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Drones and no queen


I cannot find the queen and all there seems to be in the frames are drone cells. I have put a frame of brood and larvae in from another hive and they are capping the larvae as drones on this frame also, any ideas ?


Any chance of a photo? :wink:



I Dawn how do I add a photo



In the window where you type a reply, there is a set of menu items in a banner across the top. The seventh from the left is a bar with an arrow pointing up. If you click on that, it will guide you through uploading a photo to the forum. :blush:


Thanks Dawn I will get a photo today and post it later


The brood was already on the frame and larvae they are capping as Drone and the other frame is just one from the box


Hey @JWK,
I am only seeing a handful of drone cells here with the rest of the capped brood being workers … looks pretty normal to me. The angle is not quite right as I am not able to see into the bottom of the hatched brood cells… I would expect to see eggs or larvae in these empties. Did you see the presence of eggs on any of these frames? Not many bees on these frames, did you shake them off for inspection?


Hi Rod, the brood cells are from another hive and the larvae that was with them is what this hive has turned into drone cells. The third picture is what the other 7 frames look like in this hive. not many and only drone


and how many bees were on the frames? Did you shake them off for the photo or is this how the frames were pulled from the hive (trying to gauge your hive population).
Considering that the bees are backfilling the brood area with honey, this hive may have been on a downward spiral for some time.
Any eggs?
Adding frames of brood may not help, depends on hive population.


If the third one down is representative of your hive, then my guess is that you have laying workers & no queen. If there are a lot of bees in the hive (as said above there are very few in the photos), then you will likely need to give them a frame of eggs & brood weekly for a while before they make a new queen.

I have had laying workers twice, and have eventually gotten them to make a queen, but it is a slow process & requires a few extra hives to get frames from.




Hi all, see I have shaken bees of the frames for the photos and the hive still has quite a few bees in it. I have suspected it is queenless and I have a worker laying the drones so I guess the question is can I just requeen or do I have to keep replacing frames with brood and larvae until they requeen themselves and the drone layer either gives up or dies


I believe a new queen may fix the situation but may also fail if you have a laying working. A suggestion would be to do both. New queen plus a frame or two of fresh brood to keep young bees in the hive, as they will be the bees tending to the larvae that a new queen will lay.


If there are laying workers a new queen will be seen as a rival and be killed. You can try adding a frame of open young brood/eggs once a week until you see capped queen cells. It may take several weeks and several frames of eggs/brood to get the result you need.


Thanks for the advise. Cheers John


Does that work with laying drones? Wouldn’t it have the same result as introducing a queen?


The way I understand it is that the open brood is needed to suppress the urge of the workers to lay - a pheromone thing. Once that happens (which may take multiple frames), then the bees will realise they are queenless and either make one from eggs, or will accept a new queen.

Without adding brood, the bees think they have a queen so won’t want another one - hence won’t make queen cells or may kill any introduced queen. This is why I would never try and combine a laying worker hive with a queen- right hive as there may be a big fight.




Laying workers and what to do about them:


" In my opinion there are only two practical solutions. The simplest solution if you have several hives and especially if the laying worker hive is a long trip, is just shake all the bees in front of the various other hives and divvy all the combs out to the other hives."

so do you think the shook bees will be accepted into the other hives? I have been wondering about lost and orphaned bees and if they really do get largely accepted into other hives? The other day I drove back from one of my apiaries with a super I had removed form a hive. 3 bees were in it- that I hadn’t seen and started flying around in the car. I opened the window and one by one they all flew out- I have read that a lost bee will circle wider and wider until it finds a beehive and begs it’s way in? Do you think that’s true?


Yes, they will move into the other hives.


Well after 14 days and three frames of brood and larvae at a few days apart we finally have queens cells and things are looking promising.