When to check for laying queen after split?
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  1. #1
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    Aug 2013
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    carney, maryland, USA
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    Default When to check for laying queen after split?

    On March 26 I split my hive, taking the queen and some frames of stores and frames of capped brood to a new hive a few feet away from the mother hive. In the queenless hive I left behind about 4 or 5 frames which had a mixture of capped brood, open brood and eggs.

    I would guess that the queen probably hatched around April 12; it is now 12 days since then. I am wondering how long to wait before checking to see if the new queen is laying. I am looking at around day 35 since the split, which by my math is April 30. I would appreciate opinions on whether this is long enough to allow the new queen to settle in and be accepted by this colony.

    Phil

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2019
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    Bellflower,Montgomery County, Mo
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    Default Re: When to check for laying queen after split?

    Philip

    Go to thebeeyard.org. Go to Queen Rearing Calendar. Insert the day of the split as the graft date.

    As it happens I did a split on that date also. You are a little off on your hatch date. I thought the same way and the reason we were off is the workers pick an egg that was laid 3 days earlier. This puts the queen hatch date on the 7th not the 12th. The queen goes on mating flights on the 12th and 13th. The calendar suggests to check for eggs on 4/25 and check for larvae on 4/30. Tomorrow it's supposed to rain here so I'll wait until Sunday to check for eggs then next Thursday for larvae.

    Good luck to you!

  4. #3
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    Plumas County, California, USA
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    Default Re: When to check for laying queen after split?

    I've always heard to wait about two weeks after emergence of the queen. Longer if you can or if weather was bad around mating flight time. It's all about giving the queen a chance to get down to business.
    Year 4
    Zone 7b 3500 ft.

  5. #4
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    Default Re: When to check for laying queen after split?

    Thanks, Jim and CConnell, for your responses.

    The weather here has been cool with a lot of rainy days. The next reasonably warm day is this coming Tuesday, the 28th. That's 2-1/2 to 3 weeks after the likely hatch. Actually because of the large number of bees in that colony and multiple frames with queen cells, I did a 2-fer, putting four frames, one with a queen cell into a mating nuc. I will report what I see then.

    Phil

  6. #5
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    Oct 2016
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    Albany NY
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    Default

    I don't know how cool your cool and rainy has been but consider splitting later. Early splits use up the brood and nurse potential for about a month. If you split later that potential has already been realized and you can make 2x the splits. In addition mating is best done on warm sunny days. Plan your splits when mating is most likely to be most successful. Sometimes a colony swarms early and we are "forced" to split early. But it is far more economical to split as late in swarm season as possible.... I look forward to hearing how yours are doing this week. I don't check for eggs unless I have another cell or vq to put in (ie I need the space for a new placement). Not sure of a Good reason to check for larvae if you already checked for eggs. There is a Good reason to check for capped brood, especially early in the season. If she did not get mated she will lay only drones. So for a small holder no need to look until you expect capped brood or need the mating nuc for the next round. Good luck.

  7. #6
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    Mar 2015
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    Ocala, Florida, USA
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    Default Re: When to check for laying queen after split?

    We split then wait 28 days before checking for eggs.

  8. #7
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    Mar 2015
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    St Louis, Missouri, USA
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    Default Re: When to check for laying queen after split?

    Quote Originally Posted by Barhopper View Post
    We split then wait 28 days before checking for eggs.
    Same thing here. And if I don't see signs of the queen after 28 days, I'll move a new frame of eggs into the split and check again a week later. The new eggs are there to either give the bees more queen-building material to start to the process again, or to at least try to keep them from turning into a laying worker colony while I get it figured out.

  9. #8
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    Default Re: When to check for laying queen after split?

    Quote Originally Posted by Amibusiness View Post
    I don't know how cool your cool and rainy has been but consider splitting later. Early splits use up the brood and nurse potential for about a month. If you split later that potential has already been realized and you can make 2x the splits. In addition mating is best done on warm sunny days. Plan your splits when mating is most likely to be most successful.
    You are right Amibusiness. When I did the split on March 26, the weather was ABOVE average, in the high 60's and low 70's. I was fooled by the weather, there were lots of drones running around, so I figured that 2 or 3 weeks from then (when the queen would emerge) her mating flight would be under nice conditions and everyone would be happy. During the past 10 days, we have been in the low-to-mid-50's, or there would be an all-day rain. I should have waited until late May or later if I wanted to split. Now I have 2 queenless groups.

    Lesson learned (maybe).

  10. #9
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    Oct 2016
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    Albany NY
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    Default

    In my opinion it is fine to leave them long enough that you are sure she's not mated or she is lost (bird food?). Unless you have a cell to place. It is possible that she gets mated enough to start and they supersede her or you pinch the drone layer and reunite them with a qr colony.... Good luck!

  11. #10
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    Default Re: When to check for laying queen after split?

    Quote Originally Posted by Amibusiness View Post
    In my opinion it is fine to leave them long enough that you are sure she's not mated or she is lost (bird food?). Unless you have a cell to place. It is possible that she gets mated enough to start and they supersede her or you pinch the drone layer and reunite them with a qr colony.... Good luck!
    On the larger of the 2-fer I added a frame from the queen-right part of the split on Saturday. The frame has about 10% stores, 50% capped brood, 20% eggs; the remainder is open brood of various ages.

    The bees from the other smaller queenless split will be added back to one or the other colonies.

    As you pointed out continuing to pull from healthy frames good queen-right colonies at this time of year is likely not a winning strategy. If this doesn't work out I will wait until the end of May or mid-June when the nectar flow is near the end here before resuming splitting activity.

  12. #11
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    Nov 2019
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    Bellflower,Montgomery County, Mo
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    Default Re: When to check for laying queen after split?

    Philip.devos

    I posted that we had both split on the same day. I just thought I'd update on what happened to my split. First the reason I wanted to split this colony was they have always been aggressive. So, I bought 8 virgin queens from a queen breeder here in Missouri. I got 8 because that's how many frames of brood there were. On the day I broke the colony down it was sunny and 65 F. While I was doing the splitting I had left the queens on the passenger seat and they were in the sun. So I put a towel over the top of them. Big mistake! When I was finally ready a few hours later I went to get them and all but one of them were dead. Since I had just pinched the queen I took that queen and put her in a 2 frame nuc and closed her up. The rest of the frames I put in 2 5 frame nucs. There were enough eggs that surely they could make queen cells for me. Only 1 did and it made 2 queen cells on an outside frame against the wall. When I removed that frame I broke open those 2 cells and killed both capped queens. Well, could anything else go wrong. I put the 2 nucs together and left a space in the middle that I put a foundationless frame in to let them draw out new wax. They did but they put drone cells in there and filled it with drone eggs, lots of them. So, when I went to my 2 frame nuc the virgin had gotten bred and laid a few eggs that they made into capped queen cells that I moved into the 10 frame recombined box. Hopefully they will requeen the box and salvage all of my many mistakes. As usual the learning curve is steep and hard for me. At first I didn't want to share my embarrassment with others on here but after I read what others have done I felt OK about that.

    Like you, I'm going to wait until the end of May or June to try and make another smaller queen grafting attempt on a smaller basis.

  13. #12
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    Default Re: When to check for laying queen after split?

    @Jim Braun: You remind me of me.

    I am down to 2 queen-right colonies, one colony I know is queenless, and 2 I am hopeful will each make a queen. The one queenless colony I plan to combine to one of the "hopeful" colonies. The weather here has been less than ideal, as there have been many rainy days, or cool days, with one nice flying day followed by the repeat of the cool/rainy stuff, not exactly ideal for a mating flight.

    I am finished pulling frames out of my one strong colony; whatever happens to the "hopeful" colonies happens. No more throwing good money after bad.

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