Queenless hive but no queen cells

One of my hives has no queen.
Plenty of worker bees which are filling the brood box with honey & pollen & are not making any queen cells.
There are no eggs, no larvae etc.
Haven’t inspected for several weeks (winter)
Is this hive salvageable?

You can salvage the hive by adding a frame of brood from another colony that includes eggs and young larvae, so the workers can make a new queen, or by buying a mated queen.

Out of curiosity was there any sealed brood? Did everything else seem okay with the colony, pest & disease wise? Any clues as to why the queen presumably died?

I agree with Eva, definitely add a frame of brood containing worker eggs. You need to do this with a degree of urgency, so as to avoid a laying worker from developing.

A ‘laying worker’ is more challenging to deal with, so therefore should be avoided where possible.

The first frame of brood doesn’t always result in emergency queens. Inspect after 6 days to see if the colony is producing some. If not, add another frame. Keep doing this every 6 days until the colony eventually builds them.

Not sure what the status is for shipping queens in Australia but you might also consider ordering a mated/laying queen, especially, of course, if you don’t have other hives to steal frames of brood from.

Jason is in QLD, so the NSW restrictions don’t apply if he buys a local queen. It’s not quite spring, but he might be lucky.

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Jason did say “one of my hives”, which is what prompted my reply, and possibly @Eva 's reply as well. My reply is exactly what I would do myself.

A queenless colony will never reject a frame of brood, however they can reject a new queen, especially because we don’t know how long the colony has been queenless.


Thank you everyone for replying.
I’ve just transferred a frame from one of my other 2 hives, with plenty of eggs & young larva & will inspect on day 6.
I think it’s been a while since it’s been queenless, possibly may be a laying worker bee as JeffH suggested possible. There was some occasional capped drone appearing brood which now makes me suspicious. Either way I’ll persist and possibly add a second frame at day 6.

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Hi Jason, the occasional capped drone brood could be the last of the brood to emerge, because drones take 4 days longer to emerge than workers. Plus they are probably in drone comb.

A way to tell a laying worker is drone brood in worker cells. You said that you didn’t see any eggs. That indicates to me that a laying worker hasn’t commenced laying yet.