Using a Cut-Down Split as a Cell Builder
Well I came out of winter with 9/10 colonies so I did well, but many are weak. Some of my queens are from walk away splits last year, and were pretty small and I think a large part of my problem so I wanted to replace them using the resources I had. It seems to me based on my experience that emergency queens from walk away splits, etc are inferior.
To try and get some decent queens I first did a cut down split on my strongest hive. I ended up with a single deep box full of capped brood and overflowing with bees. I figured I wouldn't add any supers until the queen cells were capped, keeping them crammed down to make a cell starter/finisher combo. Instead of grafting I cut out cells with the youngest larva I could find and attached them onto a top bar (9 in total). All were build into nice queen cells.
Today, 8 days after cutting out the young larva I transferred some of the cells into nucs after dispatching the old queens. I didn't leave them queenless very long so I hope they accept the queen cells.
It has seemed to work well and I have some good cells, but I'm wondering if I transferred them too early after cutting them out (only 8 days). Also I'm worried if they will be accepted by the hives, since I added the cells after some were only queenless for about an hour. Thoughts?
FYI the wood at the top of the cell is 3/4" for reference.
Last picture here is one of the queen cells I sacrificed (only left one in original hive). Do you think this cell was too immature to be transfered?
Re: Using a Cut-Down Split as a Cell Builder
I think you did great. I would have waited until day 10 to transfer, but day 8 should not give you any problem. Giving the cells an hour after making up nucs works just fine for me so you should be good there also. You've done a great job.