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Discussion Starter #1
I made up several nucs out of my existing (3) hives and a day later gave each a caged queen (left the cork in). The following day I found emergency queen cells in one of the parent hives. I checked the nuc from that hive and sure enough I had moved the queen. So now what do I do? Obviously can't leave the caged queen in the nuc and I don't know if the parent hive will take the queen back since they now have emergency queen cells. I've read that they consider themselves queen right once that starts.

Options seem to be removing the emergency cells from the parent hive and see if they will accept the caged queen after a few days or to leave the emergency queen cells and see if they produce a mated queen and use the caged queen to make up another nuc. Either way I think it makes sense to leave the old queen in the nuc, move them to a deep brood box and let them develop.

I appreciate any advice I can get. This is new territory for me.

Thanks,
John
 

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Check all frames in parent hive by shaking the bees off into the box and destroy all emergency cells. Then give them the caged queen. Don't leave the caged queen in the nuc with the other queen because she(loose) may kill her(caged).
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks for the advice. Truth be told that is the direction I started down. Except to hedge my bet I moved a couple frames with emergency cells to another nuc before destroying the rest and put the caged queen in the parent hive. I was having some second thoughts wondering if I should go the other way.

I didn't do as thorough a job searching for queen cells as you described. I am going to check again this evening and will shake bees off as you recommend. They should run out of viable eggs/brood soon. How long should I leave them without queen cells & the caged queen before letting them release her? I'm a little concerned that she's been penned up too long already.
 

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I'd go with the idea of making another nuc. You basically simulated a swarm for them and they can make their own queen.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks for this reply also. But now I have one recommendation for each choice. I have to admit that after starting down the road of giving them the caged queen I thought it safer to let them do what they started out to do and take the safer (new nuc) course with my $20 queen. I think have to do one or the other this evening or I could bungle the whole thing.
 

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What direction do you want to go? If you want to make honey use that queen in the full sized colony(parent) instead of losing all that brood rearing time waiting for a cell to hatch and "maybe" get mated. If you want to make more hives then your options are many.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
My goal for this season is to increase my number of colonies. But, of the three I overwintered this is the strongest and is the one I was attempting to keep strong to make some honey. I only took one 5 frame nuc from it. I took 2 nucs each from the other two.

At this point I want to avoid ending up with laying workers and losing the colony.

Thanks,
John
 

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I think you made a wise decision! Once queen cells are started they will not accept an introduced queen, at least it's a rarity in my experience. I've tried cutting the cells numerous times, but always seem to miss the one that's built in and hidden on the end of a comb or the bottom of the comb.
 

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In my opinion knocking down emergency cells is like going against nature. 9 times out of 10, nature wins. So just let them build their own queen and take a second nuc from the hive for the caged queen. You might still get some honey, but that all depends on the local flow.
 

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"Once queen cells are started they will not accept an introduced queen, at least it's a rarity in my experience." FS

My experience has been nearly the opposite. If the hive is not showing signs of being queenless there is usually a reason(ie second queen or virgin) and they will not take a new queen or cell. I like to see a few started cells to confirm their "mood" towards the notion of a new queen and then give them what they want. Seeing open queen cells is preferable to sealed since it is easier to verify their age. Very ripe sealed cells can be a problem, but 1- 4 day old cells present at introduction has not been a problem for us and is a good sign in my opinion.
 

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I agree with JBJ they have recognised they are queenless and wanting to start a new one it's a good time to introduce a new queen.
If it was a hive with swarm cells the story is different.
She should do really well and you should get surplus honey.
Cheers
kiwi
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Thanks to everyone who offered advice.

I ended up leaving the parent hive with their queen cells, the queen I moved from them in a nuc and put the caged queen in another nuc. The old queen is now in a single deep and the other nuc is doing fine.

I have not been inspecting the parent hive to avoid inadvertantly destoying emergency queen cells. But, any new queens should have emerged about a week ago. So If they successfully produced a mated queen I should see eggs or larvae in another week or by 5/15.

If they still appear queenless at that point is there any issue with doing a newspaper combine with one of the new nucs I've moved into single deeps? Would it be better to combine them with their old queen, or does that matter at this point?

Thanks,
John
 
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