Hive with no queen; should I combine it or requeen?

babsbag

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OK, all you very knowledgeable beekeepers... Late this afternoon I noticed a group of about 6-8 bees on the ground about 15' from the hive. I thought this was a little strange so I took a closer look and there was a dead queen laying on the ground. I picked her up and put her a piece of plywood before bringing her to the house. Now the plywood is covered with about 20 bees. So here's the question...was it my queen and why would she have left the hive? Can you think of any reasons that she would be out and about if it is mine?

My hives have been here about about 6 weeks. They were 5 frame nucs with one year old unmarked queens. I was planning on re-queening them in June.

Of course tomorrow I will go queen hunting but I lack queen finding skills so not sure what to expect. I buy a new queen as quick as a few hours so that isn't a problem, but I don't need two queens; of course.

Thoughts???
 

Maggiesdad

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I would guess that your hive swarmed about a week or so ago, and one fiery young lady has been taking care of business with the other unlucky gals that weren't quite as fit. The undertakers dropped her outside, but she still smelled good enough to draw some onlookers.

I would put her into a pill bottle of alcohol to make some homemade swarm lure...
 

Maggiesdad

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Just because I hopped in with an answer doesn't make me a very knowledgeable beekeeper. :D =D
 

Maggiesdad

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When you inspect, look for open queen cells. If there are none, then hmmmm. Look on the edges of uncapped brood for fresh eggs. (If you have uncapped brood.)
No chance you rolled her on an earlier inspection?
There is a thing called an usurpation swarm where a softball sized knot of bees and a queen move into an occupied hive and depose the old queen... it's a harsh world out there.
 

babsbag

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If I did it during an inspection it has been about a month so I doubt that is the case, she would be dust as she was right in the middle of the driveway. Now the swarm is possible but I didn't really suspect that a nuc would swarm already. They have lots of room to grow but Lord knows, anything is possible when it comes to bees. I did have uncapped brood a month ago so IF I have a queen I should still have some. There were no queen cells a month ago, but one hive is definitely more active than the other so maybe they did swarm. GRRR.

Well she would certainly be a swarm lure, they seemed very interested in her.

I am not familiar with the queenless hive moan, only that a queenless hive can be quite testy. I will look for eggs and if there are some then I will go in again in a few days and see if there is anymore. I think it is 3 days to be capped. I really like my queens to be be marked and my new ones will be; makes finding the illusive gal a lot easier.

Thanks for the ideas. Stay tuned.
 

Happy Chooks

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My guess is they superceded her and you already have another queen in the hive.
 

babsbag

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My guess is they superceded her and you already have another queen in the hive.

That would be much better than being queenless and another good reason to have marked queens... I will have no way to know if she is new or not. Either way I plan to replace her with a VSH queen if I can find them this summer.
 

Happy Chooks

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Having a marked queen is how I knew my queen from my original hive was superceded. All of a sudden, I found an unmarked queen. I was scratching my head, until it finally sunk in that they replaced her. I really, really need to learn to mark them, because now both of my queens are unmarked. I've gotten very good at finding them lately, even though they are not marked.
 

Latestarter

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Once you find them a few times, it gets a lot easier. they seem to stick out like a sore thumb. They're actually pretty hard to miss.

Edit to add: unless you have weird bur comb built up in layers that they can get underneath to hide...
 
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