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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
This year I decided to start my first hive. Installing the nuc and the first inspection went smooth, but then the queen went missing. Here's the timeline for the hive so far. I apologize for my inexperience and the lack of some information as a result:

March 29 - Nuc was installed.
April 4 - First inspection. Queen was found and it looked like they were off to a good start.
April 10 - Second inspection. No queen found and the youngest brood I noticed appeared to be about 4-5 days old. The bees had constructed 5 queen cells that they were actively working in but hadn't capped. I didn't think to check to see what was in them, unfortunately.
April 16 - Third inspection to make sure if I had lost my queen or not. The queen cells had all been capped and almost all of the comb had been filled with honey.

On April 30th I popped in to see how things were progressing and if a new queen had been made yet. I wasn't able to find a queen and there were no signs of new eggs or brood. The bees have almost fully drawn out 8 of the 10 frames and filled them all with honey. All of the queen cells had been chewed back to nothing and that whole frame is now honey as well.

So how concerned should I be about them failing to make a new queen at this point, and when should I start considering ordering a new queen?
I've been keeping their feeder full this entire time and they eat about 1/4 gallon a day, but given the surplus of honey they have, should I stop feeding them?
And should I consider adding a super to the stack before I'm able to make sure a queen is established one way or the other?

Any advice on making sure this hive gets going and survives would be greatly appreciated!
 

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Aylett, VA 10-frame double deep Langstroth
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Hi Owen and welcome to Beesource. First, you need to tell us where you live. Most all beekeeping is local and what is appropriate for a person in one locale may not be appropriate for you in yours.

Next, stop feeding. You are creating a honey bound situation that will leave nowhere for a potential queen to lay.

Assuming you accidentally killed the queen on the April 4 inspection, the new queen should have emerged on or around April 20. She would potentially have taken her mating flights around the 25 -27th, weather permitting. Then will need about another three days to start laying. I would guess she is in there and just getting ready to lay. You need to give her a good week or better with no interference, to hit her stride. If you do not see eggs by next Sunday, then I would consider buying a queen. As I just mentioned in another queen related thread, 32 -35 days from start is when I begin to worry and take additional steps. In your case, April 4th is the start date.
 

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I know its a short time frame, but to me it sounds like they swarmed. You describe a nectar/sugar water bound hive, no eggs and numerous capped queen cells. I would check 20 days after April 16th when you noticed the capped queen cells. So, depending on the weather for mating flights, you may see eggs around May 6th. Since you really do not know what happened, it wouldn't hurt to wait until next Sunday like JW suggests in his scenario. J
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
@JWPalmer, I live in Santa Margarita, CA near San Luis Obispo.
I'll definitely remove the feeder when I get home today, and I'll give them another week before I commit to a new queen. Is there anything I should do in the mean time to help make some laying space other than stopping the feeding?

@Fivej, I'm not sure it's a swarming situation since I never saw a drop in population. The opposit in fact. They've just about doubled since I installed the nuc, even without fresh brood. I have a feeling I either killed her accidently or they did a supercedure for what ever reason. But I don't have any experience in this so I really have almost no idea what I'm talking about here haha.
Well, as you both have suggested l, for the time being I'll give them another week and hopefully they'll have sorted things out by then. If not ill contact the guy I got the nuc from and ask about getting a new queen, or at the very least sort out what kind of bees I have so I can order a new one elsewhere.
 

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Aylett, VA 10-frame double deep Langstroth
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Is there anything I should do in the mean time to help make some laying space other than stopping the feeding?
Remove the center frame and gently shake the bees off of it. Then shake it hard to dislodge the syrup stored inside the cells. Whether you have a virgin, or need to install a new queen, the bees will take it from there and provide the space she needs.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 · (Edited)
I had been told by another keeper it would be a good idea to remove a frame and let them rob it. Would it be better to shake it out myself or let them clean it out and will they empty out all the bee bread in the frame as well if I leave them to it?
 

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Aylett, VA 10-frame double deep Langstroth
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You never want to encourage robbing by other bees, and it would serve no purpose to allow your bees to have access to the sugar syrup. If you had other drawn comb, I would have suggested removing several of the filled ones and freezing them. Then, replacing them with drawn ones. Just did a a courtesy inspection for a gal whose hive had recently swarmed. She had several emerged queen cells and viable capped worker brood. I figure the queen(s) emerged about four days ago. Problem was that the single deep and both medium super were filled with nectar on all the drawn combs. I ended up nadiring another deep and placing three empty combs in the center of the original deep. Hopeful that she will get a returned mated queen that has someplace to lay.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
So since the central frames seem about a 50/50 mix of nectar (half capped half uncapped) and bee bread that I couldn't shake out, should I just find a frame thats majority nectar and use that one?

Please forgive my ignorance and thank you for your patience. I very much want this h8ve to succeed.
 

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Aylett, VA 10-frame double deep Langstroth
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Absolutely. Move a stores frame to the outside, like spots 3 or 7, and find a frame or two that are strictly syrup to shake out. Place them in the 4,5, or 6 positions (center of the brood box).
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 · (Edited)
Okay I'll definitely swap those out. Should I concern myself with moving any other frame positions, such as the frames that aren't fully drawn out yet? Or are the couple frames sufficient enough?
 
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