Honeyflow.com | FAQ's |

New queen not accepted. Urgent advice needed


I got a NUC this spring and everything was great untill after a few weeks, there was no sign of brood or eggs. I double checked a few weeks later, and still none, so I ordered a new queen.

She was small but healthy when she arrived, but on checking a week later, she was dead in the cage. During this inspection, I noticed some larvae which I assume is from laying workers. Any advice on what to now would be very welcome. Ive included a timeline for furthre information:

14th May - Introduced NUC frames to hive. Healthy but small NUC with plenty brood. Recommended to leave for 2 weeks before inspecting.

28th May - New brood in nuc frames but bees very slow to build on my frames. Left a mixture of both frames.

12th June - Same as 28th May, with a little comb on new frames. Replaced a few more NUC frames.

10th July - Late inspection due to foul weather. No eggs visable but small patch of brood. All other frames packed with honey and pollen.

16th July - Again, no brood and no eggs :frowning: New queen ordered.

18th July - Introduced queen cage to brood box.

29th July - Queen dead in cage, no eggs, but small patches of developing brood.

Sorry frothe long winded question

Did you add a Nuc to an existing colony? It is possible you had a queen already in there that you didn’t spot and she knocked off the new queen. Depending on timing its possible you didn’t see the queen originally because she was out on a mating flight and returned and didn’t like some other queen had moved in. The presence of larvae is much more likely this scenario than a laying worker. You have to do a full inspection to ensure you don’t have a queen in there; if you do and she is laying this poorly you have to pinch her and put in a new queen. I’ve not seen a caged queen get killed through the cage before-- I wonder if your queen supplier for the nuc and the second queen is the same? If so I’d try a different queen rearer at this time of year because your colony might not have enough time to build up resources. If you have another hive I’d pull a few brood frames out and put in this colony. I’m not sure what you mean on 12th June where you say you replaced nuc frames-- are you taking things out of your colony, and if so why?

1 Like

Thanks for answering!.. I’ll go through them in order:

  1. The Nuc was added to a completely empty hive.
  2. My suppliers are different… The Nuc was from a local commercial beekeeper and the new queen was through the post.
  3. As for the replacing frames, the only Nuc frames available locally were National frames and my hive is a Langstroth(Flow) hive. I had a long chat with the Nuc supplier and he advised adapting the national frames and mixing tham with my own initially as I could fit 5 of each in. then as the Langstroth frames were filled, to gradually take the national frames out provided they didnt have much(or any) brood in. This is the 2nd time I’ve done it this way, and although its a faff, it worked well last time.
1 Like

Now #3 makes sense!

I really think you must have a queen in there lurking that is not a good layer. Find her and replace would be the best solution. With 1 hive you are unfortunately dependent on others-- you might want to add a second hive for next season so you can pull resources as you need them to balance the two hives and save yourself money and headaches down the line. Maybe there is another beekeeper in your area you can ask to help you spot the queen.


I’m a bit late coming in but @Tim_Purdie 's thinking is mine as well. I think you have a poor laying queen already in the hive and she needs to be found and terminated and then introduce a new queen. It is very uncommon the buy a nuc with no queen in it so my thinking she is a dud and so when you introduced a new queen in the cage the caged queen was killed. If your not a good queen spotter I would ask a local bee keeper to give you a help on finding her.
Far better to have a long winded question and explanation than missing vital information for us to work with.

Thanks for that Peter.

1 Like

Please keep us updated with what you find, after 47 years of bee keeping I’m still learning. :thinking:

1 Like