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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi Everyone,

So we're about a month into beekeeping. Its been going pretty great, so much fun, and so much to learn. Today I opened up one of our hives and right away noticed a capped emergency queen cell. Upon further inspection i found several other capped EQ cells. In addition there were no eggs and no larvae that I could see. There is some capped brood on 5-6 frames although not nearly as much as I'd like to feel comfortable about the current situation. There do seem to be a fair amount of bees inside the hive and significant foragers coming and going from the hive. Although the honey/pollen stores are also somewhat concerning. I'm 11 days out from last last inspection in which I did observe eggs and lots of larvae. I'm thinking the queen was crushed or pinned due to a poor hive manipulation of just bad luck during that inspection and I am thinking the bees got right to work on rearing a new queen. According to the bee math, I'm looking at a virgin queen emerging this Friday at the earliest, and laying again Sat 6/15 if everything goes perfectly.

My plan is to add a feeder to the hive to bolster nutrition. We also have a second hive that is doing quite well and has already had a second brood box added to it. I am considering moving a frame of capped brood/pollen/honey into the struggling hive as well. Maybe its just being a new beek, but I am intrigued to see how it goes trying things with a virgin queen. Is that a bad move? My concern with purchasing a fertile queen is that even if I am able to pick one up locally it will not be until Friday this week that I would be able to introduce her to the queenless hive, which puts me close to when a virgin queen might emerge anyways. I guess I could get back in there and squash the several EQ cells though... Am I on the right track? I'd love any advice on whether or not it is a poor move to wait it out and give the bees and a virgin queen a shot and if I'd be better off just to get a fertile queen asap. If I go the route of letting the hive work things out, should I get back in there sooner than later to add the feeder/frame from the other hive?
 

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This happened to a friend of mine last week no queen lots of queen cells already capped. I took one of my mating boxes over there and we made 4 splits with all the cells. many home grown queens will be great queens because they are not banked.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
@ Dan_the_bee_guy I'm too green to know about mating boxes. I will do some research today. I only have two hives that were started with Nucs at the beginning of May, so weakening those via splits is not ideal I don't think. Plus I don't have any additional hives to put the potential splits into. I'm already starting to see how having additional hives gives you more options.

@ifixoldhouses Thanks for chiming in. I woke up this morning feeling like the safest play and the strongest support for the bees would be to get a queen asap.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
@ ifixoldhouses: Did you end up getting a new queen? and did the hive survive? How long was the hive queenless? and Hows it doing now?
 

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I'm new as well, I tried the virgin queen thing,it never came back, I hear that a EQ will be inferior to a mated queen you can buy, because of the age of the larvea when they started.
The old phrase "It all depends on circumstances" is so true.

If the colony presented with queenless condition has a good population of both nurse and forager bees plus good stores or volume of incoming nectar and pollen and there are an abundance of drones for mating, good weather for mating, and if the mated queen returns,

then your emergency queen has as good a potential as a bought queen. It may have some advantage of local adaptation but you cant bet on that.

Many people choose the self produced for the ease and cost saving of self producing but that would not be a good choice if you do not have backup plan resources. example if you have a queen fail to return you wind up with laying workers if you cannot get another queen in quite quickly. The price of a queen is cheap if it prevents a colony from being overtaken by hive beetles or wax mothes and losing the frames.
 

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You have to realize that we are giving the hive 4 chances of getting a good queen. With those cells we will wait 3 weeks to see what they have done any of the 2 frame splits that have not produced a queen at that time will be combined with one of the ones that have the best looking queen. Any queens that have not shown any good laying will also be pinched and combined if they all look good they will all go in nucs Palmer style.
That is the fun part of Beekeeping once you know what your doing there are no problems just options. Choose the one that you are ready for.
 

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@ ifixoldhouses: Did you end up getting a new queen? and did the hive survive? How long was the hive queenless? and Hows it doing now?
I put the queen in a nuc with two frames, she stayed in there a week, then after like 3 weeks I checked and she was gone, I combined the nuc back with another colony. I do have a queen cell in a lil styrofoam mating nuc with a cupfull of bees as an experiment.
 
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