On the 20th June a small swarm arrived and invited themselves to occupy an empty box. A week or so later I checked that box, and in view of the small numbers present assumed it had been a cast swarm. A couple of weeks after that I checked again, and there was no sign of any eggs having been laid. This was repeated several times over the next few weeks, and I eventually formed the assumption that the virgin queen must have got lost or had been predated.
So - a week ago I placed a queenright nuc on top of that box, and yesterday removed the mesh which separated the two colonies. Earlier today I checked to see how the acceptance had gone, only to be met by signs of carnage. It was only then that I spotted a few capped amongst mostly uncapped brood in the original box - demonstrating that the colony had been queenright all along (unless they'd attracted a passing mated virgin, of course) - and that laying had most probably started during the last week in August. So that would be 60 days, or 8.5 weeks during which that queen was effectively 'on strike'.
Just wondered what the record is for a non-laying period during the season ?