I’m just back from visiting my TBH at Ourganics, a 5 acre permaculture project a couple of miles upstream from the one I visited yesterday, hoping to harvest some more honey. They have plenty of honey but scattered among lots of combs so I decided to leave it be for the time being.
When I got to the combs with the bees on them I was surprised that there was no brood whatsoever! There was one ‘play cup’ but no egg in it. I couldn’t see a queen, but neither could I hear the ‘queenless moan’ that colonies usually utter if they’re queenless. Again, if they’re queenless for long, usually workers start laying as there are no queen pheromones to inhibit them.
I think I shall leave them for a week or two and I have seen drones elsewhere then, if they’re still apparently queenless, I’ll transfer a comb with young brood from the TBH up the road in the hope that they’ll rear a new queen if they need one.