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Discussion Starter #1
Hey guys and gals -

I was able to open my two hives today thanks to some warm weather - one hive was almost dead ( as I suspected - only found about 100 bees ) - and as I went through the frames - I found a small amount of dead brood in various stages of development - no active eggs or eggs period - but I actually found the queen alive and actively moving - because my other hive is very strong, I figured I would attempt a split by removing 2 or 3 frames of brood from the strong hive and putting in the weak hive with queen - as I started to put the first frame of brood in, I noticed the queen on the outside of the hive entrance crawling around - I moved around to try to coax her back inside and of course I instead scared her and she took flight - she flew around the entrance area for several seconds as if orienting herself then away she went. I doubt she could have locked onto the hives location in the short amount of time she was near it - at least I don't think so - just wondering what you all think . I went ahead and left the frame of brood in the weak hive. Hopefully they wont be wasted bees - unfortunately I have seen No drones in either hive, so even if they make a new queen I doubt she will find any suitors this time of year. Should I be looking to buy a new queen in order to split my strong hive? Does anyone know of anyplace that sells laying queens this early in the season?
 

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ditto,

A hundred bees the hive is doomed. I would count it a loss store the comb, wait for a decent flow then split.
 

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Another perfect example of why those with only a few hives have a good reason to use a clipped queen in a hive...Either buy one that way or DIY. Clipped queens do not solve all queen problems but in this instance doing so would have prevented the issue at hand.
 

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If you stand still a queen often orients on you and returns quicker than you think. As for pulling frames of brood and bees and adding her, it is not her hive and good chance they will ball her if not caged. And as said above if you did not add bees with brood it will chill in the night temps.
 

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carry a plastic queen catcher with you, just in case you ever come upon a hive ready to swarm and new queens are hatching out, or in your case to catch her before she flies away.
 

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"use a clipped queen in a hive...Either buy one that way or DIY."

I'm curious about the DIY method for clipping the queen. I don't think I want to do it, but if I decide to some day.... And I am posting this before trying any research since my phone is at 1%. Thanks.
 

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I'm thinking that a queen with only 100 bees left isn't really worth keeping. Why would you want to keep her? The weak do not survive, let her go and split your strong hive when things are really blooming.
If this happens again, just leave the hive open for a little while and more than likely she will return.
Another perfect example of why those with only a few hives have a good reason to use a clipped queen in a hive...Either buy one that way or DIY. Clipped queens do not solve all queen problems but in this instance doing so would have prevented the issue at hand.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thank you everyone for your advice. No I did not shake bees off the frames.

Either today or tommorrow I plan on going back into the weak hive and look for the queen - if I cannot find her I plan to rehome the brood and nurse bees that I moved yesterday into the weak hive, back onto the strong hive. Since the strong hive is very strong, I would like to place the weak deep hive body with frames and bees atop the strong hive - should I use the newspaper method since the weak hive bees have been off the strong hive for a few days? My idea now is to feed the strong hive, and make a split in a couple or 3 weeks when I may be able to secure a new proven laying queen.Last year I purchased 2 - 5 frame nucs and got them installed in deep hive bodies about April 10 and they were still able to produce about 5 gallons of honey each - if I could replicate that this season I would be satisfied.

I also would like to store some comb with honey/sugar water ( fed last fall) from the weak hiveand keep it safe from wax worms etc. is there any methods that are safe other than freezing? Im thinking the para moth would contaminate the stored honey/ sugar for the bees.
 

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Why your queen flew: She did not know the bees you were giving her and they did not know her. Caging her would have been prudent. A lot of smoke might have helped somewhat with the introduction. You might even consider, under your odd circumstances, the old flour trick. Roll the queen in flour and put her in the hive and the bees start grooming her instead of attacking her...

For next time. What to do if a queen flies:
If the queen flies, the first thing to do is stand still. She will orient on you and probably find her way back. The second thing to do is encourage the bees to guide her back with Nasonov pheromone. To do this, take a frame out that is covered in bees and shake them back into the hive. This will cause them to start fanning Nasonov. Third, if you don’t see the queen fly back in (be watching and you may) then wait ten minutes with the cover of the hive off so she can smell the Nasonov. If you do these three things the odds are very good she will find her way back.

If you didn’t do those things, there is probably a little better than 50/50 chance she will find her way back anyway.
 

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Learn to hold the queen between your thumb and index finger with its head towards the crotch of your hand. We use a small sewing scissor to clip one wing. Practice, practice, practice. For years I wanted my daughter to do this for us. Took years for her to get up the nerve to try cause she knows how the old man reacts to the inappropriate care of $20 queens. Once she got started she was on a roll right quick. To bad she's off to college. If anyone gets queens from us with a zig- zag cut in 2014 you will all know that the job has fallen back into the lap of this steady handed ( ya right) old fart.
 
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