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Brood-less! Colony doomed?

New beekeeper here…
Have had my flow hive and another langstroth hive since about September last year and I thought everything was going well. Have yet to harvest - have about 4 flow frames that are 2/3 full.
Today I did a pre winter hive inspection as its getting chilly here in New England ( down to 0 overnight, 18ish during the day)…and there is no capped brood, pupa or eggs to be seen…hive is full of bees (that were a bit cranky today).
Does this mean by queen has recently gone AWOL? Or just not active due to winter approaching? If I hadn’t done the inspection today, I would not have known about it as bees remain active in the sun, and even on cloudy days, although I haven’t seen any bringing pollen for the last week. I have never been able to spot my queen but the hive has always had lots of capped brood.
Do I need to re - queen in a big hurry? Is it wise to do this just before winter hits? Or is this just the end of my colony?
Thanks for any advice,
Jodie

The hive needs a queen - if you’re sure your hive is queenless then you have a couple options, buy a queen, give the bees a frame with eggs from your other hive to make their own, or combine the hives.

I don’t know the climate in your part of the world but my guess is that it isn’t cold enough that the bees would ever go completely broodless. However, I’m not sure if there would be a sufficient number flying drones this late in the season to make sure your new queen in mated properly, so your safest bet if you don’t want to combine is to buy a mated queen.

Depending on the strength of the colonies and your climate, you may decide that it is safer to combine the colonies for the winter and then worry about splitting in the spring.

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Were both hives the same? If so, I would say it is seasonal. :wink:

You mentioned owning two hives. What is the status of the second hive? Do you have a local mentor? That way you can find out whether you can get a virgin queen mated or not this time of year. Sometimes local knowledge is gold. Another thing to consider is whether mated queens are still available. If your other colony is queen-rite, combining the two as @chau06 mentioned might be the only answer.

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Thanks everyone.
Have contacted some local beekeepers and they agreee its probably seasonal and that I can stop panicking for the moment.
My second hive has a small patch of capped brood in 1 frame only, they are situated approx 2kms apart.
As it gets down to below zero in winter here Im a bit hesitant to inspect again once I put on some hive mats…hoping it will be ok and the girls make it through.
Thanks for all your advice.
Jodie

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