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Hi folks, 

 

I'm a beginner beekeeper and purchased a single box hive at the beginning of winter. 

 

I checked it for the first time today and didn't observe any brood, capped or uncapped, and marginal amounts of pollen. There was some capped honey at the edges of the outer frames but not a lot. It seemed that many cells were completely empty and I couldn't see any eggs. I also didn't see a queen or any drones. 

 

So, a couple of questions:

 

Should there be brood present during this time of year? 

 

Could it be that the hive is now queenless, and if so, what do I do and how quickly do I need to do it? 

 

Apologies, a complete novice here. 

 

Many thanks in advance, 


Anna 

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I would normally expect at least some brood by this time of year but it is considerably colder in Southland and it's possible that the Queen is not laying yet. I had one hive yesterday that had just started to lay .How many bees were there, i.e. how me frames were completely covered in bees. It is possible to tell a queenless hive from a queenright hive with experience but it is not one of the easier beekeeping tasks. If the hive is queenless then given the time of year there is not really much you can do to save it other than joining it on to another hive.If the hive are still reason is strong with at least four or five frames of bees you could try giving it a litre or two of warm sugar syrup. If that doesn't make it lay within one week then you have a queenless hive.

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Hi Anna 

 

Winter is the hardest season to get beee through alive . 

 

Im not sure what bees do in Southland at this time of the year, but I believe they should have brood , or very close to it . 

 

I imagine your observations are correct and your hive is queenless 

 

How many bees are in there ? As in , when you open it and look down on the frames , what do you see . Bees covering 2 frames , 5, or 10 

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Don’t loose hope, I lost my first hive over winter due to thinking all summer about it. 

 

With no other hive to borrow brood from it’s hard to recover.

 

Get a mentor/Join a club. And when you restart this spring get two hives. 

 

Watch all @Trevor Gillbanks videos. There’s a good British one too (?kent). And learn learn learn learn. 

 

Register and also also do the AFB course, even if you don’t want to get DECA the course is good. 

 

Good luck, everyone on here is very helpful too & tolerant of us beginners

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I don't know what the weather was like when you inspected but it might have been a bit cool to do so. For a novice, your report is useful and you have asked the right questions. :) You report that there was only capped honey which would indicate that the bees are not foraging in any amount and they can't brood if there's no food to do so. The colony may well come good - it's not always easy to see the queen in any case. I would not worry too much.

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Thanks everyone for your responses - it's great to know that the beekeeping community is so helpful. 

 

In regards to bee numbers, every frame was well covered in bees on both sides. I also forgot to mention that I saw some amounts of uncapped honey on a few frames. 

 

I'll make up a warm mixture of sugar tomorrow, as suggested, and then check again in a week's time to see if there is any sign of laying *fingers crossed*.  I'll also get on to watching some Trevor Gillbanks videos and school up. 

 

Thanks again! 

 

 

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Lots of bees is good.  It gives you more options to fix it, should you need to , as in , even queenless they will carry on for a while doing their thing . A small colony is much harder to pull through .

All the best 😊

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I might add to what has been recommended - take a load of photos. It isn't easy with a suit on, gloves (or dirty finger)!

The more experienced here have picked up things on photos I'd never have spotted and it also lets you look back in a more relaxed environment. If you can do it with the light behind you so that the photos show right into cells it is good too.

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If the bees are calm on the frames there’s a good chance the queen is still there. There’s a certain sound (roar) that queenless hives make. once you recognised the queen less behaviour it’s a lot easier to tell. 

My first commercial winter I decided to be commercial I had to be ruthless. I went around early spring and combined all the ’queenless’ hives...

We had about 40% losses that year 🥴

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I just had another look in the hive as it's a beautiful day down here in the South, and I found the queen and some beautiful larvae. As well as observation of the Queen and brood, the numbers of bees out foraging has been increasing every day and the overall hive behaviour is very calm and ordered (as Nikki said).

 

This has definitely been a week for learning more about hive behaviour. 

 

One very contented beekeeper here :)


Thank you all so much!

 

 

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On 24/08/2019 at 9:29 AM, Brooklyn said:

 it's great to know that the beekeeping community is so helpful. 

 

 

Of course we are; We're beekeepers!

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