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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So I've got some questions, not sure if this is the best place to ask.

So doing my spring maintenance, I'm trying to work on placing all these queen cups in their own separate Nucs...wondering if there's a better way.

What extra gear would you recommend I get so I can more effectively transfer these cups when I see them?
I see there's some stuff like this cell protector. Do I cut out the queen cup and put it inside this plastic cage, then press into a frame on my split nucs? is that preferred?
https://www.mannlakeltd.com/push-in-cell-protectors-100-ct

Any other tips for a backyard beek to implement to more effectively raise a split and queen cup? I'm not interested in doing a full on queen rearing process.

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Is your comb wax foundation or plastic? Cells are difficult and sometimes impossible to cut off plastic foundation without irreparable damage. Getting them accepted is accepted is where the cell protector could come into play.
 

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I would suggest that you start simply and slowly.
Start with a "artificial swarm" by making a small split of the old queen and three frames of brood with stores with plenty of bees because the foragers will return to the original hive.
Do this when you start to see queen cups - before the queen has laid an egg in them.
The advantage is you leave a strong colony to make a replacement queen and also make more honey.
Try to stay ahead of the bees, once you have capped queen cells it is too late.
The bees may often swarm very soon after the first queen cell is capped.
If so leave them one or two and take out/destroy the rest to minimize additional swarms with virgins.

Also there is a language/terminology that make it easier for us to understand each other.
A queen cup is empty in preparation in case the bees need it.
Once she has laid an egg in it it is a queen cell and they are intent on swarming or raising a new queen.
 

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all right.... so you seem aggressive,but still seeking info good!!
by the look of things your hive has swarmed, the old queen usually leaves about the time the cells are capped, if she hasn't put her in a nuc.

Most people will just make the splits by the frame, any frame with a cell ends up in it own nuc, not caging or cutting etc
if you have several hives and a lot of resources, and you not on plastic you can cut out the cells and place them in a matching cut on a different frame https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nP42nLfjq0Y

here is my "lemonade" recipe for dealing with a swarmed hive on plastic foundation
start with making some small push-in cages form #8 wire mesh https://www.michiganbees.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/Queen-Introduction-Cage_20120715.pdf
Cage the cells you can


when the virgins emerge spray them with a little water so the dont fly and drop them in a freshly started mini
https://www.beesource.com/forums/showthread.php?360603-2-foam-mini-mating-nuc
with a cup of bees and a cup of syrup and place them dark and cool for 3 days, after flying has stopped on the 3rd day you can place them in the same yard and open them up
2 weeks (or so, its bees) later they will be laying and you will have a good piture of what you have for resorces to make splits
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
all right.... so you seem aggressive,but still seeking info good!!
by the look of things your hive has swarmed, the old queen usually leaves about the time the cells are capped, if she hasn't put her in a nuc.
Yes and no. I had 5 hives and found 4 queens. It appears the 5th hive did swarm. All 5 hives had multiple capped queen cells. I pulled the 4 remaining queens to separate boxes and placed them in another location, dumping several cups of nurse bees in each queen/split along with 4 frames (ish).

The remaining frames with queen cups were then placed in boxes all at the original location. See attached picture. All these boxes are queenless, each with multiple queen cups in it.
Just trying to make lemonade here. All I had were normal boxes and frames. Not really set up to suddenly need 8 nucs. I guess I need to build a queen castle.
MVIMG_20200326_121721.jpg

Is your comb wax foundation or plastic? Cells are difficult and sometimes impossible to cut off plastic foundation without irreparable damage. Getting them accepted is accepted is where the cell protector could come into play.
I have a mix of both. maybe half and half. I understand what you mean though.


If so leave them one or two and take out/destroy the rest to minimize additional swarms with virgins.
some of the frames had 4 or 5 capped queen cells on them. I thought the first queen out goes and kills the remaining developing queen cells. Its possible to have multiple queens hatch out and then swarm away?
 

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surfer349,

With that number of bee hives you are ready to move on to making your own queen. You may want to buy or build some nucs. I see you have a plastic nuc already.

Ruthie, who posts on here posted a link from her web site to a great seminar/class that she probably set up. Dr. Sean Kenny gave the class and it was one day. She broke it up into 11 parts. If you just go through part 1 to part 6 you will have all the skills and confidence to try your hand at making your own queens. If not, there are still other ways that you can do that. By the way there are other ways to get where you want to go. Also you need to find another space to keep your bees, you've out grown that space. I keep mine at or near cattle growers pastures or hay fields. I'm on a borrowed computer so I can't link you directly.

Go to youtube. Hampton Roads Beekeepers. Backyard Queen Rearing. She just posted it this year. I'm not very fast at hand writing so I paused often and wrote down his whole power point presentation.

If that seems beyond you just look at the queen rearing section here for this year and you may get all the help you need.

Good Luck
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Great advice. I don't know about officially raising queens. It looks complicated and more effort than I have time for. Who knows?

**update, see pics**

Anyway, here's a quick update....So I stepped outside 2 days ago and noticed a swarm balling up in a nearby tree. I quickly grabbed it and shook into a deep box w/ queen excluder, brought it back to bee yard to figure out what to do. I couldn't tell which hive it came from and weather's been rainy so I didn't want to open everything up to inspect. While assessing, I noticed one of my split hives was looking weird....tons of bees outside and fanning...not really bearding/washboarding looking: so I opened it up.

[reminder, this was a split I made from the original posting. I made 8 queenless splits, each with a bunch of queen cells.]
Immediately, I found an unmarked queen walking around. I thought: awesome, it must have hatched recently. As I went to get a clip to mark her, I found another, and another, and another. I started noticing the cut open circles of many of the cups. I quickly made some make-shift cages and maxed out my queen clips. Even on frames that I checked and put in a different box, I found more queens over the next 60 minutes as they must have just been hatching out. Long story short, I caged 9 queens, found 1 dead one, and there were still several more capped queen cells. I put them back in over night to give me time to figure out what to do.

I made two boxes of 2-frame mating nucs w/ scrap plywood in my garage. They aren't pretty, they aren't airtight, but they'll do for now.

Next day, I opened it back up to find 7 queens still alive (2 died over night), and one more fresh, soft, wobbly queen walking around free. I was able to get 6 queens into transfer cages and sold them to a local for $10/each and then placed 2 queens (marked) in the mating nucs w/ frames of brood. I imagine there are a dozen more queens in the remaining 7 split boxes, but weather's been bad and I haven't been able to get into them.

IMG_20200406_144626.jpg IMG_20200405_165139.jpg IMG_20200406_134745.jpg

surfer349,

With that number of bee hives you are ready to move on to making your own queen. You may want to buy or build some nucs. I see you have a plastic nuc already.

Ruthie, who posts on here posted a link from her web site to a great seminar/class that she probably set up. Dr. Sean Kenny gave the class and it was one day. She broke it up into 11 parts. If you just go through part 1 to part 6 you will have all the skills and confidence to try your hand at making your own queens. If not, there are still other ways that you can do that. By the way there are other ways to get where you want to go. Also you need to find another space to keep your bees, you've out grown that space. I keep mine at or near cattle growers pastures or hay fields. I'm on a borrowed computer so I can't link you directly.

Go to youtube. Hampton Roads Beekeepers. Backyard Queen Rearing. She just posted it this year. I'm not very fast at hand writing so I paused often and wrote down his whole power point presentation.

If that seems beyond you just look at the queen rearing section here for this year and you may get all the help you need.

Good Luck
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
surfer349,

With that number of bee hives you are ready to move on to making your own queen. You may want to buy or build some nucs. I see you have a plastic nuc already.
Great advice. I don't know about officially raising queens. It looks complicated and more effort than I have time for. Who knows?

**update, see pics**

Anyway, here's a quick update....So I stepped outside 2 days ago and noticed a swarm balling up in a nearby tree. I quickly grabbed it and shook into a deep box w/ queen excluder, brought it back to bee yard to figure out what to do. I couldn't tell which hive it came from and weather's been rainy so I didn't want to open everything up to inspect. While assessing, I noticed one of my split hives was looking weird....tons of bees outside and fanning...not really bearding/washboarding looking: so I opened it up.

[reminder, this was a split I made from the original posting. I made 8 queenless splits, each with a bunch of queen cells.]
Immediately, I found an unmarked queen walking around. I thought: awesome, it must have hatched recently. As I went to get a clip to mark her, I found another, and another, and another. I started noticing the cut open circles of many of the cups. I quickly made some make-shift cages and maxed out my queen clips. Even on frames that I checked and put in a different box, I found more queens over the next 60 minutes as they must have just been hatching out. Long story short, I caged 9 queens, found 1 dead one, and there were still several more capped queen cells. I put them back in over night to give me time to figure out what to do.

I made two boxes of 2-frame mating nucs w/ scrap plywood in my garage. They aren't pretty, they aren't airtight, but they'll do for now.

Next day, I opened it back up to find 7 queens still alive (2 died over night), and one more fresh, soft, wobbly queen walking around free. I was able to get 6 queens into transfer cages and sold them to a local for $10/each and then placed 2 queens (marked) in the mating nucs w/ frames of brood. I imagine there are a dozen more queens in the remaining 7 split boxes, but weather's been bad and I haven't been able to get into them.

IMG_20200406_134745.jpg IMG_20200405_165139.jpg IMG_20200406_144626.jpg
 

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a fast $120!!!
This is why I suggested caging cells, keeps a lot of resources from being wasted
 
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