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Discussion Starter #1
I got a package that ignored, and didn’t release, the caged queen. Low and behold, there was a loose queen in with the package. My question is, what is the likelihood that the loose queen is mated? It’s been a week and no eggs in the hive. I’m worried she’s now too old to mate and it’s too early in MA for her to mate well anyway. Do I keep waiting, or order a queen, ASAP?
 

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Did you mail order the package or pick it up from a local supplier?

If it was from a local supplier, contact them ASAP. I have heard that most suppliers provide some extra queens with a shipment of packages (several hundred packages) because a few will not make the journey.
 

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Always a virgin? I would say no. Not laying yet when shaken into the package? Probably always yes.
A week is on the long end of not laying but not all the way to rare. There are probably enough drones delivered in packages to mate your queen if she did not grow too old during the trip.
I would not expect the queen in the cage to be a real champ if she is being totally ignored.
first stop is the supplier.
Fall back plan; If you have drawn comb, nuc boxes (or make followers ) and a sheltered spot I would risk moving the hive and leaving the caged queen at the old location. Two lb packages is a thing.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Indeed the caged queen didn’t make it. I did pick them up, though it’s a two hour drive each way! I’ll give the loose queen another day or two and perhaps mail order a backup. If the loose queen starts laying great, I’ll make a little nuc for the mail order queen. Just didn’t know if the loose queen even had a chance of laying or if the odds were super high that she was a virgin who was too old (it was cold here in Western Mass last week so not sure mating flights were possible!)
 
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