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Discussion Starter #1
I have a package that was installed about three months ago. They rejected the initial queen and were queenless for about 10 days and built no comb, the replacement queen was well accepted. They were bringing pollen in the next morning and they built up comb quickly which she laid in well.

Then she went drone layer and they attempted to supercede here unsuccessfully (maybe used drone larva?). Since then I have donated emerging brood as well as eggs/larva to keep them going. They have a few capped queen cells now, but the one that I found capped a week and a half ago has not emerged. This seems to be a common issue in this hive. I don't know what the deal is, but they seem pretty bad at raising queens.

So they have built and capped some more queen cells, but I have very little confidence that any of the queen cells are viable based on previous performance. It is strange because I put eggs/young larva into the hive... check a few days later. No cells and they haven't even attempted cups. And then another week down the line they'll have started and capped a cell with what I'm assuming is (at that point) a larva that is too old or something?

Anyway. I needed to order a queen for another reason and decided for a few bucks more, why not try to get this hive going? So I ordered two queens. My question is how do I introduce this mated queen to a hive that has queen cells? I'm assuming I should cut all of the queen cells out. So after doing that, should I wait some time before putting the caged queen in for them to release?

Thanks!
 

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After a queen cell is capped for a day or so you shouldn't be in the hive until it's a day or so from hatching as they are quite fragile. I can't tell for sure from your post how often you are in the hive, but it seems quite often. That might be why your hive is so bad at raising queens.
 

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I'd start her in a nuc, then unite. Set the nuc right on top - double screen an inner cover hole. Let the lower try to raise the QC, and let the new queen get settled up above. Struggling colonies have often given me the same sort of problems - rejecting any & all offerings. I've even seen them reject the above - but only very rarely. Wait for the new queen to be laying nicely - a week, or two... then newspaper combine, if the lower hasn't succeeded.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
After a queen cell is capped for a day or so you shouldn't be in the hive until it's a day or so from hatching as they are quite fragile. I can't tell for sure from your post how often you are in the hive, but it seems quite often. That might be why your hive is so bad at raising queens.
Early on more often, but recently we have stayed out of it other than to add some brood periodically to help avoid laying workers and give them eggs to raise queens if they still need one. Even over a week and a half after their QC was found capped it still hasn't emerged (and we didn't open the hive in between). It does not look damaged or otherwise "off". It looks dark and full... but just never emerged?

I'd have to check my notes for the exact timing, but we found a capped queen cell and added some emerging brood that had some fresh eggs on the bar as well. Opened it yesterday to see how things were going and the cell was still capped and sitting there about 12 days after we found it capped, but they had started a few more now too.
 

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@jwcarlson, I think this is your topbar hive, correct? If so, you might find a newspaper combine to be a bit difficult, although not impossible if you use the newspaper as a "follower board" taped down with masking tape, and just put the colonies side by side in your hive. I was able to introduce a mated queen into my queenless nuc (with QC's) very easily last Saturday. Nucs have such a small population of bees, that it is just easier. (I've got a post on the TBH forum if you want to see pictures). Once the queen gets the nuc all laid up with bees and brood, it's easier to integrate that into the full hive. My plan is to leave the combs of full honey in the middle and put the bars with the nuc queen and brood on one end of the TBH box and let the queenless gals on the other end gradually come over and find her. After a week or two, I'll shuffle up the bars so there is only one brood nest (but it is awfully tempting to see if I can run a 2 queen hive to get my population back up)
 

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If your going to introduce a mated queen you need to make sure all of the queen cells have been destroyed before adding the mated queen. Once they start their own cells they are unlikely to accept another queen. I would also check really well for a virgin queen in that hive, if they have made that many queen cells its quite possible they have made a queen. It will take about 2 1/2 weeks after the queen hatches before you will see new eggs.
 

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Discussion Starter #9 (Edited)
If your going to introduce a mated queen you need to make sure all of the queen cells have been destroyed before adding the mated queen. Once they start their own cells they are unlikely to accept another queen. I would also check really well for a virgin queen in that hive, if they have made that many queen cells its quite possible they have made a queen. It will take about 2 1/2 weeks after the queen hatches before you will see new eggs.
Through a complex series of events, it appears that we won't be requeening the hive I was talking about previously. We will basically be starting a couple of nucs with these queens and we'll leave the old hive and see how they end up in about a month or so and consider combining at that time.

That's my main worry, though, is there being a virgin and ending up with two dead queens or something similar.
 
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