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New beekeeper, using what appears to be 20+year old lang equipment. Heavily propolized, hard to get frames in/out.

When doing a split last week, I accidentally smushed three queen cells by simply pulling out frames. I had another, intact queen cell that I used in the split, so that's good, but I would have liked to increase my odds by giving the split more than one queen cell. Any advice/suggestions about how to better handle frames to avoid this destruction in the future?

And along those same lines, is it customary to use 9 frames in a 10 frame deep? That might solve my space issue, but it may create further problems. Thoughts?

Thanks very much
RMH
 

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you need 10 frames in a 10 frame box ( 11 if thin frames) for the brood nest. Start with one on the edge, it is most likely honey, remove it and set it out. then slide your other frames over 1 at a time to pull and inspect.
 

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Where were the queen cells? If they were on the bottom of the frame chances are they are swarm cells. If there were four cells on the face of the frame that speaks to a dead or damaged queen. Like the man said, always pull an outside frame and odds are you won't pinch a queen or a cell. I run 11 frames in my brood nest.
 

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All were at the bottom of frames. It seems like they were built in the space between the frames, and when I pulled the frames out I tore the cell apart. Very sad.

I did find another queen cell (capped) smack dab in the middle of frame #7 in the bottom deep. My amateur conclusion: supersedure cell. The bees must be thinking about a change. I completed the split (one full deep, one full medium, one empty medium), closed up both hives, and plan to check both hives in three weeks or so.

Thanks for the feedback, Harley and Vance.
RMH
 

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I would wager your bees are getting ready to swarm with cells on the bottom of the frame. Personally I would find the queen and pull her and a couple frames of bees and brood and leave a cell for the bees to raise a queen from. Give them lots of room so they can store the 100 pounds of honey that it takes them to raise a brood cycle
 

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Tearing young cells on natural comb is common. Sometimes they will bridge and brace cells which makes the situation unavoidable. this is why folks graft when producing queens.

As far as propolis, just scrap it off. I always remove atleast 1 if not 2 end combs. Usually 1 is empty.

Im with Vance on the other topic, if the hive is big with alot of open comb prepare for honey if on a flow. I timed a few hives this year for locust, and turned out to be very productive. The rate at which they put away honey vs a queenright hive massive.
 
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