You'll just have to wait till you see new eggs, or find the queen...
Thank you, I will check every other day now and when I see eggs, I will transfer the nuc into a full size colony. I put two fresh frames of brood from another colony into this nuc so they have a continuous supply of new workers hatching.
Troy Rhodes wrote:It's 2-3 weeks after she hatches, and 2-3 days after she takes the mating flight.
I check 3 times per year now, whether they need it or not. Or if I think there is funny business going on...
Troy Rhodes wrote:Every time you open the hive, you set them back 1/2 a day or so.
that seems like a pretty conservative figure to me. I would also add that each inspection comes with a risk of injuring or killing the looked for queen or rolling workers and stressing the colony.
I typically open my hives just once in a year at harvest time, and they do quite well.
If it's a violent protracted inspection with a lot of smoke and cold weather and squashing a lot of bees, yeah, that's very bad. Sure, you could kill the queen or piss off the colony so they pull up stakes and leave.
my own preference is to short-circuit that learning curve altogether and skip inspections entirely, while still observing entrance behavior, et cetera. your 99% figure might be a bit optimistic, but given a chance, bees do work out their own business a large majority of the time. and if they don't, swarm season will generally take care of the issue.
I certainly recognize that I'm in a small minority of beekeepers, though. in my own mind, I frame it as a spectrum between a desire for control and a desire for whatever the opposite of that is. liberty? anarchy? I don't know. I just know that I do not feel any compulsion to meddle, and my bees seem to do at least as well as those of folks who expend a lot more time and effort with various interventions. I certainly won't claim to be setting any honey harvest records, but my ratio of resources used to useful products obtained feels pretty good to me.
apologies for hijacking the topic a little bit. when I hear a question like how soon can I identify the queen? another question immediately springs into my mind: why would you want to?
I don't mean to suggest that there are no good reasons to split colonies, just that none of them are at all compelling to me. and maybe, with a little nudge in the right direction, they wouldn't be so compelling to you, either. who knows? feel free to ignore my proselytizing, though. diff'rent strokes for diff'rent folks.