BBKA Forum

British Beekeepers Association Official Forum 

  • Let’s presume

  • General Q&A, Bee chat and only Bee chat please
General Q&A, Bee chat and only Bee chat please
 #14094  by Ewen
 03 Oct 2023, 19:59
Hi all
Have a question for you.

Let’s say that my bee colony lost its queen ant this time of year. Obviously that it’s too late in the season for the worker bees to raise a new one in time for mating. If they do manage to raise a new queen, is it possible for her to wait until the spring to mate? How do bee colonies typically handle situations like this?”
 #14095  by JoJo36
 04 Oct 2023, 06:26
Hi Ewen

For what it's worth I think.....

Any new queen would have to be mated within a few weeks at the most if the workers were to raise a new one which won't happen at this time of the year as there aren't any (many) drones left to mate with!

Therefore if you find your colony is queen less then it's best to add these bees to boost your other hives ASAP else I think they will just gradually die out??!!

That's always a worry inspecting this time of the year just incase you accidentally squash a queen!! :o
 #14096  by Ewen
 04 Oct 2023, 09:35
So far I’ve been lucky that they all had a queen in the autumn and spring. I was curious what would they do in this instance. I suppose would be easier for them to start laying ( the bees) rather than raising a new queen, cause she’s more work and needy :)
 #14097  by NigelP
 04 Oct 2023, 10:52
Queens have around 6 weeks to mate otherwise they will become drone layers. It's still not too late for a queen to get mated, although more likely she won't. Depends on whether nay colonies still have drones. Some of mine do, some don't.
 #14098  by AdamD
 05 Oct 2023, 20:36
With the un-seasonal heatwave expected for some of us, a queen could potentially go out and mate this weekend - there will be some drones about but not many. However last year I had an unmated queen in the colony all winter (I couldn't find her in Sptember and left the bees to take their chances) and I eventually found her this spring. There were enough bees to consider the colony viable. There were a few drone eggs being laid but the workers were mostly removing them. (Who wants drones in early March?) In this case, I united to another colony however an early imported queen could have been used.