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Discussion Starter #1
Somehow my new package queen is no more. I did an OA dribble 9 days after installation on foundation less frames so am blaming it on that, but I really don't know. It is now three weeks after install and while the bees are bringing in pollen and have good activity, there are zero eggs, or open or capped brood. They had started to draw out cells that I assume were emergency cells, but when I tore them down I only found larvae and no pupae so they were not well developed. I then installed a frame from another hive of eggs, and mixed brood to hold them until my new queen arrives.

My question is how long should I leave the new queen in her cage? Can I release her sooner than normal since the bees will be so desperate or are normal precautions called for?

A;sp, I assume I will especially need to check the recently installed frame before installing the new queen to be sure that they have not started building queen cells. Is that correct?

Thanks,
Kevin
 

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Early release of the queen would not be a good idea in these circumstances, best just let her be released in the normal way of bees eating the candy.

You do not give dates or a time frame for any of this so it is not possible to know if the hive has a virgin or not. However to answer your last question, yes you should check the last frame of brood you added for queen cells. If they have not built any it means the hive either has a virgin queen, or laying workers, both of which will mean the bees will kill the introduced queen.

However if they do have queen cells and they have not yet hatched, that is good. It means you can destroy the queen cells and safely introduce the caged queen.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Had not thought about the virgin possibility but I don't think my timeline would support it. Here are key dates:

Day 4 -checked to confirm queen release (she was)
Day 7 - small amounts of pollen being brought in
Day 9 - quick glance revealed comb being built on 4-5 frames, but small amounts; did not check for queen, eggs, brood, etc.
Day 18 - comb being drawn on 6 frames; no eggs or brood of any kind; noticed queen cells
Day 20 - confirmed with another beekeeper that no eggs or brood and that drawn cells were emergency cells

What is strange is they still are bringing in pollen, building comb and have good energy.

If there had been a virgin in the package certainly by now she would have been mated and laying, correct?

Kevin
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Hi Harry,

I have actually shared your post with others so was aware of it :)

here are some photos including one of what was in the cells I tore down (hope they attach).

IMG_1921.jpg

IMG_1906.jpg

IMG_1909.jpg
 

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Had not thought about the virgin possibility but I don't think my timeline would support it. Here are key dates:

Day 4 -checked to confirm queen release (she was)
Day 7 - small amounts of pollen being brought in
Day 9 - quick glance revealed comb being built on 4-5 frames, but small amounts; did not check for queen, eggs, brood, etc.
Day 18 - comb being drawn on 6 frames; no eggs or brood of any kind; noticed queen cells
Day 20 - confirmed with another beekeeper that no eggs or brood and that drawn cells were emergency cells

What is strange is they still are bringing in pollen, building comb and have good energy.

If there had been a virgin in the package certainly by now she would have been mated and laying, correct?

Kevin
what if she is too old to mate?
they have a queen will not accept another, no eggs.
could have been a virgin in the package.

so you need to look close for the queen if no queen or eggs and you have another hive add a frame with eggs and this time let the queen hatch.

you either have or do not have a queen.... could have a not laying queen... sound like a mystery.

GG
 

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Discussion Starter #7
So I added a frame of eggs and larvae on Thursday afternoon and my replacement queen is due to arrive on Monday.

How long do I need to wait to see if they draw queen cells on the inserted frame? 2-5 days?

If there was a virgin in the package wouldn't she be laying by Day 23 so I cold look for evidence of eggs?
 

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Kevin there are a number of scenarios and without seeing the hive in person it is not possible to say which with 100% certainty.

However based on your pics and what you have said, it is most likely the queen was killed on release, or no good. The queen cells you found are probably the result of some laying worker eggs, bees in a hopelessly queenless situation will sometimes raise queen cells using drone brood, of course these queen cells do not amout to anything and the larvae normally die around capping time.

If there was a virgin in the package she could have failed to mate.

Re the new brood you have added, check it for queen cells on day 3 or 4. By that time any cells started should be obvious but bear in mind they could be very small still so look out for any small cups with a larva in. If there are queen cells it means the hive is definately queenless and you will be free to introduce a laying queen, after destroying the queen cells.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thanks, Oldtimer, a;ways appreciate your advice.

To add another layer to this, I may not be able to check on the hive from Tuesday through Sunday. Would there be any harm in putting the replacement queen with her cage in the hive until I return to see what I see at that point regarding cells, eggs, etc. I would install the cage with corks and no fondant so that the replacement queen could not be released.
 

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It's a gamble. If the hive is queenless the caged queen will be fine in there. But if there is some kind of queen or laying workers, she can be damaged such as having her feet bitten if stored in a cage in the hive.

However if you put the brood frame in thursday, a check the following sunday or monday (3 or 4 days later) for queen cells will be fine and you can then determine if it is safe to introduce the caged queen. In fact it would not be a good idea to leave the queen cell check to the following sunday, (10 days later), because 10 days is just enough time for bees to get a queen cell through to hatching, if they started with an older larva, which they sometimes do. (queens development from egg to hatch is 16 days. The egg hatches day 4, and a larva up to 3 days old can make a queen, means bees can have a hatched queen cell in 10 days).

So best plan would be check for cells sunday or monday, hopefully there will be some. Kill them and introduce the caged queen in the normal way at that time.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Huge thanks, Oldtimer - yes, I am hoping I see queen cells otherwise it gets tougher.....

Thanks,
Kevin
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Well, today is the third day after I transferred the frame of eggs, and open brood and I do not see any signs of them drawing queen cells. At the same time, though, I don't see any eggs or open brood on any of my other frames indicating a virgin queen is mated and laying. Here are a couple of shots of some of the other frames including one that a thin walled cup that was empty.

Cells 1.jpg

Cells 2.jpg

Cell 3.jpg

My replacement queen arrives tomorrow. Welcome any suggestions or thoughts.

Has it not been long enough to draw any queen cells? Should I just install the replacement queen in her cage with no fondant and essentially sacrifice her if their is a virgin?

Kevin
 

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OK that is not the news we want. Yes it should have been long enough (thursday to sunday) for them to start queen cells. For some reason the bees think they have a queen. Could it be they raised one on the previous comb of brood you gave them to hold them?

It is very likely that if you introduce the bought queen they will kill her. Do you have another hive strong enough to make a split and introduce the queen to that instead, even if just temporaray?
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Yes, I was very disappointed to not see queen cells.

I only added the one frame three days ago so I don't think they would get the idea they have a queen from that one. My only other hive (from which I took the eggs and open brood for this one also a package. While it is doing really well, I would be a bit nervous splitting after less than a month.

Not to divert from my main question, but where did the drone cells in my photos come from? Laying worker?

I am perplexed....
 

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I would do as OT suggested and put the new queen in a small nuc. Three days is not enough to be sure the bees will or will not make a queen cell. If a frame had fresh eggs, it could be as much as four days before they even start an E cell, which you will not notice for another two to three days. I give my nucs eggs on Sundays. I check for cells on Wed. Often I will not find any, but the following Sunday, four days later, there will be several, some already capped.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Will the current open brood on the one frame prevent a laying worker situation?

It's been 23 days since my install.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
I'm not arguing and certainly not debating, but can't stop thinking about this. What complicates things for me is I won't be able to check on the hive after Tuesday until Sunday night.

Would the most conservative option be to go ahead and hang the replacement queen in her cage with just the cork and no fondant and see what happens? If I don't do that, I will either a) get laying workers because it has been 24 days since installation, b) get a virgin queen who starts laying, or c) they draw queen cells and will need the replacement queen anyway. I know the replacement queen dies under option a or b but inserting the replacement queen at least gives me a shot with scenario c if they have not starting queen cells?

Thoughts?
 

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Most likely the brood will prevent laying workers but it is normally thought that it takes open brood for 7 to 14 days to reverse laying workers. However your hive is not too far down the laying worker track, if it has laying workers at all, so just the one frame of open brood may do it.

It is just not possible to say if the best option is to put the queen cage in the hive because we still don't know the full situation in there. It's sort of a crap shoot, because a queen cage with candy and escorts can normally be stored outside the hive for over a week, but we don't know how long your queen was already caged for before you got it. So either option has risk.

As per JWPalmer it is just possible your hive may take a longer time frame to start queen cells. Would be unusual, but does happen. The happiest outcome might be that when your queen arrives, you take another look at that brood comb, and this time, queen cells have been started, which would be problem solved.
But if that does not happen, then you could risk leaving the queen caged in the hive, but it is a risk. But so is the option of leaving it outside the hive, not knowing how long it has already been caged. If it was me I would leave it somewhere like the hot water cylinder cupboard where there will be a not too cold temperature. However if you felt better leaving it in the hive, you could do that. If you do leave it in the hive, leaving some candy in the cage would be best because if the bees do not feel queenless, they will not feed her. If you do go that route, the candy should be to the bottom or towards the bottom, just so no stickiness can go running down the cage.

Wish i and others could be more help, but anyhow, let's see what you find on the brood comb when the queen arrives.
 
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