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My brother has a hive of bees that were caught out of a tree about five years ago. They have lasted this long without requeening or any treatments ever. He lives about 1-1/2 hours drive from me. I would really like to get a start from those bees here at my home. What would be the best way to do that? It probably depends on what he would be willing to do, but I was thinking either a split in April where I buy half of the supers with brood and honey, and pollen from him, or pulling frames of brood, eggs, and larva and doing a combine with some package bees bought from a supplier. Any thoughts?
 

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Search Walk Away Split. Build a nuc. Have him give you a frame of fresh eggs, couple of brood, a honey and pollen frame. Shake some nurse bees in the nuc. Take it home and keep them feed well. Check in a week or so and see if they are building queen cells. If they are I would probably just let them bee except for adding feed. In a little less than 30 days if all go’s well a new queen will emerge.
 

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IMO you should leave the split at your brother's until the queen is laying. My reasoning is that since a queen does not live 5 years, it must have requeened itself from either swarming or supercedure. Those succesive queens must have mated with drones that must be mostly from hives that do not need treatment. You (I assume) do not know that about the drones the queen will mate with where you live. Let the new queen mate with known good drones from the start.
 

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>Let the new queen mate with known good drones from the start.

Yeah, I would do the same thing, good point, probably have a better chance of getting good genetics at the original yard, then once you have a laying queen in your half of the split, then take it home.
 

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If I do the 5 frame nuc split. Assuming the bees raise their own queen how long before it would be ready to go to a 10 frame hive and bring home.
As soon as the new queen starts laying, you know she's mated. Take the new colony home, and expand them to 10 frame as they grow. Then next year work out a deal to get another split from that feral hive, and breed the new queen there, before taking that one home. Then you'll have TWO colonies with those genetics, and ought to be able to make your own splits at home. Thus in 2012 by doing this, you'll have FOUR of those great colonies at home! Ain't life wonderful?? :gh:
Regards,
Steven
 
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