Losing a queen is a major blow to your beehive. Without a queen to manage the population, things will quickly go haywire. However, spotting a queenless hive may be difficult, especially if you’re new to beekeeping. These top signs your beehive has lost its queen will assist you should you ever question whether or not your queen is still alive.
Lack of Eggs and Brood
Since only the queen can lay fertilized eggs, these eggs are the first things to go when she is absent. Beekeepers should pay careful attention to the eggs during inspections. If the colony has spent time without a queen, it will lack capped brood or larvae.
An Increase in Pollen and Honey
Without eggs to look after, many bees in the hive will be without jobs. This leads to a hive imbalance, creating increased food stores and foraging. If you notice lots of pollen and honey in your hive but a suspicious lack of brood, you might be dealing with a queenless hive.
Temperament and Population
Another one of the top signs your beehive has lost its queen has to do with the attitude of your bees. Bees without a queen become listless and cranky. You may hear a high whining sound from the hive. Furthermore, the population in the hive will diminish as more old bees die without any new ones to replace them.
If a queen and the brood are missing from a hive a lengthy period, worker bees can take it upon themselves to lay eggs. But this spells trouble. Once they start laying eggs, getting the colony queenright can be almost impossible. Hives with laying workers often attempt to kill any new queen a beekeeper installs. You can tell if workers are laying eggs if there are several eggs per cell and a drone brood increase.
If you ever need to purchase another queen, make sure you explore The B Farm’s VSH bees for sale.