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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.

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Monday, May 18, 2015

Queen Problems in the hive

I checked on my doubly caught swarm today.  They apparently had a poorly mated queen who was laying spotty brood and lots of drones. So a month ago I gave them the resources to make a new queen.

Today I checked to see if they had made a queen and gotten rid of the bad one.

No is the answer to that question.

She has a terrible spotty brood pattern.  I gave this hive a great frame of brood and eggs but they did not successfully supercede this queen or perhaps there wasn't an egg suitable or they didn't see the need.

To keep resources available for my hives, I keep a nuc in my backyard apiary.  I made it with frames of brood and eggs from both of my strong survivor hives.  Today when I looked into it, they have a good queen, are drawing straight comb (another sign of good genetics) and have spare brood and eggs.

At first glance this may not look like a blue ribbon frame to you, but it certainly does to me.  There are eggs in almost every empty looking cell on the right side of this frame.  It will be perfect to steal from this hive and move to the community garden double caught swarm hive.

Maybe this time they will find a suitable egg and supercede the failing/pitiful queen. 

My backyard hives are all doing well.  The two packages that I got from Jarrett Apiaries are thriving but the bees in both hives are terrible cross-comb builders.  I tried today to influence them to build their comb straighter.  Most likely their worst boxes I'll put lower in the hives for them to have over the winter and then remove them next year, if they live through the winter.

All of my backyard hives, including the nuc, needed added boxes today, which I happily gave them. 

I'll let you know how the double swarm hive deals with the frame of brood and eggs.



  1. Thanks for letting us follow along on your journey. I have a question. If the queen is not performing well, I'm wondering why you haven't taken her out and forced the issue of making a new queen. Just my second year so I am trying to learn. Thanks!

  2. Hi Karla, Probably most beekeepers would take the queen and cut off her head with the hive tool and force the issue. I have not recovered from the trauma of the first and only time I have done that - I know, I know - but I felt so awful that time that I just can't make myself. This is a swarm hive, a free hive to me - if they recognize that they need a new queen, they will get rid of her. Maybe I didn't give them good resources the last time, but I have a better frame available this time. If they succeed, they succeed. If they don't, it's at no cost to me since it was a swarm hive. I'm a psychologist in real life, so this is my rationalization for probably irrational behavior in being unwilling to kill the queen.

  3. I haven't had to do that yet with any of my queens but I bet I would be just as apprehensive! Would you maybe move the bad queen into a nuc and then keep putting your frame of eggs into the hive see if they raise a new queen?

    1. I could do that, but I think that I didn't give them good resources to make their queen. Now that my nuc is thriving I can do what Michale Bush recommends which is to put in a frame of brood and eggs once a week until they make a new queen.

  4. rica, rica, interesante post, saludos desde España


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