Need help with frames of brood

Hi All, I am still very new to bee keeping.
Everything went well until about 1.5 months ago.
I have 2 Flow 2 hives of less than a year old.
The fist hive is doing well and the colony is slowly increasing.
The 2nd hive was also doing well up to 1.5 months ago when I lost the queen during one of my inspections.
So I decided to take a frame of brood, eggs and larvae from the fist hive and swapped it over with a frame from the 2nd hive.
I was then hoping that the queenless 2nd hive would make their own queen.
After inspecting the hive 2 weeks later, no queen cells were found and and the frames were on their last capped brood.
So I decided to take another frame of brood from the first hive and try again.
Following a inspection 25 days later I found no closed or opened queen cells, no capped brood left and the bees were getting very aggressive.
I don’t want to take another frame from the first hive as that will set that colony back substantially.

I am looking for comments regarding the above, did I do the right thing or have I done something wrong ?

My next move is trying to find someone that will sell me a couple of frames with brood, eggs and larvea to place in the queenless hive.
Is this a reasonable idea to try and get the colony to make another queen?
At this time of the year it is impossible to buy a new queen.
I don’t want to loose this colony and I am open to other suggestions from other experienced bee keepers.
Thank you all in advance.

1 Like

Hey George, don’t fret you can sort this out. I suspect the frames you pulled didn’t actually have eggs that were freshly laid so they couldn’t be converted to a queen in the next hive. The best option now is to buy a new mated queen as quickly as you can and install her in the declining hive. I’m not sure how long the one hive has been queenless, if it has been more than 2 weeks then I think you will need to add in attendant bees too— so you might consider getting an entire Nuc colony to add in. If you are headed into winter then I wouldn’t do either of these things and instead take the declining hive and put a piece of newspaper on top of the good colony boxes and add the declining hive right on top. this will save the existing bees and get you through winter, and then you can try to split them in the spring when the one queen is laying fresh eggs or it is easier to find a new queen. I’m not sure your configuration— single brood box and one super? You need to look up how to combine boxes for reference in case you aren’t sure how to do this— its not hard. The critical thing to do as step one is determine why the one queen failed; you don’t want any disease being introduced into your good colony so I hope you have been mite treating, etc.

1 Like

I would just get a mated queen now for that hive.


I had an after thought. Perhaps the declining hive actually still has a queen in there and because of the turn to winter she just isn’t laying. Are you sure you don’t have a queen in there?

You could be right, I did not check your location. Looks like its a dig through the hive then get a mated queen, if you can, if you can’t find the queen. Probably a bad time of year for you to try to get a mated queen so good luck.

If you need but can’t get a mated queen consider combining the hives so you have one strong hive for winter.


Hi George, winter is still a long way away. I think I would try my luck with another frame of brood. You may be able to purchase one or two from a local beekeeper. If not, I would take another one from your other hive. The other hive has plenty of time to recover, seeing as we are still officially in Spring.

Ha. I mistook WA for USA…my bad.

Hi Rob, I have not been able to get a mated queen. Non available with the bee shops/suppliers.
I am hoping one of the local bee keepers will sell a couple of brood frames.

Hi Tim, we are just at the end of spring and summer starting next week.
The hive is definitely without a queen.

Hi Rob, thanks for your suggestion.
In the end that may be the best option

Hi Jeff, thanks for your reply.
I will try and see if someone local is prepared to sell a couple of brood frames.
Failing that, i may have to remove one from the other hive.

1 Like

If you are positive that there is no queen, you could merger with the other hive, making one good strong colony, and then split it in a month or so.

If any bee keepers, North of Perth, would like to sell 2 frames of brood at various stages, please message me.
Thanks in advance, George

Hi Jeff, I was thinking of combining a nuc with the queenless brood box.
Would this cause WW3 in the brood box ?
Is there another way to introduce a nuc to the queenless brood box ?
I can’t get another nuc for about 3 weeks, is this leaving it too long ?
Would appreciate your advice, Cheers

Hi George, thanks for the questions.
There is two ways of doing it. I think the newspaper idea is safest. Like @Dawn_SD, I use double sheets. I just put a few pin pricks in the paper to give the bees a starting point. I always make sure that the lid over the top box is ventilated. Do this in good weather while there’s plenty of forage around. I did this during bad weather once. That caused WW3 which led to hive beetle problems. That was a lesson well learnt. It’s preferable for the queen-rite colony to be the strongest colony. Otherwise if the queenless colony was dominant, those bees can turn on the queen & kill her. With that in mind, it’s best not to inspect the hive for about 10 days.

Three weeks is a bit long because laying workers will have commenced laying.

Anyway, even if there is a bit of fighting & worse case scenario, the queen gets killed, you’ll have resources for the combined colony to make a new queen.

Option two is a bit dicey. I wont mention that in case the queenless colony is getting into laying worker mode. That could lead to the killing of the queen.


Thanks Jeff, I inspected this morning and the workers have already started laying. I noticed about 2 dozen cells that were capped but well down in the cell, not like normal capped brood.
If 3 weeks is too long for a nuc, is there a plan B. Cheers, George

I thought you had a new nuc now & it would be 3 weeks before you get another one. Yeah well plan B entails grabbing a frame of brood from your other colony. It’s not option two that I mentioned before. It’s putting a frame with BIAS into a brood box, then place it where the queenless colony sits after you take the colony as far away as possible (at least 30 meters). Then shake all of the bees onto the ground. The theory being that the laying workers haven’t done orientation flights, so therefore are unable to find the entrance. With the laying workers gone, the rest of the bees will build emergency queens.

It would be good if you had a house or a lot of trees between where you shake the bees & the original site, just in case the laying workers follow other bees back. Last time I tried this, it didn’t work. Maybe I was too close which allowed the laying worker to be able to follow the bees back. That’s my theory.

The first time I tried it, it worked. That time I took the hive all the way from the back of the house to the front. The last time (the time that didn’t work) was only half way around.

The option that hasn’t failed yet needs the 2 colonies to be 20 meters apart. You replace the frames containing drone brood with one frame with BIAS, then swap the hives positions. The bees that have done orientation flights will gradually change hives over the next couple of days or more. The queenless bees will diminish while being replaced with queen-rite bees. Those bees will influence the building of emergency queens. The queenless bees will slowly populate the queen-rite hive, because it is gradual, they wont try to kill the queen.

1 Like

Hi @George_Perth, I am SOR near airport. If that is close enough, happy to provide some frames of brood in all stages for you. PM me for my contact no.

But if you have laying worker, it may be a long process ahead to get them queen right again.

How strong is your other colony?

Hi Fred, the option I mentioned with my edit is fairly quick. It happens as fast as it takes when you do a split. I just now came inside after putting that option in place. I first had to make sure that I didn’t have a queen because some of the sealed brood looked like workers. This morning I shook them all above a QE into an empty super with brood below the QE. When I checked earlier, there was only drones trapped above the QE. Then I proceeded to do the swap, feeling confident there was no queen in the colony. I’ll be looking for emergency queen preparations in a few days time.


1 Like

Hi Jeff, just been to a bee hive lecture held locally here. Spoke to the lecturer afterwards and he is happy to sell a 6 frame nuc, he is a bee keeper of 30 yrs standing, I was really happy with that. I can pick them up on Monday night. So now I can go back to plan A as you suggested.
I am really grateful for your interest in my problem. Hopefully we now have a plan. Cheers, George