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Not sure what is happening

Hi all,
I’m hoping that there will be some sage advice out there about what is happening with my hives.
In September I split my hive as there was evidence they were getting ready to swarm. The split went well and I left the hives alone so that a new queen could be made. On inspection a month later things in the new hive were going really well, lots of brood cells, pollen and honey being stored so all good.
I n the old hive there were a few brood cells, some pollen and honey being stored and evidence of some queen cells, some closed some open so I assume that the old hive had made a new queen.
When I inspected again in November, there was no evidence at all of a queen so I assumed that perhaps this hive had swarmed and I moved two full brood frames from the new hive to see if that might kick along a new queen.
On inspection today, I noticed no evidence of a queen, there was pollen being stored, some drone cells, honey being stored in the flow super, some honey being stored in the brood box. There are heaps of worker bees and drone bee in the new hive.
My questions are: could the two hives be working as one? Should I order a new queen for the old hive? Should I recombine the two hives?


When you moved some brood over to the suspect hive, did it have eggs or just hatched eggs so they could actually make a new queen if needed?
Depending on when in November you moved eggs over, it may be a bit too soon to go looking for a queen. She may be in there as a virgin (harder to spot) or may be out of the hive on a mating flight.


A colony in another hive will not work for another hive and share their stores no matter what the reason – it just doesn’t happen.
From what you are saying there is everything happening in to indicate the hive is queen right except for eggs and brood so given that you recently donated frames to the hive I would give it as frame of eggs and very young larvae each week till you see that there is egg and larvae being laid in the hive. A virgin queen can be away for a couple of days on her mating flight.
Once you have eggs being laid you can then spend the time to find and mark her of you like.
Regards Peter

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There is, of course, an exception… :smile:


I regard a two queen colony in a single hive as being a single hive. But I haven’t seen or had any experience in that type of hive. but of course there are exceptions in most things with bee keeping.
We give our advise on experience and based on basic bee keeping for mainly beginners, that also keeps our answers short and concise without bombarding the beginners with what might be confusion to them.

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Well, I disagree somewhat. People don’t have to read what I have posted, and they don’t have to follow links if they aren’t interested. Beekeeping is a rich and complicated subject, and I think it is good to talk about all the varieties of experiences possible with bees. I prefer the forum to be rich in information and subjects. Most forum members are adults, and can handle a little complexity. :wink:


Of course you are free to disagree. I prefer to give the most logical answer and a likely possible added if it is likely, to keep the answers clear and short.Your answers are in that category so I assume you agree with that.

Beginner bee keepers are usually asking basic questions, often been asked many times before, and I think the best answers are in a basic understandable way that is easily understood for beginners, for young and old, with a basic understanding of bee keeping, or (sadly) none at all.
That I didn’t mention double queen hives that you have picked up on was both an oversight on my part, if you like, but it would also be not really relating to the question as asked, in my opinion.
It is good to see replies of thanks and that they now understand what direction to go in to rectify issues or to allay fears.
I love the banter you girls come up with, a chuckle is always welcome.

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All I know is there’s my logic, an experimenters logic and the bees logic. I’m still trying to understand the bees logic and the pests logic. I wonder if the 2 queen systems which apparently some can pull off are based upon pheromones having a distance? The bees swarm for a multitude of reasons and over crowding is one of them is it not? Now to clarify, I’m not going to try it because I’m not that knowledgeable about the bees yet.

I love your ‘logic’ Martha. :grin:
You are right that pheromones deplete over distance. That distance can vary because of air movement of course.
Bee swarming, as you say, can have a multitude of causes. Over crowding is likely the prominent one. My thinking is that to prevent swarming the practice is to do a split on the over crowded hive and that usually fixes the issue.
As a side note to combine smell and doing a split I use a drop of lemon grass oil smeared in the base of a hive when I am making the split into a new box, my thinking the new box will smell slightly of new wood and paint so not really smell like ‘home’, with the lemon grass oil it will smell more natural to the bees. “Experimenters logic”:thinking:

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