Saturday, April 23, 2016

QUEENLESS???

As an opening paragraph I would like to relate this story just sent to me.  Its one of those believe it or not stories.

"Local beekeeping story

So the last of the three packages that we installed and we got around to checking 3 days later. In the third hive the package bees killed the queen in the cage. I got a replacement queen and installed her approx 6 days later.  I just checked her status (and the other hives)... She's dead  again! ... They killed her and the attendants in the cage.

But I inspected further; thinking that this was a laying worker situation.  However I found larvae and capped brood everywhere (not drone! Not a laying worker!).  This is after 9 days from package installation.

So there must have been an uncaged queen in the package in addition to the caged queen."  

However, the more common story is that you are inspecting your overwintered hive or new package.  You sadly realize your hive is queenless.  What to do???  You have basically 3 choices.

1) Let the hive dwindle away.  No beekeeper worth his salt would do that!

2) Order a queen.  This time of year queens are only available from the south or California.  

3) You can add a frame of brood from another hive.  If it has open brood and eggs it will do two things.  One, the open brood will suppress the start up of laying workers and maybe give you time to get a replacement queen.   Two, the bees may utilize the young brood and raise a replacement queen.  A frame of brood should be added at weekly intervals until you give up or they raise a queen.  

1 comment:

Gerard Schubert said...

Queenless in 3 hives that looked fine on the outside. Lots of bees bringing in pollen. But on inspection - no brood, eggs or capped cells. Ordered queens from Olivarez. They're now in and released. Hoping all goes well and I see signs of a laying queen next week.