It's April and we have noticed less activity around the hive so we sent a text message to Rick the Bee keeper to come and take a look. Our second lot of honey is due to be taken off so the inspection is timely.
Rick checks out the hive frame by frame commenting on the amount of honey - lots of it - very positive.
He is also looking for the Queen and frame by frame the search proves fruitless. Queens control what is happening (or not happening in our case) in the hive. For whatever reason our Queen has decided there are pastures greener and flown the coup taking with her many bees so to keep the hive going we are going to need more young bees (brood) and a new Queen.
In my research about bees Queens can do a runner from the hive at any time but most likely coming into spring however it is clear it can happen any time and you need to be aware that it is a possibility. There are many reasons why the Queen decides to go elsewhere - it could be lack of food or the change in the seasons - it's very fickle apparently.
Rick was also looking for any sign of wasps - an enemy of the bee - he has had problems elsewhere of wasps destroying his hives so warns us to be on the lookout.