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1 week old hive and already orphan bees... HELP!



I got a new nucleus last week and a fertilized queen. It is my second hive, other one started last july and doing well.

One week later the bees are starting to make the cells on wax sheets but I can’t find the Queen which was marked… I looked everywhere and can’t find her. Look in the hive, on the frames, on the floor around the hive, everywhere.
To me poor newbie it seems that there is one cell developing as royal cell but not sure.
There are quite a few males from the other bee hive on the frames (I can differentiate the 2 hives as bees are very different in color and size…). But no Queen…

I can think of 4 solutions but need your help:

  1. Obviously, I can turn the entire hive upside down above and empty brood box and a queen separator just in case I missed it. Any precautions to take ??
  2. Do nothing and wait…just in case i missed it. future will tell if there are some eggs…
  3. Buy a new queen and put her in. Question: How long do I have to do that ? I guess I am running against time… What will happen if there is already a queen inside ?
  4. Get a populated frame from the other hive and put it inside this one. What will happen to the first hive ? What is the risk ? Shall I keep the frame and some bees on it or empty it of all bees ?

Last solution is to drop all the bees of hive 2 in hive 1 to reinforce it (It is still not full strengh as I started with a half hive last year only…)

Thank you for your help. It would be a real pity that my nucleus just dies out because of no queen.


Do nothing. Go back and look for eggs.
Eggs tell you that you have a queen.
Did you see her when you bought the bees? If she was damaged when you installed the nuc there would be lots of emergency cells not just one maybe-cell.
Is there any sort of brood?
You don’t need to find the queen when you look in, just evidence that she is there. It’s a bonus spotting her but not necessary


I totally agree with @Dee. My husband and I have well over 30 years of beekeeping experience, and we don’t always spot the queen, even when she is marked. Partly that is because we don’t stress about finding her, if there is other evidence that she is there and healthy. Such evidence includes, eggs, uncapped larvae and a nice compact brood pattern.

If she really isn’t there, the answer to question 3 is a couple of weeks, but longer if you do what you suggest in question 4. If you take a frame of very young brood from the first (older) hive, you will just weaken it slightly. Not a big deal at this time of year when the hive is ramping up brood production to maximum anyway. I would transfer the frame with the nurse bees still on it - they may fight, but usually they don’t. However, I wouldn’t do this until I am sure that the nucleus is queenless = no eggs or uncapped brood.


Thank you both.
I bought the nucleus of bees without frames and the queen separately. So the frames are really empty… not even with cells yet.
So do I have the time to wait for the workers to create the cells and wait for the Queen to lay eggs ?
Thanks again


Without photos, or visiting your hive, it is really hard to say. Your nucleus should have frames of bees and larvae, so from your words, I am not really sure what you are looking at. Did you buy a package rather than a nucleus? Is that what you are saying. Sorry, I am just having a hard time understanding what you have. :blush:


Sorry, I bought a package (I am still not completely clear on all the vocabulary) !
Bought a package + a queen and put it all in one very empty hive with 8 frames, 6 with wax and 2 empty (unbuilt) frames.


Did you just drop her in with the rest of the bees or leave her in a cage, protected from the unfamiliar bees that wish to kill her, for the first few days?


left her in the hive in the cage for 36h or so.
Hive locked, bees in


Hmm. That sounds ominous. You locked the bees inside the hive for 36 hours? How did you you do that? Any photos? I am not trying to say you did something wrong, I am still having a hard time understanding. Maybe my Mom dropped me on my head at birth… :smile:




Awesome advice @Michael_Bush I’ve read most of your pages, but not that one apparently!

Time to make sure I haven’t missed anything else!


Great advice it answers all the questions I had.


@Dawn_SD I put this:


Laisse passer the :honeybee::honeybee::honeybee: but empeche l’entree the :mouse::lizard::japanese_ogre:. Good work


Mais les pauvre faux-bourdons sont bloqués par la porte! :cold_sweat: Hopefully not too many drones in a package, but they would kill themselves trying to get out.

Anyhow, Michael’s advice is the best, in my humble opinion, if you have that option. Otherwise, just do what @Dee and I suggested. :wink:


Michael, it worked !!!


Woo hoo! I love that trick, if you have a strong hive that can spare the brood frames. :sunglasses:


From the above link to my site:

“If you are concerned about taking eggs from another new package or small colony, keep in mind that bees have little invested in eggs and the queen can lay far more eggs than a small colony can warm, feed and raise. Taking a frame of eggs from a small struggling new hive and swapping it for an empty comb or any drawn comb will have little impact on the donor colony and may save the recipient if they are indeed queenless. If the recipient didn’t need a queen it will fill in the gap while the new queen gets mated and not interfere with things.”

Eggs don’t cost them much if you replace them with some drawn comb. A queen can lay 3,000 eggs a day and few colonies can take care of that many.