I have been beekeeping for six years with reasonable success as measured by bees surviving the winter, just one swarm, honey harvest, etc. This year has been very unusual. I got a package in mid-April. The queen was not released box so I got replacement mated queen. I installed this Queen successfully but she did not provide brood. The brood pattern was very sporadic and poor. So, I replaced the queen and there was no change in the brood pattern and no supercedure cells. Frames were drawn and had been frozen for at least 48 hours. I just check a month later (early Sept) and the queen is still walking around, there is no brood and not queen cells. Any idea of what has been going on here? Should I trash these frames?
If I understand correctly you are on your third queen with this package, most of the bees date from April and brood since then has been poor?
There could be a disease issue, but I suspect that your real problem is that the majority of the bees in your hive are too old and not really fit for rearing brood in quantity.
Winter is coming soon and this is the type of hive that would be unlikely to survive the winter.
If you want to try to give them every chance I would feed them now and also provide them with a frame of capped brood from one of your other hives.
Feeding can often encourage a queen to lay and the frame of capped brood will help rear the brood and quickly build up numbers for winter.
This is on the assumption that the hive has simply been too weak to build up during the season. If the issue is that the queen is a dud, then it wont help you.
Thanks for the reply. Not sure how the bees could be from April - my understanding is that they do not love that long- but if I get what you are saying the queen is laying, but the workers are not up to caring for the brood. However, that does not explain why the hive did not take off earlier when there were plenty of younger bees and new queens.
It can be surprising how long bees can last if they are not working, especially in a queenless hive.
However I am confused. You said that the first queen was not released and the second queen didn’t provide brood… and that she was replaced again.
When was there plenty of new bees? A timeline or some photos would help.
In any event winter is coming for you now so your options are very limited.
This never occurred to me but it makes total sense.
@Patti i was thinking you were on a third queen too, and that you may want to speak with your supplier(s) about the poor performance.
Another option would be to combine the workers you have with another colony, as long as you are sure they’re free of disease.