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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
About three weeks ago I took a frame of brood with the queen and put it in my indoor observation hive. The remaining frames I put on an existing hive, and used the newspaper method to combine them.

We had a few cold nights since then, and I decided to check on them today. I went through the top box, expecting to see little activity, and I found a few broken supercedure queen cells. I kept looking and I found a small queen in the upper box. The lower box also had a few broken queen cells, and two cells still intact. I wasn't able to find a single egg in either box, but I was able to find a handful of capped worker brood (no drone brood), but not much (I'm thinking it was left over brood from the former queen).

I was ecpecting to see the two colonies merge, but instead I"m thinking that the queenless hive attacked and killed the queen in the established hive, then started to raise their own queen. Problem is, there arn't any drone brood in the area (although there are a few feral hives). I know they didn't swarm, it's too early for that around here.

Do you think the small queen was a virgin queen? Where do you think I can go from here? Add a frame of eggs from a different hive and hope for the best? Or just sit back and watch what happens?
 

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My inclination would be to reintroduce the queen that's now in the observation hive, back to the hive. Seems like you're in danger of losing that colony.
 

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It is way too late now but if you had left the queenless hive queenless a couple/few days, they may have done better in the combining process.
How many hives do you have to pull brood from?
Over three weeks all the eggs have hatched and developed while the queen cells also matured.
How long can a virgin queen remain virgin and in control of a real big hive?
Sorry - no easy answers to this one :scratch:
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
A local beek has told me they have drones in his area, so he is sure they exist in my area. I just havn't seen any in my hives. So she might not be a virgin, not too sure. I'll recheck in a week and see if there are any eggs.

I have two other hives that I can comfortably pull brood from.
 

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If your guess is right, I'd let them go.

If you reintroduce the queen, they could do her in and then you're done.

If the hive fails, you can then move your observation colony into the empty hive and since its fully draw I expect they will build fast and give you a harvest.

Later you could do a queen-less split into your observation hive and watch them raise a new one.
 

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I'd slip a frame or two of eggs and larva without any bees into the problem hive and give the new queen a week or so like you said. There are plenty of nurse bees in there and eggs and larva may help keep them on track in a homey mood! If in a week there are no queen cells built on the new frames, that would be a good sign that the hive is queenright and things will work out.
This queen may be a candidate for replacement during the summer though.
 
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