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Discussion Starter #1
How can you tell if a mating nuc is queen right without taking out frames? I have checked for eggs or the queen too early before and it resulted in disasters.

I placed a little pollen sub on the top bars in a few nucs and they went right after it. (little or no natural pollen coming in now). Wouldn't that indicate that they want her to lay?

What else might tell if the queen is mated without an invasive check?
 

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The only way to tell is to pull frames, find the queen to see if she looks mated, and check combs for eggs. Otherwise, maybe you could some time in the future look down between the combs w/ a flashlight and see capped brood.

There really is no short cut that I am aware of. Consumption of protein substitute isn't something I would count on as an accurate indicator.
 

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What Mark said.
I generally don't pull frames until 30 days or more. I generally have eggs or larva at this time. Once it took 34 days.
At 40 days there will be eggs or I shake them out and start over.
 

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The check doesn't have to be invasive, just thorough. I helped a queen rearer this Spring while in SC. I'm not sure how many days after cells were planted that we were catching queens, but we opened each mating nuc and took out the frames and went thru them like the pages of a book until we found the queen, also looking for eggs. Thorough but not what I would call invasive.

Is your equipment really tight? What kind of problem did you have when you had your disaster? What was the disaster?
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Last year I checked around 8 nucs after I thought the queens should have been laying for a few days. I saw all the mated queens and eggs. When I checked again in a couple of weeks, 3 of them were queenless. I assumed (maybe incorrectly) that my disturbance caused the bees to ball the queens.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Huh, how strange. I don't know why that would happen.
I'm careful enough that I am confident that I didn't damage the queen myself. The workers and queen (from a planted queen cell) were not from the same hive. I thought that the queen may have to lay for awhile to establish herself. Even have to have emerged workers to protect her. Sort of like when introducing a caged queen, the workers need time to accept her.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
What Mark said.
I generally don't pull frames until 30 days or more. I generally have eggs or larva at this time. Once it took 34 days.
At 40 days there will be eggs or I shake them out and start over.
Am I correct that the queen should be laying within 2 weeks of emergence? The 30 days is from graft or transfer of day old larva-correct?
 
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