New queen on the way, so how do I correct an old mistake?
I'm a 2nd year beek, and have overwintered a hive that came from a nuc late last spring. The nuc was suspect (long story: a disastrous late freeze with my first package, found a guy on Craigslist with late nucs, met him in a parking lot at 5 am, black comb on old frames - I know, sordid....).
Mistakenly thinking the hive needed room in mid summer, I added a 2nd deep and the bees, while populous, never filled it out. During a fall inspection by a local apiary, it was suggested that I requeen in the spring due to spotty brood and generally ugly frames.
I just bought 2 nucs, the queen will be here in about 10 days and I don't know what to do with my existing hive. Out of 20 frames, I have 11 with capped brood - mostly spotty - and eggs and larvae in places, plus several with nectar and pollen.
I've seen the old queen, she's still fat, still laying, just not sure if she or my mismanagement has caused the lack of vigor. I'm a hopeless romantic - pinching her seems drastic. I haven't been able to do an alcohol wash for mites yet, just sugar....
So - do I take some of the frames from the 2 deep hive and give them to my nucs (who are in 10 frames now) (and what's the best way to do that?), or do I try a split, let the old queen stick around and see if her subjects requeen on their own or .....?
Any advice would help. I'm a hobbyist, like seeing the girls proliferate and am not in it for the honey.
Many thanks, and when I ever get smart enough to contribute and not just beg for help, I will do just that.
Re: New queen on the way, so how do I correct an old mistake?
3rd year beek so take this with a grain of salt. Maybe it is not the queen, could it be the old crusty comb you got with the nuc? Why not move these above a queen excluder or to the outside, and once the brood hatches out toss them. Give the queen some fresh comb/foundation to lay in and see if the pattern improves. I would check for EFB. What was the mite count on the sugar shake?
I definitely would not give the nucs any frames from that hive until I see the if the old comb is the issue.