Move queen or move queen cells??
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
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    carney, maryland, USA
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    Default Move queen or move queen cells??

    I thought I had a queenless hive, so last Monday (the 19th) I pulled a frame from another yard which had young brood and eggs along with nurse bees. Earlier today I checked the "queenless" hive; the bees had obediently made queen cells, one of which was complete and two others within a day or 2 of being completed.

    I was quite pleased, and started to close up this hive, when I saw a queen walking around. I did not have enough resources at that time to take any action, so I closed up the hive.

    This queen was quite thin (ready for a swarm?) and as she waltzed around the workers responded to her, following her and touching her as one would expect.

    I am getting boxes and frames ready for tomorrow, and will be going back into this hive. Last week when I had inspected this hive, I saw NO eggs, and no uncapped brood. There was little capped brood.

    If tomorrow I see that she has resumed laying (in the bottom box), I plan to leave her behind, and split, taking the queen cells, moving them to a different yard. I will add some frames to open up some space for her to lay, and hopefully there will be no swarm.

    If however, I see NO eggs and/or brood, I plan to pull her and some frames with bees, and put them in a nuc, moving them to a different yard.

    I would appreciate any comments as to what others would do with this scenario.

    Phil

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Grand Rapids MI USA
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    1,425

    Default Re: Move queen or move queen cells??

    If they made Q cells w/ her present, she’s a dud. I’ve had several Q’s like that before, but I didn’t try to get the colony to raise new cells, just dispatched her and combined. Go ahead w/ pulling her and give it a try, don’t hold your breath tho.
    Rod

  4. #3
    Join Date
    May 2016
    Location
    NE PA
    Posts
    111

    Default

    If you find eggs. Moving old queen to start a nuc is an option however . As there is limited capped brood I wouldn't pull the resources for the nuc from the failing colony. Additionaly i would requeen said nuc before fall .,,,,,There is no reason to start a failing nuc if she is not laying. ,,,,,Lastly throw an extra super on there if nessary once all brood is capped. Thay have little else to do but gather and may plug the brood nest quickly

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    Isle of Wight, VA
    Posts
    2,751

    Default Re: Move queen or move queen cells??

    Is it possible that the "queenless" hive had recently swarmed and the queen you saw was a virgin? If the hive is fairly large in population, I'd move the frame of new queen cells to a small split, giving that other queen time to maybe get mated and start laying.

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    carney, maryland, USA
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    1,262

    Default Re: Move queen or move queen cells??

    THANKS for your responses.

    I am going out to look at this hive for eggs and/or young brood. Regardless of what I see I will likely move this queen and a few frames to a "mating nuc" and leave the cells behind. This is a good colony, so moving the queen should eliminate an urge to swarm.

    Phil

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
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    carney, maryland, USA
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    Default Re: Move queen or move queen cells??

    Got back from looking at hive with queen cells and queen. Turns out I have 2 queens; they were on the same frame, and walked past each other. I believe one is mated, as I pulled that frame and put in a NUC with a second pulled frame. After placing 2 other spare frames in the nuc, and closing them in, I noticed that bees returning to the hive were gathering at the entrance screen of the nuc. Seems like the odor of the queen attracted the bees.

    At any rate, I carried the nuc to my vehicle, and took it to another yard a couple miles away. The hive remaining has a frame with 3 queen cells, so they should have a mated queen in 15-20 days.

    Phil

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2017
    Location
    Aylett, Virginia
    Posts
    3,415

    Default Re: Move queen or move queen cells??

    So...you put both queens in the nuc? I would have put the fatter one, most likely the old mated queen in the nuc and left the skinnier, probably yet unmated, queen in the main hive. Then made another split with the frame of queen cells. But that is just me.
    Thankfully, the bees are smarter than I am. They are doing well, in spite of my efforts to help them.

  9. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    carney, maryland, USA
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    1,262

    Default Re: Move queen or move queen cells??

    Quote Originally Posted by JWPalmer View Post
    So...you put both queens in the nuc? I would have put the fatter one, most likely the old mated queen in the nuc and left the skinnier, probably yet unmated, queen in the main hive. Then made another split with the frame of queen cells. But that is just me.
    I felt confident that the 2 queens would negotiate a settlement. Seriously, I was more interested in getting the queen(s) out of the way of the good hive with the queen cells; whatever happens with the 2 queens in the nuc is just a sideline. It IS strange that with 2 queens neither was interested in laying eggs.

    Phil

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