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So I made a nuc by taking the queen bee from a booming hive along with a couple of frames that were heavy with eggs, and uncapped/uncapped brood, plus a frame of honey and pollen.

The main hive is still going strong. I broke up the brood nest last month to prevent swarming and I must have done a good job because I only saw a few empty queen cells while removing the frames for the nuc. I assume that the worker bees will make a new queen from one of the many open brood cells in the main hive. I would like to harvest a few capped queen cells for use in a mating nuc that I recently built. Since I recently took their queen, I want to leave them alone as long as possible so they can do their thing without disturbance. The question is, how long to I have to wait before I go back in the hive to look for capped queen cells? Looking at some queen bee life cycle charts; it looks like I should wait about 2 weeks. Does this about sound right?
 

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Don't wait two weeks ! Correct timing is the time it takes for the workers to CAP a queen cell. Based upon normal times the bees will start with a newly hatched larva - usually this is at the 3 day mark. Then they continue till day 8 and cap the cell. So on day 9 of the cycle which is normally 6 days after you made them queenless you should find capped queen cells in your hive. Go in then check to see how many you have. CULL out the ones you need by day 14 of the cycle as timing can vary on the cells by up to a day at times.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
So if I made the split/nuc last Saturday, I need to start looking for capped cells this coming Saturday, and collect what I need over the following week (next week)?
 

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Sounds about right to me. I did the same this past saturday. Made a split - no queen - let them raise their own. This coming saturday I plan to get into the NUC, see how many capped queen cells there are available. Then Next WED the 14th I will check them quickly again to make sure of how many are still there (sometimes they die off and the workers will remove them) and make my mating nuc's up using a couple frames of brood/bees from other hives. Giving them a queen cell each and making sure they have only capped brood and older uncapped that cannot be used to form a queen. This ensures that the workers won't go to laying, and the queen has enough time to get out, mate up, and start brooding the box up.
 

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ALSO - you want to leave a couple queen cells in the NUC when you are done to ensure your NUC get's what they need.
 

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I'm no expert but I do see some potential issues with the advice offered so far, hopefully the more experienced advisors will jump in and help you. That said, here's my two cents fwiw.

There is no need, other than curiosity, to check or count cells this Saturday. The cells are particularly fragile the first couple days after capping which should be Thursday in your case. Looking in requires pulling frames, a risky move, for no real purpose that could cost you dearly. If your schedule and the weather window looks favorable, it would be better to wait 10 days (next Tuesday) to make the move. This puts you within 48 hours of emergence, she's almost ready. As to worrying about eggs or larvae on the frames you move, it's a non issue if you made them queenless 10 days ago, all brood will be capped.

This calendar is very helpful, plug Saturday 5/2 in as your graft day and you should be safe. http://www.thebeeyard.org/queen-rearing-calendar/

Good luck, hope the outcome is good. BTW - I'm a day ahead of you, pulled the queen on Friday. Dying to look in but I'm not touching it till Monday.
 

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>I broke up the brood nest last month to prevent swarming and I must have done a good job because I only saw a few empty queen cells while removing the frames for the nuc.

I'm not clear on this. If you broke up the brood nest to prevent swarming why do you consider empty queen cells a good sign? I would assume they swarmed...

> I assume that the worker bees will make a new queen from one of the many open brood cells in the main hive.

If they are queenless, yes.

> I would like to harvest a few capped queen cells for use in a mating nuc that I recently built. Since I recently took their queen, I want to leave them alone as long as possible so they can do their thing without disturbance. The question is, how long to I have to wait before I go back in the hive to look for capped queen cells?

I would setup your mating nucs nine days after you made them queenless and put the cells in 10 days after you made them queenless. The queens will emerge two days later.

> Looking at some queen bee life cycle charts; it looks like I should wait about 2 weeks. Does this about sound right?

No. It is not at all right. When you made them queenless they would start with a four day old larvae (just hatched today and laid 4 days ago). Four days after that it will be capped (it was laid 8 days before). 12 days after you made them queenless the queens will emerge (16 days after the egg was laid). If you wait two weeks from when they were queenless (18 days since the egg was laid), all of them but one will be dead and a virgin will be loose in the hive.

http://www.bushfarms.com/beesmath.htm
 

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What happens if the frame you give the Queenless hive has eggs that have not hatched yet? Do you assume some have hatched or do assume that day 1 of your Queen Cell cycle is 3-4 days after you put in the eggs? Hope this isn't a silly question but when you are talking 4-5 days from starting the QC to capping it and another 8 days to emerging with a "sensitive" period between capping and emerging it is not a very large window where one can safely assess them.
I moved frames with eggs on Monday so am also wondering when it is best/safest to check and assess.

Thanks
 

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I'm no expert but I do see some potential issues with the advice offered so far, hopefully the more experienced advisors will jump in and help you. That said, here's my two cents fwiw.

There is no need, other than curiosity, to check or count cells this Saturday. The cells are particularly fragile the first couple days after capping which should be Thursday in your case. Looking in requires pulling frames, a risky move, for no real purpose that could cost you dearly. If your schedule and the weather window looks favorable, it would be better to wait 10 days (next Tuesday) to make the move. This puts you within 48 hours of emergence, she's almost ready. As to worrying about eggs or larvae on the frames you move, it's a non issue if you made them queenless 10 days ago, all brood will be capped.

This calendar is very helpful, plug Saturday 5/2 in as your graft day and you should be safe. http://www.thebeeyard.org/queen-rearing-calendar/

Good luck, hope the outcome is good. BTW - I'm a day ahead of you, pulled the queen on Friday. Dying to look in but I'm not touching it till Monday.
This link he's giving you will be the handiest thing for raising queens. I have it bookmarked and use it all the time.
The day you make them queen less is grafting day.
It will tell you what day of the week to check. What days to not check, what day to harvest and when to throw in the towel.
It's common but not written in stone for me to see eggs a few days before they say. Everything else will be real close.
 

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>What happens if the frame you give the Queenless hive has eggs that have not hatched yet? Do you assume some have hatched

Yes.

>or do assume that day 1 of your Queen Cell cycle is 3-4 days after you put in the eggs?

No. That will lead to disaster if you hope to salvage more than one queen.

>Hope this isn't a silly question but when you are talking 4-5 days from starting the QC to capping it and another 8 days to emerging with a "sensitive" period between capping and emerging it is not a very large window where one can safely assess them.

It is not a large window. Made queenless the bees will have a queen in 12 days, but she usually won't be laying for another two weeks after... I think it's a common mistake to think it will take 16 days to get a queen and she will immediately be laying. This leads to a lot of wrong assumptions...
 

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Discussion Starter #12
>I broke up the brood nest last month to prevent swarming and I must have done a good job because I only saw a few empty queen cells while removing the frames for the nuc.

I'm not clear on this. If you broke up the brood nest to prevent swarming why do you consider empty queen cells a good sign? I would assume they swarmed...
I marked the queen a month ago. She has a burnt orange / umber abdomen that is quite noticeable (that’s how I have been usually able to find her before I decided to mark her), so I am pretty sure that she is the same queen that I had last summer.

So that raises a couple of other questions.

With the weather as cold and rainy as it has been until just recently, I figured that they had not swarmed prior to opening the brood nest last month. You are about 200 miles directly north of me and I assume the weather has been similar. Was there a lot of swarming going on last month? Did I wait too long?

It seems that I always see a few queen cups on the bottom of my frames. I always thought that they were old cups that had been used in prior seasons (I just leave them there and don’t scrape them off), or queen cups that were built this year, but not used yet. So how far in advance do the bees build queen cups before the queen lays an egg in them? If there are some left from last year, does the queen immediately lay in them?

Maybe it wasn’t my old queen. Anyway the hive has been and continues to be booming, so either way I think I am OK.

Thanks
 

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Discussion Starter #13
This calendar is very helpful, plug Saturday 5/2 in as your graft day and you should be safe. http://www.thebeeyard.org/queen-rearing-calendar/

Good luck, hope the outcome is good. BTW - I'm a day ahead of you, pulled the queen on Friday. Dying to look in but I'm not touching it till Monday.

I have been reading up on queen raising, but I am still very confused about the grafting technique. I just figured that going with a mating nuc would be easier for me (I only need a couple of queens per year). When I took the queen out of the main hive, there were no sealed queen cells that were sealed. I figured that the worker bees would use the open larva to raise new queens. So the day that I stole the queen is the “date that I grafted” according to the calculator on the website that you gave?
 

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I have been reading up on queen raising, but I am still very confused about the grafting technique. I just figured that going with a mating nuc would be easier for me (I only need a couple of queens per year). When I took the queen out of the main hive, there were no sealed queen cells that were sealed. I figured that the worker bees would use the open larva to raise new queens. So the day that I stole the queen is the “date that I grafted” according to the calculator on the website that you gave?
Correct, graft day is the day you made them queenless. I don't graft either, the bees will select the appropriate aged larvae that you would graft if you did. Looking at my original reply I see that I made a mistake on the 5/2... Saturday was 5/3
 
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