How long for queen to lay? 3 days or 3 weeks!

Beekeeping & Apiculture Forum

Help Support Beekeeping & Apiculture Forum:

This site may earn a commission from merchant affiliate links, including eBay, Amazon, and others.


House Bee
Dec 31, 2008
Reaction score
Shropshire, uk
Hive Type
Number of Hives
My big colony that swarmed produced another queen (who I saw at the entrance 2 weeks ago) and I felt smuggly reassured that all was well.

14 days later there are no eggs. The colony seems fairly benign and there are some stores plus two supers with honey (mostly uncapped). I understood the queen started laying around 3 days after mating. I have since read it can be 2 - 3 weeks. Is both correct?

The swarm was hived in an empty national and is ringing in lots of pollen (live near river - Himalyan Balsam?) but has only drawn a few frames. There is lots of eggs and brood and I am feeding, hoping that they will get through the winter. I am reluctant to merge the colonies but will do whatever is best for the bees but the little colony seems to be doing ok (no super), fimgers crossed.

Any advice about the lazy queen - will she get round to laying her winter bees?

And will the smaller colony be drawn enough to get though the winter?

Many thanks, Floss
New queens, especially in big colonies, can take weeks to come into lay. Give her time.

Your swarm does seem to be a bit small, but with feeding it still has time to build up enough for the winter.

all the best


The answer, I am afraid is: Who knows!

Anyone who comes on here and says 'yes' or 'no' is not really that experienced. It is now into the second week of August. I had bees active until November last year and actually taking in pollen on the winter solstice and Christmas Eve.

Anyone who says they are at the end of their season, as far as the bees laying down any more stores, is only considering their particular locale.

We don't know if you are rural, in the centre of a large area of huge fields 'about to be cultivated' arable farmland or in a town, with lots of garden flowers in bloom continuously in progression (some gardeners plant for a contnuous show of blooms throughout the season, some concentrate on one type of flower). A big difference between the two extremes.

If, as I suspect, the weather will improve and the season will continue much longer into the autumn than some believe, your bees will have every opportunity to be strong enough for the winter. If not, you may need to unite your colonies, or perhaps move some brood if one progresses much faster than the other and can afford to lose a frame (or two). The decision is not for this instant. You will know better in the next month.

Re the lazy queen - not a lot you can do unless you intend to replace her soonest with a laying queen. She will either come into lay or not, but probably will. I am assuming she is still there? Again, how long will the season last? If she starts and lays well in a good pattern, and temperament is OK, she should be your next year's queen if you unite. There again, you know the history of the old queen, we don't.

Both answers were correct. A better answer may be: she is unlikely to lay before 3 days after the nuptial flight(s), but 3 weeks or more could elapse before laying commences.

If you need to feed the smaller colony, it will build comb as necessary - as long as you don't feed too late. Guessing game isn't it? As I've said before, if you have several colonies the decisions don't have to be taken as far in advance as one has more options available to 'mix and match'.

Regards, RAB
Last edited:
I am getting the impression from a couple of my smallish nucs with new queens who are slow to lay, that you can feed too much. At this time of year the bees fill the space with syrup leaving the queen little space to lay. Keep an eye on the stores so that they don't starve in a rainy spell, but make sure the queen has some empty cells to lay in.

Oliver90, >I suspect, the weather will improve and the season will continue much longer into the autumn than some believe,<

What are your reasons for this ?

Secondly, what criteria do you employ for deciding to combine in the above circumstances.
Thank you for your replies - RAB I live near the river Severn, edge of small time backing onto fields/farmland/big estate plus next door to allotments - oh happy bees! I assume she is still there as there are no recent Q cups and a capped QC that was there a couple of weeks ago so I assume she has knocked that Q off.

I am feeding the small colony a couple of pints of strong syrup every couple of days as they are foraging well - esp while the weather has been good - yesterday was fantastic - brown , yellow, cream, red, orange pollen flying in!

I am hopeful that they will draw out more comb in the next few weeks. Am I feeding enough though?

Tx for your replies - I feel reassured that I am right to wait and see what happens!

What are your reasons for this ?

Pessimism on the part of those who think gloom and doom, so I am more an optimist!

It is only August, bees are laying well even though the main flows have passed. Plenty of time left for a nice long autumn. We picked runner beans into November last year. Could be wrong, but with colonies expanding after the end of the flow, I reckon they know better than the Met Office where longer term weather forecasting is concerned.

I didn't say longer than 'everyone believes', just longer than 'some'. I suspect I will be right - even if the season does not last much longer!

Still relatively lots of drone brood to hatch (in colonies with wall-to-wall worker brood). Increasing stores even with the rain at the second half of last week.

Nothing looks bleak. My bees have had a good year so far, no reason, as yet, to expect it to end abruptly in the next two weeks.......

Regards, RAB
Some queens dont seem to start laying until all previous queens brood has hatched. Anyone else noticed this? I have had this happen with 2 hives.
Some queens dont seem to start laying until all previous queens brood has hatched. Anyone else noticed this? I have had this happen with 2 hives.

It seems that. If old queen vanish from hive, the rearing of new queen takes 10-12 days. Then it takes time to be ready for mating and laying = 10 days.

If there is some days delaying, the virgin start to lay in time when old queen's workers have emerged. If you put a laying queen into hive, it start to lay after 1-2 days.

It takes 2-3 weeks when the queen lay winter bees. It depends how bees get pollen. My bees are rearing just winterbees.

An old queen stops laying 2 weeks earlier than this summer's queens.

You have in Britain much time to prepare for winter.

A queen may have some troubles, who knows why it does not lay.

I keep extra queens and resolve many troubles with that.

But I read from mating research that it may takes weeks in autumn when it is cold, before the queen start to lay. But Britain has not been cold in these days,and it is not autumn either.
Last edited:

Latest posts