How to tell if a hive is Queenless
There are a variety of ways to tell if your hive has lost its queen, and at some point, all hives do eventually lose their queen. At times they requeen themselves and we never know it, (which isn’t ideal, see “Requeening vs letting bees raise their own”) and sometimes we catch it in time to do something about it. Here are some ways to tell if your hive is queenless:
- There is no capped brood, eggs, larva or queen cells.
If your hive has no brood of any form in the hive, and it is between February and October, your hive is almost certainly queenless. Check out the pictures below to make sure you are clear on what brood looks like, and read the article “Spotting Eggs & larva”.
- There is capped brood, but no eggs or larva. Capped Brood Below
Largely, the same things apply from point 1. Make sure you aren’t missing eggs or larva.
- There are no eggs or larva, and there are queen cells with developing larva in them present in the hive.
If this is the case, see the article “Swarm cells vs supersedure cells” to determine what kind of queen cells they are.
- There is brood, but it is all drone brood, not worker brood. See article “Identifying and Fixing Drone Layers”.