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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Per recommendations, I put a brood frame in with my captured swarm. Five days later, they were building queen cells, and by the 9th day, there were several capped Qcells which I'm figuring could emerge this weekend.

I may be able to get a Russian queen, but not until next Wednesday night. It would be easy to move the single brood frame with Qcells to its own nuc and make the swarm queenless again. Obviously I would need to move the brood frame *before* any of the virgins emerge, so it would have to be in the next day or so.

How long can the swarm remain queenless? They're in a 10 frame deep with pulled comb and have been filling it with nectar/pollen. Will they stay there even tho there's no brood frame? I didn't want to put another in because they've been so quick to make new Qcells. Would giving them another frame make them more likely to reject the new queen?
 

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My hive was queenless from the beginning of March to the middle of May. I added helper frames (of brood and eggs) hoping they'd make a queen. They tried and failed, tried and failed. Finally bought a queen and they are now back up and running.

Obviously there are a lot fewer bees now than in March, but the hive was never mean or jumpy due to queenlessness. If it weren't for the lack of new brood, you'd never know they were queenless.

One upside - the queen has lots of places to lay eggs now! :)
 

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I believe that I have a hive that has been queenless for about 3 weeks. I noticed that alot of the bees were listless and were resting on the landing board doing nothing, so I finally checked and sure enough there is no queen. Yes, these bees were fairly aggressive. Once I get my marking pen, I will be providing them a marked queen in order to turn the hive queenright again. and she'll have alot of laying space too.
 

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I agree with Michael. The frame of larva you gave them, did it come from good stock? Why not let them finish making their own queen? It would be much less disruptive to hive moral if you just let them finish what they've started now, I would think. By the time you ordered a queen and got her introduced and laying, this hive would have a queen laying of their own so not much difference in brood production downtime.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
The frame of brood came from my prolific little Cordovan queen. The problem was when I grabbed the frame, I wasn't concerned about the age of the existing brood/eggs. When I saw the Qcells, I was afraid they might have made some emergency queens using older larvae. They're some pitiful looking Q cells, but I left them alone.

Now after watching Don's YouTube video on harvesting Qcells, mine don't look so bad. In my newbie panic, I was looking for nice, fat, perfectly constructed Qcells, when these little misshapen things may be just fine. So I'm going to take a deep breath and leave the girls alone for a while. New queen should be emerging any time now, and there was more capped brood, so they should be fine for a while.

So check back in about 3 weeks to see what's going on? Anything other suggestions? They've got a couple frames of nectar/honey, and I'm still feeding just in case.
 

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> I was afraid they might have made some emergency queens using older larvae

http://www.bushfarms.com/beesqueenrearing.htm#emergencyqueensquote

"It has been stated by a number of beekeepers who should know better (including myself) that the bees are in such a hurry to rear a queen that they choose larvae too old for best results. later observation has shown the fallacy of this statement and has convinced me that bees do the very best that can be done under existing circumstances.
"The inferior queens caused by using the emergency method is because the bees cannot tear down the tough cells in the old combs lined with cocoons. The result is that the bees fill the worker cells with bee milk floating the larvae out the opening of the cells, then they build a little queen cell pointing downward. The larvae cannot eat the bee milk back in the bottom of the cells with the result that they are not well fed. However, if the colony is strong in bees, are well fed and have new combs, they can rear the best of queens. And please note-- they will never make such a blunder as choosing larvae too old."--Jay Smith, Better Queens

"If it were true, as formerly believed, that queenless bees are in such haste to rear a queen that they will select a larva too old for the purpose, then it would hardly do to wait even nine days. A queen is matured in fifteen days from the time the egg is laid, and is fed throughout her larval lifetime on the same food that is given to a worker-larva during the first three days of its larval existence. So a worker-larva more than three days old, or more than six days from the laying of the egg would be too old for a good queen. If, now, the bees should select a larva more than three days old, the queen would emerge in less than nine days. I think no one has ever known this to occur. Bees do not prefer too old larvae. As a matter of fact bees do not use such poor judgment as to select larvae too old when larvae sufficiently young are present, as I have proven by direct experiment and many observations."--Fifty Years Among the Bees, C.C. Miller
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks, Michael. I'll just trust the girls know what they're doing. I took a peek into the feed super this morning, and they're still hard at work. I guess time will tell. Who knows? One of them may turn out to be a SuperQueen.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
As of yesterday, Q cells have been taken down. Not sure what's happening as this is when they should have been emerging. Still 3 cups started right along the bottom of the frame but these look empty. No hinged lids, no evidence there were ever any Q cells at all.

About 10% of capped brood still to emerge, and shiny polished cells where they already have. LOTS of bees, and they did seem a lot calmer than the last time I went in there. Still have the feed bucket on although they are taking very little right now. Moved 3 full nectar frames to the sides of the box as they're not feeding baby brood right now.

I'm already planning to split the Cordovan hive this Thursday, so I may just throw in another frame of younger brood & eggs (if I can see any) from there. Couldn't hurt, right Michael?
 
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