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Hi all!

Looking for some advice on next steps. I have two hives each in two, 10 frame deeps. My strong hive has a juggernaut queen that lays eggs on anything that's not fast enough to get out of her way. Both hives are in the top boxes and even the "cursed" hive has a decent amount of bees.

Here is a little background:

I installed two packages last year (my first year beekeeping) and one hive did really well (meaning required very little management), the other....not so much

It started out with a poorly mated queen, layed well for a week or two and then became spotty with drones mixed all over. They superceded and all was well for a short period of time until spotty brood and drones scattered all over again. I then bought a queen (marked) towards the end of summer, she laid well and the hive looked good going into winter. Of course this whole time my strong hive is propping up the weaker one with frames of brood....

So fast forward to about a month ago, and I open both hives and low and behold my "strong" hive is looking good with brood starting to fill the top box. Queen looks great, she looks even better then what I recalled of her in early fall. Then to the "cursed hive"...no sign of the queen, spotty drone brood, a few scattered eggs (some on top of pollen), decent amount of bees. So I assumed I had a laying worker hive. Ove three weeks I put a frame of open brood in the hive hoping to suppress the laying worker and possibly make a queen. I added the third frame on Sunday then added a queen I had purchased on Tuesday (4/8). Checked the hive today and no sign of the queen, cage was empty and no eggs. I did find two queen cells, one capped and one not quite but with a larvae inside.

I did start a small nuc on Wed (I had ordered two queens). The queen is still in the cage, but it hasn't been released yet.

Now...here's my dilemma.

I had hoped to get some honey this year and eventually split to add another hive or two. I've been pulling from the strong hive which has basically kept it from really taking off (they are still in the top deep, with around 7 frames of brood now). The nectar flow here should kick off in earnest pretty soon.

So at this point what would be your next step? Combine with the strong hive? Let the strong hive build up and let the queen cells in the "cursed" hive hatch out? Sacrifice a bucket of KFC?

At this point I'm open to just about anything! Thanks in advance
 

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Sounds like the introduced queen did not make it but bees in these situations can do weird things like building queen cells etc so it may be just a tad soon to say definitely the introduced queen did not make it. Could leave it another week then check for eggs (properly laid ones of course).

If it has not worked out, me, I would combine it with the nuc, to end up with two good hives. But I'd let the nuc settle down with it's introduced queen for a couple of weeks before doing this. Which would also give plenty of time to ensure your "cursed hive" is definitely queenless.

Got to say also that in this situation you have quite a few options, not only the one I suggested, so other people will likely have other ideas & just choose the one that suits you best.
 

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I feel your pain. One of my hives was like that last year. Requeened three times before I decided to let the bees sort it out. I added a frame of eggs from my strong hive every week for a month. It was august before a had a laying queen. I probably should have combined, but I was stubborn enough to let them be and they barely filled a single deep last year by season end. Kept feeding them and low and behold, this year, the queen has ramped it up. Filled out a second deep 80% so far and I may super this hive in a week or so.

My advice, for whatever its worth, is to keep giving them a frame with eggs from the booming hive and let the bees sort out who they want as queen. After spending money on a series of "great" bred queens, it seems like the bees decide in the end anyway.

Good luck
 

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Your situation sounds exactly like my first two hives. I did what MsBeHaven did and they sorted themselves out. I've given up on bought queens. It did take about 4 months, though. Good luck!
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thank you very much for the replies. Misery always loves company!

Here's an update -

I found the caged queen that I put in there on Tuesday. There was an unusual amount of bees around the entrance to the hive so I walked out to see what what they were doing. Most were coming and going but there were quite a few milling about. I looked up under the hive to check through the SBB and I noticed a a LOT of bees around the bottom of the frames and a cluster (about a handful) of bees on the bottom of the SBB. This is a bit unusual for me this time of year, so I blow on them a bit to get them moving around and I see her majesty running around among them. One of her wings was kind of in an odd position out away from her body and she's not the greatest specimen, but it was her alright. So I picked her off and put her at the entrance and she ran in.

So I guess they ran her out? The bees under there weren't attacking her or anything. She was just moving through them pretty normally. Maybe I just consigned her to another round of vicious beatings...

Regardless, I'm pretty much in agreement at this point regarding store bought queens. I'll check them again this weekend when the weather improves and see what things look like.

I'm inclined to let the "curse" run it's course at this point I think. See if this previously banished queen makes it, and if not see if they'll requeen using eggs from the strong hive. Worst case, I'll combine with the nuc once it get's up and going I guess.

Unless of course there is something I'm missing?

THx
 

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With apologies to all the queen breeders/shippers out there, in my very personal and limited experience, bought queens don't do well. My cursed hive from last year went through 3 of them. Another hive went through 2. I now have 4 hives- all looking good, and two captured wild swarms. A third swarm in still in my neighbors tree, but I'm hoping my bait hive looks good to it before the cold comes again.

Like I said, I've now let the bees raise their own queen. $200 in queens plus shipping and none of them were accepted. My weak hive from last year was bad. No laying queen until August. But after going through a hundred pounds of sugar syrup keeping them alive, I wasn't about to kill that late queen after the hive finally had a queen they liked. This year that new queen in doing great. If you keep giving them eggs, you can avoid they dreaded laying worker and you have all spring/summer for them to find a queen they like.

Good luck
 

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$200 in queens plus shipping and none of them were accepted.
Ouch.

A laying worker is no big deal if you have more then one hive. Just dump it. It is no match for a healthy colony it will make it stronger and then you can split it.
 

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With apologies to all the queen breeders/shippers out there, in my very personal and limited experience, bought queens don't do well. My cursed hive from last year went through 3 of them. Another hive went through 2. I now have 4 hives- all looking good, and two captured wild swarms. A third swarm in still in my neighbors tree, but I'm hoping my bait hive looks good to it before the cold comes again.

Like I said, I've now let the bees raise their own queen. $200 in queens plus shipping and none of them were accepted. My weak hive from last year was bad. No laying queen until August. But after going through a hundred pounds of sugar syrup keeping them alive, I wasn't about to kill that late queen after the hive finally had a queen they liked. This year that new queen in doing great. If you keep giving them eggs, you can avoid they dreaded laying worker and you have all spring/summer for them to find a queen they like.

Good luck
How often and at what frequency did you put in frames with capped brood, open brood and eggs before the hive built Queen cells?

I ask as gave a Queenless hive,package and nuc each a frame as described above on fir and so far no sign of Queen cells. I have never looked for QC before but am thinking they should be noticeable from regular brood cells.
 

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Time to change your queen supplier. After about a total of 400 queens from Strachen, we finally had one fail to be accepted/or died.

I would share eggs to the point that each hive has the same eggs/bees ratio.

Crazy Roland
 

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Made very sure hive was queenless. No eggs, only scattered brood on one or two frames. Would wait 10 days or so (it was a new package) to confirm no eggs. When I got the queen, I'd uncork the end and hang the cage. Gave hive a frame of eggs/ brood from strong hive and then let them release the queen. Would check after 4 days queen was out of cage, but otherwise left them alone. A week after release, I'd check again. No queen cells, no eggs, only now capped brood from strong frame. Would add another frame brood/eggs and not check again for a week. One or two queen cells from new introduced frame, but no eggs. Two days later, would introduce another queen. Repeat. And again.

Got queens from three different places (four if you include the packaged queen). Nada. Finally decided in July to just give frame of eggs once a week from another hive. After 3 weeks they had built several queen cells of various ages. When I finally opened the hive in August and saw eggs that I did not introduce was a day of joy. Thought about combining in Sept, but after all that work, I decided to just feed. That hive certainly took its time about accepting a queen and I wasn't about to lose her then. I'm sure someone could find many of my posts from last year lamenting this hive.

As I said, very limited experience- but this hive just wasn't happy with my bought queens.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
How often and at what frequency did you put in frames with capped brood, open brood and eggs before the hive built Queen cells?

I ask as gave a Queenless hive,package and nuc each a frame as described above on fir and so far no sign of Queen cells. I have never looked for QC before but am thinking they should be noticeable from regular brood cells.
WBVC - I gave them one frame each week for 3 weeks and it wasn't until after I added the third frame that I found queen cells. They are pretty distinct but can be slightly difficult to find depending on where they are built, especially if there are bees covering it. Just be sure to look thoroughly and if they are there I'm sure you'll find it.

My hive had laying workers coming out of winter, if you are just queenless I'd think you'd get cells sooner then I did.

THx
 

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I'm inclined to let the "curse" run it's course at this point I think.

And surprisingly this is often the most effective method for a problem hive to work out it's issues or end up getting culled for bad stock.

What you saw on the bottom board was likely the queen getting balled and the ball dropping to the bottom board. This is an indication of queen who has been accepted but perhaps manipulated to soon after introduction. All you describe has little to do with your queen supplier and as Oldtimer pointed out, having a hive properly condition to accept a queen.
 

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I'm inclined to let the "curse" run it's course at this point I think.

And surprisingly this is often the most effective method for a problem hive to work out it's issues or end up getting culled for bad stock.

What you saw on the bottom board was likely the queen getting balled and the ball dropping to the bottom board. This is an indication of queen who has been accepted but perhaps manipulated to soon after introduction. All you describe has little to do with your queen supplier and as Oldtimer pointed out, having a hive properly condition to accept a queen.
Oh, I can't say I blame the queen supplier. I'm sure I'm as much to blame as anyone. I probably should have just put the queen in and waited a week to ten days before I opened it but I was curious...

Seems logical that my inspection stirred things up a bit too much.
 

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OK, Oldtimer is right, but part of using Strachen is following their instructions. They are very explicit on what you are to do before adding the queen. Maybe their queens smell better too.

Crazy Roland
 

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OK, Oldtimer is right, but part of using Strachen is following their instructions. They are very explicit on what you are to do before adding the queen. Maybe their queens smell better too.

Crazy Roland
What do they instruct one should do before adding the Queen?
 
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