Monday, July 15, 2013

Strike Two: 07-09-2013 and 07-13-2013

Looks like my hive may be in big trouble.  I made my second attempt to split the hive and even though I had better weather, the bees still seemed agitated.  Last time I had looked, the top box was almost entirely full of honey.  When I opened the hive this time, I took the top box off first and started my inspection of the bottom two boxes.  I went through both bottom boxes (while trying not to pass out in a full bee suit and 85 degree weather) and I found nothing but pollen and honey!  What?  During my last full inspection (over a month ago now), the second box had lots of brood and I had spotted the queen.  This time I don't see any?  Well, there is no possibility to split the hive if there is no brood or eggs (if I want them to make their own queen).  I finished looking through the bottom box and the time was now after 9 PM so the bees were about to get even more annoyed once the sun went down.  I closed it up and began to ponder what had happened. 

07-13-2013:  Since I had skipped the top honey super (and I don't use queen excluders), I thought maybe the queen had gone back into the top box and I just didn't look there.  So, a few days later, I took a queen peek in the top box.  Honey, honey and more honey.  Dang, now what?  Could I have skipped a frame or two during my inspection and missed the brood?  That doesn't seem to make sense since that would be a very small area to have brood only on a few frames.  I saw no queen cells, so I don't think they swarmed.  The proportion of workers to drones seemed right, so the hive hasn't become a laying worker hive.......yet.  The last inspection where I spotted brood was on June 4th, so it has been more than 21 days, so the queen could have died and all the existing brood hatched out already.  By all my logic, it seems that they are now queenless and my only hope of saving them is to order a new queen.  Hopefully there is someone selling them this late in the year!
Smile Girls!


  1. Its possible with all the honey flowing into the hive that the bees are getting "honey bound" and they've used up all the queen's available places to raise brood and instead filled it in with honey.

    Did you see any open/empty cells, or was every last cell filled with honey or pollen?

    The queen may still be there, but might not have a place to raise brood. Although they usually raise swarm cells before she gets completely out of room and from your description of the hive being feisty and not seeing eggs or brood for several weeks, I suspect you're right and they're queen-less.

    Do let us know if you get another queen and how it goes...I'm definitely interested to see how it turns out!

  2. Those blasted bees. You never know what they're going to do .... or not do. I wish you were closer and I'd give you a frame of brood.

    If Christopher's right and they're honeybound - might it be a good idea to harvest some of that honey to free up some space?

    Keep us posted. Fingers crossed you can find some brood or a queen somewhere quickly.

  3. The running joke in our local club is "we can't figure out why bees don't read the beekeeping books and do what they're supposed to." haha!

  4. Hehehe, thanks for your comments Robin and Christopher!

    Good point on them being honeybound but no, they had quite a few frames in the bottom box with many cells open.

    Last year I would have had that frame of brood to add, dagnabit! =)