Is introducing a new mated queen the simple answer to a queenless hive?

I have a queenless hive. The hive is still quite strong and has plenty of food, some but not yet an excess of drones, but no brood. I have read about removing the frames, shaking off the bees in case there are egg-laying workers etc, but to my thinking, putting in a new, mated, queen would be the obvious solution. Keen for some comment on this.

If you have 5 hives you can always donate a frame of eggs and young larvae to the queenless hive and see what they do with it. If there are laying workers then (among other clues) they won’t attempt to make a new queen.

You could allow them to make a new queen if they choose that route, which takes a while (a month before she is laying) or you could introduce a new queen.

Bear in mind that a strong hive may be wary of accepting a new queen.

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Thanks for this. I did try the ‘donation’ of frames with eggs/larvae and brood, but no success, which surprised me. I have in the past created nucs using frames from other hives that have led to a queen being raised. Just shows that every challenge becomes something new to learn or adapt to. I will now introduce a mated queen to my queenless hive while it still has a reasonable worker population and see what happens. In theory, she should have sufficient time in the cage for her presence to become accepted. Fingers crossed.

Sometimes you need to do this every week for 3 or 4 consecutive weeks before the laying workers finally give up trying to be a queen…


How do you think such workers are most likely to respond to a young mated queen? Surely she would be the hive’s preference?

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Not necessarily. I have re-queened many hives, and they usually prefer one queen that they have raised themselves. Very frustrating and expensive sometimes!

Laying workers “believe” that they are queens, and they will attack any competitor that has slightly different pheromones. That is what you are working against with a queenless hive. Usually there are multiple laying workers too, so you have quite a battle on your hands from the new queen’s perspective! Introducing frames of open brood can start to suppress the laying workers’ hormones, and make them go back to their “day jobs”, rather than trying to rule the hive.

Hope that makes sense :blush:


Many thanks. I’ll see what unfolds.

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