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Packed hive, but no eggs or larvae

My Super and double brood boxes are absolutely full of honey. I’ve extracted 39lbs of honey since June from the Super, with 1 more frame (c.7lbs) to go.

Every frame in both brood boxes have either capped honey, or nectar, or a small amount of pollen.

But whereas in May/June there was plenty of brood, now there is none.

The hive is absolutely packed with bees, but I’ve not seen the Queen in the last 3 weekly inspections.

In late May there were a few cups, and early June a couple of Queen cells, but none of either since.

Earlier in the year the varroa count was huge, but after MAQS application, numbers are now very low.

Should I remove a couple of frames of capped honey from one of the brood boxes and replace them with frames with new foundation, thereby giving more room for eggs to be laid ?

Any thoughts are most welcome

No brood and no queen sightings in 3 weeks is ominous to me of one of two things.

  1. The queen died and the hive didn’t replace her
  2. The colony did a sneaky swarm on you, and covered the evidence so that you missed it. (It happens!)

I would guess number 2, but I would be very interested in what @Dee thinks, as she is in your climate zone.

The only other risk that comes to mind, is that the MAQS killed off the queen. That can and does happen. If you saw her a month or so after your last treatment, that is less likely. However, it remains a strong possibility unless you saw her doing well after the strips. I haven’t used MAQS, but I think @Dee has, so I hope she can shed some light.

One of the cons of MAQS is queen death: They might be between queens.
I would give them a frame of eggs as insurance.

I would too, if I had a second hive. If @adrian’s profile is accurate, he only has the one. :astonished:

I know:
That was my subtle way of saying, "always have multiple hives or even a nuc or two :slight_smile:


I would do three things. Put a couple of frames of foundation in the middle of the top brood box but separate them with a drawn frame.
Add more super space. The bees need lots of space to ripen honey. With traditional supers you need one as soon as the previous one you added is drawn and full of bees.
Then a test frame. This is very important. If you don’t have another colony then beg a graft from somebody in your association. A small circle cut out with a pastry cutter is enough.

There is a massive clover flow on at the moment and your bees are treating both brood boxes as supers. Put another one or even two on
I’m trying to look at your dates. It can take six weeks sometimes longer from egg through to new queen through to laying queen. But she can lay only if there is room. I think in this country it’s very sensible to have at least one or two supers alongside the flows. The nectar flow here in the U.K. Comes in furious fits and starts. I have six supers on one hive, none fully capped. When you spotted those queen cells did you shake every frame clear of bees to look for more? Can you recognise eggs and put a rough age of larvae. That way you will recognise when the original queen disappeared. Swarming is a hundred times more common than supersedure.

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Thank you for all your excellent advice. I will take heed, buy a 2nd hive, and undertake the suggestions made.


I’ve managed to get a small section of comb with eggs.

My thinking is that IF, in the next 2-3 days, the bees start building a Queen cell, then the hive is Queenless.

However, if after 5 days they have capped the comb, then either my original Queen is in the hive but not laying, or she’s been superseded, and I have a virgin Queen.

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