Help! New beekeeper and possible queenlessness

Hey all! I’m about a month into my beekeeping journey and was having a grand old time until today when I’ve noticed things going a little wrong. I have 1 flow hive. This is the 2nd inspection in a row where I haven’t found my queen and I’ve found that there’s no larvae or eggs at all. However, there’s tons of honey (uncapped and capped). So sure, I might be queenless. There are a good amount of queen cells at the bottom of several of my frames so that’s a good sign right? But how does a queen get raised via a queen cell when there’s no queen present? Is that possible? A beekeeping friend recommended for me to get another hive at some point so I don’t have to be confined to what is happening in one hive and I can help both of them out.

Another question – should I be taking one or two of my frames of honey out, harvesting the honey, and replacing it with empty frames? Would that help the bees with space, in case that was what caused the bees to possibly swarm? They were growing pretty rapidly and I think that MAYBE could have been the reason I’m missing the queen, except that the population didn’t go down that much.

Also, would these problems contribute to the fact that the bees haven’t been putting honey into my Flow super?

Thanks in advance for taking the time to help me out with all these questions!! :smiling_face_with_tear: :blush:


It is totally possible for the colony to raise a new queen without the old queen being present. They will use one of her eggs and raise it into a queen who will then go out and mate before returning to the hive to begin laying eggs. The whole process takes a while. Are the queen cells you’re seeing capped? If not, can you see a larvae or royal jelly inside? In any case two hives is always a good idea!

Is there still space to lay eggs if the queen where around? Perhaps the colony is honey bound and preparing to swarm?

As for the Flow super, that could be a lot of things. Have you tried waxing it and spraying it with sugar water? I’ve never had an issue getting a strong colony to use the Flow frames.

Thanks very much for your reply @Mateo_Kaiser!

How long are you talking for the process of raising a queen? Should I be helping them in any way, or is it early enough in the year for them to do it and still be able to do everything they need to do in the late summer/fall? I’ll check and see if my queen cells are capped or not. What do I do if they aren’t?

Good question, there probably isn’t space to lay eggs since all the frames are looking like they’re filled with honey. I’m not at all experienced with harvesting honey, but should I be thinking about harvesting one or two of the frames and replacing them with empty ones? I can always use YouTube lol :slight_smile: So there’s a big possibility they were honey bound, the question for me is, since I’m missing the queen, does that mean they already swarmed? Is there even a clear sign that they did?

Interesting! What do you mean by waxing and spraying my super?

Thanks so much already for your help! Looking forward to hearing back from you!

For the queens to raise a new queen, they need to have eggs that are still fresh, just a couple of days old. If you think they have this, or if you see that the queen cells you have already have larvae in them or are capped, then you should be well on your way! Otherwise adding a frame of fresh eggs to the hive (if you have another hive to pull from) could help. If there are still drones in the area where you live then I don’t see a problem with having the queen hatch out, mate, and lay eggs.
This excerpt from my beekeeping logbook should help you with the timing:

Whether you should harvest honey is a bit hard for me to gauge without knowing your region and setup, since you want to make sure the bees have enough stores, while also ensuring that the queen has space to lay eggs. One thing to look for is whether or not the bees are backfilling (look this up, you’ll find some helpful videos). Basically, whatever you do it’s important that there be 4-5 frames in the middle of your brood box where there’s room for the queen to lay.

A clear sign of swarming would be lots of swarm cells, and a noticeable reduction in bees in the hive. Since you’re new to beekeeping, and if your queen isn’t marked its always possible that you just missed her and she doesn’t have room to lay many eggs so you haven’t noticed them? I’m inclined to think your hive may be preparing to swarm or already has (you could look up videos on how to prevent swarming with a split).

Another screenshot from my logbook that might help :slight_smile:
Screen Shot 2022-06-22 at 12.34.29

Waxing and spraying the Flow super is something that Flow recommends, and that seems to work well for a lot of Flow beekeepers. Basically, I melt some wax, ideally from my own bees but that can be hard when starting out, and then use a paint roller to roll it onto the surface of the Flow frames before putting them in the hive. Then I spray the frames with a sugar syrup mist. Basically, you do all this to entice the bees to take an interest in the super, since the plastic may be a bit foreign to them. Once they use the frames once, they’re coated in wax anyways and smell familiar to the bees. With some patience and a strong colony, you should have no problem getting the bees to take to the super.

Hope this helps!