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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Trying to figure out what just happened...

We did our first grafts while our honeybees were still out in the almond orchards. Eggs were most probably laid on 3/6. We did all grafting on 3/9.

I carefully checked every nuc in the first week of April. Not one queen. I felt sick! Looked a couple of days later, still nothing.

Opened up every nuc yesterday with the plan of installing a frame of brood and a new sealed queen cell.

19/20 of these nucs had sealed brood, eggs, open brood, and a laying queen.

What just happened?

I thought we should have seen the queens by day 12?
 

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Did you check for QC after graft? If you skipped that step then you probably missed spotting virgin which are hard to find. Or virgins were out mating when you checked.
 

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The Q’s were all hiding and waiting for you to get spitting rocks mad before they started laying lol.
It’s like LJ says, not absolute. I usually wait till day 35 till I pull the plug.
 

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I find the first queens of my season sometimes take up to 18 days from egg to emerge which I put down to cooler temperatures. However as the season progresses and the temperature rises up into the 90's one need to be careful of early queens many after 15 days and now and again 14 days.
 

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>We did our first grafts while our honeybees were still out in the almond orchards. Eggs were most probably laid on 3/6. We did all grafting on 3/9.

So the queens should emerge on the 22nd +- 1 day. They should be laying two weeks after +1 a week or so, which averages the 5th of April.

>I carefully checked every nuc in the first week of April. Not one queen. I felt sick! Looked a couple of days later, still nothing.

If the weather is cold they could take as long as April 12th (21 days after emergence).

>19/20 of these nucs had sealed brood, eggs, open brood, and a laying queen.
>What just happened?

The queens emerged somewhere close to the 22nd and got mated (assuming capped brood) and started laying at least 9 days ago by April 8.

>I thought we should have seen the queens by day 12?

12 days after you grafted is the average. If it's cool it will take another day and if it's really hot they could emerge the day before. Either way virgins are difficult to find.

It all sounds normal to me.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks everyone for your input. We suppose they emerged/mated later and/or we simple did not recognize the virgin queens.

Good news is 19/20 is a 95% success rate and I learned that it definitely is ok to get an early jump on the grafting season if conditions are right.

Thanks again for helping us understand more.
 
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