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Only one queen cell



On 18/12/2016, I gave 2 brood frames to my bee buddy as two of his hives were queenless. In that exercise, I believe my queen went missing.

It could have been :
a) accidentally transferred with the brood frames; or
b) accidentally killed while inspecting; or
c) just ran off with Don Juan down the road!!! LOL

Anyway, I recently found just one capped queen cell on 26/12/2016 in the brood box. It was all white and I calculated it has been 8 days since my last inspection.

I could see no new eggs, only larvae. The bees were more agitated than usual, maybe due to the lack of a queen’s pheromones!

I’m just worried that with one queen cell, how likely is it to be successful for her to emerge, mate and begin laying again in two weeks?

Any thoughts are welcome!



Not in two weeks. It takes longer than that for her to emerge, harden, orientate, mate then start laying. She has a lot to do…



Surely in transferring brood frames with no bees you would not have just left the queen on one of them?
If you had killed your queen at your last inspection then the bees would have made lots of emergency cells (I have had a colony make 35!)
If she was damaged then they are probably superseding her.
Where is this cell? if it is in the middle of the frame and at the very edge of the remaining brood nest then it almost certainly is.
You have to give an emerged queen cell three weeks before you have her laying… so patience. You know what frame the queen cell is on, lift that frame in a few days to see if she has emerged and if she has close u and have a look in three weeks. Good luck


Hi Rob & Dee,

Thanks for the feedback. Really appreciate it.

The queen cell was at the edge of a brood frame in the middle of the brood box.

Patience, like you said. Have to be patient.

A little background on my other hive. It went queenless, 3 weeks after I brought it back from Lancelin. Then I had to wait for another 5 weeks before the nuc arrived.

So the anxiety I felt when I saw the single queen cell was almost overwhelming!

Thanks again for sharing


Pretty good chance she will emerge. However, you will need to be patient. Many queens spend several days to a week feeding before mating, then they wait for a perfect day. Could be 4 to 6 weeks from the loss of your queen before you see new eggs.


Update, last inspection 07/01/2017 :

Queen has emerged but no sight of her. No new eggs or larvae as yet. Loads of nectar and pollen collected

Hopefully in a week’s time!!


Its hust a waiting game now…


I have read it is a good idea to do no inspections during the first week or so of the new queens reign. Apparently she is both delicate and skittish at this time.



Just an update

Have done my inspections for the last two weekends and no eggs or the queen in sight. :frowning:

Will be giving it one last inspection on Australia Day and will move a frame each of capped broods and new eggs from my second hive, if there is no queen activity sighted.

I guess the silver lining from all these mishaps is that I have been reading quite a lot on various subjects on this forum and from other sources, to improve my knowledge! :slight_smile:



On my last inspection last weekend, no capped brood or eggs sighted. Only lots of capped drone cells. I believe this hive is lost

I will amalgamate it with my other hive.

Another lesson learned!


Did you move any brood frames into this hive?


You can save that hive by simply adding a frame of brood containing some worker eggs or very young brood… One every 7-10 days until the hive eventually makes a new queen. Only put the first frame in if you think the hive has sufficient personnel to care for it.


Hi skeggley & Jeff

I did what you guys suggested 3 weeks after Boxing Day. At that time, there was a capped queen cell, and it was due to emerge on Jan 1st. But after 3 weeks, no signs of eggs or the queen

So I placed another round of capped brood frames and eggs + larvae frame into the hive. This was sometime in mid Jan. There were 2 queen cells built after a week. By mid Feb, again nothing but lots of drones.

I suspect there is a laying worker bee and she is killing the queens. Is that possible?

I’m worried that if I amalgamate it with my other good hive, will the laying worker also kill the queen? Think it is highly unlikely, but she may have developed a knack for it after 2 rounds!! :slight_smile:

Any suggestions would be welcome



Hi Aaron, I would suggest adding another frame of brood straight away. Follow up with another one in 10 days time. Keep doing that indefinitely:) The laying worker wont have the ability to live as long as a queen. That’s how I see it anyway.

I would not unite a colony that contains a laying worker with another colony.

What I recently did with worker comb containing drone brood was I damaged all the top & put it in between the brood of a strong colony. The bees will quickly remove all the damaged brood. You could probably do a swap when you select a frame of brood for the queenless colony.

You could probably do one frame containing worker comb with drone brood per day until all the frames are cleaned up of drone brood. Make sure the colony doing the cleaning up for you are able to easily get rid of the damaged brood. That damaged brood sitting on a sbb for example, will be a real magnet for SHB.


Thanks Jeff

Will try your recommendation. Sounds logical enough for me :slight_smile:



You’re welcome Aaron, last year I had a colony that was real slow in making a new queen, however persistence payed off in the end. The thing to remember is: every time you add another frame of brood, the population is building. It’s that increase in the critical mass of the hive that will naturally want a new queen. The laying worker only being a “worker”, suggests to me that she shouldn’t have the ability to live longer than any other worker. I stand corrected because I haven’t read anything on that subject.

The laying worker probably doesn’t need to live much longer because a dying colony only has a certain amount of time to make as many drones as possible in order for that colony to be able to possibly pass on it’s genes.


Not one laying worker but LOTS
Jeff is right. Keep adding more brood. Once there are enough nurse bees to keep the colony going they will make a new queen for you


Thanks Dee! Will keep trying until it is queen right