2011-03-27 Metropolis - queenless again!

The days are shortening, so time to look in on the bees, reduce their accommodations, and generally get ready for winter. I've read that you're supposed to bring each hive down to one box, to minimise the space that they have to heat, and to reduce the population generally, for their dormant months. I think I may just take it down to a pair of boxes, one brood and one of honey, this seems better than ditching the 8 frames of half-honey / nectar, which would mean getting the wax off the frames, too. they'd just get full of moths if you dont store them in a freezer.

One of the girls bringing in the pollen...

 I took out 8 frames that were pretty much empty and unppopulated.
The girls had cleaned up these stickies after harvest, you can still see where I had gouged out the comb slightly with my amateur de-capping technique.
A bit of debris and discolouring here and there.

 The top box I took out completely, but the middle box still had a fair bit of capped honey
and lots of nectar in it.
I guess if one of these was a drone, I could get out a microscope and measure a bees dick.
Capped honey from the second box.
Since harvest, the amount of honey in there had pretty much stayed the same.
The frames with honey in them that I had left, were still fairly full,
but the ones I had harvested were still pretty much empty, too.
So I get down to the brood box, and bugger me, no bloody capped brood.
No eggs to be seen. No sighting of the queen, either.
This means almost certainly that the queen is gone.
There are a few capped brood cells here and there, but I'm pretty sure they are drones.
Lots of pollen.
So re-queening last time didn't work?
Mysterious, and really bad news.
This could mean that I lose the bees completely, as I have no idea how long the queen has been gone, except that it seems to be more than 3 weeks ago, as this is the time it take from when an egg is laid to when  they come out of the capped brood. This means that all the bees are getting older, and their life-span is only sometimes 7 weeks, if they have been working hard.
This reminds me how little I know about this whole bee business.
Time to get another new queen.

Since I posted this, I've done a bit more research, and it looks to me like of got a case of "Laying Workers", which means that the queen has gone (How, when???), some of the workers have taken over and decided to lay some eggs themselves, and most likely any attempt at re-queening will fail, as these workers will kill the new queen. This is probably the end for this hive, if I'm not wrong. An extract from one of my reference books below (the ABC to XYZ of beekeeping).

Looks like I'm a poor beekeeper.

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