Michael Bush, author of The Practical Beekeeper, and strong advocate of non-chemical beekeeping (and someone we have quoted here before), says there is a single solution to almost all queen problems in a hive:
There are few solutions as universal in their application and their success than adding a frame of open brood and eggs every week for three weeks. It is a virtual panacea for any queen issues. It gives the bees the pheromones to suppress laying workers. It gives them more workers coming in during a period where there is no laying queen. It does not interfere if there is a virgin queen. It gives them the resources to rear a queen. It is virtually foolproof and does not require finding a queen or seeing eggs. If you have any issue with queenrightness, no brood, worried that there is no queen, this is the simple solution that requires no worrying, no waiting, no hoping. You just give them what they need to resolve the situation. If you have any doubts about the queenrightness of a hive, give them some open brood and eggs and sleep well. Repeat once a week for two more weeks if you still aren’t sure. By then things will be fine.
If you are afraid of transferring the queen from the queenright hive, because you are not good at finding queens, then shake or brush all the bees off before you give it to them.
If you are concerned about taking eggs from another new package or small colony, keep in mind that bees have little invested in eggs and the queen can lay far more eggs than a small colony can warm, feed and raise. Taking a frame of eggs from a small struggling new hive and swapping it for an empty comb or any drawn comb will have little impact on the donor colony and may save the recipient if they are indeed queenless. If the recipient didn’t need a queen it will fill in the gap while the new queen gets mated and not interfere with things. (quoted material)
In other words, let the bees take care of it.
Key words: Michael Bush, Bushfarms.com, queens, beehives, queen problems with hives, panacea for queen problems, queenrightness, virgin queen, queenless hives