Hive survived the winter, but now is dwindling

I live in the NE US, and was delighted that my hive survived the winter and with stores of honey to spare. While flowers/trees are budding, it has been a very cool spring. Opened the hive a few weeks ago and found a smallish cluster of workers and easily found the queen. It appeared that all was well, but over the intervening weeks the cluster seems to be dwindling. It appeared as if she was laying a fair number of eggs, but there doesn’t seem to be much in the way of brood. There are bees out and about bringing in pollen and nectar. There are a few ants, but not that many. Saw the queen today, and even fewer workers. I’m wondering if it’s possible that this is a new queen (she doesn’t appear to be marked) and that she hasn’t yet mated as I don’t see any drones in the mix.

Hi Jason, if you can possibly borrow of buy a frame of brood that contains lots of hatching bees, that will really help. If you can repeat that in about 10 days, that would be excellent. It sounds like your hive is badly in need of an injection of extra personnel.


Hi there Jason - great to hear your colony survived the weird winter we had! I’m in SE Pennsylvania…anyway, not sure if I’m misinterpreting what you wrote there, but I thought I’d point out just in case, that your queen, if she is indeed a newly hatched one that superceded or replaced your original one, will not mate with any drones from your hive. Instead, she’ll take several mating flights when she’s ready, to a local “drone congregation area” (the pickup joint :laughing:) and mate with several local but unrelated guys from other hives.

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I had considered that she is a new queen – I never had close look at the queen that came with my package but I was under the impression that she was supposed to be marked, this one is not. If that’s the case, I may be in a bit of trouble because I don’t know if the remaining workers will be enough to support her for the time necessary for a new batch of brood to develop. It remains absurdly cool in this part of the world and generally bee activity is low right now.