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kill all my queens in production hives for maximum production? Why not? I've read that 2 weeks before the main flow you can pinch the queen and this frees up the nurse bees to become more field bees. Also skipping a brood cycle helps with mites. If I don't want anymore bees why not just kill all my queens in production hives and maybe keep a couple extra emergency queens in some nuts as a back up plan. Use these if a hive fails to requeen itself. Why doesn't everyone do this that had enough bees and only wants honey?
 

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Well, the only thing I'd mention is that queens surviving nuptials and becoming functioning laying queens are roughly a 70% proposition. So you might need some backup queens for any hive that fails to get a successfully mated replacement.
 

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Wouldnt it be better to just bank the queens with a few brrod frames and keep building nucs on the side?
Seems better to keep brooding up those production boxes from queen banks and a heck of a lot less riskier.
 

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Let us know how well it works out for you.... You could always just sell the queens off instead of pinching them.
 

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If you have spare equipment, why not take those queens and place them in nucs instead of killing them? This would provide back up in case some failed to raise a good queen. I'm fairly new to beekeeping, but one thing I have definitely learned is the value of a well mated queen. I'd have a hard time killing good queens...
 

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I use brood breaks regularly and will pinch mediocre or even average queens but never a really good one. Put her in a nuc and let her start a new hive. I don't let the production hives requeen themselves though, I plant cells after 14 days. This requires you to go into the hives 10 days after pulling the queens and cutting queen cells out. I would rather choose what cells emerge and what lineage they are.
 

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From my experience a strong hive with a queen and lots of fresh brood outproduces a hive, where the queen has been removed two weeks before. Plus the honey tends to be drier in a queenright hive. Don't know why, just guessing: brood needs water. Or broodnest warming the hive? Don't know. If you leave on the honey for a longer time, at least until a new broodnest is established, it doesn't matter much.
 

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Some missed the point of the OP. He/She is referring to "Cut Down splitting" only he doesn't want extra hives, so he just wants to make the main hives queenless. By putting queens aside in nucleus colonies he/she would be making increase, which is what they are trying to avoid.

I think the best thing to do is to do it on some hives and leave some queenrite and se which method results in better crops for you.
 

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One could always recombine the nucs with the production hives after all brood had emerged thereby giving a brood break and no increase in overall hive numbers in the end.

Or pinch the Queens and buy new ones when needed.
 

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In my experience, and in most literature, this method is not worthwhile. Take splits for example. The ones that reject a queen will fill the broodnest with honey before they raise a new queen but fail to make a large crop afterwards. But even a small split that accepts a good laying queen can go on to make 50 to 100 lbs that year. I also think it demoralizes them and they do not draw foundation with near the vigour as a queenright hive, so if you do try it i would use drawn comb
 

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I will be able to tell you much more about this in a few weeks. I am in the process of making every hive I own queenless. I am moving the queens to nucs and their overflowing of those nucs will continually be added to the parent hives.

I have also heard that a queenless hive will produce more honey due to having no brood to tend to. Making a hive queenless is a lot of work. they will go straight to fixing the queen problem so you have to carefully search every frame for every cell. I have spent every day for the past couple of weeks doing it. It is the first time beekeeping has felt like a full time job. My schedule calls for 2 cell checks per hive. one 5 days after queen is removed and another 5 days after that. Do not add brood that they can then rear into queens.

I have no idea at this time if bees really do a better job of making honey while queenless. If they do not I simply give them their queen back. In all I have satisfied their urge to swarm.

Just as an example of how many cells you will need to find from a strong hive. i have removed 35 cells from one hive. 20 from another. the second one still has 22 uncapped cells on one frame alone. So far from all of the hives we have made queenless we have sen a total of 169 cells. We are not done yet. we are limiting how many hives we make queenless at one time so we can keep up with it.

Also keep in mind. if you intend to go in and find a queen. it can easily turn into a two hour ordeal.
 

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Daniel:
Why didn't you put the queen in a push in cage until all brood is too old to rear a queen from... and then remove her? It would save you a lot of queen cell searching.
 

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I will be able to tell you much more about this in a few weeks. I am in the process of making every hive I own queenless. I am moving the queens to nucs and their overflowing of those nucs will continually be added to the parent hives.

I have also heard that a queenless hive will produce more honey due to having no brood to tend to. Making a hive queenless is a lot of work. they will go straight to fixing the queen problem so you have to carefully search every frame for every cell. I have spent every day for the past couple of weeks doing it. It is the first time beekeeping has felt like a full time job. My schedule calls for 2 cell checks per hive. one 5 days after queen is removed and another 5 days after that. Do not add brood that they can then rear into queens.

I have no idea at this time if bees really do a better job of making honey while queenless. If they do not I simply give them their queen back. In all I have satisfied their urge to swarm.

Just as an example of how many cells you will need to find from a strong hive. i have removed 35 cells from one hive. 20 from another. the second one still has 22 uncapped cells on one frame alone. So far from all of the hives we have made queenless we have sen a total of 169 cells. We are not done yet. we are limiting how many hives we make queenless at one time so we can keep up with it.

Also keep in mind. if you intend to go in and find a queen. it can easily turn into a two hour ordeal.
If you remove all the queen cells how will they be re queened. Will you buy queens?
In my experience when making production hives queen less, they only make more honey the first couple weeks while they are raising a new queen. If you are taking out all the queen cells the will become hopelessly queen less and will stop bringing in honey altogether. Then they will become laying workers.
 

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All your hives will have laying workers within a few weeks.
dfortune - That is what I thought. And while I am new, I have had two hives (a 10 frame and 5 frame nuc) that had laying workers. Had to do the shake out the hive trick to get rid of the laying workers. With a production yard of hives, that might not be pleasant.
 

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For now I am encouraging the cell production because I want them. It is swarm season so if my hives are going to attempt to swarm they are going to do it well. But on that idea. you could cage the queen for 6 days and then remove her. the bees no longer have any brood eligible for rearing into queens. The bees very well may make supersedure cells. They would be fewer in number bu there is no less work in searching for them. You have to carefully search every frame just as much for one cell as you do for 40.

I am taking the comments I have heard about honey production with a grain of salt and pessimism at best. we will see. For now my manipulations are intended to satisfy their urge to swarm and get them into the honey flow without loosing bees. Remember my queens have only been moved. production of brood has not been stopped. To requeen I simply give them their queen back.

As for laying workers. My experience is that I can keep a hive queenless for up to two months with no sign of laying workers. even if they do start laying it can be fixed by adding frames of open brood revery few days for a week or two. A new queen can then be safely introduced. it works better if a queen is introduced with an existing brood nest. The majority of our flow will have passed long before I have any laying workers. I also expect to be able to give them their queen back long before they will turn to laying anyway.

This is not production yard management. this is increase and queen rearing yard management. I can barely keep up with 23 hives with all of this.
 
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