check in a few days/a week and see if there are still eggs present.
It could be a new queen just starting to lay and they can be flighty early on of course.
Those weak old queens can drop off a frame easily enough too. Is the queen you were looking for clipped and/ or marked?
In any case, please let us know what you find.
 
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@jenkinsbrynmair
I'd value your opinion here!
It seems to me that whatever is happening you have a duff/failing queen - clinging to vain hopes of a very early supersedure would be the triumph of blind hope over reality.
My usual approach is 'wait and see' you don't need all that space, so reduce to one box, or even a nuc, wait a few weeks and see what develops, I reckon it will just slowly dwindle, you may probably find a queen, or find you have laying workers, if you find a queen, squish and shake out, otherwise, regardless of what you find, just shake out into the trash away from the hives.
Of course, you may be lucky and find they are thriving next time you look, regardless, I would replace the queen.
Spending too much time on this colony would be a fool's gambit.
 
It seems to me that whatever is happening you have a duff/failing queen - clinging to vain hopes of a very early supersedure would be the triumph of blind hope over reality.
My usual approach is 'wait and see' you don't need all that space, so reduce to one box, or even a nuc, wait a few weeks and see what develops, I reckon it will just slowly dwindle, you may probably find a queen, or find you have laying workers, if you find a queen, squish and shake out, otherwise, regardless of what you find, just shake out into the trash away from the hives.
Of course, you may be lucky and find they are thriving next time you look, regardless, I would replace the queen.
Spending too much time on this colony would be a fool's gambit.
Thanks JBM, I was thinking along similar lines. Just wanted to use them to bolster another colony.
 
I wondered if she had died very recently too
If there were upright eggs you must realistically accept that the chances that there was a laying queen in the hive when you opened it up were extremely high and the therefore the chances that you missed seeing her, despite your efforts, is also extremely high? You certainly wouldn't be the first person not to find a queen in a hive even after sieving. I've certainly experienced that more than once. Did you check the ground?
Surely much more likely than a queen having recently died (as in that day or the day before)?
 
If there were upright eggs you must realistically accept that the chances that there was a laying queen in the hive when you opened it up were extremely high and the therefore the chances that you missed seeing her, despite your efforts, is also extremely high? You certainly wouldn't be the first person not to find a queen in a hive even after sieving. I've certainly experienced that more than once. Did you check the ground?
Surely much more likely than a queen having recently died (as in that day or the day before)?
Agreed! I'm assuming there is/was a queen in there - if EQCs next time I look I've obviously lost her somehow.
 
Update: had another look today and the queen was in the bottom box (which was completely devoid of brood last time (I'd put a QE between the boxes last time.
Still only a very small brood nest, sealed individual drone cells in worker cells dotted around and a few dwarf drones seen.
I've dispatched the Q and united them (reduced to 1 box) with another hive.
 
Looked rhrough my seven and all progrssing nicely - half a super of nectar on each despite the cool weather but amazing how the dandelions have pretty much gone over after a few days sunshine. No queen cells as yet but likely not too far away. Biggest problem is I was only able to find one queen and mark her but the plus is that compared to a couple of the others her colony is really quiet and gentle (and productive so far) so can see a couple of splits coming on. Another inspection next week when the this coming chilly spell might be over.
 

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