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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am trying out a Saskatraz package this year and it has been confusing the hell out of me. First off it took about 10 days to see a couple of eggs, about 14 to see a decent amount. (it had been colder here so when it warmed up eggs started coming) There was also some double laying but I read that could be normal for a newly mated. However, today about 20 days in I have 3 frames full of eggs and larva but 4 queen cells with larva. I know there is larva because I took out 2 of them but thought I should leave the other 2 while I ask for advice. They are not capped yet. In less then 3 weeks its been a roller coaster of queen not laying -->nice shes laying everywhere now! -->Are they trying to replace her?

-Are they trying to replace over the slow start?
-A laying worker wouldn't have all the cells filled and its too early for them right?
-Any advice on the cups? I don't know if I can even leave them because its still early for drones up here
 

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This is reasonably common with packages because the hive feels out of whack and blames the queen.

Commercial beekeepers will mostly destroy the queen cells and in a few weeks the hive has hatching brood and gets onto an even keel and the bees stop trying to supersede.

The other method experienced beekeepers sometimes use, if they can, is give the hive a frame of advanced brood around 2 weeks in. This balances things and the bees do not try to supersede.

Occasionally they may be trying to supersede because there really is something wrong with the queen. But you'll need to wait to see capped brood and the brood pattern to know that. As the queen has taken so long to start laying it may be that she has been held in a banking cage for a time, and this can delay the start of laying and also make it more likely the bees will try to supersede.

But for the most part in the situation you describe, the queen is fine and supersedure cells can be destroyed and will stop happening in another few weeks.
 

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An excellent bit of advice.
This is reasonably common with packages because the hive feels out of whack and blames the queen.

Commercial beekeepers will mostly destroy the queen cells and in a few weeks the hive has hatching brood and gets onto an even keel and the bees stop trying to supersede.

The other method experienced beekeepers sometimes use, if they can, is give the hive a frame of advanced brood around 2 weeks in. This balances things and the bees do not try to supersede.

Occasionally they may be trying to supersede because there really is something wrong with the queen. But you'll need to wait to see capped brood and the brood pattern to know that. As the queen has taken so long to start laying it may be that she has been held in a banking cage for a time, and this can delay the start of laying and also make it more likely the bees will try to supersede.

But for the most part in the situation you describe, the queen is fine and supersedure cells can be destroyed and will stop happening in another few weeks.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks, had feeling it might be due to the slow start. Should have some capped brood in a couple of days to get the full story. In the meantime im going to take out the remaining cells.
 

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I had the same thing happen to me with one of the packages I picked up this year. I asked a friend that's been keeping bees for years and she said don't panic and give it time. She was right so far. The hive seems to be doing much better and the temperament of the bees has improved greatly. I don't mean to hijac your thread but do bees ever change their mind and destroy the queen cells they've started?
 

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The cells once started will usually be allowed to run their course if the beekeeper does not intervene, and the hive may well end up with a supersedure queen. This is OK if you are happy with the local drones. If in an area with africanised or other undesirable drones, the beekeeper may wish to stay with the queen that came with the package.

Normally when bees supersede they allow the original queen to stay alive until after the supersedure queen has safely mated. So if the new queen fails to mate the old queen will still be there. But in packages for some reason the supersedure queen will sometimes kill the original queen, meaning that if she doesn't mate, you end up queenless.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Went out to the hive today to get rid of the remaining queen cells and came across this. (Picture). Multiple eggs in cells just on this one portion. That is also the only usable laying spot on this frame they had started drawing out. No brood on other frames yet but it's close. Will be able to fully tell then. In the mean time:

-Is this just a goofy queen?
-If it is laying worker what steps do I need to take?
 

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That does look rather like laying worker eggs but there are a couple of other factors could cause it.

But first question, have you been feeding the package and if so how much, and does it have stored sugar syrup in the combs and if so how much? IE, a full combs worth, 1/2 a full combs worth, etc

And thinking back, what was the date you noticed the first few eggs?
 

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The eggs are all on the cell bottoms and none on the walls, my guess is a queen with limited area to lay in. When you see capped worker brood it will tell if it is laying workers or a queen.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Yes we have been feeding the package. That hive has probably taken 3/4 of a gallon of syrup. Yes there is about a frames worth stored, uncapped. We put the package in on 4/11,
finally saw single digit eggs on 4/22, and then some frames were full on 4/26.
 

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Thanks.

The reason i asked is that those eggs were laid into cells with very low cell walls, and then the cell walls were raised after the eggs were laid. This can happen when a hive is short on feed and can also cause multiple eggs to be layed into cells because the queen really needs to lay but there are not enough fully built cells available for her.

3/4 a gallon of syrup is not really much over the time period, however if they have a frames worth stored, it does show they have enough and are not starving. So that will not be the cause of the slow comb building.

Installing the package on 4/11 and seeing first eggs 4/22 (11 days later) is not that unusual, not an undue cause for concern. That timing means if the eggs were normal your first capped brood should be happening now, and in a few more days you can uncap and see if the pupae are worker or drone.

If you are still seeing eggs but no larvae, the queen may be a drone layer and the bees are removing the eggs and new larvae from worker cells.

So back to the original question what to do about the queen cells. Me, I would kill any queen cells they are raising because odds are the queen is fine. But even if she isn't the bees have plenty of eggs to raise a new one from should she fail. All will hopefully be revealed in the next few days once you have some decent capped brood to look at.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Well here is our answer... Picking up a couple queens for splits in a couple of days and going to grab another for this hive. Besides shaking them out away from the hive is there anything else anybody would recommend?
 

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