After split no queen, few workers, mostly drones
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2017
    Location
    Chiang Mai, Thailand
    Posts
    16

    Default After split no queen, few workers, mostly drones

    I think I moved the queen along with the queen cell frames and brood frames into the new split box. Oops! The problem is with the parent box. Parent box is now 80% drones. 3 of 5 frames have all been drawn out as drone brood cells. What to do about the drones? Will they die off? Also, if I install a new queen in the parent box can she lay in the used drone cells? the used drone cells are much larger. Can these be reused as new worker cells?

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2016
    Location
    York County, VA, USA
    Posts
    503

    Default Re: After split no queen, few workers, mostly drones

    Prompting for a bit more info... You're in Thailand? Do you have Asian or European bees? Most here are not familiar with practices for Asian bees, but some who know will chime in helpfully. Which do you have? (trying to cut down on your lead time for useful answers)

    But I would also ask whether you can recombine the split with the colony. It seems from my limited experience that your parent colony needs attention. If it has developed laying workers, it may be hostile to a new queen. In one of my booming-colony splits, one multi-box stack ended up with laying workers. In trying to recover (lots of nectar in those boxes) I lost two purchased mated queens and had the bees ignore queen-making on a frame of brood between the two queens. I shook them out and split their boxes among other colonies. I think I should have recombined them right away, making a smaller split after getting them queen-right again.
    "I thought I made a mistake once, but I was wrong." (heard often from the late David Sebree) Still making them, myself

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2017
    Location
    Chiang Mai, Thailand
    Posts
    16

    Default Re: After split no queen, few workers, mostly drones

    I have Apis Mellifera.
    Thank you for your suggestion, but the problem is that the new split is doing well the Parent colony is suffering. If I re-introduce the original queen then I lose the new split.

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2016
    Location
    York County, VA, USA
    Posts
    503

    Default Re: After split no queen, few workers, mostly drones

    You made a split from a colony, and you mentioned queen cells and queen all appear to be in the split. It seems that you were expecting the queen to stay with the parent colony and the split to have the queen cells, a reasonable situation. Your parent colony is now drone-filled. If things are as you state, then either the workers will tear down the queen cells of the split or the split will raise the cells to maturity and you'll have a virgin doing away with your queen or the queen may swarm out with a substantial population of bees. Or so it seems to me.

    You mentioned installing a queen in the parent colony and asked about re-use of the drone-sized cells for worker brood. I am not experienced enough to _know_, but it was my impression that former drone cells are generally used for stores by the bees. You mentioned "3 of 5 frames," which leads me to guess you have the colonies in 5-frame boxes. If there is no worker brood in the parent colony, will there be stores enough to handle drone population? Do you still have queen cells on frames in the split? It might be wise (I hope others will chime in here) to place one queen cell (or all of them) back into the parent colony. Placing into the parent colony either a foundationless frame along with an installed queen for the bees to draw worker comb, or an already drawn comb from the split might be a good move. I'm sorry not to have firm recommendations for you. My bad experience with unbalanced splits is what leads me to recommend recombining and splitting again after the bees have settled back into single-colony behavior. Laying workers was an unpleasant thing for me to deal with.

    Michael
    "I thought I made a mistake once, but I was wrong." (heard often from the late David Sebree) Still making them, myself

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2017
    Location
    Chiang Mai, Thailand
    Posts
    16

    Default Re: After split no queen, few workers, mostly drones

    Thanks so much. In my estimation the drone population versus workers is so one-sided that I wonder if I can do anything to save the parent hive. The new split is doing fine. I'll try to take a queen cell from the split and install back it into the parent box and hope for the best.
    Lots to learn and I'm loving the experience.
    Thanks
    Steve

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2017
    Location
    Chiang Mai, Thailand
    Posts
    16

    Default Re: After split no queen, few workers, mostly drones

    Looks like the split colony is getting weaker. I've imported three frames of workers from another hive. I sprayed old and new frames with sugar water solution to prevent fighting. I was told that this is what to do. Still no queen, but since both of these hives are queenless and I have other colonies that are doing well. I thought I would experiment and see what happens if I combine the two hives.
    I did shake out two frames from the parent hive, with the over abundance of drones about 100 ft. away, hoping that the drones wont make it back, but that maybe the workers would. I'll check in about a week. I hope to see fewer drones and possibly new queen cells.
    Please let me know if my thinking process is making sense and also what I may have missed/

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