I had two packages shipped 2 wks ago, and one was totally dead, the other had a few hundred bees left in it as well as the queen. I put the small package in a nuc, and they are drawing comb. My question is, how long does it take before they start capping the brood? I thought I had seen my queen lying dead outside the hive one day, and am not sure that there is one in there. I keep checking the hive to see if I can see any eggs, and last night I saw a bigger bee with her back into a cell, so think that may have been her. How long before I can expect to see eggs, or capped brood?
If you saw a bigger one with it's back end in a cell that was the queen laying. If she's laying then there are eggs. On new white comb they are almost invisible, especially if you're not sure what they look like.
There should be eggs within three days of hiving, but that doesn't mean they are big enough for you to see. Also the bees tend to cluster all over the brood so you have trouble seeing the eggs through all of the bees. The thing that is more visible is open brood with the bigger larvae. These are easy enough to see. The eggs hatch at 3 days after they are layed. Workers are capped 9 days after they are layed. The workers emerge after 21 days.
This is not intended for moposcar directly but for any new beekeeper. Please look into a good book, a beginner program conducted by the county or state associations if available, or ask to spend a day or two with an experienced beekeeper. Some questions that are asked are basic in nature (and just my opinion), but makes me think that alot of mistakes are going to be made along the way.
This website is a great tool for knowledge and for even the novice/experienced beekeeper a great way to swap neat tricks and ideas. I learn something everyday.
I went home and realized that although what I said earlier may be true, It did not do much to answer moposcar questions.
Knowing two weeks after installing a package the following is very important. Do you have a queen or not? Do you have brood or not? Every brood cycle missed now is going to limit bee build-up, comb production, and limit honey storage for this coming winter. What you do now will effect your bees for the entire year.
Do yourself and the bees a favor. If you have questions on identifying a queen, locating/identifying brood, knowing hive problems, etc. ask if someone from this site is close enough to perhaps drive to your place and help with some hands-on. You may even make a friend, but thats up to you.
Thanks for the replies everybody. I do know one guy nearby that works with bees, but I haven't had a chance to call him yet. The bees have been in the nuc for 2 wks. now, and it took them a while to get the comb filled (just weren't very many bees left b/c the package was in bad shape). I will check them today and see if I can see larvae. I have two new packages coming this week.