No brood and apparently no queen??? What do I do now?

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michelleskothe
Posts: 2
Joined: Mon Oct 10, 2016 9:37 am

No brood and apparently no queen??? What do I do now?

Post by michelleskothe » Fri Nov 17, 2017 9:58 am

I did a quick check of hive 1 this morning because I was adding a new brood box to hive 2 and was all kitted up.

Hive 1 has two supers practically full of honey, and one brood box which was full of capped brood, tiny larvae, eggs etc at the last inspection 3 weeks ago and today has no brood or larvae that I could see at all - note that the light was not great this morning and I might have missed some, but definitely not larvae in multiple stages and nothing capped.

I couldn't find the queen anywhere (but I have never been able to see the queen in that hive). However it looks to me like something catastrophic has happened.

So what do I do now? I plan tomorrow to pull out the brood frames and check them thoroughly, especially for AFB - didn't have time this morning as it was just supposed to be a quick check between rain storms. But all my reading up on AFB doesn't suggest it would decimate a hive in 3 weeks? Or am I wrong? Other suggestions of what to check for?

Assuming no sign of disease, I figure my chances of ordering and getting a queen in time are slim. Would the best solution be to try to get a swarm and combine it with the current hive, or source a nuc? If so, anyone got anything available?

Jonj
Posts: 144
Joined: Fri Jul 10, 2015 6:52 am

Re: No brood and apparently no queen??? What do I do now?

Post by Jonj » Fri Nov 17, 2017 10:45 am

What is the history of hive 1? Has it been a functional colony before, or is it a new colony?
I recently determined a swarm that I had placed in a hive was queenless, and just as I was anout to rectify it with a combine, I noticed bees carrying pollen into the entrance. A sure sign that they are raising brood.
My conclusion was that the swarm had a virgin queen and they were basically waiting for her t9 mate and commenc3 laying.

If that is not it,

You could split Hive 2 and put the split over newspaper on hive 1.
Transfer 3 or 4 frames of brood and bees into an empty box, fill it out with frames.
Place 2 sheets of newspaper over the top box of hive 1 and put a dozen or so slits in the paper.
Put the split on the newspaper and close up with the lid.
In a couple of days, the bees in the split will chew through and combine with the bees in hive 1.
They should then raise an emergency queen from the brood frames you transferred.

On the question of bees, Dermot has about 15 available colonies of different origins. See his ad in the ckassifieds section.

laurie
Posts: 37
Joined: Fri Nov 06, 2015 1:35 am
Location: Theodore ACT

Re: No brood and apparently no queen??? What do I do now?

Post by laurie » Fri Nov 17, 2017 10:54 am

Transferring some brood from the other hive would be a good start.
If they are queenless and you give them some eggs or very young larvae you should see them start some queen cells.
If you provide some capped brood it will help.to maintain hive numbers while you sort things out.

michelleskothe
Posts: 2
Joined: Mon Oct 10, 2016 9:37 am

Re: No brood and apparently no queen??? What do I do now?

Post by michelleskothe » Fri Nov 17, 2017 11:15 am

Thanks to both Laurie and Jonj - hive 1 was very functional and is over a year old. It was sourced from a swarm so maybe the queen died from old age (though you would think they would make a new one - and no queen cells and no signs of any empty ones at all). Hive 2 was trying to swarm and had been creating queen cells, sadly I had removed them all and added the new brood box BEFORE I opened up hive 2.

I think I will do what Laurie suggests and take a frame from the other hive to give them some workers, there are a lot of drones in there and I am wondering if I had a laying working and mistook that for the queen? I did some reading on the time to requeen from a brood frame and decided to see if I could order a mated queen, which I have done - should arrive at the end of next week (very lucky to get in there). So hopefully some brood to look after and a new and mated queen within a week will revitalise them.

There are a lot of cells with stored pollen in the brood comb which makes me think they haven't been using it to raise brood at all.

I will keep a split in mind if getting a new queen doesn't work with a new colony as a fallback. I feel a lot better now - thanks again for the advice - it was such a shock to see all the brood frames empty. I even pulled most of the frames from the honey supers in case the queen had gotten trapped above the queen excluder - no brood there however.

laurie
Posts: 37
Joined: Fri Nov 06, 2015 1:35 am
Location: Theodore ACT

Re: No brood and apparently no queen??? What do I do now?

Post by laurie » Thu Nov 23, 2017 11:41 pm

michelleskothe wrote:
Fri Nov 17, 2017 11:15 am
there are a lot of drones in there and I am wondering if I had a laying working and mistook that for the queen?
a hive would normally need to be hopelessly queenless for some time for workers to start laying; a lot of drones in a queenless hive is more likely to mean that the queen had simply ran out of stored sperm in her last days.
If her pheromones were still strong enough the bees wouldn't have realised anything was wrong and missed their opportunity to start some queen cells.

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