Queenless Hives

Discussion in 'General Beekeeping' started by brooksbeefarm, May 30, 2012.

  1. brooksbeefarm

    brooksbeefarm New Member

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    I found three more hives last Monday that were queenless? two weeks prior they were strong, running over with bees and brood. When i checked them (last Monday) they were back filling the brood nest and the only brood left was small patches of drone brood around the top part of the frames. I had 3 new 10 frame deep hives with me (made from nucs) that i was going to put in these yards, but ended up combining them on the queenless hives. This makes 5 hives this year that have gone queenless? Any of you seeing this? Jack
     
  2. guyross2

    guyross2 New Member

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    I found three queenless yesterday. To many supersedure cells to count. One with a open swarm cell. I made up a nuc frame of cells with one planted two in a swarm that didn't have a laying queen. I hope yours are leaving you something to work with. One of mine had patchy capped brood but no eggs. Only in my second year I had a mistake in repairing the one last mentioned. I should have gave them a good frame or two of eggs and emerging brood. Sorry for your losses.
     

  3. Gypsi

    Gypsi Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Are all of your queens about the same age?
     
  4. brooksbeefarm

    brooksbeefarm New Member

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    Thats the strange part, i found no supersedure cells (ripe or toren down) only old queen cups on the bottom of a few frames. The first two i found, i thought maybe they had swarmed and something happened to the new queen (birds,ect.) or they had superseded and the new queen hadn't started laying yet? but finding three more queenless with alot of back filling going on makes me wonder if something else is going on? Jack
    PS. To many supersedure cells to count? sounds more like swarm cells, were the queen cells on the bottom of the frames? When superseding the queen cells will usually be (1 to 4) in the middle or top part of a frame or two. Jack
     
  5. brooksbeefarm

    brooksbeefarm New Member

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    Gypsi, i have no idea, i don't keep very good records:roll:. I'm guessing two to three years old. Jack
     
  6. indypartridge

    indypartridge New Member

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    Are you sure they didn't swarm? Seems more likely that you'd have three hives swarm rather than have three queen drop dead at roughly the same time.
     
  7. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    a snip...
    Are you sure they didn't swarm?

    tecumseh:
    I guess my question Jack is what made you believe they were queenless?

    over time I have found that it is good to be cautious about declaring a hive queenless since any number of things (in the natural environment) can create this circumstance. most especially if all I see is drone brood in the final stages of it's development I pretty quickly close things up since I figure if they did naturally replace the old queen (and your dating of these hives suggest this could be the likely cause) the new queen is likely almost ready to lay and I need not intervene until she and the hive has some brood laid down in the box.

    in addition.... it has been reported (I think I got this from Larry Conners) that some carnolians will cease egg laying within 2 day of the end of a nectar flow and essentially turning their egg laying machinery on and off as the nectar flow dictates.
     
  8. brooksbeefarm

    brooksbeefarm New Member

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    The first two hives i thought was queenles, i did nothing for almost three weeks (i too thought they might be superseding) only to find them back filled with lots of drones and a dwindled work force. The 3 hives i found queenless? last Mon. May 20th i went through looking for the queens,(none found)had back filled most of the brood nest (not capped) they were noisy, running on the frames, and a little hot. They still had a good work force (not strong like they were) and lots of drones. I had 3 single deep hives i was going to start in these outyards (60 miles from home) with me, so to make sure they had a queen, i combined them with the newspaper method. I did not find any old or open queen cells in any of these hives only a few queen cups along the bottoms of one or two frames in each hive. All 5 of these hives were strong earlier with 2 to 3 honey supers almost full of nector, but not capped. Our honey flow is still in full swing, the sweet clover (the white) is just now starting to bloom. Like everyone i've talk to say everything is a month early, i'm wondering what's going to happen if the Aster and Goldenrod bloom is over in July? The girls will eat up there stores in Aug. and Sept. and have nothing for winter.:eek: Jack
     
  9. Gypsi

    Gypsi Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Is there a lot of corn planted around you Jack?
     
  10. brooksbeefarm

    brooksbeefarm New Member

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    Gypsi, the only corn around that i know of is my sweet corn,(about an acre) and it is just now starting to tossel. I have 2 more fields in different stages and two more to plant. The bees only work the tossels for pollen. Where the last three hives are, there is no crop farming going on within 5 miles of my bee yards and that is soybeans in the river bottoms. Jack
     
  11. Gypsi

    Gypsi Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Well Jack, I'm a 2nd year keep who is scratching her head. I don't have the experience, just trying to help anyhow.

    Gypsi
     
  12. Omie

    Omie New Member

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    Was your corn seed coated with neonicotinoids? The new Harvard studies suggested that even the small amounts of that pesticide brought into the hive in corn pollen were causing colonies to collapse and bees to lose their navigational and 'bee directional dance' abilities. Soy seed is coated similarly. Just a thought, especially because of the timing.
     
  13. Gypsi

    Gypsi Super Moderator Staff Member

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    That's what I was thinking. I planted sweetcorn last year, not that much of it. Feed store said the seed wasn't coated, but it was pink, so it was coated with something. I lost my hive, probably due to my stupidity in following directions from the gal I bought it from, I had it in deep shade. By the time I opened the hive to see what was going on, the bees had absconded and it was full of wax moth and shb. There were no bee corpses.
    I still have sweet corn seed. It is in my refrigerator. Perhaps in a year when we are getting more rain I will try it again. When I know more about bees. I did not see any of the symptoms of neo-nic poisoning I have read descriptions of, so my seed is probably ok. But in a drought year, it is a poor investment, costs more to water than the corn is worth. I planted asparagus, grapes, a lot of squash and melons, green beans and swiss chard instead.

    Gypsi
     
  14. brooksbeefarm

    brooksbeefarm New Member

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    Thanks Gypsi and Omie, i don't think the corn or soy bean is the problem. The hives went queenless before the corn tosseled and the soy bean bloomed? I don't know what the pink stuff is that they put on the corn seed to keep the insects from eating it?but it has been on the seed for many years and i've not had a problem.My bees are within ten ft. of one sweet corn field and when it tossels, and i am hand picking it, the girls are all over it. I use a insecticide (Asana) that is deadly to bees that i spray on the ears (the silks only) late in the evening (bees not flying) and have never had a insecticide kill (bees rarely work the silks). My first sweet corn field is just now tosseling and we got a much needed rain yesterday. (eight tenths of a inch) Temp last night 45F and high for today 65F, Life is good:thumbsup:. Now if i can figure out what's happening to my queens?:???: Jack
     
  15. Omie

    Omie New Member

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    Jack, when you say you have 5 hives that have gone queenless so far this year....how many hives do you have altogether? : If you have two hundred then this would not seem alarming or odd at all, if you have 8 then this would be a mystery worth solving.
     
  16. brooksbeefarm

    brooksbeefarm New Member

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    Omie at last count i had 73 hives 36 of them are 60 miles north of home in 3 different counties. Three went queenless up north an two here at home? Jack
     
  17. Omie

    Omie New Member

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    In that case, I'd have to say I don't see it as worrisome. I'd think the odds would be a few would go queenless naturally if you had 73 hives in several locations.
     
  18. brooksbeefarm

    brooksbeefarm New Member

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    Omie, this started happening the last week of April, so you could say i've had 5 queenless hives in 5 weeks? I do have hives go queenless every year, but i thought 5 hives in 5 weeks was a little strange and thought i'd ask if antbody else was seeing this?
    Jack
     
  19. Omie

    Omie New Member

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    Yeah, it's good to find out if others are seeing the same thing!