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I have a hive that has been queenless since it swarmed over a month ago. For a time I thought they would figure it out, but it seems like it is just not working out for them. 14 days ago I gave them eggs, 7 days later, no queen cells, so I gave them more eggs, 7 days later now I have queen cells.

I have a laying queen from a swarm I caught in a 4 frame NUC. I would like to move her into the big hive so they get get going again, and move the queen cells to the NUC to finish. Any thoughts on this?

My plan is to take the frame with the queen cells out for say an hour, then pull a frame with open cells out and place the queen in and watch for a time and see if they accept. My understanding is they will readily accept a queen that is actively laying as compared to a queen that has been caged for some time. If it looks like they are being aggressive with her Ill pull her off the frame.
 

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Aylett, VA 10-frame double deep Langstroth
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I think the risks outweigh any potential benefits. You have cells now. The hive will most likely be fine. I would make a small split, a mating nuc really, with a few of the cells to increase the chances of getting a mated queen returned, but otherwise not try to out think the bees.
 

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I agree. Theoretically, your method would work of course - but in trying to save a week or so, you're upsetting a process which is already underway. I'd do exactly as JW suggests, and keep that swarm queen as an insurance fall-back.
LJ
 

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I agree with JWPalmer and Little John. Follow their advice. If, however, you decide to risk losing a laying queen and do it your way any way, do NOT just put the queen in there even if the bees don’t seem aggressive toward her. Even if some of the bees are gentle, that does not guarantee that all of the bees will accept her. When your field bees come in for the evening and find the new queen, they will not be so gentle toward her. You need to cage the queen before putting her in. Since they have been queen less for an extended period, it would be a good idea to leave the cork in the cage so they can not release her quickly. You want her to be in there for more than 3 days before you remove the cork and let them eat the candy to release her.
 

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Requeen the full sized colony using all the frames from the brood area in the nuc, and replace the frames in the nuc using those from the full sized colony. Make sure there are no cells remaining in the colony by shaking off adults and checking each frame before putting in the brood frames/queen from the nuc.

When you put the nuc frames in the colony make sure the queen is on a frame in the center of the group. This way she is surrounded by her bees.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Requeen the full sized colony using all the frames from the brood area in the nuc, and replace the frames in the nuc using those from the full sized colony. Make sure there are no cells remaining in the colony by shaking off adults and checking each frame before putting in the brood frames/queen from the nuc.

When you put the nuc frames in the colony make sure the queen is on a frame in the center of the group. This way she is surrounded by her bees.
I might just let it ride, but for the sake of discussion and learning:

I have heard of this method. I hear it is quite common with commercial keepers to combine NUCs. Have you ever heard of using powdered sugar or sugar spray on the frames adjacent to the inserted NUC frames? Also the NUC I have the queen in only has about 2.5 frames drawn, it is not a big colony yet.
 

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Years ago I used a sugar spray that had a scent added and one without scent to join bees, I can't say whether it helps or not, because the joining of the bees was successful using either method. I have never tried the powdered sugar dusting to join bees, but it probably would work.

The newspaper method works on full colonies, I have not tried it using a weak nuc. I usually have 3 or 4 frames with brood and bees in the nucs when I must join them with queenless colonies. With a weak nuc it may help to use a sugar spray on all frames of bees in the brood area.

Using a 4 or 5 frame nuc to requeen full sized colonies is the method I use to requeen. If I get queens in the mail I always introduce them to a nuc, allow them to lay for a week or two and then put the nuc in the colony.
 

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I caught a small swarm that I had installed in a nuc earlier this spring which now had brood both capped and uncapped. I also had another caught swarm in a full size box that had gone laying worker. I combined the nuc swarm with the laying worker box by adding a screened inner cover and a deep box on top of the laying worker box. I then moved the nuc frames with queen to the top box. The bees in the top box had their own entrance via the notch in screened inner cover which was on the side of have, so there were no common entrances between the two boxes. I left this arrangement in place for three weeks and at the end of that time removed the screened inner cover from between the two boxes. A week later I inspected and all was well with both capped and uncapped brood/eggs. Due to a lower number of total bees I consolidated the frames into a single deep. So far, so good, my last inspection had good a nice brood pattern. Here's hoping it holds out.

This may not have been the right way to go about this, but it worked for me.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Using a 4 or 5 frame nuc to requeen full sized colonies is the method I use to requeen. If I get queens in the mail I always introduce them to a nuc, allow them to lay for a week or two and then put the nuc in the colony.
Sounds like a great method overall. I'll keep that one in my notes for later. Thanks for the insight!
 
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