Queen slow to lay after caught swarm - how long do I wait?

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DorsetNewBee

New Bee
Joined
Jun 16, 2020
Messages
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Location
West Dorset
Hive Type
None
I have four colonies at the moment, which all come from my neighbour who has some very gentle bees who have lived in the thatched porch of his house for many years. He and I are at the same stage of inexperience in that this is our fourth summer of trying beekeeping and of course we still have a great deal to learn. We belong to our local association and have mentors who advise but I still find this forum extremely useful on all matters. All four of my colonies swarmed from his hives in May; he has 9 hives and doesn't want any more whereas my Queen failed last winter and so I was looking to get some more. The first two swarms have settled, queens visible and laying, and are very busy. The second two, collected on May 15th and May 19th, were inspected on 8th June and they have no brood at all. No Queen visible. I thought the right thing to do might be to put in a frame of eggs in each and see what the bees do (they are very calm and there are plenty of bees at the moment). But my question is, how long should I leave it before doing this? If I wait 7 days from last inspection, will that not mean that the bees in the hive will have died off to such an extent that there are no nurse bees to raise the larvae and if necessary make queen cells? I am torn between not wanting to interfere too much and worrying about leaving it too late. If there are no laying queens I would then merge them with the two strong colonies but I thought I should give them a chance. Can anyone tell me if I have already left it too long? Many thanks.
 
My understanding is that new queens are generally laying by day 8 unless held back by poor weather. After ~25 days you can be sure they won't be laying or if they do, they aren't very fertile and the colony will fail.

Sometimes queens in established colonies go off lay for Reasons then restart say a month later, but a new colony in June needs a queen laying at a high rate, unless perhaps there is a dearth of forage in your area.

Broodless hives can make a lot of honey. Not much else to do.
 
the right thing to do might be to put in a frame of eggs in each
Yes, today.

If they make EQCs at least you will determine that they are queenless.

If so, suggest you knock down the QCs, unite the boxes to other colonies and watch them make a lot of honey on the main flow.
 
Yes, today.

If they make EQCs at least you will determine that they are queenless.

If so, suggest you knock down the QCs, unite the boxes to other colonies and watch them make a lot of honey on the main flow.
Thank you, I will do that.
 

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