if you're happy with the performance (genetics) of your hive, no NEED to buy a queen- just give'em a frame of eggs. plenty of time there to raise a queen. 'course, a bought one would be laying sooner.
Hmm, I'm not so sure about the laying sooner part. It took me almost a week to get a queen I ordered last year, but that was because the place I ordered one from said they only shipped on Wednesdays, tho I did get it Thursday, but the order was placed on a Friday the week before. So it could be kinda close as to which one is laying first. Figure it's gonna take them a 5 days or a maybe a few more to dig her out. Ususally I would just let them raise their own, but I did buy a queen from a local store recently, but that was more to show the some family that was in town a queen up close and personal. Now my nephew can't wait to come back out and help with the bees again, maybe I have the makings for a new 14 year old beekeeper?
There wouldn't be any queen cells if there aren't any eggs to make them from. Six days is a little on the quick side to expect capped brood. How are your eyes? Any eggs/larvae?
One thing to remember about the make your own queen method is that you might have to give them a number of frames of open brood just the right age over a series of weeks before they decide to make you a queen.
I know a swarm is not a cutout - but I recently got a swarm with what I think was a virgin queen. Saw first eggs about day 9.
Koehnen & Sons sent my queens the next day with overnight service. I ordered on Monday and had them on Wednesday morning. Of course if you're only ordering one queen, the overnight service is more than the queen.
I think they only have Italians left.
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