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How To Tell If A Hive Is Queenless

There are a variety of ways to tell if your hive has lost its queen, and at some point, each hive will eventually lose its queen. At times, they requeen themselves and we never know it, (which isn’t ideal) and sometimes we catch it in time to do something about it. Here are some ways to tell if your hive is queenless:

  • There are no capped brood, eggs, larva or queen cells. If your hive has no brood of any form in the hive, and it is between February and October, your hive is almost certainly queenless.

  • There is capped brood, but no eggs or larva. Largely, the same things apply from the previous point. Make sure you aren’t missing eggs or larva. If you are confident there are no eggs or larva. Check carefully for queen cells, as the bees typically work to raise a new queen.

  • There are no eggs or larva, and there are queen cells with developing larva in them present in the hive. If this is the case, your hive has either swarmed or lost their queen. If the hive is/was really healthy, and packed full of bees, swarming is usually the culprit. If its population is low, and they aren’t very healthy, then the bees are usually replacing a failing queen.

  • There is brood, but it is all drone brood, not worker brood. This means the queen has completely failed, and is now laying only drones, or the hive was queenless for a long period, failed to raise a new queen, and workers have begun to lay eggs without the presence of a queen’s pheromones to suppress their egg laying ability.

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