New beekeeper with first hive: My new queen was released 3 days ago. The hive was queenless for about 1-2 weeks. During this time the filled all the frames with pollen and nectar. I only have about 1 frame left thats drawn with comb and empty. I have 5 undrawn plastic frames on the outside but they are not drawing on it. Is it too soon to switch the frames around to force them to draw on it? I am just afraid my queen do not have space to lay eggs but don't want to disturb them too soon. I am feeding them sugar water1:1 and a pollen patty. Any advice would be appreciated. Thanks
You can rearrange the frames but be careful not to squish the queen in the process. Or just wait. It takes a while for the queen to acclimated. They will draw combs when they need them. Try different foundation or foundation less frame with popsicle sticks in the center groove.
And yes, put your location in the profile so people can give you accurate advise.
It is generally good advice to stay out of the beesiness until the new queen is settled in. If she has been banked she may not start to lay for a little while. There is a caution about feeding when they dont need it. You dont mention how many frames of bees have the top bars covered when you take the top off. They wont draw out quicker than they have the population to cover the frames that need drawing. Dont switch undrawn frames into the middle of the brood nest.
don't move the frames around. If you want to encourage comb drawing try adding an extra layer of wax to the plastic frames. It makes a big difference in getting them to draw them out without doing any crazy comb. Moving the frames around when they're this small will limit their ability to keep their brood nest at the ideal temp. Best to leave them to it once they raise a batch or 2 of brood they will draw more frames to expand. It can take a bit of time sometimes especially if the hive sat queenless for a bit.
A colony that's been queenless for a couple weeks will have very little brood, and will be backfilling as brood emerges. They have little / no incentive to draw comb and will happily fill the empty comb with your feed. Once the queen is laying and a brood nest gets established and growing, they will likely start to draw more comb.
The other thing to realize, if they were queenless for 2 weeks, in another week all brood will be emerge and the population will start to decline until brood is emerging again. If they have all the comb they can cover due to a small population, they are unlikely to draw a lot more until the population recovers and starts to grow again.
Your location says vancouver island, but you dont mention which part of the island, it makes a huge difference. Different parts of the island have completely different vegetation coverage, and very different climates, there is just no comparison between being in Victoria vs being in Port Hardy or Tofino, and advice for this time of the year is very different for each of those locations. In our area the summer dearth is about to start unless the bees are within flight range of a fireweed patch. OTOH, for colonies in town, there doesn't seem to be a dearth at all over the summer. Watered lawns and gardens keep colonies going all summer, we have one in town in a friend's back yard and it always does well thru the dearth part of the year.
Most bee supply stores also sell wax. As you get going, have a big coffee can at your apiary and save any wax you scrape off of your frames. After you harvest honey, the capping will supply a lot of wax. J