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Dead queen - options


Hi, I inspected the hive 8 days ago and all seemed well.

I looked in 4 days ago and could see larvae and found some queen cells. I panicked and destroyed these. Afterwards, I realised that they could well be emergency cells.

2 days ago, I looked into the hive and could find no larvae or queen cells . So I presume the queen is dead… I’m guessing I killed her during my inspection 8 days ago and then have prevented the hive from producing another. Very frustrated with myself.

I’ve got plenty of capped brood in the brood box.

From phoning around it sounds like getting a new queen quickly is going to be difficult. I’ve been told by a local breeder that all the breeders she knows are having a difficult time atm.

I’ve got one queen breeder, who is going to inspect his hives in a few days but I’m not sure when he’d be able to get one to me.

What should I do?

Another beekeeper has offered me a frame of brood to help out. If there are eggs in that brood, could they make emergency queen cells from them?


Don’t panic, you will be able to source a new queen if needed. Are you sure your queen is dead? The best method is to inspect every frame and look for eggs, ideally you are looking for 1-2 day olds, they are small… about 1mm. Use a torch, sunlight or magnifying glass… this is most important. You don’t want to put a new queen in there unless you are sure the original is no longer there.
If a beekeeper has offered a frame of eggs, thats good news… its not hygienic but it is a solution. They will make a new queen if your colony is queenless. But I would source her from a reputable breeder first. Only take another beekeepers frame as a last resort.


Rodderick. If Dunc has problems sourcing a new Queen how long, in your experience before he should be worrying about laying workers?[quote=“Dunc, post:1, topic:5268”]
Another beekeeper has offered me a frame of brood to help out. If there are eggs in that brood, could they make emergency queen cells from them?

Dunc, I’d go for that. You’ll achieve two things, You’ll find that if you have a queen (the method is called a test frame here in the UK) they won’t draw QCs and you can give your mate back his frame or your bees will make their own new queen.


My bees superseded a weak queen a month her so ago and today I discovered 4 capped queen cells in the hive. I guess that means the new queen wasn’t up to scratch either. There was a single queen cell on one frame and three queen cells on another.

One of my other hives has been queenless for a while so I gave them the frame with the single queen cell.


Yes, that’s always a bad idea. Destroying queen cells will usually just result in a queenless hive.



Please keep us updated on what happens. I am very interested. Although it can be overwhelming, I think you are demonstrating why it can be great to start with 2 hives. You can use one to help fix problems in the other.



Dawn n others,

Yah! That’s why I decided to start with three Nuc’s (expensive but a resource)… If I stay on track n have little or no issues I am ahead. Should I experience problems I should find an option easier. That’s why I did a lot of asking n research for backup plans … Plus my 55 year old experience pushed me that way too. Gerald.


I have never seen these issue but understand it could be a couple of weeks… but who knows, every colony has its own unique personality.


I hope you never do, they are a real problem. Two eggs per cell, all capped larvae are drones - dead giveaway. Sad to see, because it is hard to deal with. David and I have seen it 2 or 3 times in 30 years. I hope never to see it again. One hive we lost. One we were able to re-queen. The third we did the nurse bee removal trek, then requeened, and that one did OK, but it was a very slow recovery.



As of a few minutes ago I have 6 hives. One of them is a double decker nuc that will be going to another beekeeper. When that happens I will still have 6 hives because the top of the double decker will become another queenless hive.

I’ve been doing a few trapouts and accumulating plenty. I get loads of bees but no queens. This morning at 4am I collected 6 frames. Two of the frames were brood that I had put in 8 days earlier. A few nurse bees had gone in with those frames but this morning the trap was really packed with bees from the colony inside the tree. I packed them all into a box but needed to “float” the last two frames down through a churning sea.

Here’s a pic of one of the trapouts. It’s located opposite the Beach Hotel in Byron Bay.


I just love the paint job! :heart_eyes:


Oh thats interesting, somebody posted a picture of your hive on Facebook last week, they thought it was a hive of native bees…
You may need to think about producing some queens from your existing hives. Simplest way would be to put in a frame of eggs and let the bees make their own queen.


Here it is.


Designer daughter home from Melbourne for Christmas.

She works looking after our two wonderful grandchildren but she also manages to create beautiful promotional material for ACME.


Thanks for the link. I’ve asked to join the group and I will put up a few more pics.

Here’s one of the frames of brood from this morning’s effort. Photographed by the light of a torch!


Be warned. They are not always friendly… OzUrbanBeeBuffs are always helpful, always friendly.


Good news. A friend has managed to find a bred queen for me. Going to pick it up today and find out how to install it.

When bees make emergency queen cells, it takes her about 3 weeks to hatch and mate. Is there then an issue with having insufficient nurse bees toe care for the brood or do some of the bees delay/regress to cover this gap?


16 days for a queen Dunc, 21 days for workers. You will be fine for nurse bee coverage if introducing a mated queen. Bees are quite adaptive and will change roles to care for young or forage.


I’ve just installed the queen on top of one of the frames. Feeling quite relieved after the stress.

I must say the bee community in Perth have been sympathetic and encouraging to a newbee.


@Rodderick 3 weeks Min as she needs to be mated and hopefully laying so late in the season I hope there are enough Drones about - Are the hives near you evicting Drones yet?