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Another question on queenless hive


G’day, I did a hive inspection the other day and noticed there was no brood, only honey and pollen in the brood box of one of my hives. I have bee reading other posts about similar situations and I could place a frame of eggs and lava from another hive to see if they start a queen cell. What I am concerned about at this time of year if they did raise a queen are there enough drones around to make her fertile. I have 3 hives and there are no drones in any of them.
would I be able to buy fertile queens from breeders at this time of year?


Hi Neil,

Looking at your avatar flower I am assuming that you are in W.A. Is this correct? If so, are you sure there are no drones. It is the height if summer in Australia and out of 3 hives I would expect some drones. Also if you live in an urban environment then there will be drones from other backyard or wild hives.

Yes, this is the way to go. The smaller/younger the eggs the better for queen production. Insert a frame of eggs and hopefully the queenless hive will still have some nurse bees to look after them and grow the queen cells. Check in 5-7 days for queen cells and make sure there is a larva in the bottom of the cell with royal jelly surrounding it. Bees will cap the cell in 9 days. I have to re-iterate that you should make sure the hive is queenless, you can have a queen roaming in the hive, just not laying, check the pollen stores as during a dearth the queen can slow down on laying so you may not need to replace her but a fresh frame of eggs and brood is a harmless way to remedy a hive. Let us know how you get on.


G’day Rodderick, I guess I may have tricked you with the Sturt Peas, I live in the Adelaide hills but take pleasure in growing them from seed in the most unlikely place for them. As I am retired I can spend a lot of time sitting and watching my bees come and go and I can usually pick out the drones as they enter the hive, haven’t seen any for some time now. I live in a forward thinking council area which prohibits keeping bees within the townships, I have seen a couple of feral hives around the place when walking.
I just ordered a Kangaroo Island queen which will be sent Monday 30th Jan I hope she is well mated. How will I know if there enough nurse bees to look after the brood she should produce? thanks for your prompt reply.


I totally agree with what @Rodderick wrote. No drones in your hives doesn’t worry me at all. It isn’t too late in the season. Colonies somewhere near you will be making drones until late summer/early autumn. I would guess she would be good for mating until at least late February to mid March, depending on weather and nectar flow. She won’t be looking to mate with drones nearby anyhow. Drones usually fly to a DCA (Drone Congregation Area) that is a limited distance from the hive. Queens fly much further, and seem to prefer to mate with non-local drones.

You should be able to find a commercially produced mated queen quite easily until that March cut off, if you want to. But I would just follow @Rodderick’s advice. :blush:

Ah, you beat me to the Post button! :wink: OK, so if you want nurse bees, why not take a frame of capped brood from another hive now? When they hatch in a week or so, you will have a growing army of nurse bees. Don’t choose eggs preferentially - capped brood is preferable if your queen is arriving in a week. Plus the frame of brood will help to suppress any laying workers if you have some lurking in the hive, that way they won’t try to kill your nice new queen.

With the reputation that the KI breeders seem to have, chances are you will have an excellent queen.


Trial and error, and a bit of inducement through introducing capped brood every 1-2 weeks. This will ensure you have a small amount of new nurse bees coming through the ranks to take care of any new larva.


Thank you all for your replies. a frame of brood from one of my other hives will be transferred tomorrow, regards Neil


How to deal with supposed queenlessness:


G’day just a quick update on my queen-less hive. I received my new queen from Kangaroo Island last Wednesday and put her into the hive that same day. Today I checked the hive out to see what had happened. Happy to report many eggs and small lava on one of the frames so I closed the hive up after taking one frame of honey for a nuc. My first experience at dealing with a queen-less hive and also maybe improving the genetics of the hive as these queens have a very good reputation.