No brood...maybe I lost my queen?

Hi Team,

I had a swarm event a few weeks ago while out-of-town and I referred it to Swarm Patrol. A local keeper came and collected it within a few hours.

Fast forward to this past weekend and I opened up the hive to inspect and found my brood box essentially empty as per photos attached. Plenty of bees in there, but essentially empty cells. Makes me think the queen absconded with the swarm?

Should I be:

  1. trying to buy a new queen?
  2. ‘borrowing’ a frame of brood so they can make a new queen?
  3. something else?

How long have I got to sort it out?

Hive has otherwise been going strong since November 2018.

Thanks in advance for your thoughts.

Hi Ethan, my preference would be to borrow/purchase a frame of brood as a test frame. If the frame comes out of a good performing colony, let them make a queen with that brood. That’s assuming your hive is queenless. If it has a queen, it might take just a little bit longer for her to start laying.

It’s a good idea to write dates down, so that we can follow time lines.

I figure that you should already know that the queen goes with the swarm. The remaining colony continues with a virgin queen that needs to get mated.
Sometimes that process fails, which is why we need to monitor the progress, & step in when necessary.

PS You probably need to act fairly quickly in case your colony is queenless, otherwise a laying worker will commence. You don’t want that.

I’m not seeing any honey in those frames. Is there honey in the other frames? You might need to feed them if there is none.

FWIW, I would be cycling out those frames except the 3rd one down, in preference for properly fitted wax foundation, or even well wax coated plastic frames.

Thanks, Jeff.

Admittedly I didn’t have a lot of time to hunt for a queen and made the assumption there wasn’t one based on the empty frames, after I had closed it all up.

If I have to purchase a brood frame, do you have any recommendations for that?

You’re welcome Ethan, I was editing my first reply as your reply came in.

If you have a laying queen, you should only be seeing eggs or young larvae at this stage. Look at the frames with the most bee activity, while being careful not to roll any bees while doing so.

I think the best bet would be to contact your local bee group. They should be able to help in relation to a frame of brood, or tell you where to go :slight_smile:

I think I’m back in business. An amazing change in just 6 days from totally empty cells to this. I think I saw the queen briefly, but can’t be sure.



Yes that’s the queen alright, & it looks like she’s doing a beautiful job.

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