The Appearance Of A False Queen Bee In A Bee Colony

If a queen bee in a colony dies whether we accidently kill her with a frame when we inspect the colony, or something else happens to her, and if the bees fail to get another queen bee by withdrawing forced queen cells in the foreseeable future, there is a high chance that the colony will soon collapse.

In the beginning we will see less activity of bees on the take-off of that hive, when we open the hive there will be a sad buzzing and almost all bees will flutter their wings at the same time as if they want to let us know that something is wrong with their mother queen bee, i.e. that she has died. If we ignore these signals and do not add another queen bee in time, there is a high probability that in that colony, if it fails to secure a new queen bee from the queen cells, false queen bees will soon appear, in about 20 days or so.

False queen bees are formed from worker bees when other bees start feeding them royal jelly and then there is proliferation of eggs in these bees and not only one of them, but more begin to lay unfertilized eggs. There can be several hundred such false queen bees, because if we do not see it in time and eliminate the problem, we can soon see five or even a dozen eggs in one cell, which is a sure sign that this colony is collapsing. From these eggs, only drones that are stunted can be hatched. They are useless in everything but ruining our screen bottom boards, which are normal worker cells for these drones.

Adding another queen bee to such a colony is generally a high risk and fails in 99.9% cases.

What is to be done?

The simplest way is to shake these bees out of the hive somewhere in the apiary, a lot of bees will return to the neighbouring hives, one part will perish, and one part, especially those “false queens” will be removed, i.e. killed by other hives’ bees.

The other way is to shake out all the bees into one hive that has no frame and no food at all, and leave it like that for at least 24 hours. The bees will then be caught in a swarm on a cover board, and after 24 hours we can add a queen bee in a cage to them, leave them like that for the next 24 hours, and only the next day settle them in other frames where there is no brood. It is good to add frames with regular broods from other hives to them as well, as the presence of a regular brood and a regular queen bee in most cases has a calming effect on the bees, and they stop feeding false queen bees, and after releasing the queen bee from the cage, that colony starts to work regularly.

In very rare cases, it can happen that they kill the added queen bee, which should be foreseen and therefore it is better not to take risks sometimes, but simply shake them out and let them go where they want.

Whatever you decide, the choice is yours!

I am a beekeeper. I have spent hours reading literature about bees, their features, their hard work and the valuable role they play in nature and the people. I want to familiarize the people all around the globe with the beautiful world of bees. I also wish to help raise awareness about these small creatures that help us in saving our planet.

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