queenless hive not building queen cells?

Discussion in 'Beekeeping 101' started by pistolpete, Jul 2, 2013.

  1. pistolpete

    pistolpete New Member

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    I have a hive that has been under performing lately. They have two deeps brood chambers (mostly plugged up with honey), but have made no progress on a honey super in about 3 weeks. It was a split in mid may and they raised their own queen back then. This weekend I checked the hive and could not find any eggs anywhere, just older sealed and unsealed brood. So I pit in a frame with lots and lots of eggs. I went and checked on them today and about 1/2 the eggs in that frame have hatched, but there is not evidence of any queen cells started. Under what circumstances would this happen?

    I am thinking perhaps there is a queen in there, she just stopped laying. I will give them a few more days and check again. What do I do if I find no eggs again?
     
  2. G3farms

    G3farms New Member

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    If you spit in mid May then she would have been laying by mid to the end of June. Checking this weekend and finding brood sounds like you have a queen and just have over looked her and the eggs. Eggs are hard to see, need to get the sunshine down into the cell bottom. I have a hard time seeing them through the plastic mesh veils, better through the steel wire mesh and best with no veil. Sometimes I will even use a small flashlight to shine into the bottoms of the cells, it does help.

    I say you have a queen. It takes 21 days from egg laid till a worker bee emerges and in the time break you were in the process of raising a queen, all of the brood would have emerged. Another reason you are not finding a queen cell, you already have a queen.
     

  3. pistolpete

    pistolpete New Member

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    They had their own queen. She was laying for close to a month. I generally have no problem seeing eggs, I don't wear a veil. I looked through almost every frame in the hive and found no eggs, and no little "c" larvae.
     
  4. G3farms

    G3farms New Member

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    Are they honey bound by chance?

    Not sure what would make this happen.

    I had a hive with eight good frames frames and sold a 5 frame nuc out of it, they made queen cells in a couple of days and all was fine. Did another hive the same way and combined the left overs with the first hive the next day. All of the queen cells were torn down for some reason and they went queenless. So combined them with a very small cut out that was queen right yesterday, will see what happens to them now.
     
  5. riverrat

    riverrat New Member

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    If most of the eggs you put in the hive have hatched you wont see a queen cell. Queens hatch about 10 days before worker bees do. You probably have an unmated queen in the hive. or has g3 said you may be honey bound. One other option is and Im not sure what your weathers like or if a flow is on. A hive will all but shut a queen down when it gets hot during a dearth
     
  6. pistolpete

    pistolpete New Member

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    To clarify: there are empty cells in the brood nest for the queen to lay in if she wanted. The brood nest is quite honey bound, but not completely. Riverrat: we may be getting terminology mixed up. I use hatched to mean when the larva hatches out of the egg three days after the egg is laid. What you refer to is emergence, when a pupa emerges from a sealed cell. The frame I put in 3 days ago had mostly freshly laid eggs, some 2/3 day old eggs, and a few recently hatched larvae. They have not build any queen cells on that frame. it's hot, but lots of foragers coming and going on abundant clover and alfa alfa.
     
  7. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    well first off pistolpete if they have not worked on the super then you quite logically have had nothing coming in. some queens (I want to say the carnis were somewhat know for this trait) will stop laying three days after the end of a flow. I want to guess you still have a queen in the box....

    however (and this is a large however but definitely should not be ignored) it is my experience (gained thru several season working for a commercial concern making splits) that some small number of hive will not produce their own queen cells. this 'fact' is difficult to understand but I have no doubt that it does hold true.
     
  8. pistolpete

    pistolpete New Member

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    That's a good thought Tec, but the Nuc right next to them is a month old and about to receive the first super because they have filled both broods. So I would not say that there is nothing to bring in, they just haven't been producing any excess. It's just a bit of a mystery to me. They are not behaving like a queenless hive. They are docile, bringing in pollen, not building queen cells when given eggs. Yet, population is stable or declining instead of building up and traffic in and out is relatively light. Maybe the queen was produced too early in the year and she's in there, but not performing. I'll have another look in there at the end of the week and see if I missed the queen, or if she's at least started to lay again. I'm looking for input as for what to do if I find a queen in there. The logical thing to do would be to pinch her and start over, but we're just hitting the beginning of our 2 months of summer flows. I need to "fix" this hive ASAP, not a month from now.
     
  9. G3farms

    G3farms New Member

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    If you do pinch the queen it will be a month from now when things get fixed........maybe.
     
  10. Barbarian

    Barbarian New Member

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    One option that might work is to "bump start" the colony. If you move the colony a few yards away the foragers will not be lost but return to the next door nuc. The original hive will have lost the foragers, have plenty of stores, and sealed brood to provide new bees. The change of status of the colony could start the Q into laying.
     
  11. ApisBees

    ApisBees Active Member

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    If the queen is not there or is not preforming combine the bees with another hive so the bees can assist that hive in producing a honey crop. pul a couple of 2 frame nucs to raise queens and in the middle of August once the queens in the nucs are mated and laying add bees and brood to the nucs to assist them in becoming built up for winter.
     
  12. pistolpete

    pistolpete New Member

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    Thought I should give you all an update on this hive. I was wrong about the hive being queenless. When I checked them this weekend there were eggs in there. I am pretty confident though that there were no eggs or young larvae in there the week before. I guess that leaves two possibilities: the queen stopped laying for a little while, or there was a virgin queen in there and she has just started laying.
     
  13. G3farms

    G3farms New Member

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    Glad to hear it, most times that age old saying of "give them another week" will ting home.