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Author Topic: What to do with weak queenless hive  (Read 1041 times)

Offline lpposs

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What to do with weak queenless hive
« on: August 04, 2013, 11:24:49 PM »
Hi! I am new to this site but have heard very good reviews!
I'm a fairly new beekeeper, In Illinois, trying to learn. We have 2 hives we bought this spring (we have 7 total) and put in a remote location. 1 hive seems to be doing well, we put a medium super on top of it 3 or so weeks ago and they are slowly filling it w honey, the hive body has plenty of brood and honey too. On the other we also put a medium on at the same time but upon checking it today we found termites in the medium, no work being done in the super, honey in the hive body, some capped & pretty,, decent amount of bees but no brood at all. However There is a healthy looking queen cell that has not yet emerged and I'm wondering what to expect/do.
If the queen emerges will she likely stay and start laying or is it more likely she'll abscond? There's obviously no queen she needs to challenge so I'm not sure what her instincts will be. I took the super w termites off so she'll have a cozy place w honey already available sooo.. this late in the season does she mate and stay or take off?
I could remove the queen cell (pretty sure only one) and try to combine this hive with the stronger, queenright hive, I could move it to our main beeyard and hope for a fresh start there or leave it as is and hope for best. Did not do a varroa check but they are new this year, didn't see hive beetles or wax moths so I feel they are not being overly stressed by pests - yet.
Any experienced beekeepers have a suggestion? Please?
« Last Edit: August 05, 2013, 12:19:13 AM by lpposs »
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Offline Wolfer

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Re: What to do with weak queenless hive
« Reply #1 on: August 04, 2013, 11:44:25 PM »
Do not remove the cell. If she makes it back from her mating flights she will start laying in a week or two later.
I would wait for that before I made a decision on combining.
She won't abscond or swarm.
Where are you? This makes a difference as to how much time you have.

Offline 10framer

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Re: What to do with weak queenless hive
« Reply #2 on: August 04, 2013, 11:45:15 PM »
we don't know where you are and that could make a difference.  i'm seeing very few drones these days in my hives.
also, i don't understand why you would have termites up top and not in the bottom board and hive body.  termites need water and  it doesn't seem like they'd be getting it up in the super, are you sure that's what you have?

Offline sc-bee

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Re: What to do with weak queenless hive
« Reply #3 on: August 05, 2013, 12:13:42 AM »
If the hive is queenless she has no reason to go anywhere. AS already stated paste your profile with a location. It will help folks located in your area be able to advise according to the beekeeping conditions you have in front of you the remainder of the season: flow, weather, etc.
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Offline lpposs

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Re: What to do with weak queenless hive
« Reply #4 on: August 05, 2013, 12:16:40 AM »
Thanks!  Well it could be ants of some sort, but they're winged and definitely moved into and carved up the medium! Not really any damage I noticed to the deep. We're in Illinois and it's been plenty wet here this year! Would you suggest putting some brood from a stronger hive in to help in the meantime?
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Offline lpposs

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Re: What to do with weak queenless hive
« Reply #5 on: August 05, 2013, 12:23:33 AM »
South central Illinois to be specific. Right on I-70 halfway between St Louis N Indianapolis
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Offline Finski

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Re: What to do with weak queenless hive
« Reply #6 on: August 05, 2013, 01:32:16 AM »
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New beekeepr and 7 hives. It is much.

Better to join the hive and add your skill before you add more hive number.

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Offline sc-bee

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Re: What to do with weak queenless hive
« Reply #7 on: August 05, 2013, 04:54:24 AM »
Would you suggest putting some brood from a stronger hive in to help in the meantime?

If you have strong hives that can spare it , it won't hurt. You can always recombine them later if needed. Someone should come along soon knowing your area and flow patterns etc and be able to tell you if it is too late to be starting a queen from a cell. Remember it's 7wks to get the first round of hatched brood from a new queen started from a cell. Where will you be in terms of weather, forage, etc in 7wks, Those are the kind of questions that need to be asked.
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Offline BlueBee

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Re: What to do with weak queenless hive
« Reply #8 on: August 05, 2013, 05:10:04 AM »
I’ve done walk away splits the first week of August in the past and wintered the bees as a nuc.  The queens started laying the first week of Sept.  If you’ve got a capped cell now, you’re ahead of those nucs I did a few years back.  The biggest problem with the late start/split is getting enough winter bees raised before winter arrives and bee’s shut down.  The bees in your hive now (summer bees) will be dead come winter.  You need enough winter bees to have a viable winter cluster. 

It is desirable to get as many cycles of brood (winter bees) in before about mid October.  The later you start a split, the less number of winter bees you’ll end up with and the more insulated/protected you’re going to need to make that hive/nuc to survive the winter. 

Offline Finski

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Re: What to do with weak queenless hive
« Reply #9 on: August 05, 2013, 07:18:26 AM »
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In my country hives have now only 2 weeks to lay winter bees.

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Offline Michael Bush

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Re: What to do with weak queenless hive
« Reply #10 on: August 05, 2013, 09:41:04 AM »
> There is a healthy looking queen cell that has not yet emerged and I'm wondering what to expect/do.

It will emerge sometime in the next 8 days.  She will mate and start laying sometime within 2 weeks after that.

>If the queen emerges will she likely stay and start laying or is it more likely she'll abscond?

There is no reason to believe she will abscond.  If there is one queen cell, they are NOT swarming.

> There's obviously no queen she needs to challenge so I'm not sure what her instincts will be.

She will become the reigning queen.

> I took the super w termites off so she'll have a cozy place w honey already available sooo.. this late in the season does she mate and stay or take off?

Any time, she has no reason to take off.  She will mate.  She will start laying.  Whether the colony will have time to recover remains to be seen.  With a good fall flow it is possible.  But it is certainly not a forgone conclusion.

>I could remove the queen cell (pretty sure only one) and try to combine this hive with the stronger, queenright hive, I could move it to our main beeyard and hope for a fresh start there or leave it as is and hope for best.

I'd give them the next couple of months and see what happens.  Winter could set in (in Illinois) as early as October, but probably won't until late September and a good fall flow can make a difference.  You can always combine later.
Michael Bush
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Offline Brian D. Bray

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Re: What to do with weak queenless hive
« Reply #11 on: August 07, 2013, 10:09:12 PM »
I hate to disagree, slightly, with MB but I continue to run across the anomaly of new queens laying eggs in the hive between mating flights.  This is in my own and my brother's hives--Carnolian, Russian, Italian crosses survivor stock. 
The normal rule of thumb is a queen will wait 2 days to sexually mature before departing on mating flights, then go on up to 10 mating flights over a 14 day period and then another day or two before she starts to lay--meaning up to three weeks between the queen hatching and her beginning to lay eggs.
It is important to remember that a hive will swarm anytime between when the 1st queen cell is capped and the 1st queen hatches--a 10 day window.  Removing queen cells, once they are capped, will result in a queenless hive sooner rather than later.
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