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  1. #1
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    Default Help Please . combine Queen Castle w/queenless hive.. next to each other

    My queen is doing well, this is day 42 and there is one frame of good brood pattern since last weekend when 2 other frames had spotty brood. This is the one I want to populate with more bees soon as the nights are getting cold and I'm afraid not enough bees to keep the brood warm.

    Next to QC is a hive I thought was doing well, full of bees, 2 deeps, last weekend I did not look at the bottom deep. I just went into all deeps and am 'deeply' disappoint to see it is all honey, pollen and a few drone cells. No sign of brood anywhere, no queen cells. I looked again and took each frame out (lots of cross combing) and nope, no larvae, brood and what could be the start of a laying working (again!)UgH!

    I don't really want to try and have them raise a new queen this late in the season or steal brood from my strong hives to do this. I do want to combine them and need to make decisions. Do I combine with my QC queen or am I risking her getting killed? They are next to each other.

    How would you all do it? And I've never caught a queen before... I rarely can even spot them!

    How would I go about getting the queen castle combined with them? I do know about paper combining for hives.

    Or I could combine that hive with one of my other two and just keep building up the nuc in the QC.


    thoughts? thank you! K

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Help Please . combine Queen Castle w/queenless hive.. next to each other

    I'd make a large push in or cage the entire frame she's on with brood in the queen castle and intro her that way. Stick any other frames of brood she has right next to her.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Help Please . combine Queen Castle w/queenless hive.. next to each other

    Quote Originally Posted by JRG13 View Post
    I'd make a large push in or cage the entire frame she's on with brood in the queen castle and intro her that way. Stick any other frames of brood she has right next to her.
    You've lost me here. You mean put wire around her frames so the other bees can't touch her? Wouldn't that also trap the bees on the frame with her? Seems like a lot of work!

    I think I'm going to combine the hive with one of my other ones that could use a boost and just keep adding resources to the QC. I'm enjoying watching that process and the one new queenless was one that went queenless a few months back with a laying worker.. thought that problem had been solved. Time to just call that one a wash.

    Thanks Ray. Any one else? I won't do this until later before it starts to cool down. K

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Help Please . combine Queen Castle w/queenless hive.. next to each other

    well I reduced it, now need to decide who to combine it with....

  5. #5

    Default Re: Help Please . combine Queen Castle w/queenless hive.. next to each other

    Bee bomb. Drop the queen in there with the bees/queen/and frame into your queenless hive. That's how I would do it. Or you could newspaper combine them. Add a deep on top move your queen right frames with queen/brood/bees into the top deep and let them chew through the newspaper.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Help Please . combine Queen Castle w/queenless hive.. next to each other

    If you have laying workers they will typically kill an introduced queen, especially mated ones, sometimes you can get lucky with virgins or cells. With laying workers the bees think they already have a queen so it's not like requeening a queenless hive most of the time. Sometimes you can just drop them in though, having frames of brood with her and her own bees will help. I know some people have good success with newspaper combines as well, but others have had no success, just depends on the bees.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Help Please . combine Queen Castle w/queenless hive.. next to each other

    ugh! I am not sure if I have a laying worker... about one frame of scattered drone cells was found. Last night I reduced them to a medium and left them. I was thinking of trying the advice from pine ridge farms but now I'm worried again! Also if I combine the Queen and her limited workers (about 3 frames of brood) then the resources are on the bottom, not the top...does that matter?

    If I combined these bees with a stronger hive and they have a laying worker would they kill the queen from the stronger hive?

    Do I need to just dump these bees and let them beg their way into my hives? I've done this before and it is not really a nice thing to do or see.......

    Maybe I should steal brood for them and see if they start to produce a queen.... but it is so late for that... we are talking end of Sept before I get a laying queen if I get one.

    Do I need to get a queen cage and then put her and the brood in; watch the behavior? thanks all....

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Help Please . combine Queen Castle w/queenless hive.. next to each other

    CaBees, first of all, don't worry, it won't help anything. You'll just second guess yourself and end up causing more harm than good.

    What type of queen castle do you have? I'm assuming it is a medium since you mention three frames.

    Dumping the queenless bees would be a good idea, don't worry about being nice, life is hard and these are insects, they don't remember or live long enough to care. They do what's in front of them.

    I would recommend creating the new hive out of whatever size frame your queen castle is made of. Dump all the bees from the other hive and place everything in a different box than what either hive is currently in. You can always add brood from another hive to give them a boost.

    The other method is to place a frame of open brood in the queenless colony once a week until the problem resolves itself, and that would probably be simpler and more effective though you are running out of time depending on your climate.
    Solomon Parker, Parker Farms, ParkerFarms.biz
    11 Years Treatment-Free, ~25 Colony Baseline

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Help Please . combine Queen Castle w/queenless hive.. next to each other

    Thanks Solomon. The QC is a deep.

    You are saying put the QC queen frames in a brand new deep, put that in the location of the queenless hive and dump the queenless hive in front, correct? Why is this superior to a newspaper combine of the two? What is happening in the scenario with the possible drone laying worker? Does it disrupt the hive enough that is now taken out of the equation?

    thanks again; always appreciate your advice! K

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Help Please . combine Queen Castle w/queenless hive.. next to each other

    The new box disorients all bees involved. Bees recognize immediately that they are not in their home hive and this keeps them from fighting. That's why I prefer this method over the newspaper method, but it is your choice.

    The concern would be to keep the queen from getting killed by the possible laying workers. I'd shake them out, and probably further away from directly in front of the hive. You could even turn the hive backwards to further confuse things.

    Another thing would be to put that frame of open brood in before hand to suppress the laying workers via pheromones. Just some ideas. Usually it takes more than one frame to accomplish it though, a couple weeks worth.
    Solomon Parker, Parker Farms, ParkerFarms.biz
    11 Years Treatment-Free, ~25 Colony Baseline

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Help Please . combine Queen Castle w/queenless hive.. next to each other

    Thanks and sorry to be a bug...one more questions... if I put in some brood a few days before and they started to raise a queen cell would that tell me it is 'safe' to then transfer the queen and her brood into there?

  12. #12

    Default Re: Help Please . combine Queen Castle w/queenless hive.. next to each other

    If you do in fact have laying workers you should see multiple eggs in the cells. The best thing to do it put those frames with bees and all in a strong colony and the strong colony will kill those laying workers. Just because you have scattered drone brood does not mean you have laying workers though.

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Help Please . combine Queen Castle w/queenless hive.. next to each other

    adding brood helps suppress any laying workers. You can also try caging your queen if you have a cage and intro her that way or just test their reaction to a queen. If you don't see a bunch of eggs in cells now I'd just combine them quick as you can. Moving the queenless hive then placing the castle queen there in whatever box you want them in then shaking out the queenless hive will probably work the best. You will be surprised as most of the bees will make it back to the old location.

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Help Please . combine Queen Castle w/queenless hive.. next to each other

    Quote Originally Posted by CaBees View Post
    if I put in some brood a few days before and they started to raise a queen cell would that tell me it is 'safe' to then transfer the queen and her brood into there?
    I would echo something similar to what JRG13 said. If you want extra caution, use a queen cage. If they make some cells, so much the better. But remember, nothing is 100%. Despite your best efforts things can go wrong sometimes, so don't invest too much into it emotionally. Do what you can and let the bees do the rest.
    Solomon Parker, Parker Farms, ParkerFarms.biz
    11 Years Treatment-Free, ~25 Colony Baseline

  15. #15
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    Default Re: Help Please . combine Queen Castle w/queenless hive.. next to each other

    Thanks guys. You've given me a lot to think about. I don't have a cage and have one on order...have never handled queens before. Maybe I'll put in a brood frame until it arrives; should only be a couple days. I'm going to take a look at the frame with drone cells tonight with a friend and see if I can find double eggs. I'm not emotionally attached; just don't want to kill my queen plus this hive; I only have 3 left after this. One strong, 2 building up from this year. So much to learn but am enjoying the process...grateful to get advice from such experienced beekeepers. I can't thank you enough. K

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Help Please . combine Queen Castle w/queenless hive.. next to each other

    Update. So my friend and I looked into the worker hive last night and there are two frames, both sides, with scattered drone and larvae. So I took out those frames with the bees and put them in a nuc away from the hive... thoughts being the laying worker would stay with the drone comb.

    Then we combined the remaining bees using one sheet of newspaper with another hive I had started this year that is doing fairly well but a little light on bees, it was right next to this hive so we only had to take the top off, lay the paper down, but the medium on and I put a top feeder on that.

    Fingers crossed....hoping this will work out. Thanks again for the advice. I'm going to just continue to monitor the process of the QC queen and hive her in a few more weeks.... it is all a good learning experience.

    What has happened is all my hives have slowly become requeened from my original Italian hive. They are tough ladies, good producers and I don't mind at all. They've now replaced the queens from swarms and bees given to me but I did not plan it this way. funny.

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