Help! We tried making 3 splits with caged queens but none were successful. In all 3 of them, the queens were not released from the cage and died. What did we do wrong?
For split #1 we took 2 frames of capped brood and 1 frame of honey with a few shakes of bees and put it in 8 frame deep box.
For splits #2 and 3 we took 4 frames of capped brood without bees and put it in a box on top of a strong hive with queen excluder underneath. We left it overnight for nurse bees to move up into the top box. Then we used those frames of capped brood to form the splits #2 and 3.
Each 8-frame deep box for the splits had 2 frames of capped brood and 1 frame of honey plus empty frames to fill out the box.
We moved the splits away from the source hives but they were still close by (less than 50 feet) since we don't have many places to put the bees on our property.
We left the splits queenless for several hours before installing the queen cages.
When installing the caged queens, we removed the cork to expose the candy and put it cage side down between frames of brood. The bees were fanning and appeared to be accepting her.
We had read posts on beesource that said to just let them eat through the candy to make sure they've had enough time to accept the queen and not to disturb the new hive for 10 days to allow the queen to become established. But when we checked them at 10 days, all the bees in the queen cages were dead. Some candy had been eaten from the inside of the cage but otherwise it appeared that the bees had not been trying to release the queen.
Also the frames of honey in each of the splits had collapsed in the heat making a mess inside the boxes and inducing some robbing...not sure if this also contributed to the failure to release the queens or if this should be a separate post for another time? We are running foundationless frames.
Thanks in advance for any advice!