When I give new beekeepers advice, I always recommend starting two hives if they are able. I’m really glad I followed my own advice this year because one hive is doing really well and the jury is still out on the other.
I installed both hives the afternoon of May 9th, 2020. I checked both hives on Thursday May 14th to see if the queens had been released. In one hive, the queen who will henceforth be named Queen Quarantine, was released and I refilled the feeder.
The second hive the queen had not be released and was dead in the cage.
I was able to get a new Queen the following Monday the 18th and got her installed. I’m going to call her Queen Calamity.
I checked both hives on Saturday May 23rd. I found Queen Quarantine and six out of the eight frames were drawn out with comb and eggs and larvae were present. They had also drained the feeder. Since a good majority of the frames were drawn out and Austin is also on a nectar flow, I added another 8 frames to the hive and refilled the feeder.
Queen Calamity’s hive is limping along. The good news is she was released and I found her in the hive. They had not drawn out a lot of comb probably due to being queenless for extended period of time. I did see eggs and some very young larvae which is consistent with a queen only being in the hive a short time. I also saw a few cells that had multiple eggs which is a sign of laying workers. Typically it is hard to come back once you get into a laying worker situation, but I’m going to give it a few days to give the new queen a chance. I also had emptied the feed and refilled since it had been in there for an extended time and I didn’t want it to start fermenting.
Next week’s inspection will be important. If Calamity’s hive is still lacking drawn comb and brood, I will most likely need to bite the bullet and combine with Quarantine to cut my losses. If it looks like she is turning it around, we will give her a chance and perhaps I will supplement with a frame from Quarantine to jump start brood production.