Today we did our first inspection since my inspection with Peter – we left is 3 weeks to allow the new queen to hatch, mate and start laying eggs.
Well to our surprise we have a hive full of only drone brood – really not good and not what was expected.
There are few queen cells – one capped and some with larvae.
Anyway, we closed up the hive and sought advice from peter as well as Roy Cross (another local beekepper). Both confirmed that this was not good – the question was whether it was a drone laying queen or a worker that is laying. What is also confusing is that it takes 24 days for a drone eggs to develop from an egg to being ready to come out. Does raise a question if the previous queen was not laying well rather than the new queen.
Peter joined me today after our concerns from last week. He confirmed what we thought – we have no queen. He was unsure why we have last the new queen and why there was only queen cell. One of the indicators of being queenless is the amount of nectar being stored. His advice was to leave the colony for 3 weeks and then do an inspection- hopefully the queen will hatch and then mate with drones and start laying. If there is still no sign the we need either a frame of eggs or a frame with a queen cell.
He commented how they were a calm colony of bees especially given they have no active queen.
He also said we could take the honey off soon as they are unlikely to add much to the super given time of the season and the lower number of bees.
I aldo asked some advice about moving the dark brood frames – we moved 2 to the edge and hopefully on the next inspection there will be no brood and then I can put 2 new ones in.
Today was not a great inspection
We found no eggs and very little larvae and very little capped brood but 1 capped queen cell. Despite adding the 3rd super they have done nothing with it but using brood cells to store honey. A bit worrying. We left the queen cell. Looks like they have either swarmed or the queen has not been very strong
We put the empty super closest to the brood box as I had read that you could do this although not what I recall my course advising.
Decided to email my bee buddy peter for some advice.