Beesource Beekeeping Forums banner

1 - 13 of 13 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,227 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
As the title describes. I have a great queen and the hive has made some swarm cells. The odd thing is that there are a few that are attached to each other. I'd like to use these for some splits but I don't know of a good way to separate them or cage them. Any ideas?
Thanks
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,098 Posts
Your probably better off just using the two cells in the same split. Sometimes you can take a sharp knife and separate them but, you also run the risk of messing them both up. It really depends on just how close together they are. You have to make the decision of one queen in your hand or take the risk to try and separate them and make two.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,794 Posts
I have gotten very good at separating them but has taken a lot of queen cells to be able to see exactly where the cell is in all that comb. usually there is enough space to cut between them but you have to figure out exactly where that space is. Otherwise I sacrifice one to preserve the other.
 

·
Vendor
Local feral survivors in eight frame medium boxes.
Joined
·
54,094 Posts
I don't even try anymore. I just take the whole frame with the cells on it and put it in the split. If you have three, and a really sharp knife and they are ten days from the emergency that caused them (papery and brown on the tip) you could sacrifice the middle one to separate the outside ones.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,227 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
I don't even try anymore. I just take the whole frame with the cells on it and put it in the split. If you have three, and a really sharp knife and they are ten days from the emergency that caused them (papery and brown on the tip) you could sacrifice the middle one to separate the outside ones.

Thanks for the tip. I'm wondering how fragile the pupae would be at 9-10 days after hatching? All I've read suggest the pupae are going to die if they are tipped over 20* or bumped? This is the main concern for me. If I had any brains I would have culled the cells that were too close after 3 days while they were still open.
 

·
Vendor
Local feral survivors in eight frame medium boxes.
Joined
·
54,094 Posts
>Thanks for the tip. I'm wondering how fragile the pupae would be at 9-10 days after hatching?

I try to be as gentle as I can, but even a dropped cell has very seldom resulted in wing problems. Culling them at 3 days sounds good, but the wax is soft like putty at that point and you may damage all three...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,227 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
What about taking swarm cells naturally started and planting them on a cell bar and placing this cell bar into a jammed finishing hive? I know it might be the same as leaving them be but if one was to take a large area of the comb surrounding the cells and put them into another hive they could be more manageable than if left where they were? I have a hive now with a fine Russian queen and today I looked at this hive and it has some open queen cells. I'd love to nab them if this is feasible.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,794 Posts
Having spent the last few weeks removing some 280 natural cells from my hives i can say this.
1. it takes a tremendous amount of time. Not worth it in comparison to time it takes to set up a cell builder and graft.

2. survival rate once moved is very bad. I am running 32% losses of cells simply due to having been moved. either got handled to rough which is easy to do or it was to chilly or who knows what.

3. allowing any colony to cap a cell results in that hive swarming. Remove the queens to get the bees to start making queen cells. I would then leave them until they have been capped a few days before attempting to remove them. knowing how old they are is almost impossible.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,227 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
That's a lot of trial and error. 280 tried with poor results is a validation IMO.
I'm confused about the third statement. You must be talking about the hive that started the Queen cells yes? Otherwise any finishing hive will swarm? I've read that hives that start queen swarm or supercedure cells will swarm capped or otherwise. I've recently had a hive swarm that I thought I got to all the swarm cells. I guess I missed one or more because I looked yesterday and no eggs and I saw a couple of hatched queen cells and a puny little queen running around, likely a virgin. From now on if I want to stop a hive from leaving with a queen I like I'll split it with the Queen into a 5 frame nuclear which is easier to monitor. Then I'll decide to use swarm cells for other splits or whatever. Seems easier to find the Queen than to find every swarm cell in a double deep. In a crowded hive I've found that queen cells can get hidden among the bees in the corners of the comb. Removing all the bees isn't something I'm interested in doing.
 

·
Vendor
Local feral survivors in eight frame medium boxes.
Joined
·
54,094 Posts
After trying to salvage every queen cell and failing most of the time, I started just using any frame that has queen cells as a unit and not trying to separate anything. That frame goes in its own nuc with a frame of honey and I expect one queen out of it. Unless it's on foundationless with no wires, Then I can sometimes cut them free without damage (being very careful). But a cluster I don't try to separate....
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,794 Posts
That's a lot of trial and error. 280 tried with poor results is a validation IMO.
I'm confused about the third statement. You must be talking about the hive that started the Queen cells yes? Otherwise any finishing hive will swarm? I've read that hives that start queen swarm or supercedure cells will swarm capped or otherwise. I've recently had a hive swarm that I thought I got to all the swarm cells. I guess I missed one or more because I looked yesterday and no eggs and I saw a couple of hatched queen cells and a puny little queen running around, likely a virgin. From now on if I want to stop a hive from leaving with a queen I like I'll split it with the Queen into a 5 frame nuclear which is easier to monitor. Then I'll decide to use swarm cells for other splits or whatever. Seems easier to find the Queen than to find every swarm cell in a double deep. In a crowded hive I've found that queen cells can get hidden among the bees in the corners of the comb. Removing all the bees isn't something I'm interested in doing.
Understand that 280 cells was the results of making 6 colonies queenless at one time. 3 one day and 3, 5 days later. SO this was a one time idea of how to get cells made.

As for the third statement. at first I allowed the bees to start their first queen cells. this required looking into the hive far to often in order to find the cells before they where capped. not finding them soon enough resulted in two of our queens swarming. They where the last two that where given the opportunity. the remainder of our hives I made queenless at my choosing. Being queenless during swarm period gave them both the population to rear cells as well as the emergency impulse to do so. One hive alone made 55 cells.

Yes a cell can be overlooked. We missed one in all of our searching. we later found boxes that should have been hopelessly queenless had reared a new queen.

I agree with Micheal. either just move the frame, carefully, or don't bother.

to meet my projections of 250 cells resulting in 125 mated queens. we will need to get nearly all of the reaming cells to emerge and then have nearly 100% success at matings.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,227 Posts
Discussion Starter #12
I opened this hive yesterday and saw uncapped brood, eggs etc. I guess this swarm had a queen size after all although I couldn't find it even after putting the bees through an excluder. It was a long arduous task. I need to find this queen. The Queen cells that the swarm started on a frame of brood I installed when I have this swarm were destroyed by the bees??? Maybe it was a virgin or newly mated queen that came with the swarm because there is no way the swarm could have a laying queen in 10 days from brood I put in that had no queen cells on it. It is not a laying worker. The majority of these bees are small and the coloration is different than any others I have now. The workers are a red/orange Brite color so I'm dying to see what the Queen looks like. They are also super gentle.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,773 Posts
A neat little trick - use two small push-in cages to isolate the queen cells, sacrificing the middle one, or every other one if they are clustered. Let them hatch, release them one at a time into different mating nucs.

They need to be placed so they cannot sting eachother. Also, mark the frames so you can quickly check them, or put the frame into a nuc and mark the nuc.

Form these cages out of #8 hardware cloth around something (a dowel, a pipe, a PVC tube, etc.) the size of your thumb, cutting the bottom off to leave as much wire pointing down as possible (~1 whole square). Make sure there is room for them to hatch. Some frame and/or comb surgery may be in order. This should get DanielY somewhat busy....:D



Daniel - Congrats! Nice learning curve.

Challenger - Sometimes a virgin or a newly-mated queen drifts into your Cell Starter or Cell Finisher colony. Most any queen will sting the queen cells, and the house bees will tear them down. Entry blockers made of excluder have been suggested and used to prevent this.
 
1 - 13 of 13 Posts
Top