How Long Can A Hive Be Queenless?
In this article, we look at what happens to a hive when it is queenless and how long can a hive be queenless. You will see that a hive can be queenless for a short period of time before changes occur in the hive.
What Happens If A Hive Loses Its Queen?
Queen bees sometimes die. Virgin queens have to go on mating flights, and sometimes they don’t come back. Sometimes a clumsy beekeeper will squash a queen by mistake when working a hive. There are many things that can cause a hive to lose its queen. If they do not do this, they will suffocate.
A Hopelessly Queenless Hive
In a hopelessly queenless hive, there are no eggs left which workers can raise into queens. Under these circumstances there is no queen to maintain reproductive dominance and the workers will develop ovaries and start laying eggs. A queen is important to the structure of the hive as she is supposed to be the only reproductive female in the hive.
When we open a queenless hive there are a few immediate signs. The hive will tend to make a strange hiss noise. The bees tend to be a bit skittish and unsettled, and they lack the normal social cohesion we see in a hive.
Queenless Hive Behavior
Queenless Hive Symptoms
Early Stages: No Eggs
In the early stages of a queenless hive, you will find that the hive completely lacks eggs...
Advanced Stages: Lots Of Messy Eggs
In a hive without a queen, the workers begin to lay drone eggs. A worker is not a queen and is not a talented egg layer. They tend to just lay eggs all over, and the bottom of a cell can look like a bowl of rice there are so many eggs laid there.
What Happens If Rearing An Emergency Queen Is Not Possible?
In the event that there are no eggs, or the emergency queen dies as well, a hive will enter a situation where they cannot rear a new queen...
If a hive of these bees loses its queen and becomes hopelessly queenless, it is not in fact hopelessly queenless. The Cape Bee can lay fertilized eggs through a process called thelytoky. These eggs hatch and produce worker bees that are near clones of the parent worker.