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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.


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.


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.


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


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.


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