Season 7 – I Still Don’t Know What I’m Doing

Season 7 – I Still Don’t Know What I’m Doing


  • 2 colonies in total:
    • 1 colony is either drone laying queen or laying workers
    • And 1 good colony
  • 2 new queens bought in the post and ready to pop in


  1. Hope bad colony was drone laying queen, find her and pop in a 2019 queen
  2. Artificially swarm the good colony and pop new queen in the new colony so it gets motoring straight away (leaving old queen in the hive on original site)

What Happened

Bad colony

  • I could not find a queen and the egg pattern looked distinctly like laying workers, i.e. patchy.  No point wasting a queen on this colony.  Best to let the colony gradually dwindle.

Good colony

  • 10 frames of bees.  Had not gone into the supers at all.  Quite a bit of drone comb. Little progress in 2 weeks.
  • I couldn’t find the queen hence did a 3 way split
  • Took 3 frames out and placed into the other side of the beehaus and popped in a queen. I also made sure drawn comb and stores in this hive
  • Took 2 frames out and placed into beige nuc. Made sure drawn comb and stores in this hive.
  • Hope queen is in the hive on original site
  • Will leave for 2 weeks and see where we are
  • Not confident that any of my colonies will make honey this year … but they do have 7 weeks to build up ready for the July nectar flow


Not one of those days when you spot and mark halve your queens and feel almost competent.  This was a reality check that it’s tough to find queens some days.  However, at least I vaguely knew what to do – hopefully create some colonies that are good to go into winter.  Over to the bees!

My Apiary - 12 May 2019
My Apiary – 12 May 2019

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Author: Roger

regaining my sanity through beekeeping

5 thoughts on “Season 7 – I Still Don’t Know What I’m Doing”

  1. 1, laying workers lay multiple eggs on the side walls of the cells, not on the bottom. If you have eggs at the bottom of the cells, there is a laying queen in there. If multiple eggs all on the side walls, it’s a laying worker colony. No worthwhile way of saving the colony if that is the case. Best to shake all the bees out and move the hive. 2. The one and only sure way to check if there is not a queen in the hive is to put in a test frame. If they draw out queencells, it means they are queen less. If not, there is a queen in there somewhere.

    1. Thanks Tom. Did the test frame about 6 weeks ago and they did not make queen. There are so few eggs I haven’t found any to see if multiple eggs. Drone cells are here and there hence not in a queen laying pattern. Hence I think a few laying workers. Agree?

      1. In that case, yes I would think so. Very difficult to correct such a condition. Best to just shake them out and close up that hive. Whatever you do, don’t try to unite with another colony. You would only be introducing a problem to an otherwise good hive. Accept loss, learn and move on, is the unfortunate but best course.

  2. The other thing you could do, Roger, to be absolutely certain that there isn’t a queen in there and that you can’t see any eggs on sidewalls, is get a spare brood box, put a queen excluder on in and another empty brood, or super on top. Shake every frame and box from the hive into this. Most, or all, of the workers will pass through the excluder to get on the frames below. But, any queen (drone layer, unmated, whatever) will be left behind, above the excluder. If you find a queen, kill her, return the bees to their original box and requeen the hive. Best of luck with it whatever you decide to do.

  3. Hi Roger. You still keeping bees? If so can you tell me your thoughts on the omlet beehaus now you have had it a while? Many thanks

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