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Discussion Starter #1
All,

Six days ago I created a walk-away split from a strong over wintered hive. I transferred four medium frames which contained capped broad, eggs, pollen, and some honey. I shook in what I though were sufficient nurse bees and moved the split about 150 yards away. I added four addition frames of drawn comb, put 1:1 sugar/water mix on the hive, and reduced the entrance.

I'm not seeing any flying/foraging activity at all. I quickly popped the top yesterday and there are bees on the four frames in the center.

The temps were in the low 70s to middle 60's during the day and in the 50's at night, but now we are experiencing rain and possibly a below freezing temp tonight.

I'm wondering if the lack of external activity means this split will fail or that too many of the nurse bees returned to the original hive? The original hive continues to thrive from what I can see. Obviously my timing weather wise wasn't great either.

So now what do you all recommend? Leave it alone for a few more weeks, recombine it with the original hive and try again later, continue to feed sugar water, or something else?

This is our third year with bees, but it has been a bit of a struggle year to year; not unexpected I know.

Thanks i advance,
Lou
 

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You should be fine. The only ones that fly are the foragers. Your new hive is full of nurse bees that will keep the brood warm. The foragers all went back to the original hive. Over the next week you will see more flying as the nurse bees age into foragers.

Throw some 1:1 on and check for queen cells Sunday since you are letting them make a queen. If there are cells, leave 'em alone until the same day as your split next month. Ex, split 5/5 look for eggs & brood 6/5.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Steve,

Thanks for the reply. I did put some more 1:1 on today and I will keep an eye open for queen cells.

Lou
 

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You may or may not have enough bees in there to make a "decent" queen. If however you do end up with a laying queen you may need to supplement them with a frame or 2 of emerging brood to boost their numbers once the queen starts laying. Make sure you have PLENTY of honey and pollen in there and might want to consider a feeder. Next time if you're only going to take a few frames worth of bees put the old queen in with them. Leave the big hive to build queen cells. Or even easier find a local beek you can buy some queen cells from. Colonies low in numbers just don't have what it takes to make the best queens possible. Let this split ride just be aware the resulting queen might have a fairly high likelihood of being superceded at a young age. Best of luck though and the only way you're going to get good at this stuff is by diving in and doing it mistakes and all. Stick with it and the bees will reward you in the end.
 

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With a strong overwintered hive I always prefer to take the queen out of the strong hive and put her in the split and let the hive make the new queen. This takes care of the problem of not having enough bees to make a quality queen and stops any thoughts of the hive wanting to swarm for a couple months. No worries about cold and the old hive can still produce a pretty good honey crop. If old hive fails to produce a new laying queen, just put the old queen back in the hive.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thank you both; next time I'll try moving the queen with the split. I have been feeding 1:1 syrup since I made the split, so we'll see how this goes in about three more weeks.

VT - we used to live in Fairfax, VT; I miss it, but I don't miss those long winters :)
 
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