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Queen or no queen? Newbie help, please


I am a newbie and I got started very late in the season. Set up my TBH a week ago with package Italian/hybrid bees and a caged laying queen from a beekeeper a couple of hours from me. Seller was generous, gave me almost 5 pounds of bees. I placed a follower board at one end and waxed the first 10 bars next and then placed four more bars in and placed two quart syrup feeders in the hive bottom, and placed the second follower board there, giving them about half the depth of the hive. Was high 90s last week in Kansas and I thought they might need two entrance holes for ventilation. Perhaps not because they have almost completely sealed one of the entrances.

Checked two days later and the queen had been released. There was a 5" diameter comb started on the first top bar that looked real nice. I did not find the queen. I am a newbie, was hard for me to look for her with that many bees and only a little comb, there were bees everywhere.

Checked the hive at 5 days and I have 7 bars with real nice straight comb, progressively getting larger as it goes to the bars at the (hmmm…is that the front or back) of the hive. I see a little pollen, lots of cells with clear fluid but I don’t think I see brood comb. Granted, I’m a newbie and I did not spend a great deal of time in the hive, tried to be fairly quick in and out since I haven’t got my technique down yet but I did get the bars pulled and put back in place in good shape.

Thought I would check again in two or three days and perhaps if there were brood comb…maybe it would be capped by then and more obvious?

If this colony were queenless, would they continue to build this wonderful comb and fill it with pollen and honey or shall I be concerned that I need to be getting a new queen in there?

On my five day inspection I took the feeders out which had not heavily been used and set them outside with a couple of feeders I have outside the hive and they are all being heavily used, early morning, lighter during the day when forager go who knows where, and then heavy again in the evening. I also placed a pollen patty inside the hive at this time.

I’m hooked. Starting to learn the rhythm of my bees and enjoying them immensely even though I have so very much to learn. Sure would like to keep this colony going since they are doing such a great job on the comb, absolutely nothing that needs fixed that is crooked.

I know the eggs are small. How many days does it take before even an idiot could see larvae or sealed brood comb cuz I might be at that stage in this venture.



Not a reply, but an update. I did find I was queen right the next time I inspected the hive. Still no sealed brood at that time and I did not see eggs but admit with that pure white fresh comb it might be hard for me to see as a newbie.

I added an empty bar between the last two bars on my last inspection and that was quickly filled with comb. The viewing window in the hive is just wonderful for being able to check for straight comb and activity without entering the hive.

Did a full inspection today and I have 10 bars of comb, 7 with capped brood and capped honey. I added two more empty bars between the last sets of full bars.

I am inexperienced but I can’t help but wonder with the TBH if perhaps the queen waited until there was sufficient comb and nectar stores before she decided it was time to start laying.

Just thought posting the rest of the story might help some other newbie. Don’t panic too soon, it appears that even though I started late in the season and I am having drought and hot-hot weather, once the hive suited her, she started laying nicely.