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Discussion Starter #1
So I need a little guidance...

I'm a new beek with two lang hives installed almost 6 weeks ago. Both started out well. A couple weeks ago, in one of the hives, I noticed a few drone cells and what kinda looked like queen cell starting. I let it ride. Last weekend, I found lots of drone cells, and around half a dozen queen cells. No eggs or larva visible at that point, just capped brood. After your re-assurance, as well as my local guys, I assumed my queen was being superseded. I checked it today, queen cells gone or broken open...hopefully a laying queen coming soon! But outside of a few capped cells, zero eggs, brood or larva. They are bringing in pollen, and taking about 1/2 quart of sugar water per week, drawing out the frames fairly well also...70% done. A little loud...I understand what a queenless hive sounds/acts like now.

I'm worried my population will dwindle to nothing by the time the new queen starts laying and the new brood emerges. I'm not sure how to help them out so here lies the questions...
-Should I just let it ride and hope the timing is ok? or...
-Add a frame of capped brood and larva from my other hive? I'm apprehensive to do this because that hive is doing ok, but still only 6-7 frames drawn out in one deep. I don't want to risk weakening this hive.
If I do add a frame, I'll obviously make sure the queen isn't on it. Do I shake all the bee's off it before moving it? Should it go right in the middle of the cluster of the queenless hive?
-My local guys also said I could shake the nurse bees from the inner cover of the good hive into the struggling one. That doesn't seem like it would make much difference since there's typically only 2-3 dozen bees on the cover when I check it.
-I could just hope for the best and if it fails, try to get a swarm from the local guys that are collecting quite a few lately.

I'm not really stressing too much because I know this kinda stuff happens...I just wanna give these girls the best chance to make it.

Any input is greatly appreciated!
 

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From the time references you give you should have a queen laying in a week to two weeks time. Adding a frame of sealed brood won't hurt them, it'll give them a boost of nurse bees about the time the queen starts laying. If you are worried there is no queen now, then a frame with eggs they can make one from. With what you say you have, I think I'd just wait and not rob from the other hive, as see what develops. With no queen laying, and by the time a new virgin queen starts laying, all brood would be gone, it's normal.
 

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If you had a booming hive, and a hive that is struggling, the donor frame is a no brainer. In this case however, I would not want to risk the strength of your other colony, which at only 6-7 frames is not exactly thriving. Why don't you see if one of your local guys will sell you a couple frames of brood and eggs? Transport them in a nuc with the nurse bees, and install. Just my opinion. (Remember....Ask 10 beekeepers the same question, you get 12 different answers.) ;)

Good luck with them!
 

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I started the same way last year...two nucs that limped along after one went queenless and I used the second to feed frames of brood. I continued for about 5 weeks and then bought a queen to install. Both strengthened enough to make it through winter. I chalked it up to part of the bee initiation program. I learned to exchange frames, install a queen, etc. Those same "weak" hives exploded and taught me this year's lessons on attempting splits, swarming, and re-combining hives. I wonder what they will teach me next?
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I checked again yesterday and things seem to be working themselves out! I was unable to spot any queen, but I saw a lot of eggs in the cells. While they were queenless, they were busy drawing comb and filling/capping nectar. I am a little concerned that they are using up too much of their brood area with capped nectar. There are still 2-3 frames they can finish drawing out in this single deep. Again...I'll just bank on them figuring it out on their own. I will probably add a second deep with new plasticell above this one in the next couple days (but don't worry...I won't get into the frames...I'll just take the outer & inner cover off, as well as the feeder, and throw the new box & frames on, cover it up and be done with them until my next inspection after a week). Hopefully they will work it out and make it another 2 1/2 weeks till that new brood emerges. They've done pretty well up till now.
 
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