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Discussion Starter #1
I’ve had one hive that is a little behind on brood and a tad behind on honey production.
They have been a bit grumpy the last 2 inspections. I found the queen last inspection and a lot of open larva but no eggs and bees have pretty much given up drawing comb out.
I did an inspection tonight when I got home and noticed 5 capped queen cells at bottom of a frame and 1 more capped queen cell on the next frame. All at the bottom of frame but still on the comb not hanging down below frame.
I know that queen cells are queen cells and just because they are at bottom of frame dosnt mean they are swarm cells.
Is there still time for a queen to hatch and mate. I’m all for it. But just wasn’t sure if I should wait it out or do a nuc split and buy a queen for the main colony. I’m going to be harvesting the honey this weekend. So I will have time to do another quick inspection then. I’m assuming since it’s been about 2 weeks since last inspection that the queens should be hatching out any day. Or early next week.
 

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I think if you still have plenty of drones flying then it should be ok. Since you're quite a bit north I don't know when that ends for you.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
There was little or no drone brood on the frames. And noticed very little drones in the colony.
As compared to before. I’m going to let them hatch out and hope for the best. See what happens.
 

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I have one colony that I'm trying this as well, the queen cell is about the same age and we are not far apart, so lets see what happens. I think she will mate OK, but I expect to add few frames of brood from other hives otherwise there will be no nurse bees by the time they are needed by the new queen. I noticed drastic reduction in flying drones, but I still see some capped drone cells, so it is not over yet.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Is it normal for them to be super aggressive while they are requeening? I’m pretty sure the queen is still in there. There was lots of open larva and capped brood. I had to give up on the search because I was getting bombarded with bees. My gloves looked like a swarm cluster. There were so many stingers stuck in my gloves. Would of been a nightmare if I didn’t have them on.
I’ve been noticing this hive has been pretty aggressive for a few weeks now.
 

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Requeening certainly does not help, but by itself it would not normally be a significant factor- there must be other contributing forces - dearth, weather, pests/beekeepers, etc. My hive that I'm requeening with a cell from another hive is very loud, but that is all- they are a bit more defensive (not aggressive) than usual, but that was a very gentle hive to begin with... My other hive is defensive all the time- different genetics, and when they were requeening in the spring, it certainly was less pleasant to visit them, but again I'm talking 20-30% more defensive than usual. I use cover cloths with "unhappy" hives and that helps a lot.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
This hive has kind of always been a bit aggressive. Every time I inspect it they are grumpy. The hive right next to it is fine.
Got them both from the same supplier as nucs.
Maybe requeening with her mating with different drones from my area will calm them. Who knows. Guess I’ll find out.
 

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Yes, you may also try to change the environment - move it for example. My yard gets very little sun (tall trees from 4 sides), so the grumpy hive is the one in the shade most of the time, but when I made a split and took the "grumpy" queen to the side that gets more morning light, their temperament improved. Meanwhile another line of queen right besides the grumpy hive is very gentle even though they are in the same shade. Also my (currently) gentle hive bees would chase me around the yard before I erected skunk blocks in front of each hive - I was ready to requeen them without knowing what is causing it. Someone suggested to monitor for pests and that was it- night vision camera caught skunks visiting each hive every night, so no wonder bees were constantly angry...
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I have them in what I think is a pretty good spot.
Entrances facing west. Up against a tree line. To the east of them.
They get sun pretty much all day. Maybe a bit of morning shade. But not for long.

Would it be crazy if I took this colony and split it into 2 5 frame nucs
I built a double nuc box that can hold 2 nucs.
Was going to wait till next year to do this but since I have all these queen cells I figured it might be a good time to try it out.
 

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How strong is the colony? How many frames of brood each nuc will get? It may be OK, but be ready to combine back if one or both don't build up by end of September.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I would say 6 frames of full brood in the colony. Mostly capped now.
So each nuc would get 3 brood and 2 honey/pollen frames. Or 1 of them and 1 empty frame of foundation.
I made the double nuc box so I could put a bigger divider in it as well and it becomes a double 4 frame nuc.
 

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I would say 6 frames of full brood in the colony. Mostly capped now.
So each nuc would get 3 brood and 2 honey/pollen frames. Or 1 of them and 1 empty frame of foundation.
I made the double nuc box so I could put a bigger divider in it as well and it becomes a double 4 frame nuc.
Is that how you will overwinter it -side by side in a common box with divider? In that case you should be OK as they will keep each other warm and you can have smaller clusters. That is what I do with my nucs- I push them together in groups of 3 for winter. Keep an eye on them and feed as required now, and feed all they can eat after goldenrod flow if they still have space.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Yes. I plan on overwintering the nucs in the double nuc boxes so the can share warmth between the box. Seems like it makes sense.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Did another inspection on the problem hive today. There is definitly no queen in this colony.
Lots of pollen stored though. And open cells from emerging brood.
Noticed some capped drone brood as well. So that’s a good sign. No eggs. And found a couple more capped queen cells on the middle of the frame and a couple towards the top.
So I think this is definitly a supercedure.
There was no white wax on the queen cells. So they have been capped for a while now.
Pretty sure they didn’t swarm. As there is still a ton of bees in the supers and the brood chamber. They seem to be storing honey like crazy in the supers but not too much in the brood chamber. The odd frame with a rim or two of honey. I’ll move a frame down if I have too.
Put a pollen patty below the excluder today as well. It can’t hurt.
I’ve decided to let them be for 2 weeks. Then I’ll check on them. See if I have a virgin running around. Or maybe if I’m lucky a mated queen by then. Worst case scenario in 2 weeks I’ll order a mated queen. Found a place that has them untill the end of August.
They were still pretty grumpy I was there. But not as bad as last time.
 

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Brandon O, I had a somewhat similar situation a couple of years ago, though didn't figure it out until too late. I think I had a hive that did a late supersedure. I don't know for sure, but this is the best explanation I could come up with. I suspect the queen never mated. The hive made it through the winter, but once early spring hit it was losing population and there were no eggs, larvae, or brood. A sudden cold snap in March killed them off. The interesting part is that after months they never became a laying worker hive and they maintained polished cells, and so I think they must have had an unsuccessful/unmated/defective queen.

So, I would say that give it a try if you want--once the queens emerge, it could be 10-14 days before she start to lay (if there are drones), and another 21 days until new bees emerge. That might be cutting it pretty close for you. Keep a very close eye on things. Make a couple of inspections over the next month. If there's no eggs or larvae, save your bees and combine with another hive.

As to defensiveness or aggressiveness, I've found great variation when bees are requeening or without a queen. Some hives act no differently, some turn into angry howling bastards. In general, in my experience hives that were already somewhat grumpy become more so.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
I ended up requeening both colonies with mated Buckfast queens I was able to get.
The more I thought about it I came to the decision that I took up beekeeping for fun and as a hobby. And having bees that are very aggressive and follow me right to my front door and wait for me to come out wasn’t fun. My other colony was a bit less aggressive but still had the same behaviour. But they were queen right.
So I pinched off all the queen cells in the queenless colony and requeened and also pinched the queen in the other colony and requeened as well.
I figured that was the safest thing to do now to insure they get their winter nests built up. And have a fighting chance to make it through winter.
 

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I’ve had one hive that is a little behind on brood and a tad behind on honey production.
They have been a bit grumpy the last 2 inspections. I found the queen last inspection and a lot of open larva but no eggs and bees have pretty much given up drawing comb out.
I did an inspection tonight when I got home and noticed 5 capped queen cells at bottom of a frame and 1 more capped queen cell on the next frame. All at the bottom of frame but still on the comb not hanging down below frame.
I know that queen cells are queen cells and just because they are at bottom of frame dosnt mean they are swarm cells.
Is there still time for a queen to hatch and mate. I’m all for it. But just wasn’t sure if I should wait it out or do a nuc split and buy a queen for the main colony. I’m going to be harvesting the honey this weekend. So I will have time to do another quick inspection then. I’m assuming since it’s been about 2 weeks since last inspection that the queens should be hatching out any day. Or early next week.
Not too late for queens to mate.

Still frames of drone brood in my colonies.

I see that you replaced your queens. Sure you can do that...
 

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I ended up requeening both colonies with mated Buckfast queens I was able to get.
Yeah, that is a safe way out for sure. Were the queens accepted OK? Which introduction method did you use?
Since I have more hives than I need, I will continue late queen mating experiment this year, just so I know the limits for the future. I still see drones in the strong colonies, so I hope it will be fine. Plus I have a supply of brood from other colonies to support the queenless colony while they are getting the throne succession sorted out.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Yeah, that is a safe way out for sure. Were the queens accepted OK? Which introduction method did you use?
Since I have more hives than I need, I will continue late queen mating experiment this year, just so I know the limits for the future. I still see drones in the strong colonies, so I hope it will be fine. Plus I have a supply of brood from other colonies to support the queenless colony while they are getting the throne succession sorted out.
I put the queen cage on top of the frames as a test and they flowed to her in a second. Calmly too. So I feel good they will accept them.
I put the queen cage in between brood frames and will give them 7-10 days and check in on them.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Should I check on them and make sure that she was released?
I put her in Sunday morning. We are going away for 10 days leaving Friday. So it will be almost 2 weeks since I put her in till I can check.
 
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