Homesteading beekeeping: is your beehive missing it’s queen is the question that needs to be answered when salvaging your bee colony.
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A queenless Bee colony, as opposed to a queenright colony, is one that has lost its queen. You should always make sure your colony has a queen during the inspection. Once noticed, it can easily be corrected. Early detection is, however, a key to solving this problem.
Some signs should immediately alert you to the fact that your colony is queenless. Some of these signs are:
• The absence of new eggs and decline or absence of brood.
• Where there is a drop in the population of your colony. Usually noticeable after a few weeks. Since workers die every day, a queenless colony means there is no replacement.
• When there is an increase in honey and pollen production because worker bees in charge of caring for broods are out of jobs.
• Where there is a change in the behavior of bees. Queenless bees will often make a high pitched whine with a low roar because they are nervous or irritated.
• When the workers start laying. By this time your colony must have been queenless for a long time. Workers eggs are usually unfertilized so when hatched will only produce drones.
Some of these signs may, however, not be conclusive that you have a queenless colony. To be certain, you can carry out any of the following tests:
Put a frame of open brood from a queenright colony and watch if they try to make emergency queen cells.
Place a caged queen in the middle of the colony and watch if they stream toward her or try to kill her.
There are two major ways of salvaging a queenless colony. You could either install an adult queen or allow the bees make their queen by giving them an open colony from a queenright colony.
Each method will be discussed extensively below.
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