No eggs, no queen cells - Is it queenless?

 

If you found neither eggs nor queen cells during hive inspection, we will here try to help you determine if that hive is queenless.

 

Although the absence of eggs indicates that the hive may be without a queen, this isn't always the case.

 

 

You can’t determine this by trying to find the queen

 

If you suspect that the hive is queenless there is no point looking for the queen. You would only unnecessarily disturb the bees and waste your time. 

 

It's not always possible to find a queen, so if you can't manage to find her you can't be sure that she isn't inside the hive - maybe she is just hiding somewhere.

 

Queen bee hiding on the frame with bees
There is a queen hiding on this image. Try to find her 👑👀

 

Beekeeper holding a frame of brood
Checking the brood will tell us everything we need to know about the queen bee 🥚🐝

 

 

No eggs 

 

If there are no eggs inside the beehive, our first presumption is that there is no queen in the hive.

 

However, it is possible that the colony has a queen but she, for some reason, stoped laying eggs for a shorter or longer period of time.

 

This happens:

In fall - in preparation for winter, or

If there is no food - honey and/or pollen.

 

 


Choose an option:


 

If it is fall right now in your area, go to: Fall - Brood Reduction.


 

Otherwise, continue reading 👇.


 

 

Honey and pollen supplies 

 

Bee on flower
Bee on flower, gathering nectar. Her tongue is inside the flower. Look her hind legs - there is yellow pollen on them 🌸

 

 

Honey 

 

Bee and blooming fruit tree
Blooming fruit trees are good nectar and pollen source 🌸🌸🌸

 

 

If there is no honey flow in nature, and there is not enough supply of honey inside the hive, the queen will reduce laying eggs or completelly stop until the bees start bringing in food again.

 

Frame with honey and nectar
Capped honey on the left 👈. On the right, in some cells you can see a reflection of uncapped honey and nectar 👉

 

 

There should be 5-10 kg of honey supply in the hive.

 

One completely full deep frame has approximetely 2kg of honey.

Based on this fact we can determine the approximate amount of honey in the hive.

 

 

Pollen

 

Worker bee with pollen on her hind legs
Bee with orange pollen on her legs (arrow) 🌼

 

Same thing could happen if there is no pollen in nature and the bees have used up all the supplies from the hive. 

 

Pollen is used for feeding the brood.

 

Even if the hive is full of honey but there is no pollen, the queen will stop laying eggs because bees won't have anything to feed that brood.

 

Pollen in cells - perga - bee bread
Pollen in cells. It’s called bee bread or perga - fermented pollen. It can be found in many different colors 🌈

 

Lack of pollen doesn't happen as often as the lack of honey.

 

Observing the hive's entrance, we can determine whether the bees are gathering pollen.

If some of the bees have little balls of pollen on their legs, that means that there is pollen in nature (we can’t see if they are bringing nectar).

 

Worker bees at the enrance of the hive bringing in pollen
These bees are bringing in some pollen. By looking at hives entrances, we can determine if there is pollen in nature 🌼

 

 


Choose an option:


 

If there is enough honey and pollen in the hive, go to: Adding Young Brood Frame.


 

If you concluded that the colony lacks honey or pollen, continue reading 👇


 

 

Problem with honey and/or pollen supplies

 

Pollen and nectar in honeycomb
Pollen and nectar 🌼

 

 

No honey

 

1If you concluded that there is not enough honey, the hive should be fed with 1l of sugar water every night.

 

Feeding bee colony
Feeding sugar water. Be careful not to spill any sugar water because it may trigger robbing 💦

  

 

2After 5 to 7 days you should repeat the inspection to check if the queen started laying eggs. Follow these steps: Basic Hive Inspection.

 

 

Frame full of capped honey
Frame full of capped honey. Careful - it’s heavy 🍯

  

After that time, you should continue to feed the colony every other night until the colony has enough honey supply.

 

 

No pollen 

 

1If there is no pollen, you can put a pollen patty or some other pollen substitute you can buy at a beekeeping equipment store. 

 

If there are SHB (Small hive beetles) in your area, always put just a little piece of pollen patty, and only when the bees eat it add some more. It’s because SHB love pollen patties.

 

As pollen substitutes beekeepers sometimes put: yeast, powdered milk, powdered eggs... They consist of high levels of protein, but this still isn't an adequate replacement for pollen - it simply isn't natural bee food.

 

 

No pollen substitute can replace real pollen.

 

 

Orange pollen in honeycomb cells
Beautiful orange pollen in cells - bee bread 🌼

 

 

Pollen patties and other pollen substitutes shouldn’t be given to bees unless there's a problem with pollen. Bees need real pollen and nothing cannot replace it. 

 

 

2After 5-7 days, if there is a queen, she should start laying so inspect the colony to see if there are eggs. Follow these steps: Basic Hive Inspection.

 

 

Marked queen and eggs
Marked queen. There are three eggs and a larva on this photo - can you find them? 👀

 

 

If queen starts laying 

 

During the next few inspections, pay attention if everything is fine with the colony and the brood - if there is a healthy worker brood in all of its development stages.