When do I need to worry?
First of all, thanks so much to the experienced beeks out there who read these posts and offer their wisdom and knowledge to help the fledging newbies among us. I really sincerely appreciate the help and advice.
Okay, onto the question(s)... We have two brand new hives this year--one top-bar, one Langstroth. We installed 3 lb. packages on May 2nd, and have been feeding a combination of sugar syrup (warmed daily because of our unseasonably cold weather) and pollen patties since. Both hives have drawn out a fraction of comb on four bars, but I cannot find any eggs in either of them. The top-bar comb is gorgeous, but appears to only be filled with honey (more likely the sugar syrup and water) and a little pollen (the unseasonably cold weather I mentioned, along with lots of rain/thunder storms, has significantly reduced their ability to forage), but not an egg or larva in sight. It did take them quite a while to build up comb and there were some interesting things going on in the first week following install including what looked like a mini swarm where a minority group left the hive, presumably with a queen and never returned, and another time exactly one week ago on May 11 (our one beautiful Spring-like day since install) when nearly all the bees were completely outside of the hive enacting something apocalyptic in our backyard before filing back inside the hive as if nothing happened about an hour later. I thought at the time that they were absconding, but I think they may have taken a virgin queen (perhaps our package had two queens?) on a mating flight. We have pretty much had bad weather non-stop since until today when I finally checked the hive hoping to see eggs, and saw none...
The Langstroth hive is a different beast entirely. They started getting to work much faster than the top-bar, and within the first 5 days I saw eggs. Unfortunately, those eggs were on burr comb, which I, per the advice I received here, removed from the hive about a week ago. On my check today, I cannot see any eggs like those I saw in the burr comb, but I did see what looked to me like queen cells. I'm not yet adept enough to know if they are inhabited or not. There were a few other capped cells, but very few, and I don't know if they were capped honey or capped brood. The other cells are open honey (again, probably sugar water) pollen, and water. I know there was a good laying queen in the hive at one point, but I'm afraid I may have injured her when I was removing the burr comb (I never saw her, btw) or perhaps something else is preventing her from laying more eggs. Oh, one other side-note comparison between these two is their temperament. The top-bar bees seem far more aggressive than the very docile Langstroth bees.
Okay, any thoughts from the experienced hands? Do I continue to be patient and wait it out another few days or week, or should I try to buy a queen for one or both hives ASAP? Looking ahead, the weather should be better in the coming week. Maybe the queens are just slow to lay eggs because it has been so inclement? If now is not the time to worry, when is the right time to worry?
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