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Discussion Starter #1
I previously posted about my concerns regarding the potential for supersedure due to numerous queen cells. Based upon great advice, we decided to sit back and let nature take its course. Our inspection yesterday was at the 5-week mark since package installation. We no longer see any queen cells, except one, and it appears to have had a bee emerge from it. We still can't find a queen, though. We see several drones walking around the hive. The workers have drawn out comb completely on 5 frames and partially on three. There are many wet-capped nectar cells and many pollen cells. This week, we didn't see any eggs. There are sporadic capped brood, many of which had bees emerging. I've looked at images of what a healthy hive should look like, and I'm just not seeing a good pattern of eggs or larvae here. The bees are gathering nectar and pollen at an incredible rate, which seems healthy. I'm just afraid that the original population of bees are going to die soon, and there are very few new bees to take their place. I'm wondering if it's time to re-queen, or again, should I wait it out?
 

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It is possible that you have an virgin queen in the hive, or a newly bread queen that has not begun laying. However I would not wait until all the workers are so depleted that you have little chance of saving them.

Every situation is different and it is difficult at best to really know what is going on without looking at the hive, There are so many tell tale clues we learn over time. and gut instinct sometimes plays a role.

If you have a virgin or newly bread queen and introduce another, one will be killed. While at the same time, if the hive has no queen, it can become hopelessly queenless, and induce a laying worker. I do not know if you have other hives from which to draw resources. so at this point advice would be all speculative. if you have no hives to take brood from it would be difficult to check if the hive is queenless or the queen is not laying yet. replacing the queen may be your best option. Look for a PM I will send you.
 

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It's tough to know whether or not waiting another week might be what it takes for a newly mated queen to begin laying. If you don't have another hive from which you could take a frame of newly laid eggs, larvae, and capped brood to ensure that they have another opportunity to raise a queen and sustain themselves, you might need to find a queen. The closest source to buy a queen might well be Full Bloom Apiaries, in Franklin, CT. I've purchased queens there in the past and have been pleased. Contact them and explain your situation...
 

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5 wks from installation.... how long from queen cells? 28 days from queen to laying +/- a few. The brood you see.... is it old brood from superseded queen or you think new? That could be the key to your questions....
 

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Discussion Starter #6
It's been a couple of great months with our new hive. I wish I knew what happened with the queen(s), but the hive is going strong. The population has grown significantly, we see new brood everywhere, a ton of stored honey and pollen for feeding, and wow, our flowering plants and vegetables have never looked better. For example, several years ago we tried to grow pumpkins from seed, but failed miserably because (as we now know), there was no pollination occurring. This year, we have a wild pumpkin vine growing in our mulch bed and there are at least a dozen pumpkins growing and I see many bees pollinating another 50 or so flowers on the vine. Pretty cool.

I tend to think that the hive raised a new queen who is performing beautifully. Whatever happened, happened. I'll never really know, but nature is amazing!
 

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Thanks for the update. There are few things that are as satisfying to me (and I suspect all of you) as a colony of bees thriving by simply being bees. Are you doing any mite treatments--there are few things as disconcerting as having a thriving colony dwindle...in the big picture it's all acceptable, and there'll be an equilibrium reached between varroa and the survivor bees, but you may want to consider (while they're doing great) how you feel about treatments to try to reduce the probability of having your colony unacceptably weakened.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I haven't treated for mites yet. I'm not seeing any visually, but I know that's not how to measure them. Quite frankly, I'm terrified about the mite issue, but I hate to botch treating them. I bought a new screened bottom board and will install it very soon, so hopefully we'll get a measurement. I'm trying to remember what we learned in bee school about treatments. Powdered sugar comes to mind. I'll have to go back and read up.
 
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