I inspected my hive today; two brood boxes. New hive as of April 17, 2017. I looked at all frames in the top box and the bottom box. I could not find the queen and there was NO BROOD. Each box was about 40% full of honey. Many cells were just empty. There were also hive beetles everywhere. I am not the greatest at spotting the queen, but the absence of brood tells me that she is gone and I am in trouble. What are my options? Is it too late to requeen? Can I even find a queen at this time of year? Can or should I try to get the hive through the winter queenless and add a new queen in the Spring? Could she still be in there and have just stopped laying? ( I doubt this as our weather here in Kansas City is still fairly warm, 70s daytime, 50s at night). I fear the worst.
Does your hive have plenty of bees in it or does that look like an issue too? Did you look inside because things were looking quiet perhaps?
Where are you? I cannot see your location.
It seems like he is in Kansas Ciy, Midwest USA.
Yes I am in Kansas City, Missouri. The hive has a lot of bees, but no brood and I could not find the queen. I only assume she is gone. I ordered a new queen from BeeWeaver’s Apiaries in Texas. It was the only place I could find a queen at this time of year. Am I doing the right thing?
Make sure you look for her again before you put the new queen in. It’s about time for the queens to start shutting down.
Dan was asking about your population & activity level - let us know how that looked & what your mite management strategy is…
I am a newbie, but the hive activity seems good to me. I am feeding them sugar water and they are actively consuming it. They seem to be making honey. There are hive beetles on the comb, but I do not see any of their larvae. I have not treated for verroa mites.
@Brick I’m so glad the activity level looks normal
Maybe you already mentioned it but do you have a local mentor, or anyone with some experience nearby who could take a look at your hive? Sounds like you plan on putting a new queen in this week, and I’d encourage you to get some direct appraisal if you can - especially regarding your best options for mite control at this point. The likelihood of your bees coming through colder weather without your help in knocking back varroa & the diseases they cause is pretty low.
I’m a newbie too & learned a lot the hard way…started out last year with just one hive & I treated for varroa but did so too late…by mid-winter, my bees were all dead. Sorry to be gloomy, but varroa is pervasive & needs to be addressed if you’re a beekeeper. Some manage to succeed treatment-free, but if you look into how they do it, you’ll see that they are using an array of alternative strategies that boost the bees’ chances in different ways, and/or have enough colonies that a few losses don’t impact their apiary as badly.
Anyway, if you don’t have local advice, please keep posting questions. Good luck introducing your new queen!
I do not have a local mentor. A big mistake I know. I am going to inspect the hive one more time and look for the queen. If I again find no signs of her (larvae, eggs, capped brood, or the queen herself), then a new queen will be introduced Thursday or Friday. I have not treated for verroa. Probably a mistake, but I have the side windows on both of my brood boxes and I will frequently use a magnifying glass to carefully look at the bees that I can see on the outside frame. I have never spotted a mite. From the pictures I see of verroa they are fairly easy to see. Is this another newbie mistake?
Yes. Mites tend to hide in the crevasses between the head, throat and abdomen, partly to avoid being groomed off by the bees. You won’t see them there.
If you see Varroa (not verroa), then you have a huge problem, and you are probably going to lose your colony if you do nothing. The only way to be sure about how much Varroa your colony has, is to do a proper sugar roll or alcohol wash count.
You can’t cut corners, unless you are going to treat regardless of the count. From the Missouri/Kansas border on the map, it looks like there have been some incredibly high counts in your region:
If you don’t want to treat your bees, you have to be prepared for about a 50% chance of losing your colony in the next 6 months to a year. If that is OK with you, fine, but remember that all of the mites in your hive can infest other people’s bees too.
Thanks Dawn. I think I will just empirically treat. What would you recommend as the best empiric treatment? Miteaway strips?
At this time of year, I would use Oxalic Acid vaporization or Apivar strips. You could use MAQS, but they can be hard on the queen, and if you are putting a new one in, I wouldn’t risk it.
Hey Brick - there’s a link to an older post with great info & a really helpful video (one of many) by forum friend Bobby. Check it out
So I got my new queen yesterday and she is in a push cage in the hive. She came from Southern Texas. Today I read an article about Africanized bees and how almost all of Texas is now within their range. It discussed how Africanized drones can mate with European queens on her mating flight. Do I need to worry about this with my new queen?
You certainly need to monitor her offspring. If she has mated with AHB, you would expect to see a change in hive demeanor in about 6 weeks - getting more defensive, following you 50 feet or more from the hive etc. At that point, I would remove her. If your supplier is reputable, they will have a replacement policy, although replacing at this time of year can be challenging.
last Autumn one of my hives became queenless. I bought a queen- and when I introduced her I laid the cage on the top bars and watched how the bees reacted. they did not try to sting her through the cage- and I could see some bees trying to feed her- so I placed it between two frames and let the bees release her- they did- and accepted her- and within weeks she was laying.
Another point: if there is lot’s of honey stores- you don’t need to feed anymore. If the hive is weak it may encourage robbing.