I caught a swarm about a month ago. I hived them in a 10-frame, SBB Lang on foundation. The queen is laying a nicer pattern than any of the 5 nucs I bought this year with about 4 frames of open and sealed brood. I've never reared any queens before, let alone grafted, except for an occasional queen cell on a frame transferred to its own nuc. I'd like to use a version of the Hopkins Method to try my hand at queen rearing.
I took a few, 10-frame screen-bottomed deeps, and converted them into 4 x 2-frame queen castles for mating nucs. Interestingly, when I made the Hopkins shim, I found it fit around the outermost division boards nice and snug. Then by removing the center division board I now have a nice central bee-tight 5-framed nuc, flanked by a 2-frame nuc on each side. Dumb luck, not planned.
If I take a frame of a nectar/pollen and a frame with a little open and capped brood along with the queen and put them in one of the flanking 2-frame nucs; and keep the frame with the most eggs for placing flat on the shim; and crowd down the rest of the colony into the central 5-frame nuc beneath the flat-lying frame with the most eggs, and feed everyone 1:1 sugar syrup;
1) Do you think this will work to produce some queen cells?
2) Do I need to eliminate a ring of eggs/larva leaving an intact central cell to give the bees more room to build queen cells? If so how many should I eliminate?
3) Should I check in 4-5 days and eliminate any capped cells or cut them out for early use?
4) After I collect whatever queen cells are produced, do you think I can repeat the process by switching the original queen cell production frame with one from the flanking 2-frame queen-right nuc?
5) Should I shake more "foreign" nurse bees into the central 5-frame nuc?
6) When we're done with 2 rounds of queen cells, and I remove the Hopkins shim and all the division boards will the nurse bees likely re-accept the queen?
7) Any other tips?