MB, once again thanks for being such a valuable resource to this website.
I have a quick question. When making a split, you say to take a frame of capped brood, a frame of open brood and larvae & a frame of eggs. I'm assuming that the capped brood and open brood are to ensure a constant source of hatching bees. Then you say to destroy the first queen cells because they are made with larvae that are too old and could make for poor queens.
How about this? Why not first put only one frame of eggs & three frames of honey & pollen for the first few days therefore ensuring that the queencells are going to be from eggs or newborn larvae? Then you can switch out two honey frames with capped brood/open brood frames in a few days, therefore still ensuring a constant supply of new bees. This way you're getting a new queen a couple days earlier, and the nurse bees have more honey & pollen to feed the new queens w/o missing out on the fresh supplies of new bees once you switch the frames. Just a thought
Also, do you see a decrease in the quality of queen if you use syrup in a feeder or syrup placed in a frame vs honey frames or honey in a feeder?
"How about this? Why not first put only one frame of eggs & three frames of honey & pollen for the first few days therefore ensuring that the queencells are going to be from eggs or newborn larvae?"
They will only try to make queens out of the young larva and eggs. After 3 days the larva's caste can not be changed. The problem is that the food feed to larva even newly hathed varies slightly between workers and queens. This fact is what makes even 1 - 3 day old larva started as workers, inferior queens.
The idea was to keep from getting an emergency queen from a 4 or 5 day old larvae, but if you don't want to destroy the capped queen cells at 4 days, that's fine too. Dee Lusby believes we start breeding against early capping and early emergence when we do it. I can see her point, but I also see that emergency queens are often not as good as swarm or supercedure queens and I think the difference is mostly how well they are fed or how old the larvae is.
They aren't making a queen from capped brood and if you put ANY brood in they will probably find a 4 or 5 day old larvae where you didn't think there was one.
The capped brood is to provide some bees who's loyalties lie with the split and not the old hive, in a short period of time. The eggs and larvae are to make sure they have a young larvae to make a queen and to hold the bees there because the open brood needs to be fed.
Also, if you can find a frame with ALL less than 3 day old larvae (just hatched) I will be amazed.
I suppose if you took some drawn comb and put it in the middle of the brood chamber and watied for three days...
gotcha, what about syrup vs honey? Any difference in queen quality?
I always prefer honey, but syrup works. REAL pollen is a bigger issue, but his time of year there is plenty of that. You will not be pleased with queens raised on pollen substitute.