Missing Queen - Do a replace?

Just before Christmas (about 15 Dec) I had a swarm from my single new hive (newbie who started hive in Oct 2017). I checked the hive on 17 December and found some active queen cells, lots of brood and eggs and still plenty of workers in my brood box. I then was away for 3 weeks over Christmas.

I returned yesterday (7 Jan) and quickly checked my bees. Very concerned to find no capped brood or eggs - I was unable to locate a queen (but no very good at finding her). The bees were not at all aggressive and there is still good numbers of workers over the frames. I have only one hive and no access to more frames with eggs and brood.

Should I look at ordering a new queen or is there a chance that I have a new queen and she is just not laying yet?

Hi Dan, I would give it another week. In the mean time, see if you can line up a frame of brood or two from a nearby beekeeper.

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Three weeks from swarming to new laying queen is what you get in absolutely ideal situations. You have plenty of time still. If the colony is good tempered then I bet there is a queen in there.


Awesome. Thank you both. Will sit tight and have another look in a week or so. In the mean time will investigate some new brood frames.

Think a second hive for next year will be a good investment.

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I’ve just gone through a similar situation and just when I’d given up on seeing signs of the queen- wham: tiny eggs suddenly appeared!

If you don’t see any in a week or two if you can give them a frame with eggs and brood from another hive that will boost numbers and give them another chance to make a queen.

My queenless hives tended to have lots of nectar and pollen so it’s a good deal for both hives if you just swap frames from one to the other- the hive that loses brood gets a big feast.

Edit: I only just noticed where you said you only have access to one hive… That’s why you need at least two hives! But seriously- is there anyone you know near enough with a hive that may be able to donate a frame to you? It would be good to try and make a local connection if you can. Recently I was considering buying a queen and where I am it is not so easy. I rang several interstate breeders but none had any queens handy just then. And this is a good time of year- later in the season it gets harder and harder.

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Such a frame will act as a test frame too and tell you whether there is a queen in there.

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Ok update time.

I did manage to find a bee keeper willing to give me a couple of frames of brood and eggs. Then had to go off for a couple of weeks.

On my return I inspected my hive yesterday. Found fresh brood and a strong hive.

Lessons learnt:

  1. Be patient. Things take time (life lesson for me).
  2. Keep local networks strong.
  3. Get a second hive for next season.

Thanks everyone for your comments and suggestions.

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G’day Dan, you are most welcome. That’s a great result. There’s nothing like learning lessons for yourself.