I would like to have my plans for introducing eight Russian Queens into 8 hives started with Italian packages this spring confirmed/criticized.
Four of the hives have built up reasonably and are working on their 2nd deep. Two are singles with the original Queens that have at least some brood and there are two other singles that were reQueened with Italians 2 weeks ago - again some brood but not exceedingly robust.
Day 1 - capture the queens from all hives, put into queen cages and bank as insurance.
Day 2 - put queen cages with Russians into each hive after the hive has been queenless for 24 hours. The cork covering the candy will be removed but the candy will not be punctured. Each hive has a division board feeder which will be filled with 1:1 syrup plus Honey Bee Healthy.
Days 3-6 leave the hives alone
Day 7 - refill feeders if necessary (just 1:1, no HBH) - non invasive inspection to see if the queens have been released
Days 8-13 leave the hives alone
Day 14 - invasive inspection looking for larvae & brood, remove queen cages
That is the basic plan. Two of the doubles had no brood in the top box when inspected today. Presuming they are that way when I install the Queens next week (they are shipping on Tuesday) - what is the preferred technique? Do I install the Queens where the brood is in the Bottom deep or do I move a couple of frames of brood into the top box and install the queen there?
And... I have some Global Pollen patties on hand. Would it help to give each hive half of one?
So many questions... Why am I doing all this? This yard is on an organic farm operated by an environmentally conscious college - we want to see for ourselves the ability of Russian Bees to live with mites with minimal soft treatments. I was not able to purchase Russian nucs or packages this spring so this seemed the best way to get a yard of Russians started.