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Bees not capping brood with new queen

Hello All,


I had a swarm in late July at some point when I was on vacation. Noticed the loss of a queen and cells when I got back. Several empty swarm cells but after back to back inspections, no queen. There may have been some worker laying going on as I noticed a few cells with muliple eggs. The new queen has been placed for 7 days. I noticed a PILE of larva, debris, etc on the bottom screen. Gross and smelly. Cleaned it. There are 2 frames of my 2 Deep 8 Boxes that have eggs and larva at stages. It looks like some of the larva should be getting capped.

I don’t understand what is going on here. Can someone speculate on what is going on?


A few pictures would be useful

larva is capped at day 9. Could be varroa mite. Look at pulled larva with magnified glass. Do a mite count. .Consider treating for mites while no capped brood. Any sign of robbing? Dead bees. Pollen and honey look OK not tore open. This is robbing season. Consider reducing entrance. Are you in soybean corn country? Might not be much to forage. Bad nutrition. Anything blooming? Maybe ragweed or goldenrod. If not try a little pollen substitute if you have it and see if they take it.

“Gross & smelly” certainly rings alarm bells. Some photos would REALLY help. cheers


This is the important issue and should be of greatest concern. Do the frames above where the debris and larvae came from look gross and smell as well? Is there any sign of SHB or wax moth? This where a couple of close up photos would help us to figure out what is going on.

That makes sense.

So you now have a laying queen in the hive.

The worker bees will cap the brood when it is the right time, relax, it will happen.
Post a few pics so that there is no speculation, as I said that is the major concern for now.

Thanks All

I will pop the hive this weekend and get pictures. I want to give them a day or so.



G’day Joe, do it sooner rather than later. If that gross & smelly stuff is associated with SHBs, you need to act quickly. They take over & slime a hive very fast.

If the brood frames look gross & smell bad with no white grubs present, you may need some local expert advice to determine if you have a diseased hive or not.

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Hello All,


Here is my Queen. All actually seems normal in the top Deep of the Hive

Here are some small larva. She is really only laying on one frame in the top deep

Random Cells with what appears to be Drone larva and cells, prob remnants from laying workers

Evacuated Larva. There is more outside the hive and on the bottom board

Bottom Screen, several larva. Not a fetid mess like before. The smell was probably from that. It smells normal now

The frames in the bottom deep are all scarred up. The bee population is reeeeallly much lower than I thought

I found a ton of SHBs in the bottom. No bees to keep the population in check. Is it them that are causing all the damage to the frames?

Thoughts and Actions:

I think it is SHB bloom in the bottom deep since there are not a lot of bees around. I don’t understand why they would be evacuating all the larva, unless they just don’t want that many drones? Queen and top deep looks really good and is normal populated.

I reduced the hive to 1 Deep. I removed the bottom deep with all the SMB and frames. I have them out away from the hive in the yard.

Can I freeze those chewed up frames and reuse them down the road or are they shot? Should I move the hive to a sunnier location? Should I treat with chemicals for SMB?

Any suggestions would be awesome.


I think you have wax moth in there too. I would try to condense the hive down and remove that box, just like you did. Well done.

If they don’t smell bad and are not slimed, probably you could. Freeze for at least 24 hours, covered in cling wrap, then put in an empty hive box sealed shut with burlap to allow air circulation, but keep moths and more SHB out. If you are worried about the quality of the comb, or if it is likely to be >3 years old, you could render the wax instead. Moving to a sunnier location may help, as I think I can see some early chalk brood in your second photo.

You could put some Beetle Blaster traps in the hive with oil in them, that would help. There aren’t any chemicals which really work.

Overall, it sounds like you have had a hard time, but made good decisions. Great job. :blush:

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The hive beetles did not make your hive weak it is the result of weak hive. Have you checked for mites? I see some pollen but no honey. I would treat and feed.

I agree with @Dawn_SD, you did the right thing removing the lower super. With that I would clean the frames out to get them ready for fresh foundation.

The evacuated larvae & comb is the result of the bees cleaning up the damage caused by the beetles. Luckily you have enough bees to take care of that job.

In the remaining super, make sure that there are no frames containing brood or pollen that doesn’t have a good covering of bees on them.

Remember this: beetles lay eggs for their larvae to feed on in brood, dead bees & pollen. Another important thing to remember & take into consideration in the future is that drones don’t do any defending in the hive. It is only worker bees that will chase beetles incessantly until they find somewhere to hide.


Illinois is #1 in soybean and #2 in feed corn if I remember correctly. Central Illinois is where they grow it and where bees are located. Fields as far as the eye can see. Bee forage is almost non existent for much of the year. Not to mention farm pesticides. Is there any forage where you live?

There actually is quite a bit where I live. It is a large area where the glaciers didn’t flatten everything so it is hilly and rocky. There is quite a bit of agriculture here but a great balance.

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