Want to notch 2 deep boxes and make nucs, but canít find the queen
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  1. #1
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    Default Want to notch 2 deep boxes and make nucs, but canít find the queen

    I have looked through the hive 3 times and failed to find the queen. Yet she is there laying. Is there a way I can make queen cells anyway and split into nucs?
    Iím short extra deep equipment. I have deep 5 frame nucs. The hive is 8 frame. I have a bunch of 8 frame medium hives full of bees. And a bunch of medium nucs. I donít really have another hive I want to make queenless to make queen cells and if I do itíll be a medium.
    I donít have another deep to put above my two I want to split.
    I donít want to dump them through a queen excluder because they are crabby bees and Iím sick of dealing with them. Which is why I figured to re-queen and make them into nucs, since I have the nuc boxes.
    This is an equipment/management issue I canít get a fresh idea on.
    Yours in bees, Megan Hughes

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  3. #2
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    Default Re: Want to notch 2 deep boxes and make nucs, but canít find the queen

    I have a bunch of 8 frame medium hives full of bees. Brood frames or just bees?
    No reason to not put mediums in a deep, just some hanging comb that is no problem.

    Vertical split with an excluder and an empty with a top entrance.
    Use a frame from the bees you like to make your final QCs after culling others at five days.
    It is not true that you cannot teach an old dog new tricks.
    They can learn them, they just can't do them.

  4. #3
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    Default Re: Want to notch 2 deep boxes and make nucs, but canít find the queen

    So, can I put a QE on top of my 2 deeps, then shake the bees off some medium frames of brood and eggs from another hive, add stores around them and then wait a day or overnight for nurse bees to repopulate? Then exchange Qe for a double screen board?

    Then, if they make some queen cells, divy the medium frames with queen cells up with the deep brood cells for nucs?

  5. #4
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    Default Re: Want to notch 2 deep boxes and make nucs, but canít find the queen

    Megan, Assuming you have a double deep 8 frame and are having trouble locating the queen, one solution is to go ahead and divide the colony into 3 nucs. Make sure each nuc has the resources necessary to requeen themselves. Come back it 3 days. The nuc that has eggs also has the queen and the other two should have started queen cells. At that point you can spend a little more time looking as now you only have five frames on which to find her. Dividing a pissy hive is also a good way to make them more managable, at least for a while.
    Thankfully, the bees are smarter than I am. They are doing well, in spite of my efforts to help them.

  6. #5
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    Default Re: Want to notch 2 deep boxes and make nucs, but canít find the queen

    I was not entirely clear of your set up but it sounds like you are on the right track. JW is approaching from the find the queen angle, my take is you are looking at it from the steal the nurse bees view.

    You can do the excluder on more than one hive to gather more nurse bees and basically make a swarm box like you were going to graft. After you have the bees you want it really is a choicer if you leave on the hive or split to a separate box. Simpler to separate but together makes for less drift. Some bees balk at raising QCs from another hive so check after a few days.

    You are using the bees from the queen you do not want, to raise the QCs from the queen you like while leaving her alone.

    Let us know how it goes for you.
    It is not true that you cannot teach an old dog new tricks.
    They can learn them, they just can't do them.

  7. #6
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    Default Re: Want to notch 2 deep boxes and make nucs, but canít find the queen

    Quote Originally Posted by Meghues View Post
    I don’t want to dump them through a queen excluder because they are crabby bees and I’m sick of dealing with them.
    Take the top box off, shake/brush ALL the bees from the top box into the bottom box, no excluder necessary while shaking/brushing. This is the only time you have to deal with crabby bees, but it's not to bad since you can do it quickly and not trying to be gentle, killing the queen in the process is not a worry. Now place the excluder on top of the bottom box and set the top back on assuming top box has eggs somewhere in it. Leave things sit for a day, bees will go up and populate the brood fairly quickly. After a day, lift the top box off and set it aside for a minute. Move the bottom box (queen is in there) to another spot on a new bottom board. Now place the original top box back on the original bottom board. Foragers from the one set aside will return over the next 24 hours.

    End result, queenless split with LOTS of bees in the original location and they will make cells. Queenright split with a minimal population of just nurse bees in the new spot, should be a lot easier to find queen in there, and the majority of the 'crabby' bees will be back in the original location.

    If you are happy with getting a daughter from the original queen, you are all done. If you want to dispatch the original queen, should be much easier to find and dispatch her now. If you want new queens to be proginy of another one in your bunch of hives, that's easy too. Wait a week, then go to both boxes and scrape every queen cell in each box. Now take frames with eggs from another colony and place in these boxes. If you dont want the new colony, this is the right time to re-combine the boxes when you set in the frame with eggs from another colony.

  8. #7
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    Default Re: Want to notch 2 deep boxes and make nucs, but canít find the queen

    Saltybee, I think this is what I want “You are using the bees from the queen you do not want, to raise the QCs from the queen you like while leaving her alone.”
    It seems like the least messing with the crabby hive up front, only problem is convincing them they need to raise the queen cells. I need to recover from my recent interactions with this hive before I go moving frames around. I’m traumatized.
    I’ll try to do something this weekend and keep you posted.

  9. #8
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    Default Re: Want to notch 2 deep boxes and make nucs, but canít find the queen

    Got the message. Then do not mess with the frames or opening the hive..
    What I would do in your situation. First make sure they are not being bothered by anything to make them ugly. no robbers or skunks, wasps. Put a stick a little ways back from the opening where they can still get over it and get in. If it is moved in the morning a visitor is moving it.

    Place one or two frames of brood and bees from the hive you like in a box with the top open to let the field bees return to their hive. One frame for each you want to requeen.
    Fill out the box with frames. Place that beside the mean hive.

    Move the entire mean hive without opening it. You can close it up with screen late in the day or at dusk and move it then or in the morning before it gets hot. Let it be until you have the queen cells ready to split up the mean hives.

    When you do have to split the mean hive move it again and leave a cell at that location. Field bees are the meanest. Leave them behind when you can.

    Basically the same divide and concur as the rest of the advice with a little less digging.
    It is not true that you cannot teach an old dog new tricks.
    They can learn them, they just can't do them.

  10. #9
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    Default Re: Want to notch 2 deep boxes and make nucs, but canít find the queen

    Saltybee, so I’m letting the nurse bees that come with the new frames plus the field force of the mean hive raise the new queens in the old spot? Is that a strong enough hive?
    Part 2 is, I can’t really move even one full deep, much less two. I’m strong, really strong, for a 66 year old woman, but my yard is on a complicated slope and I can’t carry a full deep up and down the steps, or don’t trust myself to, and that’s where I’d have to move it. The menfolk here don’t help with live bees. I can’t think of anyone who might help, and 2 people on this slope isn’t really an improvement.
    Why do I even have deeps? No good reason except I do. I like the 5 frame deep nucs. I haven’t yet decided to go all mediums.

  11. #10
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    Default Re: Want to notch 2 deep boxes and make nucs, but canít find the queen

    Saltybee, so I’m letting the nurse bees that come with the new frames plus the field force of the mean hive raise the new queens in the old spot? Is that a strong enough hive? Yes it is, but that does not sound like the option for you. Grozzie 2's method looks more in line for you.

    Did they get mean slowly or at once ?

    For the first divide just slide a piece of plywood between the two boxes with a top entrance. Add your marked keeper frame there. Most likely the queen is in the lower unless she is a compulsive top queen. Many of the field bees will go to the lower and the top will get easier to work. Kill the cells you do not want when you can.

    I think it is medium time.

    Hot hive tips; Add a ripped up waxed paper drink cup to smoker. Give them a puff and set it down with the smoke drifting over the hive and wait.
    Approach the hive slowly, occasionally that's all it takes.
    Some hives will calm back down if you just stay still for the first flare up and be fine after that.
    If you have chasers give them the two handed clap of applause. a dead bee does not cause trouble. Chasers stir everybody up.
    Do not take the cover off, just slide it over to get one frame out at a time.
    Spray them down with sugar water. Will still fly but not well.

    Two half pieces of ply is easier; tip up do half, tip back and do other half.
    Last edited by Saltybee; 07-06-2019 at 07:03 AM. Reason: Expand Explanation
    It is not true that you cannot teach an old dog new tricks.
    They can learn them, they just can't do them.

  12. #11
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    Default Re: Want to notch 2 deep boxes and make nucs, but canít find the queen

    This hive was a nuc last fall, from a larger hive that didn’t winter over. Neither the nuc nor the dead hive have ever been particularly nice to work. As in any abusive relationship I’ve spent way too much time thinking it was my fault and trying to do better. I’ve seen the light, but I want to get something out of the relationship, like some Nucs.
    I have a new take on your last advice: slide the plywood between the deeps, add a bunch of medium frames with eggs above the top box. Maybe even raise a frame or 2 of brood into the medium. Scrape any queen cells on the deeps.

  13. #12
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    Default Re: Want to notch 2 deep boxes and make nucs, but canít find the queen

    Yeah that is a good plan. Sorry the honeymoon period is over, you tell it well.
    It is not true that you cannot teach an old dog new tricks.
    They can learn them, they just can't do them.

  14. #13
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    Default Re: Want to notch 2 deep boxes and make nucs, but canít find the queen

    This is a very good thread with good information. Meg, I am curious as to what you decide to do.
    Proverbs 16:24

  15. #14
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    Default Re: Want to notch 2 deep boxes and make nucs, but canít find the queen

    Salty "Hot hive tips; Add a ripped up waxed paper drink cup to smoker. Give them a puff and set it down with the smoke drifting over the hive and wait"..

    Are you serious? What do you think that smoke does? Never heard of it?
    "Tradition becomes our security, and when the mind is secure it is in decay".....Krishnamurti

  16. #15
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    Default Re: Want to notch 2 deep boxes and make nucs, but canít find the queen

    Not my idea, if I had a memory I would give credit. Heavy smoke does not just mean a lot of it. Definitely helped with a hive I really did not like going into.

    The original post advised slumgum if I have it right. Roadside trash was handier.
    It is not true that you cannot teach an old dog new tricks.
    They can learn them, they just can't do them.

  17. #16
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    Default Re: Want to notch 2 deep boxes and make nucs, but canít find the queen

    You mean there is actually a use for slumgum? Cool, I have a whole bucket full of it.
    Thankfully, the bees are smarter than I am. They are doing well, in spite of my efforts to help them.

  18. #17
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    Default Re: Want to notch 2 deep boxes and make nucs, but canít find the queen

    Do not want to leave any impression that you will not eventually have to go full Grozzie and find the queen . You do have to get down to the upper brood layer and nurse bees to even start raising QCs.

    I am finding a Jenter type box to be real light weight and handy for parking and moving frames. Screened and just flip the top to close.

    The cups pieces just go on top of the fuel to smolder, it is not the fuel.
    It is not true that you cannot teach an old dog new tricks.
    They can learn them, they just can't do them.

  19. #18
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    Default Re: Want to notch 2 deep boxes and make nucs, but canít find the queen

    I use an extra box, extra frames and a queen excluder.

    Put extra box on ground. Open up hive, and expose the brood nest. Lift brood comb and shake bees off it. Put brood comb in the center of the extra box. Continue until you have 5-6 brood comb. Remove 4-5 pollen and honey frames, shake and add to box on the sides.

    Replace missing frames (or resort and compress the existing comb (10) to free up the existing top box).

    Place queen excluder on the hive, place your constructed box on top. Go have lunch.

    In 1 to 12 hours, all the nurse bees will move up to care for the 6 frames of brood.

    Lift the frames into two nucs. The frame are guaranteed queenless, and are presorted into a balanced split.

    In actual practice, since I run yards with 20 hives, I put the QE and open box on top of a hive I want to "depopulate", and place brood frames pulled off one or two other open hives. The nurse bees run up to care for the brood added to the top of the hive, they don't care the brood is "foreign".

  20. #19
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    Default Re: Want to notch 2 deep boxes and make nucs, but canít find the queen

    So many fun ideas! I need more hives to try all these ideas with. I wonder how to find another yard for some more hives in my mid-sized city.

  21. #20
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    Default Re: Want to notch 2 deep boxes and make nucs, but canít find the queen

    So yesterday I checked the now divided hive. The top, which I primed with notched brood: no queen cells, a nice big frame of eggs, and no visible queen.
    So I, reluctantly, remembering the number of stings I get usually from these bees, opened up the bottom deep and voila! Same situation: no queen cells, no visible queen, some nice new eggs.
    So there are 2 ninja queens in this hive. If I had had the equipment and space ready, I guess I should have just split the two deeps on the spot, but I was intrigued to see where this all leads so I put it back together as one hive.
    And I didn’t get stung.

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