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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Three deep hive, tons of bees and a marked 2012 queen that's gone missing. There are seven supercedure cells: five on one frame, two on another, all CAPPED. I don't see any eggs or larvae, only capped drone brood on drone frames, and capped worked brood in small patches, and around the edges of large areas of emerged workers. There are a few drones flying in my area, but not many. Some are just beginning to graft in my region, but it's early here in Northern Washington state. Should I make a split with one frame of cells, leave the other? Or, leave them all? Learning curve getting steep again :)
 

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Seven is probably emergency cells. How many hives do you have or want? If others are grafting you should be good. Myself it would be 3 splits, 3 chances and you can always put them back together.
 

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For a 2012 queen to be replaced in 2014 is not necessarily "early".

However I agree with Saltybees post. 7 cells, and this time of year, does not sound like a planned supersedure, it is emergency cells, or the hive is about to or has just swarmed. When were you last in the hive? about the time the queen would have disappeared? Could have accidentally squished it.

Go ahead and make as many splits as you wish, bear in mind you may not get 100% mating success so make more splits than you want, if you get too many queens you can always pinch the worst later & recombine.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Early only in time of season/temps. Should the splits be even in terms of bees and stores? Does one leave a couple of cells on the large hive and make smaller nucs with the remainder? Last in the hive about two weeks ago. Thanks.
 

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Last in hive about 2 weeks ago, is the likely explanation.

The splits do not all have to be the same size make them any way you like. Just, bear in mind that a lot of the bees will drift back to the original hive so don't leave many bees in the original hive and put too many in the splits. Also keep the entrances for the splits tiny, one or two bees wide so they will not get robbed. After a week the bees in the splits will have got older and started guard duty so you can open the entrances a bit then.

Other thing, if they built queen cells because the queen was killed 2 weeks ago those cells will be hatching any time you will have to make the splits ASAP. When you do it, have a close look at each cell to ensure it has not already hatched.
 

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heck i would just split that hive 3 or 4 way. like oldtimer said...make sure the split in the mother position has less bees due to the foragers.

!!!!! MAKE LEMONADE !!!!!!
 

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yes, pull 5 of the 7 cells ASAP. and make mini nucs to let the queens hatch out. Hopefully 1 of the 7 will get mated successfully. A capped queen cell doesn't take much resources. I pulled 2 of my 3 capped queen cells and put them inside the house (for warmer temps) in 2 hives to get all 3 to hatch out. You can actually do mini nucs with a covered flower pot and 2 cups of bees. I think you can probably google it and see what I'm referring to. And if by chance you end up with way too many queens, please donate them to another needy beekeeper. I've been trying to get a good queen since Feb 24 when mine decided to try a supersedure.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks to all for your quick responses, as I have to work the rest of the week until Sunday, and the capped cells give me a certain sense of urgency! While splitting, I found 2 more capped cells-ended up 4 on one frame, 5 on another. Interestingly, wax near the cells on one frame was chewed to the Ritecell foundation, I assume to build the queen cells, something I had not seen yet. There are lots of cups along bottom of frames (I've learned to leave those) with no eggs or jelly: definitely seems as if I rolled her at some point. Now, my concern is how much production I may lose. This was my best honey producer last year. They have until blackberry flow in June to make numbers, and were putting up surplus maple nectar in outside deep frames, something I have not seen outside of the brood area the first two springs. Thanks again. Spring has become so much more interesting!
 
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