How Long Does A Queen Bee Take To Lay Eggs?
Every colony has a single queen bee – the one who rules the roost and is responsible for producing new bees. While her survival depends on the rest of the bees in the colony, the rest of the bees are also equally dependent on the queen to continue laying eggs so that the colony can thrive. This inter-dependence is at the heart of every bee colony. So let’s find out how quickly a queen bee can start laying eggs and the factors affecting it.
As A Beekeeper Your Hive Would Have A New Queen in of the Following Situations:
· When you install a new queen in a hive
· When a colony swarms and splits
· When a new queen hatches out of the eggs
The time taken by a queen bee to start laying eggs will greatly depend on the situation in which the queen came to existence.
Have You Recently Installed A New Queen into A Beehive?
If you have introduced a new queen to the colony, then she will take time to adjust into the hive and the worker bees will also need the time to accept her. Once the bees familiarize, the queen bee starts laying quickly, provided she is already mated. If not, then she would start on her mating flights within 2 days and would start laying in a week’s time.
Queen bees ordered via post or parcel will usually come in a cage with a candy plug. You will be attaching the cage to the frame and the worker bees will slowly chew into the candy to free the queen bee. It can take the bees a week to free the queen and then it would take another 2 days for the queen to familiarise herself and be accepted by the colony.
So newly installed queens usually take 7 to 10 days to begin laying eggs.
Did the Colony Split OR Swarm?
When the colony becomes too big, the existing queen takes part of the colony and splits to form a new hive. This is called swarming. The queen starts laying eggs almost immediately after swarming to produce new bees so that the newly formed colony can thrive.
Some beekeepers identify the signs of a growing colony and may split the colony before it swarms. While the existing queen bee will start laying immediately, one colony will have to wait for a new queen bee to hatch.
Did A New Queen Hatch?
A new queen hatches only if the colony is queenless. This can happen when the colony swarms or the existing queen bee dies. Queens are formed when the queen bee lays eggs in special cells created for the relatively bigger size of the queens. Once the larva hatches out of the cell, it is fed royal jelly to help her become a sexually mature bee.
Since it is most likely that a colony would see the emergence of more than one queens when it is queenless, the newly hatched queens will find other newly hatched queens or unemerged queens and kill them. The survivor becomes the new queen and will start her mating flight in the next 5-6 days. During this time, her pheromones will develop and her outer cover would have hardened. On a warm sunny day, the worker bees would then escort the queen bee out of the hive so that she can fly to drone congregation areas.
A queen bee may have to go on multiple mating flights before she collects enough sperm to start laying. Once the sperms are collected, it takes about another two days for the sperms to be stored in the spermatheca. After this, the queen bee is ready to lay eggs.
This entire procedure takes approximately two to three weeks and the new eggs would hatch after another three weeks.