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I've been keeping this blog for all of my beekeeping years and I am beginning my 17th year of beekeeping in April 2022. Now there are more than 1300 posts on this blog. Please use the search bar below to search the blog for other posts on a subject in which you are interested. You can also click on the "label" at the end of a post and all posts with that label will show up. At the very bottom of this page is a list of all the labels I've used.

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I began this blog to chronicle my beekeeping experiences. I have read lots of beekeeping books, but nothing takes the place of either hands-on experience with an experienced beekeeper or good pictures of the process. I want people to have a clearer picture of what to expect in their beekeeping so I post pictures and write about my beekeeping saga here. Along the way, I've passed a number of certification levels and am now a
Master Beekeeper Enjoy with me as I learn and grow as a beekeeper.

Need help with an Atlanta area swarm? Visit Found a Swarm? Call a Beekeeper. (678) 597-8443

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Monday, May 10, 2010

Requeening the Queenless Hives

I provided both of my queenless hives (Aristaeus2 and the L hive) with frames of brood and eggs over a month ago. There is no sign of a queen in either hive. They have no brood or eggs and are dwindling.

Every Saturday I go to the Peachtree Road Farmers Market where Ray Lopes (see picture below) has a honey booth. I knew he and Donna raise queens, so I called him earlier last week when I discovered that the hives still appeared queenless. He agreed to bring me two queens on Saturday. I picked the queens up at the Farmer's Market (along with some fresh eggs, some cucumber and pepper plants, and some delicious applewood bacon).

I put the queen cages into the two queenless hives, first inspecting every frame to reassure me that they were indeed queenless. We had cold and terribly rainy weather when the emergency queens would have been mating so perhaps it didn't work for them. I installed the queens and hoped for the best.

Aristaeus2, originally from a swarm I collected a couple of years ago, is dwindling. The bees don't look too healthy - if you double click on the picture you can see varroa mites on at least three of these bees. I'll proceed with powdered sugar shakes for this hive (and all my hives) when I return from Young Harris on Sunday.

Meanwhile I'll check to make sure the queens have been released before I leave on Wednesday.

On a good note, Mellona which is slow to build up every year, has had me worried. I opened and really inspected it because I was afraid it was another queenless hive, but I saw lots of brood and eggs. Just off to a slow start, I guess.

Thursday will be three weeks since we put frames of brood and eggs into the Blue Heron hives. I'll also check on them when I get back on Sunday. And I'll check on Valerie's hive - it needs a name!

While I'm in the mountains at Young Harris I'm going to check on the Rabun County hive (also needs a name). Clayton is just about 30 minutes from Hiawassee where I'll be staying. My friend Julia and her son Noah are meeting me at the hive there to check on its progress on Thursday at the end of the day. I hope that hive continues to do well.

Meanwhile my Easter swarm hive is going gangbusters! I added yet another box yesterday. It's now a five (medium) box hive. Those enthusiastic bees fill boxes up almost as fast as I give them boxes.
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  1. Linda - I'm a new beekeeper in Tallahassee and am really enjoying reading your blog and searching for topics that I need help with. I'm loving reading about another female beekeeper doing this on her own! Do you keep bees in Clayton, Ga. too? I have a sister who lives in Hiawassee and make trips up to visit her occasionally. Would love to stop by Atlanta and see your bees on one of my trips!


  2. Anonymous6:00 PM

    Just curious. It appears that you have the queen cage turned so the screened side is up against the foundation? Or are those foundationless?
    We always place our queen cages so the screen faces between the foundation/frames, so they can be tended to through the screen.

  3. All of my frames are foundationless. The cage is hanging between in the open space.

  4. Anonymous9:36 AM

    Oh, ok. Sorry, I had forgot that you have all foundationless, and that just looked funny.

  5. Anonymous10:06 PM

    I'm out in Conyers, east of Atlanta and just realized one of my hives is queenless (empty brood foundation). I put a frame of fresh brood from another hive, with queen cells, into the failing hive. It seems as though this is not the advised method. Does this ever work? If not, I'd like to contact Ray Lopes, or someone local with queens. any ideas?


  6. It often works out for the bees to make their own queens and is preferable for many beekeepers. You can buy a queen, but putting a frame of brood and eggs into the hive helps them not become laying workers. It disrupts the life of the hive to lose the queen but at this point in Georgia the nectar flow is over and making nucs is a good way to disrupt the cycle on purpose. So it should work out for you either way.
    My queen from Lopes didn't work out. I like the queens from Don in Lula, GA.


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