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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Going through my nuc yard, I found one of the old queens I held back into a nuc went missing leaving it queenless - It's still heavy with bees and stores and has some capped brood. The frame I pulled for them out of a strong nuc was old brood comb. I used a hive tool to deeply break down the lower edge of cells with very young larvae in 3 spaces. Think that'll give them enough room to work up a few good Q cells? I'm trying to figure out if I should go with that or just break them up and boost some other nucs...
 

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Depends on your intention. They will miss about a month of honey flow, but you get an increaser colony if you do it right.

Adding a mated queen is much quicker and they don't miss out on the nectar flow. For this I would use a Laidlaw introduction cage.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
My main concern was in knowing that fresh white comb is ideal, could they build a good QC using that hard old brood comb? larvae where I broke the edge down looked young enough, and for good measure I broke the edge on some eggs (just in case they need a few days to get a plan together)

I requeened the yard where I intend to harvest honey (they are brooding well), the old queens that were marginal went into nucs in the same yard with my splits. So I introduced 10 (9 successfully) queens 2 1/2 weeks ago. My intent was to pinch any of those old queens that weren't brooding up well with my next shipment of mated queens BUT= I'm 30 days out on those.

In short, a mated queen of the genetics I want isn't an option so I figured on letting them roll their own out of one of the proven queens in the yard.
 

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I did some OTS queen rearing the other day and used a razor sharp 1" chisel to do the notching. It cut through the old cells like a dream, much better than a hive tool.
 

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I did some OTS queen rearing the other day and used a razor sharp 1" chisel to do the notching. It cut through the old cells like a dream, much better than a hive tool.
I use a sharp pocket knife to cut bottom 1/3 of cell off old tuff comb. Make 3-4 inch long cuts, you will need to go back and weed out the close ones so you can make good cuts when it's time to harvest the cells.
 

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Another consideration is to go ahead and use the older queens in a 2-queen system with the new ones for a month, then re-queen with the queens you ordered nest month. (Both queens are separated from the honey by excluders.) Done properly, you could end up with a whole bunch of honey. I have limited experience doing this...other guys want jump in and correct me? Go for it!

BTW - the bees can make queen cells of 100 year old black comb, but they seem to prefer using the newer stuff, and the queen rearing beekeeper prefers to work with it!
 
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