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Why is my brood so scattered? (Video)


Hello Experts,

Total Noob here. I received my hive a few weeks ago. It was a complete hive and when I received it I just transferred the 8 frames to my flow hive. As it was rainy and I was nervous, I didn’t really check for the queen back then. The whole time between then and now was rainy and windy and not much opportunity for the girls to go out and forage. I also assume there is not too much nectar around, so I fed them sugar water for these past few weeks.

Yesterday I opened the brood box for the first time and here is the video of the 8 frames, front and back. Make sure you run it at least at 720p to see the details.

As i said, I’m a total noob but what seems obvious to me are these observations:

  • I didn’t find the queen (UPDATE: She’s at 02:14 in the video, middle of screen. Thanks to Beast9156!)
  • Didn’t see any eggs, but maybe I missed them like my queen…
  • didn’t see any pollen
  • found some larvae and capped cells but they are scattered all over the place
  • I found two supersedure cells on the top third of one frame (00:48 and 01:00)
  • saw quite a number of drones, but majority are workers
  • about a week ago, I saw lots of activity in front of my hive. On closer inspection, most of them were drones. It seemed they were kicked out of the hive. Some were shaky and tried to fly off but failed and ended up on the ground before the hive.


  • Is my hive without a queen? (UPDATE: She’s at 02:14 in the video, middle of screen. Thanks to Beast9156!)
  • Why is my brood so scattered?
  • are theses swarm cells at the bottom of the frame (Video 01:16)?
  • Why are there supersedure cells (Video 00:48 and 01:00)?
  • Anything I’m supposed to do now?
  • Is there pollen?

I would truly appreciate any tips or recommendations from you experts!
Thank you so much!
Marc (Hong Kong)


The queen is at 2:14 in the middle of the frame.


Wow you are a genius! Thank you so much!
But why is the brood so scattered? And why the supersedure cells?


Packages often supersede, but I didn’t see any supersedure cells. I saw some cups. They did not appear to have any larvae in them based on their size, but I can’t see into them. The scattered brood concerns me. It does not appear to be drone brood (good) and there seems (it goes by quickly) to be larvae in the empty cells between, but then it could be light coming through from behind. A poorly mated queen (usually an inbred queen) will often lay a lot of diploid drones (fertilized eggs that are drones because of a matchup of the sex alleles because the drones are too closely related to the queen) in worker cells and these are removed by the egg police whenever they are found. This is a possible cause. I can’t see the larvae in the cells. Another possibility is EFB (European foulbrood) where the larvae die before they get capped and are removed. You would see brown larvae in a lot of the cells if that were the case.



Thank you Michael for your detailed reply! It’s awesome how beginners like me can receive so much information from experts here.

When I looked at the cells, I remember to see larvae of different development stages. I don’t think they can be seen in the video, but I saw them myself. And none of them seemed brown. The ones I spotted were all shiny white. Also, the caps seem not sunken, right?

I guess I will have another inspection next week if weather permits. Any suggestions what exactly I should be looking out for besides the Queen, supercede cells (I realize that they are not very visual in the video, but I remember they were quite big and very obvious in reality. In the video they seem to be covered by bees) and brown larvae?

Thanks again and best regards from Hong Kong!


If you know someone with bees that is close or if you have multiple hives this is what I like to do:

Have them or you take a frame of eggs and a frame of pollen/nectar and a frame of capped brood covered in nurse bees and place them in a box without a queen. Let that box make queen cells. Once the cells are capped cull the failing queen in your hive and the next day or two insert the frame with the queen cells into that hive along with all the nurse bees and other frames. Smoke them good to create confusion as to who belongs where lol.
A new queen will hatch, kill any rivals, leave to mate, come back and you’ll be back in business.


That’s a great idea and thanks for sharing how to create a new Queen. Unfortunately there are not many beekeepers in Kong Kong and the language barrier is an added problem… So you’re suggesting I get a new Queen?



I would go ahead and source and secure a new queen.


Hi Marc, you have a beautiful looking queen there. Lots of newly hatched bees. Plenty of pollen. The scattered brood doesn’t concern me so much because a lot of the sealed brood might be still hatching, although I couldn’t spot any hatching. You may have some chalk brood, at 3:02 I saw one cell that looks very much like chalk brood. A closer inspection may reveal the extent of it. That could possibly be the reason why the brood is scattered.

I’d be inclined to cut the last comb out & replace it with fresh foundation. But that’s just me. In the coming months, I’d probably replace some of the others as well.


Hi Jeff, thanks! Where at 3:02 on the screen do you see that cell?
I couldn’t find it but then, I don’t really know what I’m looking for.
I will open the hive again next week. Is there something I can/should check regarding chalk brood?



Hi Marc, it may not be chalk brood, it could be just pollen. If you divide the horizontal into 10, it’s roughly 1.5 to 2.5 from the left & roughly a bit lower than the middle on the vertical. At one point the contents of the cell looks to be on an angle the same as chalk brood looks. Chalk brood normally has a dark section at the top which appears to be there.

Good luck with your next inspection, cheers.


Have you checked your mite levels? They could be very hygienic bees and are uncapping mite infested cells although I don’t see any sign of that.
Alcohol wash gives the most accurate results imo http://www.omafra.gov.on.ca/english/food/inspection/bees/varroa-sampling.

I see a failing queen or EFB, a stress related disease usually easily cured.


Looks pretty good from what I can see from the video. You have a beautiful queen, lots of pollen, doesn’t seem to be much stored honey though compared to brood and pollen, I don’t see any capped honey but you have said you have fed them which is really good as they seem to be needing it. Not knowing about conditions in Hong Kong makes it hard to advise, sometimes really good queens look average if conditions are against them. Spring build up is the best time to judge a queen.


It was really wet and sometimes windy. Nonstop rain for months. My friends bees dies in throves, so I started to feed them which I think was the right decision. Now is better and we had a couple of sunny days for the past 2 weeks.

I will post pictures of my yesterdays visit later and post another video. I just wonder why the brood is so scattered all over the place. It seems weird.


Can you spot the Queen?


Time for a new queen and preferably a frame of open and sealed brood. Better check for mites and deal with them as well.


Here is a video of my queen…


Says, “Video is private.”

At least you can identify her and know which bee to pull a “Henry VIII” on when you get a new queen.


I think it’s finished uploading now :blush:


Hi, the link gives me a 404 error.
I have applied some veggie oil to the white bottom board of my flow hive. After a week, there are no mites on it. But I found a lot of what I can only describe as “poop” and something that looks like yellow pollen dust to me. But definitely no mites.