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When do I make the decision to replace a newly packaged queen

1065 Views 7 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  Michael Bush
Good Morning Beesourcers.

Yesterday I went into my hives to check their status. In one hive I saw capped brood as well as larva. Second hive I actually found the queen, but upon checking the frames observed

no brood at any stage. I installed these packages on April 16, so it has been 11 days. This is the same hive that I saw the queen outside of the hive 2 days after install.

Should I go ahead and make plans to replace her, as I am sure it will take a week to get a new queen? Or do I just let it go and see if they supersede her, or give it some more time.

I am a total newb and these are my first hives. Thanks for your responses.

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I had a small swarm two years ago that either killed the queen or she left on her own. I found her out on the ground the evening after I placed the swarm in the box, with a ball of bees on her. I placed the ball and queen back in the box, but 2 days later, there was no sign of her. I purchased two mated queens at that point, one for my swarm, and one for my neighbors hive, which was queenless. I introduced mine into the hive, and made sure that 3 days passed prior to her release. At that point, I watched over the next couple weeks, and found that my queen had laid only a small amount of eggs. In the same time frame, the neighbor's queen had laid 2 full frames of eggs. I contacted my supplier and asked if there was such thing as duds, and if I could return my queen for another one. Of course he basically said no, and that I probably did not have enough bees to properly regulate temperature, which was the most likely cause. Several weeks later, that queen disappeared and the swarm dwindled to almost nothing. I could not purchase bees at that point, so I decided to just wait until the next spring to purchase a package. However in late August or early September, I noticed a large amount of traffic in what had been for all intent and purposes, a dead hive. It turns out that it caught a second swarm!

So I can't speak to weather your queen is ok or not, but I was informed that temperature and hive placement can affect her.
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I wouldn't hesitate to replace a suspect queen.

For myself with a package, if I don't see eggs within a handful of days, I would replace the queen. Especially if the sister package already has capped brood. A good queen should be bursting at the seams with eggs and very eager to begin laying.

Queen replacment is cheap and easy, meaning there is no reason to mess around with a queen who isn't quickly showing she is productive.

They cannot replace her if they do not have any brood or eggs to make a queen. Can you see eggs? Sometimes it takes a queen a while to start laying so you might check for eggs if you do not see any by 14 days maybe good to order a new queen.
Thank you for your responses. I did look for eggs but could not see any. Could some be there I did not see, possibly. But I don't think there were any. They had pollen and nectar
in various places, but very little capped. This hive is not taking half the sugar syrup the other hives are taking as well. There is drawn comb and I saw more drone than I thought.

My concern is that since this is a package and the bees that are there are on borrowed time and replacements are not being laid.

Its going to be rainy for the next three days here in SE Ohio, so I cannot take action until Thursday or Friday at the earliest. So I thought I would check that hive when it clears up to
give her one last chance before replacing her.

I do not know how long it takes to get a replacement queen, but I know enough that If eggs aren't laid soon, I could loose the hive.

This is my first year and first hives so I hope I am not being over cautious.

Thanks again for your time.
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Just to update those who responded and others who may be interested, I contacted the County Apiary Inspector where I live and he agreed to come out and look at the hive for me.
(It helped that I know him personally and he is a member of the bee club I belong to)

He inspected my suspect hive and confirmed my concern of there being no brood or eggs in it. We found the queen and he noticed she was not using her hind left leg. He felt this may be enough to cause her not to be laying. I also found a supersedure cell on the bottom of a frame of drawn comb.

The inspector suggested I replace the queen. I contacted the company I had received the packages from and he agreed to send me a replacement queen out tomorrow.

So, in a day or two I should have my new queen to replace the other one with.

Thanks again for your interest and replies.

Thats good. You will need to pinch the queen in the hive the day before you put the new one in.
Drop the old queen in a jar of alcohol. Her pheromones are too precious to waste by pinching her...
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