Mated queen taking 4 weeks to lay?
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2018
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    San Francisco Bay area
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    Default Mated queen taking 4 weeks to lay?

    So on June 16th I got my first bees from a friend. We made a split with three frames and introduced a caged queen from Randy Oliver. I did an inspection last wednesday (July 17) and saw the first eggs I've seen in the hive so far along with a couple larvae. This was a very small patch, maybe 10 cells total. Assuming the queen took 3 days to be released and started laying at least 3 days prior to the inspection, is this an unreasonable amount of time for a queen to being laying? It is 32 days-3days-3more days= +-26 days she has been in the hive doing nothing. I have been feeding but in this total time they have only taken 3 quarts and there is tons of empty space for the queen to lay. I have been feeding 1:1 syrup to encourage them to draw comb as they only have 3 drawn frames with the rest mixed foundation and foundationless, but they have not touched any of the other frames. Should I switch to 2:1 syrup to build up their stores?

    Also I am not sure about the pollen flows in my area (East Bay) so should I feed a pollen substitute to encourage brood rearing? I have looked at some different subs and Randy Oliver's study so am leaning towards Ultrabee. Is it worth the extra cost over the beepro? I noticed Dadant also sells Brood Builder in a 25lb bag for $40 which is obviously much cheaper but I am unsure if this is an area where I want to be cheap. Does anyone have any experience with this specific pollen sub?

    Any advice on my many questions would be greatly appreciated

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2017
    Location
    Aylett, Virginia
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    3,733

    Default Re: Mated queen taking 4 weeks to lay?

    Two things, you're right, 26 days seems like a long time for a mated queen to start laying after being released. Next inspection, make surw you find her to verify she is there and your hive is not going laying worker.

    Ultrabee is the only pollen sub I have ever used. I can't see spending $600 per year on sugar to keep the bees healthy and productive, and then trying to save $20 by feeding a lower quality pollen sub.
    Thankfully, the bees are smarter than I am. They are doing well, in spite of my efforts to help them.

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2017
    Location
    NW Florida
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    1,140

    Default Re: Mated queen taking 4 weeks to lay?

    Quote Originally Posted by roundfrog View Post
    Also I am not sure about the pollen flows in my area (East Bay)
    Although this question doesn't require location, you may want to add it to your information and be a bit more specific, such as state. There are many East Bay areas in the country.
    Beek since 2016: Hardiness Zone 9a: in NW Florida

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
    Location
    Ocala, Florida, USA
    Posts
    608

    Default Re: Mated queen taking 4 weeks to lay?

    From the dates it sounds like the queen thatís in there now is probably not the one you put there.

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2018
    Location
    San Francisco Bay area
    Posts
    5

    Default Re: Mated queen taking 4 weeks to lay?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jadeguppy View Post
    Although this question doesn't require location, you may want to add it to your information and be a bit more specific, such as state. There are many East Bay areas in the country.
    Ah, yes. I am in California in the SF bay area, specifically the east bay. I live in a suburban area so there are probably lots of flowers around but I don't know if there is a natural pollen dearth around here or anything.

    Since I am in high school without a job, I do generally try to save as much as possible which is how I got equipment for 3 hives just from picking up 1x12 pine from old shelves and stuff (made frames from a 2x6, do not recommend that), so the value of the Brood Builder is definitely a big plus for it. I have not really seen much information saying that it is lower quality or anything out there, but I will probably just get the Ultrabee and spend a little extra there for a proven product.

    I am not sure how much the colony is going to build up before our "winter" here. I have them in an 8 frame deep, but have a 5 frame nuc box I could put them in. I am not sure if this would make a difference in their buildup, I am guessing that a smaller space is easier to defend and keep warm? Otherwise I would love any advice on how to get them to draw out frames (only have 3 drawn frames) and start growing.

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2017
    Location
    Aylett, Virginia
    Posts
    3,733

    Default Re: Mated queen taking 4 weeks to lay?

    The trick to getting frames drawn is to supply regular a flow of syrup, but not so much they backfill the broodnest. A pint every couple of days ought to be about right for three frames of bees. The pollen sub will provide the protein and nutrients necessary to raise healthy brood. I use no more than 1/4# at a time in a small hive to help keep the small hive beetles from laying eggs in the uneaten portion and wrecking it.
    Thankfully, the bees are smarter than I am. They are doing well, in spite of my efforts to help them.

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2018
    Location
    San Francisco Bay area
    Posts
    5

    Default Re: Mated queen taking 4 weeks to lay?

    Unfortunately I believe the hive has gone laying worker. I left the eggs I saw and didn't disturb the hive for a few weeks hoping to see capped brood when I went back inside but all I saw were some drone cells, all at the bottom of the frame. I was very confused at first because I didn't see eggs on the sides of any cells or multiple eggs in one cell, which would be signs of laying workers. The eggs I saw were 1 per cell, right in the middle.
    I am going to do an inspection today but am not really sure what my next course of action is going to be if there isn't magically a queen in the hive. Any pointers would be great, although I don't have any other hives so adding frames of open brood isn't really an option unless I can get them somewhere else.

    I have looked for hives that I could potentially purchase and combine with this little split so I could have something for pollinating my small orchard next spring, before packages are available. Most hives on craigslist are about $150 right now for a 10 frame deep box. Is this a good idea?

  9. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2017
    Location
    Aylett, Virginia
    Posts
    3,733

    Default Re: Mated queen taking 4 weeks to lay?

    $150 sounds about right at this time of year for a hive full of healthy bees, a little much for a nuc. Prices vary by region. This is a drawback of only having one hive, no resources to pull from when things go south. There is risk involved as now you will need to make sure the hive makes it through winter and is mite and disease free, or lose your investment entirely. I would also consider investing a few dollars into building swarm traps. Probably too late where you are now, but there is always next year. With limited finances, free bees should be a priority.
    Thankfully, the bees are smarter than I am. They are doing well, in spite of my efforts to help them.

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