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Purchased and Installed Queens. Can't find one. (Updated 8/4/17)


Seven days ago I purchased/ received and installed two marked/yellow painted queens, both with attendants and candy escapes. One queen was quickly released by the hive after 3 days. I thoroughly inspected that hive today and the queen was nowhere to be found after 15 minutes of looking at frames. I didn’t find a carcass either. I didn’t see capped brood either. Should I start to worry? How long before capped brood appear? Am I missing something in this equation? If I can’t find the queen on the next inspection, should I combine the hives if the second queen is found and seems well or should I wait? Or ???

The second queen with attendants I released today as they would have finished eating through by tomorrow anyway. I probably should have just let the bee’s do it but I want to inspect that hive in a few days to see how she is doing. How long should I wait before checking on her? Many thanks. Dusty

UPDATE: 8/4/17
Update on queens. I visited the hives today. Bad news/Good news scenario. Bad news is that the hives are weaker in number do to a large amount of drowned bee’s in livestock tanks. Good news, though I didn’t spot the queens, there is capped brood and larva in each hive which is all positive. Onward and Upward!


My dearest homeless-loving @Dusty, may I humbly suggest that you buy and read the following book?

Please see page 13 for a diagram of what look for. Eggs are laid and take 2.5 to 3 days to hatch. They are uncapped for the next 5 or 6 days (workers) or 7-8 days (drones). So for workers, let’s say 8-9 completed days from laying the egg to capping. The pupa then remains capped for another 12 days before emerging, for a total of 21 days for workers. This can be as short as 18 days in africanized bees, or 19-20 days in our warm climate, but now you have a concept of what to expect.

If you installed the queen a week ago, and they were released the same day (unlikely, but possible), you would see eggs by now and early larvae, but only if you were wearing your best reading glasses and inspected in good lighting conditions. :smile: If the queen was released at the same speed as mine usually are, that is about 3 days, so right now you would only have eggs and very early larvae which are very hard to spot.

I would wait another week before doing anything. Meanwhile, find your best reading glasses and get a high power LED flashlight to help find eggs. :blush:


Thanks Dawn. It’s the one that the bee’s released 4 days ago that I couldn’t find and no eggs either. I had magnifying lenses that jewelers wear and had very good light. I guess I could have missed her but she was painted on top with bright yellow. There were bee’s in the bottom of the box and it’s possible she was in there somewhere. btw. How soon can I inspect the hive with the 2nd queen I released today from her cage (she’d been in there a week). Blessings.


No sooner than a week. No point in doing it sooner. You want to be looking for uncapped larvae and eggs.

Sorry for teasing you about the glasses. :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye: I am close in age to you, and I know I don’t have a hope with eggs and young larvae without my really expensive varifocals on. :blush: Even then, the 4 day bees (eggs which are 1 day after hatching), I find really hard. The glistening of the royal jelly blends with bottom of the cell and makes it incredibly hard to see the C-shaped larva, for me, at least. :heart_eyes:

One more thought. Queens run faster than any other bee from smoke, at least in my experience. If I am on a real queen hunt, I try to minimize the smoker use. :wink:


I never ever inspect a colony for three weeks after I have removed a queen cage. New queens are easily attacked by the bees if you disturb them.its annoying I know but it’s a time to sit on your hands


Hi Dee. I didn’t know that and I checked up on the new introduced queens every couple of days. They seemed to just go about their business, even on the pulled out frame. I only introduced 2 queens in my career :thinking: . Will be more patient in future. Thanks for the tip.


I can see that this is good advice, but because of the way I introduce queens, I need to inspect after a week.

I take the old queen out 24 hours before introducing the new one. This can induce the hive to make queen cells. If they do make a queen, they will usually choose her over the introduced queen. So I look for queen cells on the day of introduction, then again a week later. If I don’t see any at the one week mark, I then leave them for another 2 weeks. I haven’t lost a queen yet, but maybe I have been lucky.

Of course, this isn’t an issue if you have a queenless hive, as they won’t have any eggs or young larvae to make into queens. In that case you could safely leave them to get on with it for 2 or 3 weeks.


Yes in this case it’s an absolute must.
Mine go in half an hour after removing the queen.
I am giving up introducing queens in travel cages. Having practised on drones I will use Push-in cages in future and let the queen out in 5 days if the bees haven’t tunnelled through. I’ve made a couple that cover about a third of a brood frame.


I’ve seen purchased queens that took two weeks after they were released before they started to lay. I’ve also seen them start right away. I’d give her two weeks before I assume she failed. Meanwhile, learn to spot queens…


My purchased queen was a “Slow Starter” but is doing nicely now. Give her some time and keep your hives closed. I read that every time you open the hive it sets her back 3 days. Give her 2 weeks of quiet time then check. That’s my 2 cents, I too was a worried beek but she started laying when I left her alone.


Great photo of both queen and 2 day eggs. Nicely done! :wink:


Wait wait wait… If you purchased new queens…

Either the hive accepted the new queen and things look pretty normalsand they are flying in and out like busy busy bees…

So just wait at least 20 to 25 days and you will see some results…as for me I do not touch my hives
when I have put a new queen in… normally I get better results and more honey…

happy beekeeping from ‘Life under the Adriatic Sun’ :slight_smile:


See update in title post.