A Day Late and a Queen Short

About a week ago, I found about a dozen queen cells in hive one, which I had already split just a week before that. This hive swarmed last spring, too, and I had to requeen it. None of the cells were capped yet and I thought, erroneously, that I could prevent a swarm by removing the cells. I was fortunate that the hive had not yet swarmed because the queen laid new eggs and the nurse bees began raising a new batch of queens.

Queen cells protruding from the frame.

Queen cells protruding from the frame.

I still hoped to at least do a swarm split by moving the old queen along with some brood to a new hive set-up, but I was away from the house during the day for 4 days straight (hey, I have a life aside from the bees) and they apparently swarmed during that time because there is very little uncapped larva, no eggs, but most important, no queen. So, I split the queen cells between the old hive and a new hive and both hives will have virgin queens. I expect to have to replace them if those queen raise the same type of aggressive bees my last virgin queen did.

inspecting hive

A very full frame of capped brood.

A very full frame of capped brood.

preparing swarm split

Dividing the hive with queen cells and capped brood in both halves.

Next year, as soon as I see queen cells, I’ll move the old queen to a nuc (a mini-hive) so I don’t loose another valuable queen. We certainly need more bees out there, but loosing queens in a swarm feels like throwing money out to the wind.

This spring, I went from two hives to five and I’m feeling a little overwhelmed by the sudden increase. After an inspection of hive two, I was pleased to see eggs and larva in both early and late stages. I also saw a few new bees coming out of their cells. According to the calendar, the eggs of those hatching bees were laid by the old queen around the 8th of April. She was removed a few days after that, so the last of her brood should be hatching this week and then within a few weeks I should see a change in the demeanor of the hive as the new queen’s brood hatches.



Filed under Uncategorized

2 responses to “A Day Late and a Queen Short

  1. Sydney Knight

    What would happen if a queen bee dies and the worker bees lay some eggs and make the queen cell around it? Could the bee become a queen bee?

    • Great question – I just read about this on another beekeeping site. Sometimes a worker bee will lay an egg in a queen cell, but the bee that comes from the egg will still be unfertilized, so it will turn into a drone. Queen bees can only be developed from fertilized eggs, which only a queen can lay.

      By the way, I received a new queen bee in the mail today, so I will be able introduce her to the hive on Saturday.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s