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Discussion Starter #1
Northeast Ohio, temps in the 70s-80s. I split one of my hives 4 weeks ago. The half with the queen is doing great. The queenless half (hive A) I left alone until today when I inspected for eggs. I found no eggs and no sign of a queen. No capped brood. Lots of empty cells and a noticeably smaller population. The bees were slightly aggressive.

Another hive I have (hive B) was having queen issues (spotty brood pattern). I noticed a few queen cells about a month ago and just monitored the hive lightly each week. Two weeks ago I heard a virgin queen piping and she actually crawled onto my hand. I returned her to the hive and closed it up. Today (1 month after queen issues, two weeks after spotting virgin queen) I opened for a full inspection. I found some leftover capped brood that was in the process of emerging. We are talking maybe 10% or less of a healthy amount of capped brood. I noticed no eggs, lots of empty cells, and a decent amount of bees but also noticeably fewer than a month ago. I did spot the queen. I am assuming she is not mated as I found not a single egg during the inspection. Does a mated queen start laying immediately after returning from her mating flight? The bees were not hostile to her while I was viewing her.

I took a frame of capped brood and a frame of eggs from my strongest hive and placed it in hive A. Do I check for queen cells in a week and keep supplementing bees and brood from my strong hive until they produce a new queen? Or would it be smarter to buy a queen and place her in there? Should I give hive B another week and check for eggs? If I do that and still find no eggs will the bees kick out the non-laying queen? I would hate to lose these two hives but it seems they are on track to wither away unless I do something soon.
 

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Hive 1 that you split 4 weeks ago, people often find they have to wait 5 weeks before they find eggs. Putting some eggs in it was a good plan and yes, check for queen cells in a week just incase some accident has befallen the queen, but at the same time check for new eggs, you may find some.

Hive 2 with the 2 week old virgin, people sometimes find they have to wait 3 weeks to find eggs, so again, give her some time. That you just seen her means it is likely she will start laying eggs anythime soon.

Meantime, little point wasting money buying a laying queen which will probably be killed upon introduction. If hive 1 builds queen cells, then you will know it is queenless so once you have that figured out, if it's queenless, then yes, you could put a laying queen in it.But for now, odds are it has a queen so save you money.
 

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I agree. Give them a week and check. I think that you did well by giving Hive A a frame of eggs. Check back with Hive B in a week and see if the pattern has improved. Sometimes it seems to take a while to get a new queen going, especially if there’s not as many bees. I wouldn’t buy a queen at this point.
 

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You've got this. New queens = patience. Please remind me of this in about 2 weeks when I'm pulling my hair out. Having a few hives to pull from = priceless.

Your best insurance policy is the frame of eggs. If they cap them and don't draw a queen cell from it that tells you all you need to know. Your chances of getting a mated queen are about 80%. Highly recommend resource/support hives. Dadant has a nice one.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks for the reply and great info. I'll see what the status is come next weekend. I hoping that each of them turn a corner by then.
 

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You've got this. New queens = patience. Please remind me of this in about 2 weeks when I'm pulling my hair out. Having a few hives to pull from = priceless.

Your best insurance policy is the frame of eggs. If they cap them and don't draw a queen cell from it that tells you all you need to know. Your chances of getting a mated queen are about 80%. Highly recommend resource/support hives. Dadant has a nice one.
Great. Thanks for the info. I will check the frames in Hive A and see what they do with the eggs.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Just wanted to give a quick update to my situation. I waited another full week and checked both hives again. The hive I added eggs to did not produce queen cells and I found evidence of eggs and some larvae. The 2nd hive also had lots of larvae and some evidence of eggs. Happened to find the queen as a bonus. Success! As soon as I found the eggs and larvae I stopped the inspection and re-stacked the hive. I didn't want to disrupt their resurgence. I will be waiting a full 5 weeks before checking on future splits and swarms. Thanks to everyone that gave advice.
 
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