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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Need some advice folks. This is my second spring as a beek. No survivors from last year. Checked on my two packages this afternoon and pretty sure one is queenless. Seems many have drifted to other hive as there is only about one frame of bees left. They are not drawing comb and there is no evidence of queen activity. Other hive seems to be doing pretty well, but there is one frame in that hive that has about 10 capped queen cells on it. What are my options here? Should I requeen the one hive? Can I put Queen cells in queenless hive? Combine? Do nothing? Thanks for any input you can provide.
 

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I would hate running with one queen and would go from that outlook. I would reverse the positions of the two hives and put the QC frame in the relocated weak one.
How is the brood coming in the stronger hive? Capping worker cells?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
There is some capped brood but of course it is on the frame with the QC. I guess I should have mentioned these are medium boxes. Could I cut out part of the comb with a QC and place it in the queenless hive, leaving the capped brood in the stronger hive? I don't want to screw with them so much I jeopardize both colonies.
 

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Makes sense. Hard part with capped cells is you do not know the age so you do not know when the very delicate "do not handle roughly" stage is, or when the already hatched day has passed.
I would be easy on myself, move the whole frame, let the queen hatch, kill the other queens and then move the brood frame back. Say five days. A little mickey mouse but yes, the good hive is the priority.

So much easier when one hive is not half your bees.
 

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Should have asked before. Hive with QCs still has queen? See eggs?
 

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Local feral survivors in eight frame medium boxes.
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Put a frame of queen cells in the queenless hive. Are they the same age queen cells or different ages? Have you been feeding constantly? If they are staggered in age and you've been feeding constantly, then they are about to swarm. I'd split them as well (as bad an idea as it is, it's hard to change their mind on swarming).
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
When I checked the hives it was on my lunch break so I didn't spend a great deal of time in them. I have been feeding constantly with sugar syrup and some capped honey I saved from a deadout. Almost no syrup taken by weak hive. The other has taken very little syrup, maybe half a quart. I didn't see a queen or eggs in either hive. The hive with QC had larva, capped workers, and capped drones. They are still drawing comb, the weak one is not. The queens were released on May 10, so the new queens should emerge around the 26th, correct? Most of the capped QC seem to be of the same age. I guess I need to take a peek again this weekend and see if I can find any eggs? If there are eggs in the stronger hive then I could move the QC to the weak hive. If no eggs then I just let things take their course, or I risk making that hive queenless. I think that is the way to go based on some of the archived threads I read last night.
 

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Tough spot. Released on the 10th capped by the 21st. They started QCs pretty quickly. Next step is how many bees left to cover brood. If you have not lost many I would reverse location and cut out cells. Two chances at a good queen. Right now you may not have any good queen. Many LWs possibly in the package is my bad thought. Catching the field bees in the weak hive might give that hive a better chance of leaving possible LWs behind. Michael, am I just being paranoid?

Cut well away from cell and layout path of any wires.
 

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Salty Bee, how would you catch the field bees?
 

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Field bees will return to the location, not to the hive. When you switch the hive locations the field bees will join the weaker hive. It will become strong enough to support the queen and brood.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Salty Bee, how long would you leave the hives reversed? Wouldn't the nurse bees on the QC frame along with the capped brood give the weaker hive a sufficient boost?
 

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Not if it is down to mostly 1 frame already. Some of the bees on that frame will go back to the original spot, always do. Variations on the basic idea are to move both hives a little or move one half way to the old spot. Depends on how many you want to move, eyeball thing. Really is a simple effective method of balancing out the numbers again.
I would leave the hives reversed until they requeen.
 

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A single frame has more surface area than multiple frames, warm bees against cold frame on both sides.

PS; QCs on the bottom of frames hatch out less often than middle and top, especially when single frames are moved. Try to keep some upper cells in both hives. Place the cutouts in the upper 2 inches of frame.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Thanks for all the input. Going to be real nice here tomorrow so I plan to pop the tops and inspect them again before deciding what to do. I guess the only thing I know for sure is that I am learning something!
 
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