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I dropped or killed my Queen :(


After spotting what looked like several emergency queen cells this past Monday I did a full inspection last night, determined the situation and made some decisions.

Let me go back in time and outline the events leading up to last night.

  • Saturday, May 21st: I did a cursory inspection on my Flow Hive by removing the Flow Super and tipping the top brood box up.

  • May 21st: Observed a few uncapped swarm cells containing larvae and royal jelly. I opened the hive, quickly inspected and (unnecessarily) culled several of the swarm cells.

  • May 21-24th: Started gathering equipment for a split and/or swarm trap: 10-frame deep brood box, bottom board, inner cover, lid, nuc box and 20 deep frames - 10 waxed plastic foundation, 10 wax foundation.

  • Wednesday, May 25th: I did a full inspection, found additional swarm cells I’d missed or that were new and very few eggs (kinda honey bound). Did not see the queen.

  • May 25th. Made a split into the 5-frame nuc with eggs, larvae, swarm cells and capped brood. The split consisted of 3 drawn frames covered with bees and I shook an additional frame of bees into the nuc. I ensured the queen was not on those frames.

  • Monday, May 30th: Inspected the nuc, found new drawn and capped queen cells in upper portions of frames.

  • May 30th: Inspected Flow Hive to ensure no new swarm cells were being created and the urge to swarm had been eliminated.

  • May, 30th: Found multiple emergency queen cells throughout the hive. Some open, some capped. No eggs present. My immediate suspicion was the hive was not queen right. Mulled next steps.

  • Wednesday, June 1st: Made determination to take some advantage of all the queens being developed (over 20). Moved the new 10-frame hive I’d obtained the week before to the apiary and performed another split. 5 frames of capped brood, food and queen cells were transferred into the new hive and entrance reduce put in place.

  • June, 1st: Culled all but the largest 4 queen cells from the parent colony and all but the 4 largest from the split. Delicately removed 2 to which were given to a neighboring beek to try and raise. This proved difficult as I use plastic foundation.

So here I am - 75 days after hiving 2, 3-frame nucleus colonies with this:

Doing the bee math, I dropped or rolled my queen on the day that I did my initial swarm-prevention split.
Yes, that is unfortunate and I wish it hadn’t happened but on the bright side, I’ve gone through a bit of a trial by fire and learned a lot.

Another plus is that IF the new queens mature and return from mating flights successfully, I’ll have expanded my apiary to 3 full-sized hives with a nuc to pull brood from to supplement their growth.

So, no bothering those bees for roughly 3 weeks when it will be time to check and see if the hives have laying queens or not. If not I can do one of two things, take eggs from the remaining queen-right hive and try again or purchase 3 new queens. I’ll likely purchase.


Hey Bobby - I also killed my queen without realizing it until the colony had pretty much fixed the problem. Made me feel like a big dummy. And, like you I sure learned a few things I won’t easily forget.

Nice job making lemonade out of that situation! :sunglasses::lemon:


The best part is that because you both shared your experience, a ton more beekeepers can learn from what you have done. So thank you for being brave, honest and open. Much appreciated! :heart_eyes:


Killing the queen is not a method I’d recommend, but I definitely prevented a swarm LOL


Syria needs beekeepers like us :upside_down_face:



That sure does sound like my “Pine Hive” senerio ! It looking back at my notes n records sure similar !! Now I have a split hive named “Alder”.

They are packing in nectar n this week all the brood have hatched with no eggs or brood or evidence of a queen that should have hatch. Pine had extras this week. There were extra supercedure cells so I took one extra frame of cells back in the hive. We’ll see what happens in two week. Crossing my finger ! :wink:

My other two Hive (10 frame) n one 5 frame (swarm) are perfect models of hives. Good to have a not so perfect colony to learn a wider knowledge of hive stuff. .

Thankz for the share !


I guess a side benefit is that your mite population will be very low by the time she starts laying again since you ended up accidentally forcing a brood break. There’s always some silver lining.


A question with out notice - sorry. What marker /paint can I use to identify the queen without causing her some toxicity issues?


Most bee supply stores sell the right paint. I buy a new pen (it comes in a pen) every year. :smile:


Our local bee supply store sells nothing but boxes and wax foundation.
I guess the pen should be water based acrylic paint? If you want to honor international queen marking rules as a serious beekeeper, 2017 queens are marked yellow.


I use these:

The Uni POSCA pens are available from Amazon too. :wink:
The Brushy Mountain one is enamel.

Make sure you have a cage of some sort to gently immobilize the queen while the dot dries. Otherwise it smears all over the place. Not telling how I know that… :blush:


thankyou - I have sourced posca pen, now " where did I put that darn queen?"