The middle of March 2009, I purchased two colonies, which I have split, and requeened, with purchased MHQ, and a supercedure MHQ queen cell and another with Weaver made queen (VSH). After removing this supercedure cell, that colony did no try to supercede again and is the one with 8 frames (colony #1). Three of these colonies are totally regressed, one covering 8 frames (colony #1), two covering 6 frames (coloney #2 and #3).
The fourth colony (#4) is the supercedure queen I raised. After the queen hatched from large cells she laid eggs and had larva on 3 frames of the large cells, the rest were loaded with pollen and honey (some capped) before I found her. I moved her down on 2 fully drawn (with wax) small cell plastic frames along with 3 honeysupercells, separated her from the large cells with a queen excluder. Two weeks later she still had not laid in the small cells, and I could not find her. However, the bees had not made any queen cells on those eggs she had originally laid on the large cell frames. I pulled the queen excluder and she has now started laying again, a very nice pattern in the large cells. I have now marked her for easier spotting. After she fills these large cells with eggs, larva and sealed brood (which will be this week), I intend to push her back down, separate her with a queen excluder, provide another small cell frame with merging brood and see if I can get her to start laying in small cell. I will remove the large cell frames as the brood merges, which is about 8 frames of eggs, larva, sealed brood, honey and pollen. The remaining two frames are pollen and honey.
Around the early part of April I caught a feral swarm (#5). These bees were dark, and smaller bees (obviously already regressed), and extremely gentle. I provided this swarm with small cell plastic frames and 3 honeysupercell frames. She immediatly began laying in the small honeysupercells and the bees began drawing the small cell plastic frames (from MannLakeLtd). They currently also cover about 8 frames now.
I am not treating for mites or anything. Any comments concerning the above would be helpful.
What I was wondering is what type of surviability rate one can expect for fully regressed bees without treatment.
How much of the loss/success rate can be attributed to small cells and how much can be attributed to the hygienics of the bees?