10 responses

  1. Tim
    May 15, 2012

    Phillip, I would do as suggested and put in a frame of brood from another hive. It does work and it would give you a queen hopefully then once established you can remove that frame unless it is currently a frameless frame. Just so you don’t have mixed frames, as long as you remove the nurse bees you will be great I have never tried to leave nurse bees on the frames. I have been told that they would be fine but I always remove them
    Good luck and keep us posted

    • Phillip
      May 16, 2012

      I will add the open brood later today, but even if they make some queen cells, as interested as I am to see that, I’d rather not have the colony lose the time it will take for a new queen to begin laying (our summers are too short, are sunny days too unreliable).

      I have two other hives that look like they’re ready to explode any minute. I get the impression each of them could easily use a new brood box, especially one mostly full of empty cells. Unless I’m missing something, I think combining is the best move. Then splitting once I get some replacement queens.

      I was reading over my beekeeping journal. I reversed the brood boxes on the foundationless hive on April 22 (about 3 weeks ago). Two days later I noted that there was less activity from the hive compared to the other hives. We weren’t having the greatest weather, so I thought perhaps the colony has shut down a bit. But I’m pretty sure I either killed or severely injured the queen that day.

  2. Phillip
    May 16, 2012

    I added the open brood frames. I’m not using Rite-Cell foundation anymore, even if it is deeper than regular foundation. It’s white. Trying to spot tiny little eggs through my veil is hard enough. Against a white background doesn’t help.

    But anyway, it’s done. I replaced the pulled frames from the healthy hive with empty foundation. There’s brood in the hive, but not as much as I expected, at least not in the top box. Still, no worries.

    Now we wait to see if they build some queen cells…

  3. Tonia Moxley
    May 16, 2012

    I have been battling this issue, too. I hived a swarm first week in April, and had to cut out some bad comb they were building. I just have chopped or pinched the queen, because two weeks ago I found the same thing you did — no brood and a really chill hive. Not much excitement.

    So I robbed open brood from another hive, shook off all the bees and am hoping for the best. On Saturday, I’m doing a full inspection of all my hives (and doing a cut-out in another hive where a second swarm has cross-combed the crap of the frames. Eeesh.) I hope to see queen cells or evidence of emerging queens. If not, I’m going to combine the swarm with another hive.

    Good luck to you, and to me!

  4. Emily Heath
    May 16, 2012

    Good luck with the hive. It’s always tricky trying to work out what they’re up to, but I think you’ve done the right thing.

  5. Jeff
    May 17, 2012


    Give them a few days and pull the frame(s) with brood you installed and look at. For the time being if you do see some some queen cells leave them for the time being. As for a laying worker. If you had one already you would be seeing eggs by now. But you may have one just on the horison. Also if you are not working monday stick another frame of eggs/open/capped brood in. You need the smell of the brood to prevent that laying worker from taking hold.

    Also, this early in the season I would not worry about recombinding. I would contine to steal a frame of brood from one colony each week until you have a laying queen. Whether they make their own queen or you take one of my grafts. In 3 – 4 weeks you should have a mated queen again. It is still early in the season. By the way, I grafted 12 cells yesteday. I intent to move them into the finisher on Friday so then I will know how successful I was in my grafting.

  6. Phillip
    May 19, 2012

    I checked the brood frames today. No queen cells. 19°C, but I can’t do a full inspection because the wind is too strong today. The bees in that hive are acting funny. We smoke them and they barely react to the smoke. My guess is a laying worker has taken over.

    For the record, winds this high are too high for beekeeping:

    Westerly wind: 48 km/h
    Gusts: 69 km/h

  7. Jeff
    May 19, 2012

    Hey phil, this is a good time for you to know off a few of those drone frames for me while the colony is queenless.

    • Phillip
      May 19, 2012

      No problem. I’ll pull some frames as soon as I can get at them — probably Monday. Crazy wind today. The frames aren’t exactly drone comb. They just seem to be very well cleaned out empty brood comb. But I’ll get you whatever I’ve got.

  8. Mil
    May 22, 2012

    We’ve put in a frame of brood and eggs into a queenless hive. Worked for us. This hive is now pretty strong! Glad to find out the hive is queenright.

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