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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I did an emergency split yesterday as it seemed that my bees were coming really close to swarming. I moved all of the frames with queen cells to the old hive, with some food and open brood.

The new hive got the rest and I tried to isolate the queen and get her in there. I could not confirm that she was in with them. It was very crowded and the sun was beginning to set.

So I am waiting for a more experienced beekeeper to come by today to check on my work. I went upstairs first thing this am to check on them and they seemed almost normal. I went back up a few minutes ago and found my queen crawling around on the ground. I gently scooped her up and put her in one of the empty packages I still have on my roof.

Now I'm totally blindsided and have no idea what just happened or what is the most sensible way to proceed. I've never read about such things so I'm pretty lost.

Help!
 

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Meg,

More than likely what you picked up was a queen returning from a maiting flight. Check your split with the swarm cells and confirm that your old queen is not with them. If the old queen is not in the split you can insert your new queen. If you have an extra box, it may be easier to find the queen by pulling a frame, checking it, and moving it to the second box.

Once the queen begins to lay in the split you can remove any remaining swarm cells.

James
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
This was a marked queen. Just set up a swarm lure (w/Nassanov) and will be cutting out some honey to checkerboard the empty frame in the old brood nest. It's still congested and almost everything is backfilled. I have no more deeps (trying to phase them out) so I have to kind of MacGuyver this whole thing!

This is the old queen. Im going to cage her and try to put her back in the split.

Wish me luck!
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
So Jim seemed really amazed that the split was so calm after their old queen walked out the front door. They got a little "swarmy" when we had the supers pulled and a few feet away and that set off the old hive.

When we put the hives back together they mellowed out some. We pulled frames of brood and honey, shook the bees and put them into a new hive to boost their work force. We took frames with foundation from that hive and put them in the old hive to try and relieve some of the congestion. If I had extra wooden we probably would have made a second split, but alas!

The old hive still has tons of bees out on the "front porch" and I put the queen back into the split hive. She is in the package I placed her in. We set a medium on top of the hive and turned it upside down. The workers are barely paying any attention to her. I think it may be safe to assume that she has been superseded. She was laying like crazy up until a little over a week ago. Kind of nuts.

I put a deep sized box with a Nassanov lure up on a chimney secured with rope. Threw in some old wax...scouts became immediately interested.

So, this should be interesting. :popcorn:

I have given them all the space I can for now. I have a swarm trap, the old queen is in the new hive trying to re-assimilate. If she doesent, I plan to take her out this evening.

If anyone has some insight as to what might be going on, that would be awesome. It's a complex situation it seems and I'm just trying to keep my head around it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
UPDATE: The queen has left the package and is now in with the rest of the colony. They were sitting around on the landing board a little but since then they have all gone back inside. I think this could be a good sign for the split but I am reserving judgement for another inspection in a few days.

The other colony in the old hive seems to be slowly moving back in and i may have dodged the bullet if they decide to stay and draw out comb on the empty frames I put in the brood nest. Only time will tell. The swarm trap is set, I have my more experienced beekeeper friends on speed dial and my neighbors have been prepared.
 

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They do stop laying a week or so before they swarm. I'd leave her in the queen cage a few days in the hive that doesn't have swarm cells in it. Then let her out.

Make sure the bees don't start building cells in that hive before you release her

Why did you put the super upside down?
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I put the package that the queen was resting in upside down in an empty super. Sorry for the lack of clarity.

She had only been out of the hive for half hour at the most as I kept going on the roof to check them periodically so Jim and I agreed that it would probably be ok to put her in that way so that she could go in by her own choice.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
My only guess is that in the confusion and with her not laying because of all of their backfilling she just walked out the front door unnoticed. She had been laying like crazy up to a week before according to the few cells of incompletely capped brood we found.


Today is overcast and rainy so I am hoping the bees use this time to get busy building comb on those empty frames. I will still likely need to make another split because there are still tons of bees in there and once one of those queens emerge they may decide to take off.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Yesterday I put a QMP in the upper level of the split hive since the bees seemed really aimless and I saw no activity at the entrance. I went and requeened the split hive today and found my old queen being followed around on a frame of honey and pollen. I took her out and she looked like she fattened up a bit but still no signs of eggs. How long do you suppose it would take for her to begin laying again if she was stopped by the workers? I wonder if she still has anything left of her.

Also I went into the old hive and found that they have a new queen! She was piping and pretty big! Around the same size as her mother. Hopefully her egg laying prowess was passed down to her. We will see.

If anyone wants a second year queen who may or may not start laying again in the NY area let me know. She really was a great one. Her colony was so docile and so productive. I would really hate to kill her. Truthfully I am really hesitant to get rid of her myself but I have no where else for her to go.
 
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