I have two hives. One is strong, has many bees, and has fill out a deep as a honey super. On Sunday's inspection, I didn't see any eggs but did find alot of capped brood.
The other one hive (also two brood deeps with a deep as a super) is a much weaker sister. Even though installed a new queen over two months ago, no evidence of eggs or capped brood now for over two months (if not three). Queen introduced by installing a spacer frame between the brood boxes and I went back a week later and they had released (killed?) her. Only a little honey. New at all of this so all the girls look alike, including the queen. Alot fewer bees. So what to do? Should I try to introduce another queen or should I bring a frame of capped brood over from the stronger hive? Can they make a queen out of it?
If you truely do not have a queen in the small hive then I would combine them... I have to do this myself since I have 3 small hive with queens but they are not really laying much.
They need eggs to make a queen. If they've been queenless for a long time you may also have a laying worker by now.
First remember it takes a month to get a new queen and have her laying.
Second, remember in that same time if there IS no queen a worker may start to lay.
So it's best to determine if you are indeed queenless. Look for multiple eggs. Laying workers often lay them on top of pollen. Laying workers lay three or four to a cell and usually not all the way in the bottom. See if you can find eggs. If you have singles and doubles in the bottoms of cells and NOT on the pollen, then you have a laying queen. If you find none, then you may have a virgin or no queen. If you find multiples in almost every cell and not in the bottom then you have a laying worker.
Also give them some eggs and see if they start a queen. If they do they are queenless and don't have a laying worker (or don't feel enough loyalty to her not to raise a queen).
If you have a laying worker, I would NOT combine. I would shake out the hive and then give the frames to any hive you want.
If you DON'T have a laying worker and you DON'T have a queen, then you can combine.
If you have a virgin queen (no multiple eggs and they don't start a queen) then you can wait a few days for her to start laying.
Of course if you just do a combine, as long as you don't have a laying worker, it should work out. They bees will choose the queen, if there are two, and they should do ok.
I would give them a chance to raise their own queen. Take a frame of fresh eggs from the strong hive, pick two or three particular eggs three quarter of the way up the frames, making sure to choose freshly laid eggs, no more than a day or two old. Make sure the cells containing those eggs are about two inches apart. Take your finger and push in the two rows of cells surrounding those particular eggs you have chosen, being very careful not to damage the cell you want to remain (it should look like a pillar). You only have to push the cells in half-way, giving the remaining pillar cell some stability and support from the half walls remaining. Now take a pencil with a well rounded eraser and use this eraser to push in the opening of the pillar cell slightly enlarging the opening like a funnel (being careful not to push in too deep and damage the egg).
Now put the frame in the center of the brood nest in your queenless hive. They will make their own queen from those cells. If these girls don't build up strong enough before winter you always have the choice of still combining the two hives, and now you have two queens to choose from, as to which is the strongest or has the best qualities. Of course the younger will be the daughter of the strong hives queen, having most of her qualities and being younger and stronger.
I hope my instructions were clear. I do have pictures and diagrams if needed I can send them to you.
OK, I'll go back (with a magnafying (sp?)glass or better reading glasses) and look for eggs again. I didn't see any on Sunday (multiple or otherwise). While I know it takes a virgin a while to get started, we're talking over two months of no eggs and no brood. It seems I keep waiting for something to happen that "ain't" happening. If I find a frame of "good" eggs in my strong hive, should I introduce it to my weak hive? Can they grow a queen from that or should I buy a new queen? I am hesitant to combine the hives because I started with three hives in the spring and then I would only be down to one at that point. The rainy season here will not start until about mid-October.
Thanks for the answer Phoenix, we posted at the same time. I will try your method this weekend.
[This message has been edited by OldScout (edited August 11, 2004).]
>While I know it takes a virgin a while to get started, we're talking over two months of no eggs and no brood.
And that is why I brought up laying workers. By now I would expect to see some and they may kill the queen when you do the combine.
>It seems I keep waiting for something to happen that "ain't" happening. If I find a frame of "good" eggs in my strong hive, should I introduce it to my weak hive?
I would try and see what happens. If they start raising a queen then they probably haven't settled into accepting a laying worker.
>Can they grow a queen from that or should I buy a new queen?
Once you know they are queenless you could do either, but it is getting late in the year and it will be another month before that queen is laying.
>I am hesitant to combine the hives because I started with three hives in the spring and then I would only be down to one at that point.
You probably want to buy a laying queen then, but you need to make sure they will accept her.