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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Clackamas Oregon
    Posts
    691

    Default Better queen help

    I was working off of the ‘better queens’ book and ran into a snag right off the bat. I was going to take a white wax frame and let the bees make their own queens and make up a couple of overwinter nucs. I loaded up a divided queen castle with 5 frames for 3 days. And put in a frame of white wax that I put into the brood nest on my good hive in the brood nest. I pulled the supers yesterday to get this frame and got a rude surprise from the bees. The bees backfilled the new frame with honey. Flow is winding down and the weather is getting warm (80’s). We are not having a drought like the rest of the country. I got nailed through my jeans to a point that I had to retreat and go get my smoker. Don’t know what that was about. I only got stung through my jeans one other time but this time they figured it out.
    My nuc box I put in a frame of capped honey, one frame of capped brood. One of mixed brood with lots of pollen, various capped and young (old frame not white wax) a medium frame that has been drawn out by a swarm to a deep with white wax with a nice edge and a frame of new wax to be replaced by a frame of fresh drawn white brood from my good hive. As of day 3 none of the brood was being drawn out to a QC. Am I impatient or did I get my bee mix wrong?
    I only have 4 hives to use resources from, all are double deeps but 1(mediums on a deep). Most have a ½ capped super and have backfilled the brood nest to a point my queens have shut down. Suggestions? I want to make up my own overwintered queens off of my strong hive using resources from two swarm catches.
    “Why do we fall, sir? So that we might learn to pick ourselves up” Alfred Pennyworth Batman Begins (2005)

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Sacramento,California,USA
    Posts
    3,543

    Default Re: Better queen help

    Were there eggs? You'll need eggs and just hatching eggs into larva for them to draw cells.
    Is there accidentally a queen already in there, a mature one or a virgin perhaps?
    It helps to have a feeder on the mating nuc also, if it does not have many foraging aged bees.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Clackamas Oregon
    Posts
    691

    Default Re: Better queen help

    The plan was to follow ‘Better Queens’ by Jay Smith method of giving them 3 days queen less, then removing all of the QC and giving them white wax and brood from the best hive to allow them to grow the queens I wanted, where I wanted them. When I went to pull the white wax with eggs the hive had backfilled it with honey. They were usually irritable and I had to retreat with multiple stings to the legs and no frame.
    Yesterday I checked my Castle (configured as a 5 frame nuc) as it was day 9. I had minimum four nice huge QC hanging off of the bottom of the white wax from the swarm frame and half dozen off the old brood comb from the new queen. Two of which looked real nice. All the QC’s were grown in pairs and was not willing to try and separate. I should have brought my dikes for cutting the wire in the old foundation. I pulled more honey / brood frames (two of the four hives donated) and set the Queen castle into 2 frame sections and shook in more bees, made certain each section had minimum of two cells. Now time will tell.
    Does the larger QC get an advantage on killing her rival or should I have helped the situation with some selection?
    Suggestions?
    “Why do we fall, sir? So that we might learn to pick ourselves up” Alfred Pennyworth Batman Begins (2005)

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Ojai, California
    Posts
    899

    Default Re: Better queen help

    Count your q.c.'s on day 9 and make up that many nuc colonies (queenless). On Day 10 after grafting (day 13 from egg lay), cut the cells out and plant them into the top of the brood pattern of the brood frames in the nuc. Q.C.'s should be pointing down. Queens should be pipping on day 15, emerging on day 16. A week later they mate, and should be laying eggs by 2 or 3 days after that. Best of luck.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Clackamas Oregon
    Posts
    691

    Default Re: Better queen help

    Today is day 17 from making up the queenless nuc. Day 10 I divided my Queen castle into 4 sections and placed minimum two QC in each. I figure on checking progress on Saturday and if I have eggs I will add a frame or two more to each with a frame feeder and move them a couple of miles off. I would like to shake some more bees into the nuc but not certain how to do that while moving them (without losing my field force). I will start a new thread on that.
    “Why do we fall, sir? So that we might learn to pick ourselves up” Alfred Pennyworth Batman Begins (2005)

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Ojai, California
    Posts
    899

    Default Re: Better queen help

    Minz - try adding hatching brood, not bees. Yes, there other ways...

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Clackamas Oregon
    Posts
    691

    Default Re: Better queen help

    Went out to see if I had eggs / capped brood and move them into 4 frames and a feeder. The bees were bearded up the side of the box so I put the two frames from each of the outsides(four way divided deep with 4 openings) into the divided hive body with a feeder and put it back on top. I figure tomorrow I will pull the two remaining dividers in the bottom making it a divided deep, and add feeders and comb to make them whole. I was not expecting that many bees still in the box when I pulled frames so I backed up and punted. Figure I will go out and see if the bees are going into the top hole or if the bees are clustered on the queen someplace in the bottom. Both sections had some capped brood, (one had a capped QCell) I may have a dud, unknown.
    Until then I will not give them more brood. MP says that it is plenty (been reading on another post).
    “Why do we fall, sir? So that we might learn to pick ourselves up” Alfred Pennyworth Batman Begins (2005)

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Ojai, California
    Posts
    899

    Default Re: Better queen help

    If I heard or read correctly, Smith killed every other cell in the cut-cell strip. This often results in QC's too close together. Try killing 2 and leaving the 3rd or killing 3 and leaving the 4th.

    The number of bees to give a nuc is usually 1/2 pound per frame of brood plus a frame's worth. How many frames of brood depend on time of year. Some guys get away with one frame of brood and 6 oz of bees early in the season with good nectar flow. Comb honey guys make up 7, even 8 frame nucs with 4 lbs of bees and manage the ohmygod out of them. This time of year most nucs are 3-4 frames, 2 to 2 1/2 lbs. of bees for overwinter nucs. Low-performance bee source colonies, give more bees, high performers, you can give less bees.

    I found the 4-way minis a bit difficult to manage. I prefer a standard deep 10-frame with slots for 1/4" ply hive dividers for 3x3, 2x5, and full-colony arrangements using standard frames. I make 1/3, 1/2, and full 10-frame inner covers, and keep burlap handy use burlap when warranted. I'm thinking about putting hooks on the 1/3 inner covers, or maybe Velcro. My deeps have 6 cork holes, and some are ventilated with #8 hardware cloth as well. I leave them queenless only one day or less (5 hours minimum). If it is not too hot, I leave them plugged in with corks until the virgin queen emerges, then they get to fly out.

    Are you colonies separated by double screen boards?

    Bearding up outside is usually because it is hot, but sometimes because of crowding, and sometimes just because you are using a mini-nuc. Mini- and baby-nuc swarms happen quite often.
    Last edited by kilocharlie; 08-21-2012 at 10:52 PM.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Clackamas Oregon
    Posts
    691

    Default Re: Better queen help

    Update: one of the 4 is laying now. I did not have the patience to wait the +/- 5 days and figured I would cut my losses and remove one of the dividers (giving me two center divided deeps with a feeder and 3 frames minimum. One of the top ones has larvae swimming in more jelly than I think I have ever seen before. The lower is now a standard deep (removed dividers) 4 holes, 2 feeders. I took a frame of eggs from my high performer and placed it into the hive to determine if they had a queen or not. I have about 8-10 of the nicest QC I ever did see. I still have drones, I may have a second shot but I am running out of time.
    Plan is to divide the bottom again into two 5F, and intro a minimum of 2 QC into each of the divisions.
    “Why do we fall, sir? So that we might learn to pick ourselves up” Alfred Pennyworth Batman Begins (2005)

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