What happens if the queen dies mid winter?

Discussion in 'Beekeeping 101' started by Eddy Honey, Aug 3, 2011.

  1. Eddy Honey

    Eddy Honey New Member

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    As the title reads, even if they raise a new queen from the few eggs/larvae they may have in the brood nest there can be no mating flight because of the temps/no drones. Does the virgin queen wait it out until spring arrives or is the hive doomed. Just curious.

    Ed
     
  2. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    The hive is doomed. A queen must mate within the first couple weeks or she never will.
     

  3. Eddy Honey

    Eddy Honey New Member

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    So during the winter months should we do hive inspections if the temps get to say in the 45-55 degree range?
     
  4. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    Some people do, but I won't open one under 60 F. and sunny.

    Why would you? You can't buy or raise a queen, so why bother the bees?
     
  5. Eddy Honey

    Eddy Honey New Member

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    That makes sense. I always assumed there would be queens for sale in the warm weather states? Not so?
     
  6. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    perhaps only Hawaii.

    casual quick stuff I do (generally only removing the lid) down to the mid 40's. any even minor intrusion or removing one frame I like to wait until 55 or so. at a certain time of the year what gets done is driven by the thermometer on my front porch.

    in the situation you described without a mated queen the house bees will very slowly leave the existing hive so that by the time cold weather arrives there will likely be no bees left in the box.... that is no queen pheromone and no brood to make the workers stick.

    I more likely situation is for a hive to dwindle to some small number with a mated queen. then during the coldest part of the winter due to the lack of bees the queen becomes chilled which destroys the viability of her sperm content. come spring time these hives may start out looking find but pretty quickly you will discover that they are drone laying queens with no resources to replace the old queen.
     
  7. brooksbeefarm

    brooksbeefarm New Member

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    One indicater i have found that your going into the winter queenless or coming out of winter queenless , is the presence of many drones in the hive in late Oct. or early spring (where they wintered with the cluster) In a case like this i do a combine. Otherwise like iddee said, they are doomed. Jack
     
  8. Hobie

    Hobie New Member

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    Are they completely doomed, or just doomed as a colony? Could the remaining bees not survive the winter and then be re-queened or combined in the spring? I have had a queenless hive last a long time before re-queening, but it was in summer.
     
  9. riverrat

    riverrat New Member

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    I have never heard of a real problem with a hive going queenless over winter. Death from cold starve, keeps digging into the hive in cold temps and lack of stores will doom a queen along with the whole hive very quickly. My guess if it comes out of winter queenless more than likely it went into winter the same way.
     
  10. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    Jack points to the easiest and most obvious clue for most new bee keepers to watch for....