I started my bee keeping with a package and a nuc. In the next season i purchased 2 local breed northern queens most likely from the same BQ. Subsequently I purchased a Carny from CA. Early in it's 2nd season one of the purchased queens went drone layer even though she started the season with a great pattern. I have expanded to about 15 colonies trying to use swarm cells from the best colonies when available.
In the meant time I'm getting concerned that some of the queens seem to be failing earlier than I would have thought. I have a hive currently that was doing great but now I'm seeing little bullets pop up on the newest freshly drawn frames in a shotgun pattern. Some frames have none but the ones they just drew out and she laid almost look laying worker drone sized.
This was actually a hive I relocated last summer for mating after making the splits. Most of the other open mate in my yard.
How long can you open mate in the parent yard before you start seeing issues with the queens? Is it a genetic issue or is it more likely that they didn't mate well?
Thanks for your assistance!