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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have another hive (from a split) that I tried to introduce a queen to on June 29. Five days later I checked to see if the queen had been accepted. The queen had been released, but there was no sign of eggs or brood (the sister hive to it accepted its queen and had eggs). There were also some 8-10 queen cells in varying stages of development (but none yet capped).

I interpreted that information as the queen being rejected and let the hive continue to raise its own queen. My queen calendar indicated that a queen should hatch from a cell (based on the date of the split) on 10 July. On 11 July I checked to see if a queen had hatched.

I found several cells that had been torn into from the top and one cell that had a disk cut out of it at the bottom - evidence of a hatched, virgin queen - right? There are still no eggs or brood, so I am thinking that all is on track.

As I am closing up the box - activity in the upper corner catches my eye. There is the MARKED queen I tried to introduce some two weeks ago fighting with a worker. So, apparently the introduced queen has been hiding out in the box for two weeks. I don't know what to make of it.

She could be killing the queen cells, OR I could have a virgin queen in there as well - I really don't know. I also don't know if the marked queen will even be able to start laying after two weeks of essentially being egg-bound.

In the end, I just smoked the box really well and closed it up. I will check again in a week or so and see if the bees have sorted it out.

I would appreciate any insights though from anyone who has also experienced this.

Thanks

Mike
 

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how long was it from the time you made this box up until you introduced the queen? do you have a nectar flow in progress?

if I found torn down cells and one with a round disk removed from the end of the cells I would definitely think I had a virgin queen in the box somewhere.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
The split was put together on 28 June. The queen was introduced
On 29 June. At the time of introduction there were
several "just started" queen cells.

There has been an alfalfa and sweet clover flow happening
Since about the time of the split. The flow has been getting
stronger since then.
 

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there is no reason that uncapped 'green' cells would be torn down. even once capped the cell has to get fairly close to 'emergence stage' for an existing queen or virgin to think about tearing down a queen cell.

when you introduce a bought queen I typically knock down any started cells since these cells (seems to me) distract the units focus away from the mated queen in the package. however some folks might wish to leave these as a form of insurance and think quite correctly that a properly functioning queen will knock these down herself when the time comes.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
tecumseh said:
however some folks might wish to leave these as a form of insurance and think quite correctly that a properly functioning queen will knock these down herself when the time comes.
That pretty much sums up what my 'introduction strategy' has evolved into. I used to knock down any started cells that I found when I introduced a queen - but on occasion, when the introduced queen wasn't accepted or didn't survive - I found myself queenless and with few remedies. It is difficult to get queens up here quickly and our summer is so short that by the time they draw out new cells and raise a queen from a new frame of eggs/brood, they are hopelessly behind in getting ready for winter.

As a result, I tend to leave the started cells as 'insurance', and then, once I see that the introduced queen is laying, I knock down any that I see and leave the rest to her. Of course, this strategy has produced the present situation as well (and for the second time in my experience). I still haven't figured out a good way to handle it.

I am going to peek in the hive today and see if the situation has changed at all.
 

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Generally, a virgin queen is more dextrous than a mated, (laying) queen. If the two get into a fight (almost inevitable if you leave them on their own), the virgin will kill your marked, mated queen.
Not having layed eggs for a while should not prevent the mated queen from returning to laying once she is "accepted" and her retinue feeds her amply.
If it's not too late already, I would suggest placing the virgin with a frame or two in a small hive, where she can go out and mate (and possibly start a new hive or at least be on reserve should you need a new queen at some point. This should give you a chance to see the quality of her laying before deciding what to do with her.
Without any brood or a competing virgin queen in the original hive, your "timid" queen should start laying.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Well - I have checked the hive today and no eggs. I also haven't seen either a virgin queen or the marked queen since 11 July when I saw the marked queen. All queen cells have been torn down. The only evidence I have that there is a queen in the box is:

1. the bees are REALLY calm on the comb
2. the bee have polished cells as if they are getting them ready for eggs
3. there is no 'roar' from the hive that you hear when it is queenless
4. they are also taking a pollen patty well

My queen calendar states that mating flights (if I indeed have a virgin in the box) should take place over the next week. Then I should expect to see eggs around 28 July latest.

So, I suppose I just need to be patient and wait. However, should anyone have any insights or advice, I would greatly appreciate it.

Thanks,

Mike
 

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I'm thinking it could take a week or so longer than July 28 to start seeing eggs. But I'll leave it to the more experienced to verify that possibility.
 

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Omie is probably right---and so are you, in reading the signs of a queenright colony. Bear with them patiently. Let your virgin queen mate and if all goes well, she should be laying soon enough.
 

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Eggs could be as late as Aug. 5, or as early as tomorrow. The queen emerges on day 16. I have seen eggs on day 21. They can hold off as long as day 35.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
21 July 2011 - got eggs!

So that makes two queens successfully reared. I count myself lucky. There were three - softball sized patches of eggs on the separate faces of two frames. Single eggs/cell, so all looks good.

Still haven't seen a queen - she must be shy, but I am sure that will come.

Thanks to all for the advice

Mike
 

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Tyro writes:
2. the bee have polished cells as if they are getting them ready for eggs

tecumseh:
this is usually a good indication (for me) that you will see the first eggs sooner rather than later.
 
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