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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
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    Atlanta, GA USA
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    Default How to make a new queen from a strong hive?

    I have a really strong hive with lots of gentle bees, no SHB (strange in Atlanta), that has made me 110 pounds of honey this spring. The hive currently has 2 deeps and 2 wet supers, which instead of cleaning out, the bees have decided to put nectar and pollen in the middle of the summer. They are also refusing to take syrup, from a feeder. I have not treated them at all, not even sugar dusting.

    I am very happy with this great queen, and my question is this: how can I make a new queen out of this hive? I am a second year beekeeper and in the spring
    I pulled 3 frames of brood/bees/honey from this hive, and put them in a nuc. Unfortunately, due to weather I think, the nuc did not raise a queen. What is the timing and the method for making a new queen?

    Thanks a lot,

    Stavros

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Claremont, NH, USA
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    783

    Default Re: How to make a new queen from a strong hive?

    It sounds like you set up the split properly, but lots of things can make a split fail: queen doesn't hatch, queen can't get out to mate, due to bad weather, queen mates, but doesn't make it back, etc. If you are going to try again, feed them. The young bees will stay with the brood, but the older, foraging bees will go back to the original hive. Feeding the split helps ensure enough food.

    Bill
    “If you want to gather honey, don't kick over the beehive.” - Dale Carnegie

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Barry, TX USA
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    861

    Default Re: How to make a new queen from a strong hive?

    I'd try splitting again but make sure you get eggs, not just brood. Your original post said brood and I'm not sure you got eggs young enough to make a queen. There's a host of reasons the split may have failed. Try again.
    When you stop learning you're dead.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Fairfax, Vermont
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    106

    Default Re: How to make a new queen from a strong hive?

    I agree about re-trying with frames that have eggs. In your first attempt, if you added frames with eggs that were older than 3 days old, they would not be able to raise a queen.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Anderson County, Texas
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    1,254

    Default Re: How to make a new queen from a strong hive?

    You are doing your splits the wrong way. You should take the queen with bees and two or three frames of sealed brood to the nuc. Also, maybe add and empty frame so the queen can continue laying and doesn't have to wait for the sealed brood to emerge. Also giver her a frame or two of honey and pollen. The old queen will just continue laying in the nuc. Leave the eggs larva and rest of the sealed brood with the main colony. The stronger colony will make a better queen and have more success than a nuc. Good Luck
    Last edited by DRUR; 07-26-2009 at 04:56 PM. Reason: additional information on the nuc
    "I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country." Nathan Hale, 1776

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
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    Claremont, NH, USA
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    Default Re: How to make a new queen from a strong hive?

    Quote Originally Posted by DRUR View Post
    You are doing your splits the wrong way. You should take the queen with bees and two or three frames of sealed brood to the nuc. ...... The stronger colony will make a better queen and have more success than a nuc. Good Luck
    That may be, and it more closely mimics what happens when a queen is lost to the colony, but it's a heckuva lot easier for me to just pull a frame of eggs than to try to find the queen in three deeps. I'm sure it's a lot easier with a smaller hive.

    Now, having said that, since I will be requeening several hives next month, I am going to be going through almost the same process. I will remove each old queen to a nuc as a back-up and to possibly overwinter.

    Bill
    “If you want to gather honey, don't kick over the beehive.” - Dale Carnegie

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2009
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    Anderson County, Texas
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    Default Re: How to make a new queen from a strong hive?

    Quote Originally Posted by bnatural View Post
    but it's a heckuva lot easier for me to just pull a frame of eggs than to try to find the queen in three deeps. I'm sure it's a lot easier with a smaller hive.


    Bill
    Has nothing to do with what is easy. Probably harder to find the queen and remove her. Large colonies have better resources to build better queens. After the queen cell is built, then you can recombine and make a nuc with the queen cells. Point being you want the colony who makes the queen to be able to do the job right, and nucs don't have the resources to properly accomplish this.
    "I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country." Nathan Hale, 1776

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
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    Claremont, NH, USA
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    Default Re: How to make a new queen from a strong hive?

    Quote Originally Posted by DRUR View Post
    Point being you want the colony who makes the queen to be able to do the job right, and nucs don't have the resources to properly accomplish this.
    I have not had any problems having nucs raise queens from scratch. It may be that large colonies can do a better job, I don't know. The only way I have done it, so far, is to let the nuc raise the queen, and it has worked for me. YMMV.

    Bill
    “If you want to gather honey, don't kick over the beehive.” - Dale Carnegie

  9. #9
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    Default Re: How to make a new queen from a strong hive?

    Quote Originally Posted by bnatural View Post
    I have not had any problems having nucs raise queens from scratch. It may be that large colonies can do a better job, I don't know. The only way I have done it, so far, is to let the nuc raise the queen, and it has worked for me. YMMV.

    Bill
    stavros stated:

    I pulled 3 frames of brood/bees/honey from this hive, and put them in a nuc. Unfortunately, due to weather I think, the nuc did not raise a queen. What is the timing and the method for making a new queen?

    Note: he stated the nuc "did not raise a queen."

    bnatural then stated:

    "It sounds like you set up the split properly, but lots of things can make a split fail: queen doesn't hatch, queen can't get out to mate, due to bad weather, queen mates, but doesn't make it back, etc. If you are going to try again, feed them. The young bees will stay with the brood, but the older, foraging bees will go back to the original hive. Feeding the split helps ensure enough food."

    "but the older, foraging bees will go back to the original hive."

    Note: This is not a problem when the original colony stays intact and you move the laying queen to the nuc.

    "queen doesn't hatch, queen can't get out to mate...", here the queen never got raised. Three frames of brood, honey, and bees is simply not sufficient to do a good job and raise a queen. And you are almost certainly right, that the older foraging bees returned to the main colony.

    Can they do it? Yes.
    Can they do it right? I doubt it.

    This might have been sufficient to place a queen cell in but NOT TO RAISE A QUEEN.

    Also, take note that the queenless large portion of the split will produce more honey up to the time the queen starts laying because they have no brood to care for or feed. Feeding and raising brood requires resources from the colony, as does queen rearing.
    "I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country." Nathan Hale, 1776

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
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    Claremont, NH, USA
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    Default Re: How to make a new queen from a strong hive?

    Quote Originally Posted by DRUR View Post
    This might have been sufficient to place a queen cell in but NOT TO RAISE A QUEEN.
    If eggs were not added to the nuc, then I agree, it would not work. I did not read it that way. Likewise, I did not read 'did not raise a queen' to mean the process was never started, only that it was unsuccessful for reasons unknown.

    Based on my, admittedly limited, experience, I answered his question providing information on a method that has worked for me. I have successfully raised queens by placing frames of eggs/brood/food and young bees in nucs. It DOES work, and you CAN raise queens. Is it the best way? Probably not, and I agree that your method of letting the main hive do the job sounds like it has a higher probability of success. But, it can work the other way, it has worked for me, and I found it to be a lot easier than digging through three deeps to find the queen. I even did it this summer without feeding the nuc, just let the bees mature and forage on their own. It took longer, but the nuc is now in a full hive.

    Bill
    “If you want to gather honey, don't kick over the beehive.” - Dale Carnegie

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