Hive Died

by Steve
(Illinois)

My bees were alive in late March, dead in mid-May. I took the hive apart, cleaned it, found the queen (also dead).

I reassembled everything, left all the comb, relocated it closer to our house and now I have 50 to 100 bees flying in and out of the hive.

Did some of the bees hatch?
Are they thieves from somewhere else?
Will they make a queen?

---

Hi Steve,

Sorry about your dead hive!

If the queen and the adult bees were dead, then your hive, unfortunately, is a goner.

It's possible that the bees you see now were some sealed brood that hatched out after you found the hive dead. But that could only happen if the hive temperature didn't get too hot or too cold without adult bees to regulate it.

If that's the case, then no, they will not be able to raise a new queen.

More likely the bees you're seeing are just attracted to the comb and checking it out to see if any goodies are left inside. (If there was any honey left after the colony died, I would guess it's long since been robbed out.)

It's also possible that scout bees from a swarm are checking out the hive. You might visit your hive one day to find that a swarm has invited itself in to take up residence!

Be careful, though, about leaving drawn comb in an unoccupied hive. Wax moths will lay eggs on the comb (if they haven't already), and when the wax worms hatch they'll destroy the comb very quickly. (Or at least they will in Texas.)

Good luck!

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