The White Hive Might Be Queenless

Today I went to to open the white hive for an inspection, and as soon as I took off the inner cover, the bees took to the air and were louder than usual.

They just appeared aggressive, buzzing all around me and I thought to myself: "I wonder if they're queen-less?"

One of the signs that a hive is queen-less is when their behavior changes. Without the queen's pheromone in the hive to give them guidance and direction, their behavior can change and they can be more aggressive, even after just a day or two of missing a queen.

I had been in the hive last week, and saw eggs, but no queen. I hadn't worried since I haven't been seeing her in the white hive as often anymore.

However, on frame #6 I saw this:
Two Queen Cells

Circled in purple are two queen cells.

The one in the lower left is not capped, but we did see larva in there floating in royal jelly.

Here's a close up picture of the uncapped cell in the lower left:
Queen Cell

The one in the upper right was fully capped and closed. I suspect (hope) the one in the upper right will hatch soon and be a good queen.

Here's a close up picture of the capped cell in the upper right corner:
Queen Cell

Since there is another queen cell in the hive, she'll likely walk down the frame to the other cell, and sting the developing queen through the cell wall before she even hatches. Just to ensure her position as ruling queen is secured.

So why is she gone? Did she leave on her own? Did I kill/smash her? Did she die of old age?

It isn't likely she left on her own, especially since she didn't any other bees with her. If she left on her own, we should have seen swarm cells, and about half the hive missing after she swarmed.

She might have died on her own of old age, but I'm not sure this is likely either since she came in a nuc this spring. However, we never know for sure if the queens are new queens inside of nucs.

It's possible the beekeeper (myself) killed/smashed her. Thankfully we may never know.

I'll let you know when these queen cells hatch, and what happens.

Comments For This Post: (0) Be The First! | Post Your Comments! Hide The Comment Form

Post your Comments!

Your Name: (Leave Blank for Anonymous)

(Feel free to link back to your site within your message!)

You should see a captcha above.
If you don't, your network or browser is likely blocking it.
Your comments will not appear until they're approved.