Beesource Beekeeping Forums banner

first split ever, delayed queen addition. Questions

1689 Views 8 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  SpeckledPup
I split a hive on Monday, and took 3 deep frames of mixed brood, and two frames of mixed brood/resources. I ordered a VSH queen, and I received the queen a day later than I anticipated and installed her 48 hours after the initial split. I didn't have time to go frame by frame in the queenless colony to check for queen cells, because it started pouring the rain. However I did get halfway through. Yesterday, (5days) I went back in to remove the cage, and finish my inspection. I found one emergency queen cell, but did not destroy it. I didn't find the new queen on the combs during the second inspection (but I didn't look too hard either)

Obviously they started the queen rearing process while they were queenless. Did I make a mistake by not destroying the queen cell? Will the workers destroy the queen cell, or is swarm imminent with my new queen? What would you do?
1 - 9 of 9 Posts
Personally, I would let the bees figure it out. I wouldn't go into the hive for at least two more weeks, if not 3. But...that is just one opinion.
You paid good money for the genetics of the queen you purchased, so I would not let the bees decide.

Not uncommon for me to have trouble spotting a newly installed queen sometimes as they are often a little skittish in their new surroundings. I would look again.

Upon finding her, I'd destroy any viable queen cells in the hive. In what stage was the cell that you spotted? Sounds like it was too soon for a capped cell but they would be capping it over the next few days.

An option would be to pull the frame with the queen cell and use it in another split if you have additional resources to add. Otherwise, cut the cell out and go with your investment.

Check for eggs a few days before the cell is to hatch, then destroy it if you find the queen/eggs.
JRG13 I thought about doing just that, but my concern was that if I let them raise the new queen that far along, that my VSH queen might swarm and leave me queenless. But there are two of you agreeing that destroying the queen cell is the right thing to do. Waynesgarden, would checking for new eggs and larva be just as good as spotting the new queen? Most likely by now the queen cell is capped (larva 3 days old, 8 days to cap, thanks Bushfarms)

Also, Waynesgarden, my bee resources are kind of slim I could probably only come up with one more frame of brood. I'm not sure that is enough for a split this late in the season in SE Kentucky.
Your bee math is correct for the queen cell. You will have a little over a week before it hatches,

What's not certain is when the new queen was ultimately released from her cage. You split on Monday, installed the queen on Wednesday and it could take two or three days for workers to eat through the candy to free her. Queens don't always start laying immediately so it may be a few days or more after that before you see eggs and three days more before you see the smallest larvae. If you see eggs or young larvae and don't see the queen, she is there playing hide and seek with you.

Wouldn't bother with an additional split without sufficient brood and stores to support it. Goodbye queen cell.

I wouldn't think your split is in swarm mode so wouldn't worry about waiting a few days if necessary to find the queen (or evidence of her presence.) I believe what you saw was an emergency cell, started when the hive realized it was queenless. I'm guessing they didn't get your memo about the new queen being delayed?

See less See more
Ok. I'll thourougly check the hive for the new queen. Upon finding her, or finding evidence of her, i'll remove the queen cells. If i don't find the queen, i'll leave it and hope for the best. Either way, I think after all of this messing with them its a good idea to leave the alone for a while.
Inspected the hive again today, this time clear weather and patience. I found new eggs from the queen, and the workers had torn down the queen cell. Good news, and issue resolved. Thanks forum -or really the bees-

You've learned the lesson many others have learned
To wait till you have queens in hand to make your splits. I have read enough on this forum to know that good laid plans don't always happen when we depend on shipping.

3 things can happen, probably lots more but what I can think of off the top of my head
1 supplier doesn't ship when they said they would
2 shipping company takes longer then normal to deliver (had this happen this year)
3 queens get to hot or cold and dies

Glad your hive figured it out.
1 - 9 of 9 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.