I am at a crossroads in solving a problem created by my goof.
The plan was to create a split from my existing carniolan hive. Seemed like a good idea because I had a ton of bees and the honey flow appears to be over here in southern New Hampshire. I would remove two frames of emerging brood from the donor hive into a 5 frame nuc, shake in a few nurse bees, and introduce a mated queen to the nuc.
On July 11th, I placed the new queen cage into a nuc compromise of two frames of emerging brood from the donor carniolan hive. Well... despite my best efforts to ensure the original queen was not on the frames placed in the nuc (Btw- I even double checked the frames placed into the nuc) the carniolan queen was in the nuc. How do I know? Yesterday, I found the new queen dead in her cage. The queen from the donor hive was in the nuc laying eggs.
I examined the donor hive and noticed a number of capped supercedure cells. Pretty remarkable since the colony had been 4 days without a queen.
What is the best solution?
1. Reintroduce queen to donor hive. Buy mated queen and introduce her into nuc?
3. Keep queen in nuc. Buy mated queen and introduce her to donor hive?
3. Keep queen in nuc. Hope donor hive generates a mated queen?
As to option 3, if donor hive fails to generate a mated queen by mid August, then combine nuc queen with donor hive.
4. Reintroduce queen to donor hive. Place a frame from donor hive with a capped queen cell in nuc.
I am somewhat inclined to option 3. The donor hive has plenty of capped brood, plenty of bees, plenty of honey, and pollen. Therefore, the quality of the queen could be very good. Also, there could be an advantageous break in brood rearing to allow for mite control. Finally, if all goes well, I could have a mated queen by August 6th. This queen would make the bees to carry the hive through winter.
You just inadvertently did an OTS split without notching. Go with option #3, they're already on their way to producing a new queen. Check on August 5 (3 weeks after you observed the queen cells-7 days for her to emerge and 2 weeks to give her enough time to mate) for a laying queen. Bonus: now you've got a brood break which should help reduce your mite count.
#4 or #2 I most cerntaly would not go with 3
You have lost a queen you payed for, don't risk the resorces of a full sized hive on mating a queen, thats what nucs are for
If possabul pull a 2nd nuc with cells as well as a back up.
treat with OA at the brood break, and feed and supplement
If it was me, a week or 2 ago in my climate I would have gone with option 5, break the donor hive in to as many nucs as I could, or at least singles. I cant speak to what the time line is to grow out a nuc form cells and fatten it for winter in your clime.. I need a laying queen by the start of aug or it gets dicely, I had a lot of late july nucs fail last year.
I have a few question. what resources do you have available? Drawn comb, boxes, how many queen cells? How strong is the hive? You could make multiple splits for added insurance and more hives depending on your resources and desires. You can always reunite your splits if needed or desired. I hate destroying queen cells.
So my answer is either 1,2,3,or 4
what resources do you have available? Drawn comb, boxes, how many queen cells? How strong is the hive? You could make multiple splits for added insurance and more hives depending on your resources and desires. You can always reunite your splits if needed or desired. I hate destroying queen cells.
So my answer is either 1,2,3,or 4
Q: what resources do you have available? A: Not much. I have one half of a double nuc, and two empty deep brood boxes. I have about 12 frames of honey (deep frames) sitting in a freezer. These frames originate from a deadout. I have plenty undrawn deep frames with plastic foundation.
Q: How many queen cells? A: About 5-6.
Q: How strong is the hive? A: very strong. I have a ton of bees. They filled 27 medium frames with nectar last month.
Just remember that the hive with the queen cells has a 50/50 (or so) chance of being QUEENLESS after couple of weeks - because sometimes the virgin queen doesn't make it back. Better to either have 2 chances for a queen - so 2 mating nucs - and the full sized hive has the queen and keeps making brood/honey... When a hive has momentum with lots of bees and brood, if you keep that maintained with the laying queen you will have more frames drawn, honey stored, good stuff...
You might end up with 2 queens from 2 mating nucs, but as long as you can give them each 2 frames of brood, 3 more DRAWN frames, and 3 drawn honey frames each they should be able to get up to strength by frost. Assuming you feed like crazy.
Probability says if a thing has a .5 probability of failure, in this case queen does not return, then if you try twice, probability of total failure (no queen) is .25, three tries, .125... So probability says make a lot of nucs, then combine those that fail with the successful ones.
I have no idea if you can start now where you are, make a queen and build up to overwintering strength, hopefully others will advise.
Hey Keith, What did you decide to do? I'm doing something similar with my Carniolians; they swarmed, but prior to the swarm I did a walk-away type split with some of the frames with queen cells into a 4/4 double nuc. So now I may have to requeen the original hive, and the nuc is queenless after 2 weeks so may need to do the same there. Is early August your cut-off? I'm in the same zone as you so was wondering.