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I received 2 packages April 22nd. Here in Michigan the weather was cold, rainy and windy so I didn't install the bees until Friday the 24th. I figured that since the queen had been in the package for about 4 days I released the queens directly.

Both packages are installed in deeps with honey and pollen and empty comb. I hope to blow them up and do some splits. Thinking about Saskatraz and Carniolan queens to change over to more perhaps Winter hardy bees, and to diversify genetics.

1st one week inspection showed larvae and eggs in one hive. I also noticed pollen coming in and obviously nectar. The second hive I didn't see much pollen coming in and upon inspection found the queen wandering around on a mostly empty frame of comb. I did look at 9 of 10 frames and found no eggs nor larvae. This queen is very fat and well developed. I suspect I have an older queen and am wondering if I should replace her asap.

I am a bit encouraged that she may have started laying because in the last 2-3 days I am observing an increasing amount of pollen coming into the hive.

Obviously, if on Friday, there is no laying then I will replace her.

So my question is; How long do other beekeepers wait before replacing a queen in these circumstances? I also consider that the weather may have had some influence on her beginning to lay.
 

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Update, Did a second inspection today because it wasn't snowing or raining or freezing. Sunny 63, and negligible wind. 4:00pm

Hive that at 1 week had larvae and eggs is nearly side to side capped brood. Well, I didn't bother looking at all the frames because the box was 8 frames packed with bees, and minus a lot of field bees. 2 brood frames I did pull were solid capped brood. I mean even the corners were filled out. I should have taken a picture. Looking down into the frames from one angle showed similar. So I added a second deep of drawn comb.

Looks like I will be doing some splits. I should have pulled them all to check for swarm cells. Fingers crossed.

The other hive is about half. There is now capped brood and larvae and eggs on 3-4 frames. I realized later that I had on an old pair of glasses that have a longer focus plane, so I was really too far away to see the eggs that must have been present. (I keep one pair for computer work and another for reading.) At any rate the queen didn't seem to lay right off which is not unusual. The queen was on a warped comb frame that I stuck in there for lack of better comb. Out of 30 frames of drawn comb I had selected by others who lacked understanding, there was about 7 warped drawn combs that will see the recycle department. So because some of the frames had honey stores I was short on good comb. Will add second brood box soon. Weather looks to be in the 80's next week.

So the lesson for new BK's is make sure foundation is straight with no warpage. The cells are either too shallow or too deep for the queen to lay in depending on which direction the curved comb bends. Her abdomen is only so long.

Hoping last night's 30 degrees didn't harm apple blossom buds. Looking forward to some apple flavored honey.
 
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