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Author Topic: How long can a Hive survive when Queenless?  (Read 1646 times)

Offline Moots

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How long can a Hive survive when Queenless?
« on: February 26, 2013, 10:46:23 AM »
As I detailed in an earlier thread, I was worried about one of my hives.  One of the theories offered by a number of forum members was that it may have gone queenless and I should check ASAP.  Unfortunately, a stretch of bad weather kept pushing that back.

 Original Thread

Anyway, I finally got a look this past Sunday (Feb 24th) and confirmed my fears, the hive is queenless.  I first noticed problems right after moving them from their Nuc on Feb 8th, so I'm "assuming" that's when I lost her, although there's no real way of knowing.

Both Bailey and Schawee have offered me what I know to be solid advice, it's my ability to effectively implement it that has me concerned.  :?

I moved a frame from my good hive Sunday to the queenless hive to give them a chance to make a queen.  My problem is, I'm not sure a got a frame with 1-3 day old eggs.
As a plan-B, I moved one of my newly drawn out frames of foundation to the middle of my good hive.  We did this to encourage the queen to lay there, in case I need to take another shot at giving the queenless hive another frame.  Schawee has offered to come take a look, if we can ever get a decent looking day of weather...that could be today, but more likely tomorrow, but in Southeast Louisiana you never know with the weather.

Anyway, my question is, I know the clock is ticking for this hive.  I'm curious...How much time do they have to get themselves a queen and when will they hit the point of "it's just too late".  Do I roll the dice till the end, or at some point do I cut my loses and try to merge the remaining bees with my existing hive?

All thoughts and suggestions appreciated!
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Offline Vance G

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Re: How long can a Hive survive when Queenless?
« Reply #1 on: February 26, 2013, 12:35:09 PM »
The demise is not imminent.  That frame of brood is easily another pound of new bees.  A second frame should keep a strong enough colony to take off when the new queen starts laying.  You have time for someone to come and give you local advice.

Offline Joe D

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Re: How long can a Hive survive when Queenless?
« Reply #2 on: February 26, 2013, 01:05:33 PM »
Moots, I know it is a might early, but does any of the guys local have a queen you could get and put in the hive.  On how long they can last I'm not sure.  I caught a swarm last spring, put them in a TBH came back to check on them in a couple of weeks.  They had four frames of comb drawn and partially full of honey, no brood at all.  I checked, didn't find a queen, bought one in a few days.  Now the hive is full of bees.  They cover both sides of every frame.  Good luck with your bees.



Joe
« Last Edit: February 26, 2013, 01:16:26 PM by Joe D »

Offline Moots

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Re: How long can a Hive survive when Queenless?
« Reply #3 on: February 26, 2013, 01:20:07 PM »
Vance, thanks for the words of encouragement, I'll keep hope alive.  :)

Joe, I'm certainly open to that and have thought about it. Just have no idea where I can get my hands on a queen this early.
"We must reject the idea that every time a law’s broken, society is guilty rather than the lawbreaker. It is time to restore the American precept that each individual is accountable for his actions."
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Offline T Beek

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Re: How long can a Hive survive when Queenless?
« Reply #4 on: February 26, 2013, 01:42:46 PM »
I agree, get a queen asap.  They should be widely available in your part of the World right now.   

That said, have you looked for signs of Queen Cells?  Might (would) be fun to just let them try and do their own thing.
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Offline gov1623

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Re: How long can a Hive survive when Queenless?
« Reply #5 on: February 26, 2013, 04:25:09 PM »
Moots
If the frame you put in has open brood on it chances are they will find some at the right age. I like making sure it has eggs on it also, that way you know they will have young larvae to use.  I'm sure you will be surprised the next time you open it up. Chances are they will have queen cells. As long as they still have some brood the hive should be fine until it gets a queen.
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Offline schawee

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Re: How long can a Hive survive when Queenless?
« Reply #6 on: February 26, 2013, 09:08:26 PM »
moot,I have to go to Gonzales tomorrow morning .on the way back I will call you and we can meet to check your hive.get yourself a good nite sleep and don't worry , :-D
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Offline tefer2

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Re: How long can a Hive survive when Queenless?
« Reply #7 on: February 26, 2013, 09:25:15 PM »
moot,I have to go to Gonzales tomorrow morning .on the way back I will call you and we can meet to check your hive.get yourself a good nite sleep and don't worry , :-D

and go out tomorrow and buy yourself a magnifying glass, so next time you can see them eggs.

Offline Moots

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Re: How long can a Hive survive when Queenless?
« Reply #8 on: February 26, 2013, 09:53:44 PM »
moot,I have to go to Gonzales tomorrow morning .on the way back I will call you and we can meet to check your hive.get yourself a good nite sleep and don't worry , :-D

Sounds great Schawee, I appreciate it.  Looks like the weather forcast is going to finally cooperate with our game plan.  :)

Don't worry, I'm not worrying over it obsessively, even though I'm sure it appears that way.  :-D

I realize they'll either make it, or they won't, and regardless of which it is, I'll move forward.  I just want to use it as a learning opportunity and do my best to be part of the solution and not part of the problem.  :)

tefer2, I already have one, LOL!
Although after I was about 4 stings in and a bit rattled, I wasn't really using it.  I do have to rethink my no glove policy until I get a bit more comfortable working the hive.  I think I have a good understanding of what I'm suppose to be doing in theory...It's just that my execution stinks. 

But hey, I'll get there! Hopefully sooner rather than later.  :)
"We must reject the idea that every time a law’s broken, society is guilty rather than the lawbreaker. It is time to restore the American precept that each individual is accountable for his actions."
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Online kathyp

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Re: How long can a Hive survive when Queenless?
« Reply #9 on: February 26, 2013, 10:21:57 PM »
an alternative to the magnifying glass is to take your camera out and take pictures of the frames you move.  when you put the pics on your computer, you'll be able to verify what was on that frame.  as we age  :-D  it's harder to see what's on there.  i can't seem to keep reading glasses on while working, or they make me sea sick when i move around.  the picture things is helpful.

after awhile, you'll be able to figure out which frame you want without the help.
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Offline Moots

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Re: How long can a Hive survive when Queenless?
« Reply #10 on: February 26, 2013, 10:34:40 PM »
an alternative to the magnifying glass is to take your camera out and take pictures of the frames you move.  when you put the pics on your computer, you'll be able to verify what was on that frame.  as we age  :-D  it's harder to see what's on there.  i can't seem to keep reading glasses on while working, or they make me sea sick when i move around.  the picture things is helpful.

after awhile, you'll be able to figure out which frame you want without the help.

Kathy,
Thanks for the suggestion, I like it, and will try it in the future.  As a matter of fact, Schawee had suggested doing that...Unfortunately, once I got in there I got a little nervous about time, it was getting late and cooling down and the girls weren't too happy.  I halfway pulled the panic  button, took a SWAG at what frame to go with, and got out.

Y'all keep working with me, I'll get there!  :)

You're so right about the eyes, everyone says when you hit 40 they start to go.  I'm 48 and thought I had dodged that bullet...the last two years have been bad, my sight is going south in a hurry! :(
"We must reject the idea that every time a law’s broken, society is guilty rather than the lawbreaker. It is time to restore the American precept that each individual is accountable for his actions."
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Offline gov1623

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Re: How long can a Hive survive when Queenless?
« Reply #11 on: February 26, 2013, 11:27:15 PM »
I found that the only time i can see the eggs is if i put my back to the sun and let it shine into the cells. The eggs really pop out.
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Offline tefer2

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Re: How long can a Hive survive when Queenless?
« Reply #12 on: February 26, 2013, 11:46:12 PM »
Moots, you can try some nitrile exam gloves till you get comfortable.
If you get popped, you can just peel them off and the stinger comes off with them.
Eggs will normally be along the outside edges of brood on the frame.
Schawee will get you dialed in. :th_thumbsupup:

Offline bailey

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Re: How long can a Hive survive when Queenless?
« Reply #13 on: February 27, 2013, 02:02:14 AM »
Moot you should be able to get in on Wednesday. 
I'm thinking you will see queen cells on the frame you put in. 
If not you know which one to put in. 

They will survive fine if given eggs in the next week. 
I should be making nucs tomorrow if the temps do what I want

Bailey
most often i find my greatest source of stress to be OPS  ( other peoples stupidity )

It is better to keep ones mouth shut and be thought of as a fool than to open ones mouth and in so doing remove all doubt.

Offline DLMKA

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Re: How long can a Hive survive when Queenless?
« Reply #14 on: February 27, 2013, 12:50:10 PM »
If you don't have laying workers it shouldn't be too hard to requeen or get them to make queen from an egg or young larvae.  If you let them go queenless too long you start getting laying workers which can be rectified but may not be worth the trouble.  I fixed a laying worker hive last summer by making a 3 frame nuc off another strong hive and after 2 weeks did a newspaper combine.  That hive is still going now and the parent hive didn't suffer too badly (still alive).

Offline Moots

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Re: How long can a Hive survive when Queenless?
« Reply #15 on: February 27, 2013, 02:47:57 PM »
We have an update!

Schawee came by and took a look, something I greatly appreciated!

I'm happy to report that he thought everything was looking good.  While we were unable to actually find the queen, he found all indications of her being present....eggs, larvae, and capped brood.

So....I guess I'm a bit embarrassed, but yet thrilled!

Thanks to everyone for the concern and input.
"We must reject the idea that every time a law’s broken, society is guilty rather than the lawbreaker. It is time to restore the American precept that each individual is accountable for his actions."
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Offline bailey

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Re: How long can a Hive survive when Queenless?
« Reply #16 on: February 27, 2013, 03:54:29 PM »
One was a dark queen if you remember. 
I'm betting its her you missed.

Bailey
most often i find my greatest source of stress to be OPS  ( other peoples stupidity )

It is better to keep ones mouth shut and be thought of as a fool than to open ones mouth and in so doing remove all doubt.

Offline tefer2

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Re: How long can a Hive survive when Queenless?
« Reply #17 on: February 27, 2013, 04:10:25 PM »
That's great Moots, now go get some gloves.

Offline Moots

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Re: How long can a Hive survive when Queenless?
« Reply #18 on: February 27, 2013, 04:55:03 PM »
That's great Moots, now go get some gloves.

tefer2,
LOL!  I had them on!

Of course, Schawee was like a Jedi Master...NO gloves, NO jacket, NO veil!  :)
"We must reject the idea that every time a law’s broken, society is guilty rather than the lawbreaker. It is time to restore the American precept that each individual is accountable for his actions."
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Offline Georgia Boy

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Re: How long can a Hive survive when Queenless?
« Reply #19 on: February 27, 2013, 06:51:11 PM »
Really glad it all worked out for you.  :)

As a brand new beek with no bees yet I can only imagine how you felt.  Had me worried and I had nothing to worry about.

Still this is exciting stuff. Kinda looking forward to getting my bees but also scared to death.

It is really nice to know that we as new beeks have you guys here to help and guide us.

Glad everythings good..... for now.  :) lol
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Offline PLAN-B

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Re: How long can a Hive survive when Queenless?
« Reply #20 on: February 27, 2013, 09:41:39 PM »
Been busy the last few days moots, Glad to hear everything seemed to work out for you... Being new i might have been on pins and needles ...lol Awesome that everyone was willing to lend a hand... Awesome site with even better members
Marshall

Offline T Beek

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Re: How long can a Hive survive when Queenless?
« Reply #21 on: February 28, 2013, 09:25:40 AM »
Really glad it all worked out for you.  :)

As a brand new beek with no bees yet I can only imagine how you felt.  Had me worried and I had nothing to worry about.

Still this is exciting stuff. Kinda looking forward to getting my bees but also scared to death.

It is really nice to know that we as new beeks have you guys here to help and guide us.

Glad everythings good..... for now.  :) lol



You'll have to get used to it.  You will also kill bees.  We all kill bees.  Good beeks and bad beeks both kill their share.  There's no way around it.
"Trust those who seek the truth, doubt those who say they've found it."