Cedar explains the reasons you might find brood in the Flow Frames, and what to do about it.
Today we're going to cover brood in the Flow Frames and how to fix it. Now this is something that doesn't happen very often, it's a bit of a rare thing, but I was harvesting some honey yesterday, just a little bit of honey out of this frame here. And what I noticed was a couple of little crescent moon grubs in the honey jar, and I straight away recognise them as very young larvae. So what we're going to do is get in here and investigate and I'll show you how to fix it. Now there's two things that could cause that.
One is the queen is above the excluder. The queen is supposed to be down the bottom doing her thing, laying on the wood and wax frames down below. But what's possibly happened is when she's small, perhaps she's a young queen, not full size yet, she has squeezed her way up and gotten stuck in the top box here and then that's the only place she could lay. So that's one scenario.
The other scenario is there isn't a queen at all and the brood was actually drones. Because worker bees can actually start laying if there isn't a queen, but they lay unfertilized eggs which turn into drones or the male bees.
Check the Flow Frames
So we're going to investigate, pull the hive apart and see which one of those two scenarios it is and then we'll get onto fixing that.
If I shake these bees down, you'll be able to get a good look at the brood in the Flow Frame. So here you can see that's brood, not honey. The capping is more translucent when it's honey. If you look down the cells you can see the larvae, which is a shining little grub down there. We haven't positively identified whether they're drones or workers yet. So what I'm gonna do is put that frame aside and I'll look at the next frame. So that one is full of honey. Look at that. Beautiful. Okay, the next one's full of honey and the next one's full of honey. So it's happened fairly recently and the brood is just in one of the frames so far.
Check the brood box
So we will do is pop this whole honey super off and put it aside and have a look at the brood.
What we've got here is a lot of pollen. Look at that. Huge amounts of pollen, but no brood at all. I'm pretty sure there's no laying queen down the bottom here, which is what we suspected. Just pollen and a tiny bit of nectar, no sign of any brood down here. So I suspect that the queen is up the top. And what we were looking at was a mixture of drone brood and worker brood in the Flow Frames. Reason why I suspect that is if it was a queenless hive with laying workers, they would also be laying down the bottom here in these cells. There's no sign of any brood down here. There's no sign of any eggs.
If the queen is in the Flow Super
So if the queen is up here in the super, then it's a case of just putting her down below the excluder and putting the hive back together and that's the fix. And then she'll be laying in the correct spot.What we need to do to rectify this situation is shake all the bees off the Flow Frames. If we found the queen we could just put her in the bottom and that would be the fix. Put the excluder back on. But because we may not find the queen, what we can do is just shake all the bees downstairs and that way what will happen is the queen will end up in the bottom. All we need to do then is wait a month, or 21 days for the worker bees, 16 for the drones to emerge. And basically the problem will be fixed by itself as soon as the queen is down the bottom. The brood silk won't actually affect the Flow Frames. So I’ll just check back here in a week and look for eggs and brood in the cells to make sure the queen is in the brood box now.
If the hive is queenless
The other thing that could cause brood in the Flow Frames is there's no queen at all and the workers are laying and that brood will end up being unfertilized eggs and be male bees, the drone bees. So if you saw a whole lot of drones all around the hive, all in the bottom, all in the Flow Frames, you'd think “that's laying workers. No sign of any female bees. The hive is queenless.” If there is no queen at all, then what we'll need to do is rectify that situation by either purchasing in a queen from a queen breeder, which is what I'd recommend.But often you can't get that happening in a hurry. So the next best thing to do is to take a frame of brood from another hive and put it in the bottom box here. And if it's got eggs on it, they'll raise a queen from that egg.
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