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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I wintered my hive successfully last winter and am now in my 2nd season with my bees. Already got 60lbs of honey and decided to split so I took a medium brood box off my big hive (it had a deep brood and 2 medium broods) and a deep bottom box with 4 frames of brood/resources from the big hive. Found my queen, kept her with the main hive, no queen or queen cells in split. Bought a local mated queen and put her in. They covered her pretty quick but I could brush them off so I covered them up and checked Sunday, 3 1/2 days later. They hadn’t really touched the release candy and to my shock I found an end frame with brood and 10 capped queen cells. Changed my pants and made another nuc up with the QC frame, and 3 more frames of brood/nectar and fed a pollen patty as well. Checked again today and still no release of queen so I figured I’d let her out in case she wasn’t getting fed. They balled her immediately and she must have taken a few stings because she’s basically dead. Curled up and twitching legs though she can crawl a bit but not really well. Also 2 new capped queen cells in the split hive. So I guess I shouldn’t have released her? Feel pretty stupid right now but also have a dilemma. My split hive with the 2 qc’s is fine to leave to let them sort out. They’ll hatch and nature will take its course. The nuc with 10 Queen cells is uncharted territory for me. They’re all on one frame and it’s plastic foundation so I can’t really cut them out. I guess I could cull all but 2 or 3 and let them raise another naturally, probably the best course. Just hate to ruin so many potentially good queens. Lessons...
 

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Sorry the math must be off somewhere as they can't go from no queen cells to capped queen cells in 3-4 days... Were those 10 capped cells found in the parent hive or the first split? You still have queen in the main hive, right?
10 cells in the nuc seems excessive, but I doubt they will swarm. Not much you can do about them now, I doubt there is an easy way to separate them if they are all on the same frame.
As for the killed queen- perhaps (based on your capped cells there) they have already started making queens when you introduced the cage? As I said the timeline is not very clear, queen cells don't just pop up and get capped overnight...
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Yes, you’re correct, it takes 8 days to get a capped QC from egg so I must have missed them. Only 2 in the split hive. I could have swore I checked the whole split box for cups/cells but I obviously missed some. I’m not worried about a swarm since both splits are queenless. May explain why the introduced queen was rejected.
The 10 were found in the first split which came from the parent hive so they must have been started in the main hive.
 

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Are there atleast 3-5 frames filled with bees in each hive/split? If so I would just leave the queen cells alone and let the hives sort out the queens.

I suspect the bees may have decided they were raising a queen or replacing a failed one and decided to kill the new one. At this point there is not much you can do about it, other than write if off as a painful learning experience.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks for all your replies, I really appreciate them. Yes both splits have at least 4 frames of brood with additional pollen and nectar frames. I agree, I missed some cells and they’d already had chosen their path. I think they’ll manage to undo my errors on their own but yes, a good lesson.
 

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Get used to it. It won't be the last time you make a mistake. In my 4th year and I still sometimes forget the basics. The only difference now is I stopped beating myself up over it because it all seems to work out at the end.
I do want to make you aware that while it may be less likely, virgin queens do lead swarms. Virgin cast or after swarms can decimate a colony. I would cull all but 2 of the best looking cells. J
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Good to know, the split with the 10 queen cells is only 4 medium frames of bees/brood/resources so I'm not really worried about that one swarming. The split the introduced queen was rejected from only has 2 queen cells, but could swarm I guess, it's got a decent amount of frames/bees in it (full medium brood on top of a deep brood but only a bit of brood in it, mostly nectar/pollen and empty frames to build on). I'm also running 8 frame hives.
I may try and gently cut out a bunch of cells, my one neighbor would be grateful for another hive starter. Seems like 10 is too many to leave in but I don't want to over cook this either and do more harm than good.
 

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Aylett, VA 10-frame double deep Langstroth
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Sorry the math must be off somewhere as they can't go from no queen cells to capped queen cells in 3-4 days... the timeline is not very clear, queen cells don't just pop up and get capped overnight...
Says who? I sold a nuc Sunday and retained a a piece of new comb that was only partially drawn, but had some eggs and small larvae on it. Checked it yesterday, that would be day three post split, and one queen cell is already capped. Started to pour down rain so I did not have a chance to destroy it. Six others were at the proper stage of development. I will be culling it today when I get home. I'll take four of the remaining cells this weekend and place them in the incubator or make additional splits.

Just to clear, a queen cell capped early is most likely an intercaste queen and should be destroyed before she has a chance to emerge and kill the good queens that have not emerged yet.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Well the two queen cells in the split I'd introduced the new mated queen to definitely weren't there on Friday but those are the only queen cells I saw in that split so I'll leave them to hatch out. The small split with the many queen cells I'm unsure of what to do. Cull down to 2-3 of the largest cells? Leaving 10 to hatch seems like it could get messy and send a small swarm. There aren't many bees in there relative to the other 2 hives.
 
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