Nuc found with virgin queen
In an earlier thread I mentioned how I had a nuc that was replacing their queen -- they had somehow become queenless, but had several ripe queen cells. Since then, about ten days ago, a very vigorous virgin had hatched. Yesterday, while examining them I discovered that she had grown plump and started laying, filled nearly every empty cell in the center three combs in her 5-frame nuc with eggs (very impressive). My concern has been drone availability -- are there enough mature drones at this time of year to facilitate a successful mating. I shall keep an eye on this nuc to see how her brood develops. I certainly hope her mating went well. I replaced one comb of her eggs with a frame of emerging brood to help boost their nurse population.
Now I've discovered another nuc. apparently in the same situation, queenless with three ripe queen cells. Makes me wonder how often this happens with my overwintered nucs. BTW it was over 80F here today.
Last edited by Joseph Clemens; 02-25-2008 at 05:15 AM.
Are you seeing any drones in the nucs or any other hive, with capped drone cells or even just drones hanging around the queen-less hives? Drones will congregate in hives that are queen-less and raising queen cells.
Within a week you'll get your answer by whether the cells turn out to be drones or not.
If she has a good pattern and is laying at that rate, I'd bet that she was properly mated.
Queens mate with an average 12 drones to ensure diversity and bet-hedging against odds when it comes to things such as disease resistance and other factors. But a queen can actually have way more sperm needed for a lifetime with just one mating of a single drone.
Before I started feeding pollen supplement and 1:1 syrup, back in the first week of January, I only saw a few drones in one or two hives, but now there are many drones easily seen in each hive, and some have many. It also seems that most have drone rearing underway. I even placed an empty drone comb in the middle of one brood nest, sure enough, the queen laid up a palm sized area on each side near its center. I guess I should consider starting a small batch of queen cells. By the time they are ready to mate, there should be plenty of drones available.
Originally Posted by BjornBee
I could hardly believe how fast this queen lays. Of course there was much empty comb for her to work with. It is an amazing thing -- just a few days before she was stocky, but still looking and acting like a virgin. Then yesterday she was all filled out and moving a little slower. But what really amazed me was how she had nearly filled the entire nuc with eggs. I'm sure there weren't enough bees in the nuc to care for that much brood. It seemed there wasn't an empty cell, where the cluster reached, that didn't have an egg in it.