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I have a hive that came out of winter queenless, to whom I gave a frame of brood about 5 weeks ago in hopes they would make a queen. A few days ago, I did see small areas of egg laying and some capped drone brood. The hive is now active and acting happy.

I was watching the entrance today when a GIANT very long golden insect swooped right in the entrance, flying right in. The manner of entry was different from foragers. This "bee" was so big I thought it was surely a wasp. I almost expected a fight to ensue and for bees in battled to emerge. But on the other hand, this insect flew into the hive so boldly it seemed at home.

Then I realized it surely must have been the new queen coming back from a mating flight. She would have been made from an egg from a package of California Blondes. And if she had mated already and started laying, she would be large. Do they go on mating flights over several days and after starting laying?

Can't wait to look in the hive again this weekend. Wondered if others had observed this and also if the direct flight into the hive was characteristic of the queen. It was exciting!
 

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This sounds just like the two I had this spring. I did a split that turned into two splits due to the number of queen cells made. I noticed the same exact thing. Finding eggs in the hive, then seeing the large queen come back from a mating flight. My father seen one and i seen the other. I'm not sure if it is a normal thing or not, but what I think they did was laid up a patch of eggs prior to a second mating flight in case she didn't come back. To me that would explain the eggs and then finding her returning.
 

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How exciting! I suspect you are correct, the queens may continue mating flights even after laying the first eggs. I've never seen the queen fly back in like you were so fortunate to see, but I've switched nuc positions after one had started laying, and then a week later, found the laying queen in the wrong nuc, from switching the positions of them. The only conclusion I could come to was she flew again and went back to where she had oriented too before the nuc switch. Now I won't move them until first brood is emerging from a new laying queen.
 

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How exciting! I suspect you are correct, the queens may continue mating flights even after laying the first eggs. I've never seen the queen fly back in like you were so fortunate to see, but I've switched nuc positions after one had started laying, and then a week later, found the laying queen in the wrong nuc, from switching the positions of them. The only conclusion I could come to was she flew again and went back to where she had oriented too before the nuc switch. Now I won't move them until first brood is emerging from a new laying queen.
I either do that same thing, or if I have to use the mating NUC again, I put the current residents into a 5 frame NUC and put into the same place, then move the mating NUC somewhere else. I use a 3 frame DEEP for a mating NUC for easy transfers.
 

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How exciting! I suspect you are correct, the queens may continue mating flights even after laying the first eggs. I've never seen the queen fly back in like you were so fortunate to see, but I've switched nuc positions after one had started laying, and then a week later, found the laying queen in the wrong nuc, from switching the positions of them. The only conclusion I could come to was she flew again and went back to where she had oriented too before the nuc switch. Now I won't move them until first brood is emerging from a new laying queen.
In my case I had a nuc with a newly mated queen(had eggs, larvae). After a couple of days they were queen less again. She probably never made it back after a later flight. I gave them a new QC.

Only now I see that I need more batches of QC's than I would thought in the beginning. In fact even if you need only 20 queens for example, you may need an exact schedule with cell producing in order to have them at hand when checking for mating success.
 

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Yes I've toyed around with the idea of having an ongoing cell builder nuc, kinda like Joseph Clemens uses, so that I always have cells available any time. If I run out of mating nucs and bee resources, I can always destroy the larva and harvest the royal jelly. Sometimes you just need to have a queen or cell ready to emerge for some reason or other in the beeyard.
 
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