Curious, what happened to the previous queen? Are you certain you didn't have a queen?
Here in "high and dry", the candy can get a bit hard, so poking a started hole usually translates to a three day release. No hole usually nets ~5 days. The hole needs to be nearly the size of the cork for the queen to get out. If they've opened the hole big enough for new bees to get in, it's almost big enough for your queen to get out.On Sunday late afternoon I checked and it looked like the hive was accepting here because they weren't all balled up and and chewing on the cage, but the candy wasn't all eaten away yet so I chipped a little more out and poked a small hole through it with a long pine needle.
Today I went out and checked because we had a big storm yesterday, the foundations had larva in a couple of frames and the Bees were hauling a lot of pollen in. The cage was down further about half way down the frame and the hole was around an eighth of an inch big and still had bees in it, but I couldn't tell if one was the queen or just some strays going in and out so I stuck it back in the frames and closed it up.
-How big of a hole does the queen need to get out and if so did she lay those larva or are they from workers? They seem to be pretty uniform but I couldn't tell if they had multiple larva in the cells or not, but I didn't think I would see Larva already from her since it's only been since Monday if she did get out Sunday night.
It's a bit fuzzy but...Fourth pic, inch over (left) from your fore finger, abdomen on the bar headed downhill looks like a queen?in the 1st pic there is no real pattern
in the 2nd there are 2 bees with white spots on them and I was curious what that is.
in the 3rd and 4th looks like just capped brood.
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Which fits because we know that the basic bee math doesn't work for there to be capped brood or larvae as of yesterday given the fact that she (the new carni) was in the cage Sunday. You said she (the original) looked dehydrated or lathargic 18 days ago when you received them, maybe she regained her strength and started laying again after a week or 10 days? Pattern isn't great yet but it looks like some of the larvae patches are getting tighter. Hard to say what will happen for sure but I won't be surprised if they ball and kill the new girl upon release. Sure hope not but that's what I've experienced on a few occasions. Keep us posted, good learning opportunity for many of us.if that's a queen it's the original Italian, because the carniolan was marked