Here's how I plan to re-queen my larger hives for fall, using my grafted queens cells as a 'tool'
I start my grafted cells in a starter hive for 24 hours, Then transfer to a strong well fed hive to finish. This is typically a hive with the established queen in the bottom deep, queen excluder, second deep with grafts.
Honey supers on top since have a flo going on.
I will wait until the grafts are close to being capped and place the established queen in a shipping cage, but keep her banked in this hive for a few days. The hive is technically 'queenless' but still thinks it is queen right.
The eggs and larva are maturing during this time to avoid wild cells once the queen is really removed.
After a few days I remove the queen from the hive. The bees now know they are queenless but don't make any wild cells because they have a frame full of capped grafts already.
In a day or so when the cells need to be placed in nucs or incubated to hatch, I take them out and immediatly place a newly mated fall queen under a push in hardware cloth cage with no attendants over feed and emerging brood. At this point the hive has been made queenless in a transitional non stressful way. They are never without a queen, the security of queen cells or a new queen.
When you remove the grafted queen cells, the hive is now super primed for a new queen. The old queens scent is a distant memory, there is no hope for hatching cells and they are hungry for a new Big Momma.
I don't have to look through every frame because I am sure with this manipulation thay have not made any wild cells. I could direct introduce an newly hatched virgin easily at this point. I have not tried direct release with a mated queen yet..But I bet you could.
I'd rather be safe than sorry after all the time it takes to get that queen mated and evaluated.
Here a pic of that push in cage. This one is a little large, about half that size would be fine. Just select a frame of capped brood and gently brush off the bees. Walk away from the hive and install your mated queen under the cage. Go back to the hive and slip in that frame. Acceptance should be pretty fast and the new queen can keep laying the whole time, making her more appealing to a queenless hive.
It all sounds complicated, but it will a little organization will save me a lot of work..not having to look through the bigger hives for rogue wild cells.
Missing queen cells has been the only source of my failures this year. It is so easy to miss them under the bees.
I have not done this in a full sized hive yet, but have been doing this in the mating nucs all summer with not one failure. (Going from queenright, to banked queen and cells, to just cells then cell removal and immediate direct release virgin)
(In the photo I just brushed the bees off to one side)
You can also use a shiping cage for introduction, It would be a little easier and faster but would intrupt the new queens egg laying until you release her.
Why am I requeening? Fall requeening is a proven way to boost the hive for better numbers and younger brood in the fall. I am in a Northern state with a very long winter inactive period. If I don't go into fall with young bees, I will have high losses come spring.
I bought some nucs and packages this year from a warmer climate. (California) Although the queens from those are 2012 spring mated and are great producers, I am re-queening with June/July mated daughters from my proven 2011 over wintered stock breeder queens that are also VSH bred.
The only down side is you don't have a broodless period when you can do a one time treatment for mites if it is needed.
The up side is you don't have a broodless period when you loose production and hive efficiency. I would rather treat with hop guard a few times over a brood cycle period than loose brood production time in my short season area.