Honeyflow.com | FAQ's | Community |

Queen Found Dead Outside Hive


Hi Everyone! This is my first post on the forum.

This past Spring I purchased 1 nuc and transferred it to a hive (I haven’t had a hive in around 4 years), and they have been doing very well! Yesterday I went in to inspect the brood and look for my queen. Upon inspection I could clearly see bees of all development stages along with eggs clearly laid by the queen (there was only 1 per cell, and they were perfectly centered), however I could not see or find the queen. I closed the hive not too concerned with not seeing her as many eggs were just laid, and I was sure she was somewhere within the hive.

Before I left I decided to check the dead bees outside my hive to ensure everything was normal there (not too many dead, etc.) and there was my queen with the dead bees! I am unsure at this point if I should re-queen myself, or wait for the bees to do so on their own. It is worth mentioning that I saw at least 1 queen cell while inspecting my hive.

Thanks everyone!


Hi there.

If you saw eggs then the bees have the means to make a new queen in about 18 days. There is always a chance the dead queen you found is not the only queen- maybe the bees got rid of an old queen already. If the reigning queen has died it couldn’t be more than a few days before. The bees will (generally) make capped queen cells in around 8-10 days after she died.

You could look in a week and see if there are emergency queen cells- and/or eggs. If you have eggs you have a laying queen. If no eggs but queen cells the queen died and the bees are replacing her- the new queen should hatch 10 days after that (or so) and get mated in the week following all things going to plan…

If no queen cells and no eggs- then you might want to start thinking about what to do next… not much to worry about for now :blush:


Check for eggs in four days. All of the current ones will have hatched. If there are eggs in four days then there is still a queen laying.


Did you happen to take a picture of the “dead queen”?

I ask because once someone asked why their queen was outside the hive and the picture they showed us was a wasp.


Luckily I did take a picture!


That’s looks like a queen honey bee!


Thank you! I will go check the hive a week from when I found her to see what’s going on inside.

I did go check the traffic outside my hive briefly yesterday and noticed drones flying out of the hive. I usually check the hive traffic around the same time when I do, I and have never seen them flying before (some were also returning) so I am wondering if I do already have another queen that I just didn’t see while looking through my hive before. I guess I will find out in a little under a week!


Since I have the picture posted, are you able to tell what breed it is?

I was thinking it looked like a Carniolan queen, but maybe Russian. The apiary I got them from was actually supposed to have Italian bees delivered, but that definitely doesn’t look like an Italian queen to me.


I find that dead bees often darken after a day or two, and the colours may be very different from they way they looked when the bee was alive. So I couldn’t really tell you what strain that queen is, just that she is a queen.


That makes sense- thank you!


Let’s see; it’s mother mated with up to 40 drones of unknown breeds: I’ll go with mutt lol


Hey Emily, Where are you located? The answer may determine whether you wish your hive to replace its queen or whether you want to re-queen it yourself. Here in central Texas, I would rather re-queen myself to reduce the introduction of more Africanized strain into my hive. I like my bees calm and gentle and the wild-mated queens here can pick up a lot of the African strain from the drones they mate with which introduces more of that strain into your hive genetics. A little African is good as they are more varroa resistant than some others, but they also tend to be aggressive and swarm more readily. Just my two cents!



Hi everyone! I just wanted to give an update on my situation in case anyone comes to read this in the future and wonders what the outcome was…

Yesterday (11 days from when I originally found my dead queen), I went in and checked my hive and was able to see eggs and my new queen! She is clearly an Italian queen (my last queen was not) and she looks well other than next time I go in to check I am going to look closer at her abdomen as the end of it looked kinked, and her eggs were not as perfectly placed as my last queen’s. I’m not sure if it is a big concern as of now, but just something I am watching.

As I stated before I had seen drones flying the day after finding my new queen so I am assuming that is when they went to go fertilize the new queen. When I checked a week after finding the dead queen I had seen 3 already hatched queen cells (it threw me off because I thought there should have been more), but no eggs and no queen that I could see. It was not until yesterday I saw her!

I’m glad they were able to replace the queen themselves. Thank you everyone for the input and great information!


“The waiting is the hardest part.” Tom Petty