Help with Missing Queen

I am based in Melbourne and inspected the hive today and noticed some significant changes since my last inspection 6 days ago. Today I could not see any new eggs or larvae. Although still capped brood.
I couldn’t find the Queen.
I did find Queen cells on the face of a frame, and two at the bottom. The cell on the face of the frame, and one of the bottom cells has larvae, so it looks like the hive plans to requeen. i just don’t know if they also plan to swarm.
My brood box is from a Nuc I purchased 10 months ago. It has been building nicely, but still not overflowing with bees.
This has come as a bit of a shock today. I expect that I should just let the hive continue with their plans, and I’m hoping those plans are to requeen rather than to swarm. There doesn’t appear to be a lack of space in the hive for a laying queen, so I can only assume the Queen has perished and they are planning to replace her.
Please let me know if any more experienced beekeepers have a different view.


Did you see the queen six days ago when you last inspected?

Yes. It makes me think I might have accidentally killed her. But I am extremely careful and gentle when in the hive, so I would think it unlikely.

How is your hive configured at the moment?

And is it 8 or 10 frames?

I have an 8 frame brood box

Ok so just one brood box currently? I’d probably go double brood where you are.

The only thing I can think of is you inadvertently killed the queen during your inspections, or they swarmed at some point without you realising?

Hello David, it sounds very likely you have accidentally killed the queen during the last inspection. The colony is in the process of making a new queen. I think given your location and climate there at the moment I doubt the colony swarmed.

Been quite a few swarm reports from Melbourne and also regional Vic and SA on the Facebook groups in the last week.

Thanks Peter. If that’s the case, would it. E. Or mal for them to make queen cells at the bottom of the frame as well as on the face?

Did you see eggs six days ago?

Queen cells can be anywhere on the brood frames when they need to make a new queen. On the face of the comb or hanging off near the bottom bar is the most common position.

Swarming reports are sometimes nothing more than orientation flights, especially at this time of year… One on FB was adamant the hive was swarming every day, I asked for a video which I got and it was a perfect example of bees orientating. The hive is in the Gippsland area.

No, I didn’t see any eggs. Everything seems to have happened since last inspection.

It’s kind of weird that you saw the queen six days ago but not eggs.

Was your queen marked?

What has your inspection schedule been for the last 4 weeks?

Yeah. I might even go back in today and check again. Normally I see larvae but couldn’t yesterday.
I try to inspect once per week subject to good weather. Living in Melb my first inspection since winter was at the end of August and I thought it looked vibrant.

Have you got a super on or is it just the single 8 frame brood box?

I thought they were building quite nicely last inspection 6 days ago, so I put on an excluder (for the first time) and a flow super. I noticed they weren’t really taking to it which is why I inspected again yesterday and noticed all of the changes in the brood nest