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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I picked up 2 nucs on the 26th of April and installed them the same day, both had capped brood. I didn't see the queen on the first one but saw one in the second one nuc. I put top feeders on both and have seen lots of activity the last week. I opened up the first hive today (the one I didn't see a queen in) and there is a queen cell on one of the frames, the second hive is fine, saw the queen again today. I contacted the seller and he said all nucs were inspected and had a laying queen when picked up but sometimes they supercede. He offered me a queen but I can't pick it up until Saturday. Should I go get the queen or wait and see if the cell hatches? I know I will be a few weeks ahead if I go get the queen but it's and hour and half drive round each way to get it but I will do it if it's best.
 

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Should I go get the queen or wait and see if the cell hatches? I know I will be a few weeks ahead if I go get the queen but it's and hour and half drive round each way to get it but I will do it if it's best.
She might have been killed in shipping...or you might have killed her during an inspection (it happens).

I would wait until the new queen hatched. You will not be that far behind if you add a frame of eggs once a week for the next 3 weeks from the other nuc.
 

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I would go and get the queen myself if i were in your shoes. Not only will your NUC be behind but you also loose valuable bees each day due to the fact that they die off. Then there is the possibility of the NUC developing laying workers while queen is being waited on. Not a good deal at all. Spend the time in drive and don't think twice.
 

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Do you see signs she has been there in the last week, such as eggs in the bottom of the cells, uncapped brood in larvae stage? A queen cell in itself does not necessarily mean there is no queen.

if you get another queen and she really in there alrready, it might be a wasted trip and it will be killed when you try to introduce it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I will check again tomorrow to make sure, didn't see any larvae but may have been there may have been eggs. When I saw capped brood in one nuc and not the other and the queen cell in there I just assumed I had a problem.
 

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Awesome! If there are eggs in the bottom of the cells, you know she was there at least up to 3 days ago. Uncapped larva - up to ~9 days. Personally, I am terrible at finding her royal highness, so I just look for evidence she has been there.

Hoping for the best!
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Checked again and definitely no eggs or larvae so I think I will go get a new queen on Saturday. How long does a queen cell take to hatch and what are the chances that the new queen will hatch before I pick up the new one?
 

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I'm not going to give you advice, I'm too new and full of questions myself, but this is what I would do:

I would pull the queen cell out and get the new queen. If there is no capped brood in the nuc they are going to sit still for a long time, waiting on the virgin to mate and start laying. You need a laying queen. She should be mated and ready to lay. You'll have to pull the queen cell out before it hatches. You'll also have to put the queen cage in with the bees and let them release her, or at least leave her cage for a few days. If the queen cell hatches find the virgin queen and pinch her, or give her to another beekeeper in your area. Leave them queenless or queen cell-less for 24 hours or so then put the new queen cage in. You could use the virgin to make a split with, but I your good nuc may not be strong enough to split yet.
 

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Was the queen cell capped when you first noticed it on Sunday? If so, she will be emerging by Sunday, laying a week or two later. By the time you get a new queen, work through an introduction process you probably aren't gaining much, if anything, in terms of laying days and they might kill your new queen. She (the new caged queen) could also take a week or two to start laying.

That happened to me on my very first Nuc a year ago, it was a devastating start. Brought the Nuc home, put it in the hive, a couple weeks later I saw three queen cells. Panic...I called the local bee store and they had an extra queen on site. Oh great, I went out to the hive, squished the queen cells, drove to town and bought my new queen. Put her in the hive the next day, three days later she still wasn't released so I poked a slightly bigger hole in the candy plug. Two days later I checked again, she was out and dead on the floor. Another queen later they decided to keep her but it was a costly lesson that I'll not soon forget.

Personally I would let them finish making their new queen, they know what they are doing and you don't have to wonder if they will accept her.
 

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If you are going to introduce a caged queen you should go ahead and remove cells, and then again at the time of introduction. I would also give them a frame of open brood. If they don't build cells on it then they have a queen and will kill the caged one.

I would probably let them make a queen and have the dealer mail the replacement to me - when she arrived I would install her in a nuc with one frame of brood from the queenright hive and a frame of honey from the queenless hive. A spare queen is a fine thing to have.
 
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