As stated in the title, I'm in the Pacific northwest (Point Roberts to be exact) and I suspected one of my colonies to be queenless coming out of winter a couple weeks ago when i did the first inspection. There were still a few frames of bees, so I donated a frame of brood and eggs from a stronger hive.
Fast forward 2 weeks and there is one capped queen cell. So the colony is indeed queenless, however I believe it's way too early for a virgin queen to emerge and get mated (am I wrong?). Does anyone know when drones normally start flying in this area?
I can get a new queen as soon as next weekend, so about a week from now. Should I order the queen and go pinch the queen cell?
I had 2 hives go over in strong winds about 2 weeks ago.
1 is supper strong the other is Queen less but there is a caped queen cell and lots of drones in the other hives in the yard.
I am going to wait and see.
If I were in Canada I would be ordering the Queen as you most likely have another month before drones are flying? (just guessing)
I had one colony supercede by starting a cell very late in March last year. I didn't realize it till we did an inspection in early April, found a perfectly formed and emerged cell. We dug farther into the colony, and found what looked like a virgin queen on one of the frames, they had no brood at that point. I couldn't get a queen at that time, and a few colonies had a few drones, so we let nature take it's course. A week later, found a nicely set up patch of open brood in worker cells, checked another week later, all capped worker brood. I thought they had recovered. Found and marked queen.
In mid May checked again. A single fully developed cell, no eggs, a few older open brood, and a reasonable amount of capped brood, no sign of the marked queen. Towards the end of May, checked again, no sign of the cell, and again a small patch of brood in worker cells. In early June, same story, a small patch of capped worker brood, and once again, no eggs with very little worker brood, and one capped queen cell. I had ripe cells so I scraped the one in there and placed one of our ripe cells.
So to answer your question, look in the other colonies, if you see any drones, then it's possible the emerging queen can get mated, it's also highly likely she wont be well mated. If the cell emerges and does start raising worker brood, I would expect her to not perform well, but, possibly carry the colony somewhat till they can get a do-over on the raising of a new queen in better conditions. In our own case, replacement queens in April has always been a problem, but it's solved for us now, I have 4 ways with wintered queens in them to be used for any required early replacements.
if your other colony(s) can spare them, continuing adding a frame of eggs/open brood every week or two will go a long way in terms of getting that colony up to production strength as well as buy you time in terms of getting it queenright.
So, if I can get queen next weekend, should I go in as soon as possible and remove the queen cell? Iím worried that itíll hatch and Iíll have a virgin queen in there that will kill the queen Iím trying to introduce...