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Hi fellow beekeepers,

I've had a hive which has been queenless for a while now.  When I first noticed it, I added a frame of young brood from another hive, but they didn't raise a queen from that brood.  So, I added another frame of brood - still no queen.  Why wouldn't they raise a queen from the brood (contained lots of eggs to choose from), when they clearly don't have a queen.  No sign of disease in the hive, nor large numbers of dead bees.  As you'd expect, they have plenty of honey - they haven't had to raise brood for a while now.

 

Now the bee numbers have really started to fall off (end of season, and no laying queen).

 

Interesting that no laying workers have materialised, maybe because of the added frames of brood?

 

It has been a lovely Auckland autumn with warm weather, but I'm wondering whether it is too late in the season to save this hive.

 

I've just ordered a new queen, and hope to place her in the hive tomorrow.

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I have had a hive with a similar problem.  I just dumped the bees out and let them go to other hives in the apiary.

 

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Posted (edited)

Thanks Trevor, what did you do with the honey in the hive? There's quite a bit...

 

I'm actually quite keen to save the hive, but just not sure whether it would winter very well with a new queen and not that many bees, and wondering whether she would lay many between now and winter.  

Edited by VictoriaF

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Can you give the hive more brood from another hive when you put the new queen in ??

If the bee  numbers get too low it will be robbed out by a stronger hive. 

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I have seen queens that didn't lay but did produce enough Queen pheromone to stop them raising a new Queen but they are very very rare. I would definitely put some brood in with the new Queen with plenty of young bees as well. This will help with the acceptance of the new Queen. At this time of year I don't usually bother trying to save hives but there's no reason why you can't if you want to put in the effort.

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Quite an odd situation.  When you introduce the new Queen perhaps leave her in the cage on a frame laid flat with bees on it and see what reaction you get.  Better still drop her out of the cage into the frame.   

If Queenless in Auckland at this time of year they should have made cells. 

I do see from time to time a Queen that is mated but just won’t lay so must have some non obvious physical reason. You need to be careful she is not still in there.  

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Would shaking the whole lot through a Queen excluder be a good plan? Before the new Q is added.

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Thanks all for the suggestions.  Yes, good ideas to add more brood when adding the queen, and testing the reaction to the queen prior to adding her to the hive.  Also, would be very doable to shake the bees over a queen excluder.  I've looked really hard in there for the queen - but there is still a possibility that I've missed her I guess.  There is a 'roar' when I go into the hive, another hint that there is no queen.  Even if she is in there, she's a useless layer...

 

I know I probably should just let it die off at this time of year - but can't really bring myself to let it happen LOL!  Partly because it puzzles me so much that they haven't raised a new queen.

 

 

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Do you have another hive you could combine it ?

 

Good hive on bottom , then newspaper , then QE then crook hive on top.

 

Leave them for a couple of weeks then go back through and see what’s happening .

 

That way , if you do have a queen she will be protected 

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4 hours ago, M4tt said:

Do you have another hive you could combine it ?

 

Good hive on bottom , then newspaper , then QE then crook hive on top.

 

Leave them for a couple of weeks then go back through and see what’s happening .

 

That way , if you do have a queen she will be protected 

Victoria has a few hives 

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Bees that for whatever reason won't build queen cells, will also kill an introduced caged queen.

 

There are several reasons for refusal to build queen cells, among them being the hive may have a non laying queen, or the workers may be heading towards being laying workers, even if not laying yet.

 

So, sieving the bees may or may not make it safe to introduce a mated queen.

 

However if you want to save the hive with a new mated queen regardless of how much effort is involved, there is a way. - Make a nuc from a different hive and introduce the mated queen to it. Once the queen has it's own capped brood, reduce the queenless hive to the minimum number of boxes the bees can fit in. Take the lid and mat off and put 3 sheets of newspaper on top. Punch a finger sized hole in the middle of the newspaper sheets then put a queen excluder on top. Put a super on the queen excluder and put the nuc in it, close the hive.

 

Leave untouched for 3 weeks. Even if there is some kind of queen below, the bees will normally still accept the queen above, they may not immediately kill the non functioning queen, but the excluder will keep the 2 queens apart so there is not risk to the good one. If there are laying workers, 3 weeks after exposure to brood they will regress back to normal workers.

 

Three weeks after the combine, assess the hive. If there is still no brood below the excluder, the bees will want to be with the brood above the excluder and this will become the main engine room of the hive, with a smaller number of bees below. It will probably be safe to remove the excluder, but leave it a bit longer if you get "vibes" that something is happening under the excluder that might be unfriendly to the new queen. Normally after removing the excluder, even if there is still a non functioning queen in the hive, the bees figure out which is the good one, and the other queen disapears in time.

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On 12/04/2019 at 8:43 AM, Alastair said:

Bees that for whatever reason won't build queen cells, will also kill an introduced caged queen.

 

There are several reasons for refusal to build queen cells, among them being the hive may have a non laying queen, or the workers may be heading towards being laying workers, even if not laying yet.

 

So, sieving the bees may or may not make it safe to introduce a mated queen.

 

However if you want to save the hive with a new mated queen regardless of how much effort is involved, there is a way. - Make a nuc from a different hive and introduce the mated queen to it. Once the queen has it's own capped brood, reduce the queenless hive to the minimum number of boxes the bees can fit in. Take the lid and mat off and put 3 sheets of newspaper on top. Punch a finger sized hole in the middle of the newspaper sheets then put a queen excluder on top. Put a super on the queen excluder and put the nuc in it, close the hive.

 

Leave untouched for 3 weeks. Even if there is some kind of queen below, the bees will normally still accept the queen above, they may not immediately kill the non functioning queen, but the excluder will keep the 2 queens apart so there is not risk to the good one. If there are laying workers, 3 weeks after exposure to brood they will regress back to normal workers.

 

Three weeks after the combine, assess the hive. If there is still no brood below the excluder, the bees will want to be with the brood above the excluder and this will become the main engine room of the hive, with a smaller number of bees below. It will probably be safe to remove the excluder, but leave it a bit longer if you get "vibes" that something is happening under the excluder that might be unfriendly to the new queen. Normally after removing the excluder, even if there is still a non functioning queen in the hive, the bees figure out which is the good one, and the other queen disapears in time.

yep, I would take the box from the bottom away and shake the bees in front of the hive the bees from the former above box will accept the bees but will kill the laying worker bees or a queen.

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