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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a hive that barely made it through winter. Just a handful of bees and a queen that wasn't doing much. Gave it two frames of capped brood with covering bees from a strong hive about 10 days ago. Checked today and a lot of the bees emerged and now have a good 3 or 4 frames of bees, growing stores but no queen and no eggs or young brood. But 4 or 5 ?supercedure? cells on one side of one frame and 2 empty queen cups at the bottom. One maybe had some white at the bottom of it.

Should I just let them go and see if they are making a queen or do I need to buy a queen and get her in there ASAP?
 

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That depends on your expectations. Having already invested some brood, are you ready to invest a queen, or let them try to sort it out. A new queen will mean even more brood. Do you have it to spare? (current wait for queens is ~2 weeks for mine). Me, I'd let them go, for the fun of it. The next guy maybe wouldn't. Ain't beekeeping a kick?
 

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'Depends on the age of you queen cells, but say they were just capped ( From Morse - "Rearing Queen Honey Bees" )- hatch in 8 days, mate in 5-9 days, lay 2-3days, so 2-3 weeks after the cells are capped, you should be seeing eggs.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks all. This hive is fun to watch. I will keep some updates going in this thread. Yesterday I had some more orientation flights going on this hive and my inspection revealed pollen and nectar being stored. So if they get a good queen going, bred right here, maybe this hive will really turn around.

Actually yesterday the 3 hives that are all next to each other had orientation flights going so there were a lot of bees in the air for awhile. Cool stuff.
 

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The total picture is often more complicated... you gave them some brood, is that where the queen cells are? If so they are probably emergency cells and probably from fertile eggs and I would let things play out. If they are on brood that was in the hive before and if that brood is all drone brood, then they could be unfertile eggs in the queen cells. If so, they will not develop into queens.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Its almost 2 weeks since I first discovered three capped queen cells in this struggling hive. I found no queen and a handfull of bees so I added two frames of capped brood with nurse bees.

Today all 3 q-cells were empty with the ends chewed of. They were not very big. 3/4" long and the diameter of a pencil. All 3 on the same face of a frame. There were maybe 5,000 bees. Very active but gentle. There was newly capped honey, nectar and a little pollen. But not one single egg, larvae or capped brood. The two frames of brood I placed from another hive had all emerged. The bees were working. Bringing in stores. I did not see a queen but I may have missed her. I did notice as I inspected frames that bees on the bottom were fanning.

Should I just continue to be patient? Give another week or so and hope a queen I didn't see starts laying soon? Other than small numbers and no queen sighting it seemed like a normal hive.

Thanks all.
 
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