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  1. #1
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    Default I SPLIT on June 24th Please advise

    Hey everybody, I just SPLIT my TBH on Sunday june 24, 2012

    I moved 5 combs over to the new hive. The combs were full of everything. eggs, larvae, capped larvae, some nectar and pollen stores.

    Unfortunately I could not locate the queen so she remains in the old hive.

    I did however find combs with tiny eggs (which I assume are young enough for making a queen.)

    When should I see them try to queenify said eggs. They are in the new hive so I guess it will smell like "no queen" right away. Hopefully this will get the queen cells built.

    I will update every day or so to document progress and to help fine tune your advice.

    Thanksabunch

  2. #2
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    Default Re: I SPLIT on June 24th Please advise

    Quote Originally Posted by Keefis View Post
    Unfortunately I could not locate the queen so she remains in the old hive.
    How do you know she did not end up in the new hive? If you couldn't find her, then you don't. No matter.

    You should start seeing queen cells developing already. Be careful not to damage them if you look into the hive. After three days, the hive with eggs still in it (and no queencells) will be the one that has the queen.
    Solomon Parker, Parker Farms, ParkerFarms.biz
    11 Years Treatment-Free, ~25 Colony Baseline

  3. #3
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    Default Re: I SPLIT on June 24th Please advise

    I am pretty sure I did NOT move the queen.
    I moved 5 bars and had to Macgyver the old bars onto the new ones, all the while I was looking for the queen.
    When I only have 5 bars in the new hive I should definitely be able to find her if she was in the new.
    BUT I don't see any vertical combs that would even resemble a queen cell yet.
    I am going to wait a few days and move some more bees over and maybe another batch of eggs if nothing happens.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: I SPLIT on June 24th Please advise

    It never hurts to add more eggs and young brood.
    Solomon Parker, Parker Farms, ParkerFarms.biz
    11 Years Treatment-Free, ~25 Colony Baseline

  5. #5
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    Default Re: I SPLIT on June 24th Please advise

    Hey everybody!!
    I still don't see any Queen cells in the new hive... Coulkd the bees have missed their chance to make a queen from the available eggs?

    How much longer should I wait to add more bars?

    The new TBH is 5 feet and has a divider board in the middle, should I move the old hive to the new hive and utilize the divider board to split?

  6. #6

    Default Re: I SPLIT on June 24th Please advise

    The eggs are eggs for three days, then hatch into larva. It's at that point that bees start constructing the queen cell cups around the selected larva.
    Do you still see eggs in the split, and just not queen cells? All the eggs should have hatched by now unless there is still a queen.

    I can't see where your problem is. I made a queenless split and I think within 48 hours I counted over a dozen queen cell cups. This was a couple weeks ago and the queens should have hatched by now. Upon a recent inspection I discovered the queen cells empty, but did not observe the virgin queen. But just to clarify I wasn't really looking for one. So there is a chance that the pupa died and was removed by the bees. If only they were born with that bright paint dot on their back...sure would make things a lot easier!

  7. #7

    Default Re: I SPLIT on June 24th Please advise

    Quote Originally Posted by Solomon Parker View Post
    It never hurts to add more eggs and young brood.
    To boost a hive indeed. Just don't add so much that the worker bees can't take care of all of them...I think I may have one split struggling for this reason.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: I SPLIT on June 24th Please advise

    Tom,
    I did see some dead larvae on the floor of the hive. (maybe 5 or so)
    What do you think about moving the old hive into the new one that has a divider board.
    Then I should be able to split -- in the same hive, or if all fails I just take out the divider board and recombine. What would my best move be?
    one extra thought...If I had a queen excluder in the divider board would the workers be able to tend to both sides of the hive? With one side hopefully producing some queen cells. Or would the smell of the queen prevent that from happening?

  9. #9

    Default Re: I SPLIT on June 24th Please advise

    No the queen excluder idea won't work. Just like you said, because her pheromones will still permeate the hive. You risk the same with using only a leader board to separate the two. In this scenario, the bees may just use both ends of the hive and as long as bees are going back and forth (via the two separate entrances) the queen scent might still prevail. If queen rearing was that easy queens would be a lot cheaper. You have to take the risk and just make the hive (split) entirely queenless. This will prompt the workers to raise a new queen. If done properly, they will raise a lot of queens, for five frames I'd estimate 5-10 queen cells, assuming they have plenty of resources. You'll need to go in once the cells are capped, and cut out all but 2-3 of them, to prevent a possible swarming scenario.

    Since I had two dozen queen cells, I made two more splits, taking 15 bars of brood and turning it into 3 5-frame splits, each with a few queen cells. Have you looked up the queen breeding calendar? It's here on the forums somewhere, but google can find it just as quickly. It's published by the beekeepers of Susquehanna County in PA. I used it for my splits, and it was pretty accurate, or at least seems to be. Granted this is my first time splitting and trying to raise queens as well, so don't take my blabbering for gospel. At this point I still don't know if my splits were successful or not, as I still have not confirmed a queen in any of them.

    I wouldn't worry too much about the dead larva. That is probably just a product of the move.

    Before you make any more drastic measure of recombining, resplitting, moving, etc, do one more good inspection on the queenless split. If you still see vast amounts of eggs, you must have queen or else laying workers. I don't think a split would revert to laying workers in just a couple days. From my understanding, LW is basically the end times for a hive, and they are pulling out all the stops (sadly the efforts are in vain).

    I honestly can't understand why a queenless split would not start raising a new queen almost instantly. It's just not natural. Maybe you need to re-evaluate where your bees are going to school. Common sense isn't all that common these days. Do another inspection, and look close for the queen cells. At this point they will be just queen cell cups, about the size of a kidney bean. They will get bigger over time and should end up about the size of small peanut once capped. If your bee population is high, there may be cups in there that you just can't see. I was able to spot mine because they were right on the ends of the comb, so I could see them through the window. But there are a lot of spots in the hive that can't be seen through the window. Just be very careful not to damage any possible cups when you go to pulling bars out to look at them. If upon the inspection you still don't see any queen cell cups at all, I'd consider moving over another bar of eggs/larva (leaning towards the eggs as you may not know what age the larva is).

    I'm thinking about buying a queen castle and using it to raise queens next time before I make splits. Then I don't risk sacrificing near as much since I'll be able to let the queen hatch and breed, and then make the splits and move the queens in.

    Look at the silver lining. If all your efforts to split fail, you can always recombine in the end and will have lost only time. The really scary part comes when your only hive goes queenless, and you have to pray that they raise one and she makes it through all the perils of breeding and the hive survives.
    After 20 months I'm over a 20 hives and growing. See my videos! http://www.youtube.com/channel/UC8fVrmUsyYlRuASdX6UQk1g

  10. #10
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    Default Re: I SPLIT on June 24th Please advise

    tom,
    here is the update... I am blind and or dumb!!( its both)
    the original hive had queen cells.. I may have lost the original queen already when I moved the first five bars.. Maybe she just flew away.?
    I took the comb with a queen cell and moved it to the new hive. I hope and assume that there are more queen cells in the original hive.
    As for the new hive I saw no new eggs and no sign of the queen, that is why I moved the queen cell. I hope I didn't screw the pooch on this one.
    Should I consider buying a queen??

  11. #11
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    Default Re: I SPLIT on June 24th Please advise

    If the queen is missing, it is quite possible or even probable that she got mooshed in the melee or flew out and got lost. Make sure there are cells in both hives and let it ride.

    It is also possible that other effects could be going on, possible loose virgins and other things, but it's hard to tell at this time. Remember, you can rarely make things worse by doing nothing.
    Solomon Parker, Parker Farms, ParkerFarms.biz
    11 Years Treatment-Free, ~25 Colony Baseline

  12. #12

    Default Re: I SPLIT on June 24th Please advise

    Solomon Parker has it right. Yes the original hive must have lost the queen somehow. I'm guessing you picker her up on a bar as you moved it, and she either fell or flew off. I made sure when I was moving bars that I knew which one the queen was on, and I kept an eye on her throughout the transfer between boxes to make sure she didn't fall off.

    So see, the original hive raised a new queen. Not sure why the split didn't also attempt to if they had eggs available. Perhaps the queen made the move but then died somehow or bailed on you. But it's odd. Even if she died immediately the bees should have tried to raise a new queen. Then again I guess if no queen and no eggs in the new hive, I guess she could have just stopped laying before she died. The bees wouldn't have raised a new queen if her pheromone was still strong.

    As long as you have good numbers in your hives, I would hold off ordering queens. It sounds like they are progressing as needed towards raising a new one. Let it ride on this one, and if in a few weeks you still don't have any confirmed queens, then consider ordering.

    I like that quote "Remember, you can rarely make things worse by doing nothing." A lot can be learned from that practice. Patience is indeed a virtue, and a vital tool in beekeeping.
    After 20 months I'm over a 20 hives and growing. See my videos! http://www.youtube.com/channel/UC8fVrmUsyYlRuASdX6UQk1g

  13. #13
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    Default Re: I SPLIT on June 24th Please advise

    OK follow me here I split on 24th. I did not think that i had moved the queen, but I did. (Obviously today I found queen cells in the original.) BUT the new hive is showing no new eggs, nor is it showing queen cells. I don't know if the queen got mooshed or whatever, BUT if she did get killed then why didn't the new hive build queen cells? something does not seem right with that, right?

  14. #14

    Default Re: I SPLIT on June 24th Please advise

    I really can't explain that, I've never heard of it happening. I suppose the queen could still be in the hive but not laying.

    If it's any comfort, I just checked my nucs. By the calendar, yesterday and today would have been mating flights. One nuc has a laying queen. The other, I spotted the queen, and the last appears to be queenless.

    I moved a bar with eggs over to the queenless nuc and will give them one more chance to raise a queen. If this fails, then I will call it off and just recombine. As is I'm 2/3 so I'm pretty happy. Then again, the queen could have just been out mating, or possibly I missed her. If I spot queen cups in the next few days I'll know.

  15. #15
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    Default Re: I SPLIT on June 24th Please advise

    SO.. 16 days total till queen hatches - starting from the 24th.? (if the egg was one day old)
    How many days after that do the mating flights happen?

    About your splits..how many bars in each?

  16. #16

    Default Re: I SPLIT on June 24th Please advise

    You really need to look at the queen calendar that I mentioned earlier. Just search it on Google "queen bee breeding calendar" and it will probably be the first link. You can enter in the date that you grafted (or in your case split) and it will generate a calendar with all the values, including when they hatch, when they mate etc.
    Now obviously the calendar is not exact, at least not with mating flights and such, because those vary with the weather. But it is accurate on the actual pupating cycle. Keep in mind with the calendar, it says day 1 the queen lays the egg. To be exact, the egg is in egg form for three days. So you have to set an imaginary time. Assume the day runs from 12 AM to 11:59 PM, and that the egg was laid at 12 AM. So it should hatch 72 hours later. Again, not exact, but an effort to clarify.

    You can find a blog basically of my split process under the TBH forums, I think it's titled "Queenless Split". But to summarize, I took the queen and five bars to a new hive leaving behind a hull hive of 15 bars and no queen. Once they capped the queen cells, and I was passed the sensitive development phase, I split the queenless colony three ways into three five-frame nucs. So I went from one hive of 20+ bars to four hives at 5 bars each.

  17. #17
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    Default Re: I SPLIT on June 24th Please advise

    Speaking of that, you can download a free copy of a spreadsheet I made to track the queen's progress and notify you of important dates and things you need to do using Michael Bush's info and some others as well.

    You can download it for free on my website. Simply input the grafting date and everything else is done for you.

    http://parkerfarms.biz/queens.html#Queen_Calendar
    Solomon Parker, Parker Farms, ParkerFarms.biz
    11 Years Treatment-Free, ~25 Colony Baseline

  18. #18
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    Default Re: I SPLIT on June 24th Please advise

    Hey you guys, the calender is sweet! I got home today and the one queen cell in the NEW hive was not capped, one episode of family feud later I went out and checked and voila, capped cell!
    I took this comb out of the original hive a few days after the initial split and it had only one queen cell on it. (once I saw nothing happening)
    Is it dumb for me to assume that the original hive has multiple queen cells still in it? Normally they make a bunch right? to ensure success..?
    I saw on the calender to not disturb them for a few days, which happen to be now, so I don't want to dig into the hive to check for said queen cells.
    I appreciate all you guys have helped me with already, no doubt.

  19. #19

    Default Re: I SPLIT on June 24th Please advise

    I'm just curious, did you do any research before getting your bees? I've found a really great book is the Backyard Beekeeper. It takes a lot of approach from the hobbyist perspective. But it is very informative on almost every aspect of beekeeping, even including directions on how to make hive products other than honey. Between that book, and the queen calendar, I was confident enough to make my splits and raise the queens.

    Now to the point (quoting the book), the bees will raise as many queens as they can or see fit. Obviously they would want to raise a few at least, but they're not going to turn every fertilized egg into a queen. I see it like this: when the queen pheromone disappears, the bees go into recovery mode. A few bees will start raising a queen, and those around will see what's going on, and not raise a queen. But what about the bees a few bars over? They don't see this, so they to start raising queens. Then again that theory is flawed by my own experience, as most of my queen cells were in groups of 2-4 on the end of a given bar. So maybe the bees are competitive and wanted to see who could build a queen cell the fastest...

    I'd guess there probably are more queen cells in the original hive, but I'd wait until at least a day and a half past the sensitive development phase. I believe there is a three day window between sensitive development and hatching. Weather pending I'd aim for the middle of that gap just to be sure your not too early or too late. You'll need to cut out all but 2-3 queen cells per hive. Too many excess queens could cause swarming. Good luck.

  20. #20
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    Default Re: I SPLIT on June 24th Please advise

    If I might offer some suggestions and possible issues that have occured...

    I moved 5 bars and had to Macgyver the old bars onto the new ones, all the while I was looking for the queen.
    Not exactly sure what you meant by this statement, but I can guees it involved twisting, turning and otherwise handling the comb quite alot, possibly even turning upside down.

    If that was the case then it is possible that you dislodged some/all of the eggs and jostled the larvae to the point where the nurse bees did not find or otherwise see a viable enough cell to raise a queen. This is all part of that "sensitive develpoment phase" Tom is talking about. Some other possibilitys are as Solomon pointed out she probably got smooshed or otherwise lost making both hives queenless. The fact that the old hive raised at least one queen cell seems to indicate that is a posibility.

    Next, if you ar trying to raise queen cells, Solomon has the best advice in "do nothing." Take it like this... If you want to raise a queen then you must move the eggs as little as possible. I have a 30yr veteran beekeeper that says if you so much as tip a frame when looking for eggs then "dont use it". Now I think that might be a bit on the extreme side, but his advice does have some merit. Next, if you constantly are going into the hive to check for queen cells the you are disrupting what the girls are trying to do, also this is another opportunity to "roll" the queen. It also jostles those cells that they may already be turning into a queen and may make them change their minds (especially in the early stages), which could account for the dead larvae.

    Disturbing the eggs as little as possible is one argument for pulling the queen from the parent hive. That way you know that the eggs in the original hive have been moved minimally. Of course that is always dependent on finding the queen. And we all know how easy that can be.

    Whenever I make splits I always try to pull 4 combs of brood & bees and one of honey (if possible) and I also try to get the queen (again if possible). If I get the queen I leave at least one comb with eggs in the old hive and try to get the older brood for the new split. If I cant find the queen then I try to make sure each hive has eggs and young larvae. Then, unless I think there is something wrong by outside observation, I leave them both alone for at least 10 days and especially in between days 5 and 9. But usually I wait till about day 12 or 13 if I even check them at all. Keep in mind, I am talking days since the split, so add 3 days to my numbers if you are going off the calender (which yes Solomon, for such a simple tool, is very cool).

    Anyway, not saying you did anything wrong, just some observations of ways that I do things and have been told how to handle that precious cargo. Sounds like you are on target now and best of luck raising those new queens.

    BTW - I have been told by several old timers that any queens raised after the summer solctice are supposed to be the best. Something to do with the girls not being preoccupied with other duties, so they do a really good job raising queens this time of year.

    Tom, I really like your method of splitting a hive 4 ways, but only having to use one box to build the cells. That is what cell builders are all about and it is WAY cool!
    Last edited by Ozarks Honey Company; 06-30-2012 at 12:08 AM. Reason: typo
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