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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I kept 2 nucs overwinter this past year in 5 over 5 configuration. This last weekend I opened them up for the first time and moved them into 10 frame equipment. The first was building up beautifully. The second seemed rather lackluster and strangely there were no eggs or brood. Since I could see that the first colony was raising drones, I went ahead and borrowed a frame of open brood to the presumably queenless second colony and figured that they would raise up a new queen, but when I took a look this afternoon, they had not started any cells. But, I did find a virgin queen running across the frame, and on close inspection, there are no eggs and no brood aside from what I provided a few days ago.

Pre-winter, the last time I had opened that colony was in September, at which time I saw eggs. The previous queen was marked blue, and the last time I positively saw her was in July.

Any thoughts on what's going on here? Did the old queen die before the winter and they raised up a new queen, only too late to get her mated? Did the old queen die after she started brood rearing this spring and they raised up a new queen that hasn't had a chance to go out and get mated yet? Thoughts on what to do next? Give her another week or two and see if she starts laying? Pinch her and combine the two overwintered nucs?
 

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If you know its a virgin and she is laying, then she is done, she will not go out and mate. You can wait and see what happens, I sometime have queens that just decide to lay nothing but drones for several days and then go back to laying as usual. If you keep putting in frames of eggs, the bees should make the decision on their own if you are nervous about it.
 
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If you only have two colonies and you are robbing frames of eggs from the queen right one, they are being kept "weak" in a sense.
Like Vance said off the virgin and combine them together.
One strong colony is much better than two weak colonies.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Akademee: it's a virgin, but she's not laying, and by the appearance of her abdomen, she wasn't mated either. It's a little early in my area to start making splits, but since I saw drone larvae in that other colony, I was hopeful that a colony might raise up a queen and in a few weeks she might be able to get mated. But as she's already emerged now, I thought I read that there's a certain window available for mating, and this one would miss it because there's not any drones currently available to her. What puzzles me is why she isn't at least laying drone eggs, unless she just knows the colony isn't big enough to support them right now.

G3farms: I only have 2 overwintered nucs, but also have a few full sized colonies that came through the winter. They could likely spare the brood, and it might even keep them from thinking about swarming in a few weeks. But I'm leaning towards combining the two nucs together as has been suggested, and having large colonies available to make splits with in a few weeks.
 

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Aylett, VA 10-frame double deep Langstroth
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A virgin has up to a three week window in which to get mated. If she misses that window due to weather or lack of drones, there is no do overs for her. You can start queen cells when drone larvae reach the purple-eyed stage.
 

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Vance's way is best, but takes time to find the virgin again.. If you keep moving eggs over, at the level that they can cover, the bees ussualy find a solution. Removing just eggs will barely effect the donor hive, they have little invested, and at this time of year the queen is not maxed out.

Crazy Roland
 
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