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Discussion Starter #1
Hi, All! Last year I gave my 7 split hives to a local beek. Apparently he was too busy to maintain them so only 3 survived the winter.
I got them back now and combined them all into a barrel bee hive. One hive has many drones with small amount of worker bees and
I cannot find the queen but knowing she is there somewhere. There are 12 frames total with eggs, larvae, pollen and honey after
combining the 3 hives together.
I put 1 queen into a small plastic queen cage but did not find the other 2 queens. My question is will they be fine or should I go in and
cage the other queen also? I'm not sure if the 2 remaining queens will kill each others or not. What should I do with the caged queen?
It is still cold and raining now for the next 2 days so I put a small electric heat pad on top of these frames with an attic insulation sheet
in between all inside of the barrel. The heat is at a medium level. The inside air temp. is around upper 80s lower 90s. They should be warm
and cozy with a laying queen from last Fall. Still not sure with the caged queen.
 

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I would just let the be and keep an eye on them. If they have a laying queen in the spring then good. If not then give them a frame with eggs, or do a cut down split on one of your other hives and give them the queen and a frame of brood.

Maybe use the caged queen to make a split using frame from your other hive. You can alway use her later.
 

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Thanks much for all the good tips. The barrel hive is now 3 hives combined together. I just caged the mean Italian mixed Carniolan queen. It took me almost half an hour to catch her. The other 2 queens still inside the barrel hive along with the worker bees. They are the Italian queen bees. For some reason the mixed ones are the meanest bees. Right now I only have one big barrel hive with 12 frames total. It can hold up to 21 standard langs. medium frames. The only problem from last year's experience was the worker bees will seal up the
small plastic holes and not feed the caged queen. She will die when that happens like last year with another queen bee. Is there a better
way to save all the caged queens and release them in the Spring time? Of course, I don't want all the queens to die then I am in big trouble with so
many worker bees in there now. If they sealed up the queen cage then The last time I checked the hive temp. was 110F on high heat then I adjusted the temp to medium level but still the temp. was 102F. So now I adjust it down to low at 1 level heat only. I'll continue to monitor the inside hive temp. so they don't get too hot on these rainy days. We'll see what is a comfortable temp. for them later on. I am thinking at 85F should be good for them to over winter with. Going to be another 2 days before I can check on this hive again. They should be reorienting to their new location by then on a warm sunny day next week.
 
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