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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I have a nuc which was installed on May 11. I took a look inside a week later and did not see a queen or eggs but was not overly concerned as I had seen her when I picked up the nuc. The odd thing was by the end of the inspection the bees were gathering at the top of the frame fanning madly. I thought it was the weather as it was warm but cloudy and a bit gusty.
I went back 3 days later, saw the queen pretty quickly and left them alone.

Another week passes and they have only built a small amount of comb, no eggs or larvae, unless i missed them. I again saw the queen, but this time there were what I believe are super cedure cells in the middle of one frame.

Can they raise a new queen if the queen was not laying? Don't they need eggs?

Also, once again they gathered on top of the frames and were fanning, crawling onto the inner cover to fan.
It was sunny and calm this time.

Do I need to requeen, and how long do I have?
 

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The fanning is normal. Just the bees letting their sisters know where the hive is.
You say this was a nuc, so I assume there is drawn comb. Is it full of brood and stores? If so, the queen has no where to lay. I am guessing maybe that's why you are concerned about their failure to draw additional comb.
Are you feeding? That helps in getting comb drawn.
Eggs can be difficult to see. Have you been able to see them before, and are you sure there are none there now?
Supercedure is a real possibility, but you are correct in thinking your queen would have needed to have laid at least some eggs.
A little more information might be helpful for others to chime in and provide more helpful answers.
Good luck!
 

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The fanning is not normal. Anytime a large portion fan there is usually something wrong. Especially at the onset of opening the hive, after in a hive for a while 10-20-30 minutes fanning is somewhat normal, but not something I expect in a queenright hive doing well. Sometimes new nucs with a just mated queen will fan a bit, also swarms can fan a bit for the first few days. When I open nucs they are calm, not racing across the frames or fanning, usually when they fan they are queenless, have very little brood (psuedo queenless), just weak not well off.

They also will fan for other reasons not associated with what I believe is going on with your nuc.

I would call whomever you got the nuc from and ask for a replacement. You should have atleast 2 frames of pretty solid brood in your nuc, you purchased a dud if you have no brood after 3 weeks. And that is mostly out of your control.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks for the replies. Sorry no pics. I did not feed, but they had lots of uncapped syrup and still do. They filled about a third of one foundationless frame but did not lay in it. I am pretty sure I would have seen or my son would have.

The package I installed has capped brood on at least 4 frames all foundationless.

My feeling is that the nuc was off from the start, I foolishly traveled pretty far to get the nuc and am worried he simply won't have a replacement as he was a smallish operation. I must admit I had an uneasy feeling when I installed the nuc, but have no previous experience.

My bee club meets tomorrow, hopefully I will get some input from someone with more experience.
 

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Should I destroy the supercedure cells, so they can start new ones? Is that how a laying worker starts?
Laying workers come from hives without any open brood. Leave the supercedure cells alone. If there were no eggs or larvae, those are probably false cells anyway, but if they are legit queen cells then that's only a good thing. All of the fanning, no eggs or larvae, and small amount of activity all point to a queenless hive, but you said you spotted the queen multiple times. Are you sure it was the queen?
 

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Off with the Queen's head.. lol.. Actually take the current queen of the NUC and give her an alcohol bath. Then take a frame from another hive that has eggs/young larva/bees and all and place it into the NUC. This will give them the resources required to make a real good queen along with the stores they already have. It will take about 30 days from start to finish to make the queen, get her mated up, and have her laying really well. Giving them the extra bees/brood from another hive ensures that as the old bees die off that came with the NUC there will be replacements. As for the famous question "Won't the bees fight" the answer is NO . I've done this same procedure several times now with no problems at all.
 

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If you have supercedure cells, and there are larva in them no need to destroy. adding a frame of brood with eggs will help prevent a laying worker situation as well as give the bees a base to build a queen in the cells are empty. If the present cells are not viable they are harmless and of no concern.
 

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If you have a queen present and she is a virgin it will take some time for her to be bred and start laying. even a newly bred queen can that some time. Any time the nurse bees feel the queen id not living up to there expectations they tent to prepare to supersede her. if she proves out before the supercedure is complete sometimes they will tear down the cells. If you have a queen for sure, and you do not see eggs within 14 days I am inclined to replace her. Many southern beekeepers often like to offer the advice to give her time. and that is all well and good. But one point us northern beekeepers almost always need to keep in the forefront of our mind, is we do not have an endless growing season. We need to think of how much time we need to allow our hive to become strong enough to overwinter.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
If you have a queen present and she is a virgin it will take some time for her to be bred and start laying. even a newly bred queen can that some time. Any time the nurse bees feel the queen id not living up to there expectations they tent to prepare to supersede her. if she proves out before the supercedure is complete sometimes they will tear down the cells. If you have a queen for sure, and you do not see eggs within 14 days I am inclined to replace her. Many southern beekeepers often like to offer the advice to give her time. and that is all well and good. But one point us northern beekeepers almost always need to keep in the forefront of our mind, is we do not have an endless growing season. We need to think of how much time we need to allow our hive to become strong enough to overwinter.
Thanks for the reply, it is odd how this has progressed. I went into my new package hive to steal a frame of eggs/larvae and broke a comb and discovered that what I thought was brood is just capped syrup/honey not really sure which. So no solution there.

I went on an Internet search this am for northern bred queens and did not find anything before I had to leave. Then I get a call from a friend, who happens to host my troubled hive at his farm to tell me his bees are swarming (different location). It looks like an easy catch for someone with experience but I am not sure i am up to the task. I may do some research in the swarm/ trap forum.

If anyone knows of a good source of queen, I would prefer to requeen and keep swarm separate.
 
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