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You know you are hiving a bad day when


Not a good day at the hive.

This morning I noticed a number of drones dead in the front of the hive and the girls apparently attacking all of the boys. Beeing a new beek I don’t know if this is normal (although I have a hunch it is … wait for the punch line).

At lunch I went down to the hive with my phone this time. I got the surprise of my bee-life. 100% not what I expected.

Maybe a bad bee-day for me - and maybee it’s a really bad day for the hive too!

Drones being kicked out

What I really didn’t expect was to see my QUEEN DEAD ON THE GROUND!

Then to make matters worse, I saw a yellow jacket attacking one of the dead drones with a gruesome ending.

So what happened (is happening) and what, if anything, should I be doing.

The Queen is dead - long live the Queen!


Drones being kicked out is normal in late summer/early fall. Yellow jackets can be a real problem for hives. I would reduce the entrance. The queen may have been killed by a wasp, or she may just have died. With a green spot, if whoever marked her followed the usual convention, she would be over 3 years old - pretty old for a commercially-bred queen.

I would inspect the hive soon. You need to know whether there is evidence that she has has been superseded, or whether there are any emergency queen cells. If your hive is throwing out drones, it is likely that all local hives will be doing the same. If they are making an emergency queen, the local lack of drones will make it hard for a new queen to get well-mated. I would be looking into getting a queen shipped from a commercial producer very soon.

These guys have queens at the end of August:

The other place I have had good queens from is here:

Last time I contacted Koehnen, they only had Carniolans, but that might be a good choice for your climate. I prefer Italians.

Please let us know what you find and what you decide to do. Sorry this happened at a difficult time of year. :cry:



Unbelievable how empty it is!

And if you look carefully …


So I am doubly lucky. I have a new queen AND I was able to find her.

Unfortunately the hive is almost devoid of nectar and honey. So I put my feeder on and put 2-1 syrup on.

I guess I just have to wait for eggs to see if she mated?


Wait another week after you see eggs to see if the eggs are fertile of not. You’ll know by the shape of the caps & the height of the finished cells.


I had wasps like that attacking my hives in autumn, I actually watched as a few flew right into the hives. outside I saw the decapitated and mutilated victims littering the ground… Around that time one of my hives became queenless- I guess its possible twas a wasp that did it… I reduced all my entrances- and it definitely helped- I saw a few wasps try to get back in and be repelled by guards. I try and kill the wasps if I can but it seems a losing battle- there are plenty more where they came from.


She looks like a gorgeous big queen. With those nicely splayed legs, she may already be mated. I am not joking, that was something a queen breeder once mentioned to me. I guess as the abdomen expands with fertile ovarioles, the leg position changes.

Did you spot any queen cells? The reason I am asking is for help with timing. If you only saw one queen cell, she was probably a supersedure queen. That means that she was likely already in the hive on the day you found the dead queen outside. In fact all of those dead bees around the green spot queen may be a sign that the hive decided that it liked the new queen, and then balled the old one to kill her. Balling kills some of the bees doing it too.

If you saw lots of emergency queen cells, then she may only just have emerged. If the queen is still alive, the hive makes swarm cells or supersedure cells. If she is dead, they make tons of emergency queen cells. However, they can tear down empty or used cells pretty quickly. If you didn’t see any, then we just have to guess wildly and let nature take its course. :blush:


Oh, the comic opportunity nature provides …

No. But I didn’t look at every frame. I looked at about 15/20.



I figured I had a queen and not much else other than lots of bees so I stopped there (I also ran out of smoke). I guess the drones were being kicked out to conserve on food.

Looking this morning at the feeder the girls went through 10 lbs (4.5 kg) of 2-1 syrup overnight.


Bees can tear down empty queen cells pretty quickly too, depending on what they need. It was just an “off-chance” question which may have given us a clue. Meanwhile, you have a queen, and we know the hive likes her, so you can drink another cocktail and take some tylenol to relieve the pain from patting yourself on the back for not over-reacting… :smile: