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I posted a request for advice earlier and it was suggested that I be patient. While I agree I need patience, I have more observations and questions. For a little review of the history, we have been wanting to try hand at raising bees. We also wanted to try the feral approach (catching a swarm or getting them from a bee removal service). We were contacted by a bee removal service and got a "box" of bees about 9 days ago. We had the hive, frames, feeders, etc. already, so we immediately moved the bees into the hive. We setup a sugar water feeder in the entry. We closed the entry with grass. The bees appeared to start setting up home in the hive. The person we got the bees from assured me there was a queen. The hive is a Langstroth deep with 10 frames (9 with foundation and one with a starter strip). In the 9 days, the bees have drawn comb on all frames. The is a yellow liquid (I assume is honey) that is not capped and there is some clear liquid, also not capped. All frames have some of both types of liquid. I did a hive inspection on day 5 to see what was going on inside the hive. I don't see any eggs or indication of laying. I also did not see the queen. I did see drone. I decided to check the hive again today. I noticed more comb laid and more liquid, but still none capped. I also noticed this morning some bees returning with white packets on their hind legs (assume this is pollen). I am beginning to believe the hive is queenless. I would like other opinions. If this is the case, I have an option to get some frames with brood and possibly queen cells from a hive on my daughter's land. I understand that I could get a frame from her that had early brood or queen cells and introduce it into my hive and the bee will raise a queen for themselves. I would really appreciate any advice and help. Thanks.
 

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A frame of eggs and larvae is a good idea. What they do with the frame will tell you whether or not your hive is queenless. If you have a queen, the workers will cap the frame and raise some more workers. If the hive is queenless, this frame will give them the means to raise a new queen. The next question will be are there enough drones flying to breed the virgin queen when she makes her mating flights? I ask this because, depending on where you are located, the workers could already be throwing the drones out and tearing down drone cells as part of their winter preparations.

A hive cannot survive the winter without a queen.

HTH

Rusty
 

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We went and got a frame with larva and (what I think are) eggs. The frame also capped "stores". I guess it is honey. I understand it could be honey or nectar. The existing frames had a areas of honey and nectar. I assume it is nectar because from what I have read, the nectar is clear and shiny. I looked the frames over again when I put the new frame with the larva in. I noticed that the bees are starting to cap some of the honey. They seem to filling the existing frames pretty quickly. I noticed in some of the cells that had clear the liquid, there were small white strands that I thought might be eggs. After looking at them closer, I came to he conclusion that they were fragments of comb. Is this common? When I looked at the frames of the hive I took the frame out of they look clean (didn't notice the fragments). The main thing I am concerned about is that it took almost 2 hours to get the frame transported to my location. I suspended it in a box and it looked ok when I took it out and put it into the hive. I hope that was not too long. As far as my location and the drones, we are located around San Antonio. It is still pretty warm here and, while we haven't had much rain, there are still flowers around. How long should I wait to see what they have done with the new frame? And what should I look for?

Gary
 

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Weekly inspections will be plenty as far as the bees consideration. (they want to be left alone)
If they build multiple queen cells off the brood you provided, you may not be queen-right. I would not expect the bees to have stayed/building comb so well if there was no queen from installation...but you never know.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
It's been 4 days since we put in the frame with brood. We decide to take a look. We found 2 frames (not the frame that we installed with brood already) with capped brood and larvae. These were frames the original frames and there were obvious capped brood and "C" shaped larvae. Correct me if I am wrong, but there must have been a queen already there. The time is too short for them to have made a queen and have the queen lay and have capped brood. Also since the capped brood is not drone cell brood, then it is not a worker bee doing the laying. Therefore, the was already a queen, it was delaying it laying until it was mated or until enough comb was laid and we are just too new to ID it. Look forward to any opinions.

Gary
 

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sounds like you are calling it correctly gary. most of the time patience pays off, but it was a good move adding those eggs when you did, and if there wasn't a queen they would have started to make one. i take it there weren't any queen cells started on the frame of eggs you put in four days ago?
 

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Discussion Starter #7
We didn't see any queen cells on the frame brought in or on any other frame during the inspection. Also, today we added a deep on top of the current deep. I read that if 80% of the frame have drawn comb, you should add a new box. That was achieved a week ago. We added it on top. The bees seem to be doing well. The haven't left and seem to be pretty passive. So I think they have other things on their minds rather than me looking in on them. I have noticed (maybe because we are into bees now) that there are Fall flowers starting up, so I think there is plenty out there for them to forage. We stopped feeding them in hopes of encouraging them to go out and forage. It has been two days without feeding them and they seem to be doing ok. We still have the entrance restricted. I read that at this point we probably should remove the entrance restricter. Should we do that? I also noticed bees fanning at the entrance. I read that that was for temperature regulation, but also read that that was a sign that the queen was present after hive intrusion or disruption. What is your opinion? Thanks in advance.

Gary
 

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sounds like everything is percolating along nicely. if the restricter is wood you might consider taking it off and putting some screen across there leaving a few inches open for the bees. as far south as you are overwintering shouldn't be too hard.
 
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