July 25, 2018 – So, to recap, in April and May everything was great. I added boxes and the hive continued to expand. Middle of June and still everything is great. End of June I have a missing queen and 10 different queen cups. I assumed the queen was too hot and swarmed.
Now, as mentioned here, there are about 16 days between egg and queen bee, so, seeing these cups on the 21st, that meant I had less than eight days before a queen hatched. Amidst my panic, I googled my situation and found this. Now, I’m still not sure this is the best information, but at the time, it was my best bet. I thought I was at step seven, which, to summarize, I was in big trouble. The recommendation to eliminate additional swarming was to destroy all but one of my ten queen cups.
So I did. This left what I felt like was the best queen cup in hopes that everything would go as planned. She hatches, mates within a few days, then a few days later starts laying eggs. Tragedy averted, right?This post wouldn’t be titled the rollercoaster continues if things went according to plan.
I checked back in the hive two weeks later and not only was there no queen, but there weren’t even eggs for the bees to try to make a new queen.
This left me with two options: wait and hope I missed something, or try to find a new queen to buy. If I chose incorrectly, my hive could be lost for the year.
After not finding a local queen to buy, I continued to wait for two weeks, hoping I missed a queen and that she was laying. Middle of July and still nothing.
I finally found a guy on Craigslist who was selling Nucs (a nucleus hive is a smaller box with only four or five frames with bees and a queen). After explaining my situation to him, he was kind enough to give me advice and two frames of eggs, one frame which already had two queen cups!
This was my second chance! I put the frame of only eggs in my main hive (so they could make more queen cups), and the frame with two cups I put into my own nucleus hive in hopes they would make a queen as well. After a week, the main hive had these.
Queen cups! Two weeks later, when the queens should have been hatched and mated? Nothing. No queens, no eggs.
Queenless. That was my hive for two full months. I had thought the bees would have died out, began turning into laying workers, or completely left the hive to find something better.
Thankfully, my luck was about to change.
Did you know? When in dire situations, Bees will change jobs or habits to do what it takes to survive. This can mean conserving their wings (by not flying as much) so they can survive longer.