I have just opened up my hive after winter and discovered my hive is well and truly queenless (in retrospect should have opened it up sooner but being my first season and being constrained by 7mo pregnant + toddler, I guess mistakes were bound to happen).
This is the state of my hive:
- No brood, no eggs.
- A hatched queen cell but no evidence of her that I could see.
- About 4 frames worth of capped honey, which includes a couple of frames in the super.
- Looks like there are still workers foraging (in and out of hive). I guess they are possibly robbers, but then the untouched capped honey frames would seem to contradict that?
- Probably a nuc hive worth of bees in the brood box - probably 50-50 workers and drones. It was a time of day where most workers are probably out foraging, given they would be getting pretty old by this point.
- Wax on a couple of the frames has been eaten away in pockets, which made me wonder about robbing…
The odd thing is, my neighbour came over yesterday to tell me my bees were doing great because his avocado tree was absolutely covered in them!
I’m pretty devastated. I only started the hive in October last year. I was so diligent through the summer and autumn and they looked pretty good heading into winter. I lifted the lid a couple of times in winter just to check they still had food in the super, which they did; in fact the last time I checked (probably 6-9 weeks ago) the amount of capped honey had increased.
I know I need to get a new queen in there ASAP but any other advice on what to do would be appreciated.
Like, should I put in a frame of brood as well? Where could I get this from?
Also wondering if getting a new queen gives me the opportunity to move the hive at all, as I now realise the location I have it is not ideal, and I believe too much shade has led to some pest and disease (chalk brood) issues. The bees were able to deal with these, but would be good if the hive location was on their side to make it easier for them.