Guest post by Melissa Davenport
Our family began beekeeping April of this year, and we continue to learn about and be amazed by these tiny creatures. But when it comes to beekeeping, some lessons you have to learn the hard way!
We noticed around August that one of our three hives was not as active outside of the hive as the others, but we were amazed by their honey production.
The brood looked a little different than the other hives, kind of sporadic and not as much as the other hives. So, I decided to seek some help from a local beekeeper. We learned that the brood in this less-active hive was all drone, and that we were missing a queen. We had a queenless hive! We don’t know how long we were queenless, but a worker took over and began laying the drone brood.
Here’s what to do if you’re experiencing this same issue: We had to move the hive away from the others, brush every single honeybee off the frames, and move the empty hive back to its original location. The beekeeper told us that we had to make sure the frames were free of all bees because the laying worker would not be able to find her way back to the hive as she had never been outside the hive. This also prevents her from continuing to lay drone brood. After the frames were emptied of bees and the hive was returned, the other bees worked their way back to the empty hive and we were able to requeen. We also took a brood frame from one of the other hives to help keep things going.
If you’re queenless but your issue seems different, check out Our Queen Bee Went Missing?!.