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Who dies in this Scenario?

Ok and so begins my annual swarm prevention /queenless hive saga.
Thought I had it sorted this year, but if course the bees have thrown up a senario I didnt think of.

I split my lovely peaceful hive and left them to make a new queen. Want to keep the genetics going on that one. It’s descendant from our 1st ever queen. Tick!

Ordered a queen and was going to split it and put a mated queen in the hive the split came from. 1st problem is that Australia post is melting down and who knows when the queen will arrive. She was supposed to be here last week. In the meantime today’s inspection found a supercedure cell and a queen cell on the same frame, an open supercedure cell on another frame.
There are more bees than I’ve ever seen in a hive, BUT, no eggs or larvae anywhere. The marked queen was seen 2 weeks ago, and there were no queen cells at that time. Pretty obvious it’s Queenless with the lack of larvae and eggs.

So… anyone still with me?.. we did a split and put the frame with 2 queen cells in, this should right itself when they hatch, and, hoping with everything crossed that there is a virgin from the open supercedure cell out there somewhere soon to return to the hive the split came from.

Let’s say Australia post sorts out it’s incompetence and the queen shows up this week… What happens if we introduce a mated queen while the virgin the hive just produced is out mating? Who bites the dust? Assuming there is even a virgin out there.

Have I done the right thing with the splits and my Queen theory?

The memory of losing a hive our first swarm season purely due to inexperience is etched in my brain and I really don’t want it to happen again.

I can’t take any egg frames from the other hive to help out, because that was split 2 weeks ago and it shouldn’t have any eggs. I should be able to get a frame of eggs from the 2 week old split, it’s in my parents yard, but I can’t do that until next weekend because of work.

Jeezus that sounds complicated when I read it back. I hope it makes sense to you guys.

Don’t know what I would do without this forum, thank you all in advance… Again.


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Mated queen from AusPost.

  1. The replacing queen and the queen to be replaced are in different physiological (virgin/mated) states. The colony will not accept her.
  2. How long the AusPost queen is in transportation? 4-5 days in cage and queen will not be able to recover to her full laying abilities. So, even if you will manage to introduce her, there is a good chance she will be quietly superseded during the major nectar flow.
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Thanks ABB
Australia post is such a basket case at the moment the queen breeder went to post it last monday and was told “we arent accepting parcels for sydney at the moment.” Our tax dollars at work.
At least she’s not in a sorting centre slowly deteriorating.

Basically you have done splits on both hives. There’s no reason why it shouldn’t work out. Indeed the odds should be better for hive 2 because they were already in reproduction mode.
I wouldn’t be surprised if hive 2 has already swarmed and this is where the queen has gone.
Three queen cells in spring shows that was their plan.


hey ABB,
i have a follow up question.
she comes back physiologically different. she leaves a vigin and comes back mated.
i’m not doubting they’ll reject her. i assume its the pheromones she releases that ID her as the original and not a new queen the interfering beek has tired to con them with?

I guess it would be better if I used “not laying/laying” wording.

They definitely accept their own queen returning from mating flight. It is a part of the natural process.

With feromones, it is not that easy. Despite the keen sense of smell they still could be tricked. For example, one of the methods of queen replacement (laying queen for laying one) could be described as “quick change”. We simply remove the old queen from the frame and instantly put a new one on the same spot. Bees, if they are not irritated by something, don’t notice this substitution. The same could be done with cages. We put the old queen in the cage, keep it in the hive for 1-2 hours and then quickly swap it for a cage with a new queen inside. Probably, the “smell trail” the queen creates is sufficient enough for other bees to recognise her as they own.

However, a more interesting question is, how are you planning to introduce Ms AusPost if she arrives alive? :slight_smile:

She hasn’t even left Toowoomba yet so I’m thinking either

  1. The (possible) supercedure queen returns and starts laying before the post arrives, or
  2. The post doesn’t arrive for another week or 2, and we’ll assume there is no supercedure queen and we introduce the new queen.

The population is massive in the hive so I think we have a little time.