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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
10 days ago I drove to a supplier and picked up two 3# packages of bees (with marked queens) and installed them that evening into two hives. Each hive had two frames of drawn brood comb, with the rest of the frames containing wax foundation. I put 1:1 sugar water into hive-top feeders on both hives.

I inspected the hives 4 days after installation and saw that both queens had been released. Today I inspected both hives again and I see larvae in one hive (no capped brood -- all brood cells still uncapped) but no larvae in the other. They are putting up nectar and pollen in the classic half-moon pattern (at top of frame), but I don't see any eggs or any larvae in this hive. I DID see the marked queen today (in both hives).

Should I be concerned, after 10 days, that something is wrong (in the hive with no larvae)? Should I contact the supplier and request a new queen, or give it a few days and check again? How long can I afford to wait?

I'm in North Texas (DFW area). The weather over the last 10 days has been 50-ish, with many days of cloudy/rain (if that matters).

Thanks,
Adam
 

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I wouldn't be worried after only 10 days.

As a side note, who's within driving distance around here? Or did you go all the way down to College Station?

Are you doing backyard, or do you have some land? Trying to find some other backyard beeks around here. :)
 

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I had the same thing happen. My problem was I did not see the queen at first. I put in a frame of eggs and larva out a strong hive and they capped 2 queen cell. I assumed they were queenless. The next time i checked them they had destroyed the side of the queen cells and I found eggs, larva and the queen. The other two packages were two weeks ahead of this one. I say qive here a chance.
 

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I would probably wait another week and check again. You'll have pretty much the same options at that point that you do today. The fact that you saw the queen is good because at least you know she's there. Have a little...but not too much patience is probably good at this point.
 

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Question:

With packages are all of the bees house bees or are there foragers too? Reason I ask it that foragers have a limited lifespan of probably 20 or so days this time of year working themselves to death. Less if they were foragers when shook out. House bees will have to take their place.

If package has been in place for 14 days (4 when queen known to be released + 10 more days since), how much time will the hive have to recoup if the queen doesn't start laying for up to 7 more days?

Not trying to upset AdamTX or anyone else. I have had packages where the queen died or left (bees stayed) and I was lucky enough to have hives with swarm cells. The beek I purchased the packages from refused to send new queens. Said he didn't have any, just get a frame of eggs from another hive. Don't do business with him any more.

Bottom line.......what's the max. time a package can go without any brood/eggs (Basically the same as queenless) before hive will die out without immediate infusion of bees/brood?
 

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The bigger issues is how long they can be broodless before they get laying workers... this will be the begining of their demise. That's only a few weeks. I'm still with dickm. Give them some brood and see what happens within two weeks after you installed her. Then I'd complain if she's still not laying.
 

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I've installed tens of thousands of packages in every kind of weather and can't say I can recall ever having seen a situation where a queen was not laying well in a week that we did not declare the queen a dud and either combine the package if had not drifted out, or drop in a frame with larvae.

Percentage-wise those duds were very few, but I would say you have one for sure. It is possible they shipped you a virgin, but if it is marked and accepted, I really wonder... A virgin should be laying about now, anyhow, assuming there are drones and flying weather.

I agree with the others. Drop in some eggs and young brood. The bees will tell you what they think.

And I also agree, the clock is ticking. If you don't see eggs soon or obtain a new queen, your best bet might be to combine the hives and split later when you do have a queen. That way the bees and a replacement queen are not wasted.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thanks All, for the replies.

Daknoodle, yes these are in my backyard. And yes I did head south to CS -- had to go that way anyway, so just "tacked on" the bee pick-up. I'd be happy to share notes / info / etc going forward ... I would like to meets some other local beekeepers, too, but I'm a long way from any of the DFW area clubs. I'll PM you with my email address.

As far as adding a brood frame ... I don't have any other hives from which to take a frame (unless I rob a frame from the other newly established hive), so that's not really an option for me. I spoke to the supplier (R. Weaver) today about the situation ... and they didn't seem worried -- said I should give her some more time. But I, too, am worried about laying workers and the lifespan of forragers so I don't want to wait TOO long! So that's the primary question for me at this point: what is the absolute last day I can wait before removing the current queen and replacing her with a new one? 28 days after the initial hiving? 21?

Right now I'm thinking I will give it exactly one more week (i.e., 17 days after initial hiving) without disturbing the hive, and if I don't find eggs / larvae then I will press the issue with the supplier. Perhaps not a perfect solution, but hopefully it will all work out!
 

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Tecumseh told me that it is taking the new queens longer this year, before she starts laying. He also said one of the other people raising queens, said the same thing.
 

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> I don't have any other hives from which to take a frame (unless I rob a frame from the other newly established hive), so that's not really an option for me.

Why not? All you need give them is a small patch. You can always replace it later. As it is you stand to effectively lose the second package if it does not get queenright ASAP.

> I spoke to the supplier (R. Weaver) today about the situation ... and they didn't seem worried

Why would they be worried? They have nothing to lose. On the other hand, you've already lost almost two weeks. A good queen should have been laying within a day or two. Even if this queen gets around to laying, odds are she will be superceded. There is something wrong with her.

> Tecumseh told me that it is taking the new queens longer this year, before she starts laying. He also said one of the other people raising queens, said the same thing.

That may be true in the mating nuc, BUT the queen shipped in a package should have already been laying in the nuc when picked for shipping. Somebody goofed. It happens.

Assuming proper handling, and that the queen was not banked, a good queen should have resumed laying immediately on installation.

If you can see this queen, what does she look like? Six legs? Feet on the bottom of those legs? Wings? Size? Behaviour? Is she trying to lay?
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Dick,
Are you saying I can cut out a square of, say, 2x2 inches from the brood frame with the laying queen (of uncapped larvae) ... and put that in a same-sized cutout in a frame on the other hive? I had not considered the "small cutout" option -- I was thinking about "whole frames" only.

If I do that, would I go ahead and remove the non-laying queen at the same time I put in the small section of larvae ... or leave the queen alone?

I don't know what you mean by "was the queen banked" ... but she was in the queen cage within the package and the whole thing was very well cared for during the ~6 hours between when I picked it up from the apiary and when I hived it. Few dead bees left in the package after hiving.

As far as what she looks like ... I didn't think to check #legs, #feet, etc. I did notice she seemed to be looking in the cells with her head, as opposed to trying to poke her abdomen in (to lay), while I was watching. It seemed to me that most of these cells already had sugar syrup in them, so I thought maybe she was just searching for egg-ready cells? I wonder if it is possible the workers filled up all the pre-made comb with sugar syrup, before she was released from the cage. So now she is stuck, waiting on some new cells to be finished off?

I will attach a pic of the queen. Maybe you can tell something from this picture that I cannot. I will also attach a pic of a portion of the comb that I took to show what looks like "drier than usual" pollen. Again, maybe this will tell you something... actually, I'm having trouble compressing the images to less than 20k as required by the forum. Maybe I can do this later, but right now I need to get to work!

Thanks,
ADam
 

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> Are you saying I can cut out a square of, say, 2x2 inches from the brood frame with the laying queen (of uncapped larvae) ... and put that in a same-sized cutout in a frame on the other hive? I had not considered the "small cutout" option -- I was thinking about "whole frames" only.

I was thinking that you might have a frame with a small patch by now. You could cut out a patch, but that is messy.

> If I do that, would I go ahead and remove the non-laying queen at the same time I put in the small section of larvae ... or leave the queen alone?

I'd leave her alone and see what happens.

> I don't know what you mean by "was the queen banked" ... but she was in the queen cage within the package and the whole thing was very well cared for during the ~6 hours between when I picked it up from the apiary and when I hived it. Few dead bees left in the package after hiving.

That all sounds good. Sometimes queens are stored for periods of time in 'banks' awaiting the need for them. A few days usually does not do appreciable harm as long as the bank bees don't chew her feet off or ignore her. After a few weeks, though, banked queens are useless. I can't see anyone banking queens at this time, though when queens are in short supply.

> As far as what she looks like ... I didn't think to check #legs, #feet, etc. I did notice she seemed to be looking in the cells with her head, as opposed to trying to poke her abdomen in (to lay), while I was watching. It seemed to me that most of these cells already had sugar syrup in them, so I thought maybe she was just searching for egg-ready cells? I wonder if it is possible the workers filled up all the pre-made comb with sugar syrup, before she was released from the cage. So now she is stuck, waiting on some new cells to be finished off?

I've never seen that.

Basically, I think you have a dud and the sooner you get a replacement, the better.
 

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Daknoodle, yes these are in my backyard. And yes I did head south to CS -- had to go that way anyway, so just "tacked on" the bee pick-up. I'd be happy to share notes / info / etc going forward ... I would like to meets some other local beekeepers, too, but I'm a long way from any of the DFW area clubs. I'll PM you with my email address.
Look forward to hearing from you!

Honestly, I like your idea of waiting another week. Sometimes patience is just whats needed. Though if you can spare a frame from the other hive, it'd be a good idea to do so.
 

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There are no bad ideas here. I still like waiting a bit, but not much. I would think about what Tecumseh says.
 

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Allendick, Tecumseh was talking about mated queens that were in a hive. He said he was getting the same story from others. And, he tells me, that his queens are laying good, in a nuc, before he ships them.
 
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