Why would a Queen-less hive not make a new Queen?

I’ve been reading a lot of the forums on queenlesness because I think my hive has given their queen the boot.

When I looked one week ago there were eggs visible, not a lot of them, but still a good handful on one frame, but no sign of the queen. I had evidence of eggs so I wasn’t concerned.

This week, there are no eggs. The frame that had the small number of eggs last week is now a small section of larvae. The rest of the frames are capped brood, some are empty, and then lots and lots of pollen and nectar.
The bees were also pretty vocal and more aggressive today then they have ever been before. (In the month that I have had them).

I’m gonna give it a couple more days to make sure, but I have a replacement queen set up for pick up on Monday if I want it.

My curiosity is, why would a hive not replace a failing queen?

In my case there were eggs available to make into an emergency queen, but they never did, and I’ve read some other threads where the keeper introduced a frame of egg and brood and still the hive did not self re-queen.

What do the experts and the opinion makers out there think?

Acton, Ontario, Canada

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Hi Matthew, that happens for no apparent reason that I can think of, it happened to me recently as well as @Semaphore . You can give them another frame of brood containing fertile eggs or very young worker larvae, that is if you have access to one. Give them another chance to make a new queen. They will eventually make a new queen.

The new queen you have access to for immediate pickup might be the best strategy.

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I agree with Jeff
Give them a test frame first or you will lose your new queen
Good luck


I tried to introduce my new queen yesterday and in the opening coverage of her coronation ceremony there was an assassination attempt.
I could see workers crawling all over her cage and I was excited thinking they were smelling her, and then they started trying to sting her through her cage.
40 mins later and an exhaustive search through the frames I found the original queen. I guess she stopped laying because the bees had stored too much nectar and pollen and there wasn’t enough open cells for her liking.

I now have two queens and I’m pretty sure I also saw a number of queen cells growing as well.

I didn’t want to kill off my new queen (mostly because i have just waisted $40 bucks on it) so I have given her two frames of comb and two empty frames in a cardboard nuc box.

But everything I have read says not to split a nuc because you would only end up with two weak hives. Summer is just about to start in Southern Ontario, do you think the bees would have time to build up enough between now and Sept to build up to become two full/viable hives?

Or should I just suck it up and kill/release a queen into the wild?

You can just let the queen go but she will perish. She needs bees to live.
Offer her to another beekeeper if you don’t want her or stick her under your boot, but that would be a dreadful shame.
I make up what I call 2 frame nucs which consist of a frame of food including pollen if possible, a frame of emerging brood and a new queen. To this I add a frame or two of drawn comb and a frame or two of nurse bees shaken in. The one frame of brood very quickly turns into three frames of bees. They do very well. Started in summer they will certainly give you a couple of decent sized nucs to over winter. Put them in a poly nuc box because they will need the warmth. Brood next to the wall. Put the stores in its place when it has emerged. I would have the new queen in a push in cage for four days before letting her out.

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Do you have a beekeeping friend or club member who could give you a couple of frames of brood with nurse bees? That way you could use those for your new queen, and take a frame of food from the nuc you have without weakening it disastrously. Our strong hive is brimming with bees at the moment, and I would be happy to sell a couple of frames of brood. :blush:

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Too early to decide to kill that spare queen- maybe there is some problem with the old one? Seems odd that she would lay nothing at this time of your season… surely there’s some open cells somewhere?

Better to go with your split (and increase the strength of them with combs of brood from someone else if you can find them as others suggest).

Make sure to check for honey/nectar. if they have no nectar/pollen then the queen will stop laying. feed 1:1 syrup and a pollen patty. and check back in a week.

A quick answer might be to relocate the old queen and kill her then after a few days introduce the new queen if she is in a queen cage with a few workers to feed her. And she will need a drop of water and honey each day.
Squash anything you think is queen cells, they will only make a bad situation worse.
Releasing the new queen into the wild will just mean she will starve to death as a queen can not feed herself so cancel that option, if you decide you don;t want her offer her to another bee keeper, for free if need bee.
Buy a queen marking kit for less than half the price you paid for your queen and use it, even if the year color is wrong it will be easier to find the queen once she is marked.

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