Very strange March here in the Bay Area. Until this week, I think we only had a couple days of sun total and the temperature never reached 65.
On the other hand, my hives have had many drones since early March (probably triggered by a few days of 80+ degree weather we had in February). I have grafted twice in early March (using the Nicot system) and have been nervously watching the weather forecast and the calander as we got day after day of rain and cold and the en of the mating window was approaching
My first graft emerged March 9th and our first day of sunny 65 degree weather was this Tuesday March 28th (19 days after emergence). Wednesday and Thursday were both 75 degree clear blue days, so there should have been a good chance of mating just before the window closed.
A first question for those with experience mating queens near the end of the mating window. In this situation it's probably especially necessary to see how the cells get capped: 3-4 days for egg-laying to start plus 8 days for worker brood to get capped should mean I need to wait 11-12 days from the first prime mating day (Wednesday) to check for capped worker brood, right?
My second graft emerged a week later (March 16th) so they should have mated safely within the window. Probably just seeing eggs or open brood is enough for these later queens, but I have a different question for this sitation: it is dangerous to move a mating nuc or change its surroundngs while there is any possibility that vigin queens are out on mating flights. You read that queens can go on mating flights for 1-4 consecutive days. Does this mean that it is safe to change the orientation of a mating nuc on the 4th day following the first prime mating day (no more queen flight on the 4th day after first mating day)?