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Author Topic: Help! Queenless hive and likely dead virgin queen  (Read 548 times)

Offline bummer

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Help! Queenless hive and likely dead virgin queen
« on: July 13, 2019, 07:05:54 pm »
Hello-

Our hive isn't doing so well this year. We're located in Montana. We lost our queen and last saw eggs June 5. They made lots of queen cups and we thought they were getting ready to swarm because the hive was actually really bursting at the seams and doing great but when we no longer saw any eggs we feared the worst. On June 22 we saw the first hatched queen cell. We then spotted the virgin queen twice in the ten days after that but the weather has been awful with lots of windy afternoons and thunderstorms. By July 8 all the remaining brood had hatched and the bees had made room for a brood nest in the middle of the box by moving out nectar but it's now been five more days (July 13) and there are still merely empty cells and no sign of any eggs. We are fearing the absolute worst now which is that our virgin queen also passed during her mating flights.

We are planning to purchase a queen from our local bee company but they have been out of stock this entire month and won't have another queen come in until July 20. I grab a bar of eggs and young brood from a friend but I am worried that'll decrease the chances the hive will accept the new queen we plan on introducing next week. On the other hand, waiting a week doing nothing feels like the wrong thing to do as well. The bees are definitely acting pretty frantic and I feel awful for them. Even though their numbers are still incredibly high they clearly know they are in a pickle.

Thanks for everybody's input!
Chris

Offline Xerox

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Re: Help! Queenless hive and likely dead virgin queen
« Reply #1 on: July 13, 2019, 09:36:51 pm »
I don't think it would reduce any chances of accepting a queen. They probably WANT those eggs. They can make their own queen, no need to order one. See if they make any cells and if they don't you either have a laying worker problem or there is a queen somewhere in the hive.

Offline cao

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Re: Help! Queenless hive and likely dead virgin queen
« Reply #2 on: July 13, 2019, 11:57:27 pm »
Welcome  :happy:.

>We then spotted the virgin queen twice in the ten days after that...

It is late but when you know you have a virgin queen in the hive you should stay out of it for a couple of weeks and let the queen get settled.  Sometimes the bees will kill a new queen when you inspect too often when she is just getting started.  At this point it is still possible that there is a queen but not likely.  A frame of brood will definitely help the situation whether you purchase a queen or decide to let them raise their own.  When you put the frame of brood in your hive, you will need to check on it in a week for queen cells.  At that point you can either let them raise their own queen or you can cull the queen cells and install the purchased queen.  If it was my hive I would let  the bees raise their own queen.


Offline TheHoneyPump

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Re: Help! Queenless hive and likely dead virgin queen
« Reply #3 on: July 14, 2019, 05:52:06 am »
Buy a mated queen.  Letting them make their own is 24 days minimum to a laying queen, and there are no guarantees. You do not have that time available.  The season is short.  Your window for that opportunity has passed both in terms of the days left in the season and in terms of the biology of the beehive with and without a queen. By the time they get a new queen going from donor brood, all of the existing bees will be dead or nearly dead. The population will crash spectacularly. The new queen will be the last one standing. 

The player is on skip, repeat, ... if you want to still have a hive, buy a queen.  If you want to watch, for educational purposes, how a hive crashes and dies out go ahead and wait for them to try to make one.

PS1: Any eggs you see the hive make now is very likely going to be laying workers, unless you lay eyes on a big fat long mated queen.

PS2: Your location is in Montana.  I guarantee if you do not have a laying queen in 7 to 10 days from now the hive will not survive the coming winter.

PS3: I suspect this hive is already done for, finished.  It has been too long without a queen.  Do you have other hives or just the one.  If just the one, perhaps you will be best off to just let it runs its course and die out. You will get more honey. Start planning for next year.  Next spring install a new package and try again.
« Last Edit: July 14, 2019, 06:03:56 am by TheHoneyPump »
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Offline bummer

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Re: Help! Queenless hive and likely dead virgin queen
« Reply #4 on: July 14, 2019, 11:08:20 am »
Hi guys- thanks for all the replies. I decided to go grab a bar of eggs and young brood from a friend's hive. This is not to let them make a new queen because, as was pointed out, the hive doesn't have another month in them. It's to verify that they are queenless indeed as they will start making new queen cups. Either way, we will introduce a purchased mated queen July 20. If they make new queen cups we will be sure to cull them before we introduce the purchased queen. I hope the colony isn't doomed but if that's what happens at least I tried my best.

Online Ben Framed

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Re: Help! Queenless hive and likely dead virgin queen
« Reply #5 on: July 15, 2019, 11:17:21 pm »
Hello-

Our hive isn't doing so well this year. We're located in Montana. We lost our queen and last saw eggs June 5. They made lots of queen cups and we thought they were getting ready to swarm because the hive was actually really bursting at the seams and doing great but when we no longer saw any eggs we feared the worst. On June 22 we saw the first hatched queen cell. We then spotted the virgin queen twice in the ten days after that but the weather has been awful with lots of windy afternoons and thunderstorms. By July 8 all the remaining brood had hatched and the bees had made room for a brood nest in the middle of the box by moving out nectar but it's now been five more days (July 13) and there are still merely empty cells and no sign of any eggs. We are fearing the absolute worst now which is that our virgin queen also passed during her mating flights.

We are planning to purchase a queen from our local bee company but they have been out of stock this entire month and won't have another queen come in until July 20. I grab a bar of eggs and young brood from a friend but I am worried that'll decrease the chances the hive will accept the new queen we plan on introducing next week. On the other hand, waiting a week doing nothing feels like the wrong thing to do as well. The bees are definitely acting pretty frantic and I feel awful for them. Even though their numbers are still incredibly high they clearly know they are in a pickle.

Thanks for everybody's input!
Chris

Call David at BarnyardBees. Its been my experience that He will send a great queen to you pronto.
Phillip

Offline Xerox

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Re: Help! Queenless hive and likely dead virgin queen
« Reply #6 on: July 16, 2019, 01:28:21 am »
Hi guys- thanks for all the replies. I decided to go grab a bar of eggs and young brood from a friend's hive. This is not to let them make a new queen because, as was pointed out, the hive doesn't have another month in them. It's to verify that they are queenless indeed as they will start making new queen cups. Either way, we will introduce a purchased mated queen July 20. If they make new queen cups we will be sure to cull them before we introduce the purchased queen. I hope the colony isn't doomed but if that's what happens at least I tried my best.

Make sure you find every single queen cell. They will treat these as queens and will kill the introduced queen.

Offline bummer

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Re: Help! Queenless hive and likely dead virgin queen
« Reply #7 on: July 17, 2019, 06:10:06 pm »
an important update to the story:

The local bee company called today saying their mated queens came in. Thus, I went and checked on the colony. The first thing I checked was the transplanted bar from my friend's hive. The brood had progressed nicely (lots of uncapped  very young larva and some bigger larva) but, most importantly, NO queen cups. That got my heart racing! I checked a few bars over and, sure enough, I spotted several eggs! I proceeded to go through both brood boxes and spotted TONS of eggs. Man, I am one happy bee keeper today :)) Clearly the virgin queen did survive and just needed longer than expected to get into her groove, likely due to the severe stormy afternoons we've been having.

I'd like to thank everyone again in this thread for the support. Having the extra confirmation definitely gave me the extra confidence I needed to pull this through

Offline CoolBees

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Re: Help! Queenless hive and likely dead virgin queen
« Reply #8 on: July 17, 2019, 06:44:33 pm »
Congratulations Bummer. Good deal! Glad it worked out for you. :cool:
You cannot permanently help men by doing for them, what they could and should do for themselves - Abraham Lincoln

Offline sawdstmakr

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Re: Help! Queenless hive and likely dead virgin queen
« Reply #9 on: July 17, 2019, 11:16:47 pm »
Congratulations Bummer.
It helps to wait and give Mother Nature a chance. She does things on her time.
Jim Altmiller

Offline TheHoneyPump

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Help! Queenless hive and likely dead virgin queen
« Reply #10 on: July 19, 2019, 04:09:36 am »
Congrats on the eggs and laying queen!
Hey, just for fun ask your friend how his/her hive is doing. The hive that donated the brood frame. Specifically, is their hive and queen still doing well?   ... what I am getting to is it has happened where the a queen has gone with the brood frame and wound up in the other hive. So, you may (or may not) want to followup that the donor hive is still queenrite before cancelling the queen order.
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Online Ben Framed

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Re: Help! Queenless hive and likely dead virgin queen
« Reply #11 on: August 15, 2019, 12:06:16 am »
That is good Bummer and no bummer! Congratulations. Phillip