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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Here in Illinois we are having a nasty heatwave like the rest of the country. I posted a few days ago that my colony went queenless but I found a queen cell in the upper brood box. My bees were very aggressive last time I checked them about 4 days ago. Yesterday I walked by the hive and was chased off twice by guard bees. Does the combination of being queenless and the severe heat make them act like this? We haven't had much rain in the past 3 weeks so I am guessing there isn't much of a nectar flow right now. Would it be wise to feed them until we get some rain? There are tons of flowers in my area but I know the flow dries up with no rain. My bees were very docile but now they have turned into little monsters. :( Any suggestions?
 

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letitbee:
I live in north-central Ohio and am having the same kind of weather. 2 weeks ago, I put out 2 five gallon buckets of water in which I floated a big handful of 1X1 in. wooden blocks cut from scrap wood, in order to head off the agressiveness which can be caused by drought conditions. My bees are still docile. Might work for you, might not. Just a thought.
 

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Drought, dearth, queenless, all contribute to making bees testy. As for feeding, lift the back of the hive an inch. If it is light, feed. If it is heavy, feeding won't help. As stated above, water may help
 

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add starvation to Iddee list (above) as a cause for bees to be defensive.

you might wish to search this site for 'robber guards' most especially if the hive is around you house or approximate to pets or livestock.

as a normal course of action (for myself) once I spot queen cells and know a hive is queenless I like to leave it undisturbed as much as possible. I will typically 'do the bee math' in my head (adding up the approximate days for queen emergence + mating) and then peak again when that date rolls around. starvation is one of those issues that trumps any 'normal course of action' since starving bees are quite unlikely to rear any kind of acceptable replacement queen.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
tecumseh..My colony has a lot of stores so I think I could rule out starvation. I didn't check my hive for 2 weeks and found the capped queen cell about 4 days ago. I saw the old queen when I checked the hive 2 1/2 weeks ago and did not see the queen cell at that time so the age of the new queen would be just a rough guess. How long do you suggest I wait to go back in and check on her? I was planning on sometime next week which would be about 12 days since I saw the queen cell. I can't for the life of me figure out what happened to my queen. I watched her checking cells and even laying. She had an excellent brood pattern, barely missing any cells, and I was very careful putting back the frame she was on. Its a mystery to me but I know the bees know what they are doing.
 

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so we can rule out hunger... that is a definite plus.

sometime queens just die. since you know approximate where the cell is located, in about two weeks I would quickly peek in to see the condition of the cell. it is good to distinguish whether the cell hatched (the end of the cell is opened like a round hatch) or was chewed (on the side of the cell). if chewed then either you have other cells that have hatch or (and this is not an impossibility) the old queen is still in the box. given your description of the temperament of the hive I will guess the old queen is now dead.

the problem with 'wild' cells is accurately dating cells is a problem. I would suggest you roughly compose a date* when you think the cell was started and a bit less than a month later you should have laying queen. most especially with robust populated hive disturbance should be minimized until you have some larval brood in the hive... excessive disturbance in the not quite queen right state can result in a hive murdering the new queen.

*clue... it only takes about 12 days from young larvae to emerged queen. at about 5 days from the cell being started the cell is capped. to the approximate emergence date then add another two weeks for maturation and mating then add another 4 to 5 days for the newly laid eggs to transform to larvae.

hope that helps.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks tecumseh! My only goal right now is for my hive to winter through. If I get any honey, that would be a plus but not my priority. I'm confident that my colony has sufficient stores and plenty of upcoming brood. The best I can hope for is that this queenless state will only be a hiccup and things will return to normal soon. Hopefully this darned hot weather and drought will end soon and the bees can get back to business. Thanks again for your knowledge. :wave:
 
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