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Discussion Starter #1
I lost both of my hives this winter and ordered two new packages. I installed them this past weekend, but managed to allow one of the queens to escape during the install of one of the packages. I'm not sure of where the packages originated as they were purchased through someone else and every queen breeder I've checked with so far can't send me one until mid May at the earliest. So, which of the following is the best course of action?

A. Order a queen for delivery in 2-3 weeks.
There should still be some bees around, but I'm guessing I'll have a laying worker issue by then.

B. Wait a few more days and take a frame with some eggs from the other hive and let them make a queen.
I think that would be too hard on the parent hive as the queen will have just started laying. Also, there aren't any drones flying in this area yet.

C. Combine the two hives and split them later on this summer.
I'm thinking this might be the best option, but it essentially means one entire package was lost/wasted.

Would a combination of B and A work? Would having them start trying to raise a virgin queen at least hold off the laying worker issue long enough for a new queen to arrive? Then I could remove the virgin queen and install the new one.

Any and all thoughts on the matter would be appreciated!
 

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I'd probably newspaper combine them at this point, should get going quicker and you can split with a new queen later and have more drawn comb/frames of bees to work with.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks all for the responses. After posting, I was able to find an available queen and went ahead and ordered her. She arrives today and I was planning on putting her cage in the hive with the cork still in place for a couple of days and will either release her this weekend if all seems well or will replace the cork with a candy plug if it looks like they need a little more time getting comfortable with her.

RayMarler - I checked two days after installing the package and didn't see the queen anywhere (she was unmarked, though) and didn't see any eggs in the drawn comb that was provided. I imagine it can take a few days for a queen to start laying though.

So here's the current dilemma: It's currently 43 degrees outside and the forecast doesn't show it getting above 50 until this coming Sunday. This winter just refuses to end! I'd like to check for the original queen and/or eggs one more time before putting the new queen in the hive, but I'm not sure pulling the frames out and checking is a good idea with it this cold.

Any advice? Thanks again everyone.
 
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