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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Missed checking a weak hive last weekend because I was away. On the last check two weeks ago I saw a few uncapped brood yet, but not many. Yesterday there were no uncapped brood and only a few capped brood....lots of stored pollen & nectar...no capped honey or very little. We did find one open queen cell. We looked hard for a queen (without success). I'm not sure I want to wait on a virgin queen to mate & start laying this late in the season, so I ordered a new queen. When she arrives, how should I go about putting her in this hive? I'm not 100% sure there is a virgin queen because I'm 'queen blind'. Suggestions please....
 

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I had a few of my hives go queen less earlier this year. After spring splits they still swarmed. Almost all had gotten down to no capped brood. My local bee supplier told me that people wasted more queens when this happens. he suggested to me to wait 1-2 weeks after no capped brood to requeen or just simply add a frame of eggs. Let the bees tell you if they are queen less. Only one of my hives ended up without a new queen but the frame of eggs is taking care of that (6 queen cells). If queen cells appear they are queen less if not virgin queen. Anyway back to the question I would put her in there without exposing the candy and check to see the bees were on the 3rd day. If still aggressive I would check for eggs. New virgin queen may be mated and laying. Otherwise if bees are not trying to kill her remove the candy end or release her yourself if you feel comfortable doing so. Good luck I hope this helps.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
Thanks for your reply, bee hunter. What I'd like to do is to pull a frame of nectar from this hive, a frame of brood from my other stronger hive and put them in a nuc box and add the queen there......then see if I can find another frame of brood and one of eggs to add to the original weak hive and see if they'll re-queen.

My main problem is only having two hives that seem to be doing better, so that limits my ability to rob good frames of needed brood and/or eggs to help out a struggling hive. If I can't find the needed frames, I'll just downsize this hive into a nuc box and add the new queen.....it's probably not a great idea to try and split a weak colony to start with..... :s

Other comments or suggestions?
 

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Have you considered splitting the hive into nucs and over wintering them that way? Michael Palmer's Sustainable Apiary on youtube is helpful and that is what I am doing with my weak hive. i have heard of folks shaking all the bees through a queen excluder to find the queen but it doesn't sound very fun.
 

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I was in the same boat last year. I only had 3 hives and one weak nuc. I felt bad taking from my strong hives to give to the nuc. The nuc ended up dead during winter. They were to small. they was from a late swarm in July and I didnt give them enough help to survive. I didn't even like splitting in the spring I felt like I was causing harm to the hives that came though winter in good shape. But I listened to other beekeepers (experience pays)and found out if done correct this does not harm them and may even improve the health of the hives. Changes out the old wax.(new wax less pesticide residue). The nucs I split in the spring are some of best hives.

I would suggest adding at least 2-3 frames of brood to the nuc with new queen. If the frames taken are replaced between two brood frames you will be surprized how fast it gets drawn and queen lays back. This will just help nuc to have a better chance at building up for winter. I can tell you from experience if you don't try you'll never learn anything. Good luck!!
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Have you considered splitting the hive into nucs and over wintering them that way? Michael Palmer's Sustainable Apiary on youtube is helpful and that is what I am doing with my weak hive. i have heard of folks shaking all the bees through a queen excluder to find the queen but it doesn't sound very fun.
I shook 4 boxes through an excluder so I could pinch a queen, it sucked but wasn't TOO bad LOL By accident I saw her every time I went into the hive until I determined it was time to replace her, then she was nowhere to be found. Once I shook them all in, I added 1 frame in the funnel box over the excluder and came back an hr later and she was on that comb worked pretty slick.
 

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To introduce a new queen, you need to be sure there is no other queen in the hive. Failing to remove the queen could (and likely would) result in your new mated queen being killed. Virgin or otherwise.

I have attempted twice to find the unmarked queen in my larger and booming hive - and have failed both times. I know what you are going through. It is not fun going frame by frame and then doing it again when putting them back.

I suppose it just takes practice and I am getting plenty of it... not to mention nerves of steel dealing with a lot of unhappy bees smacking the veil while looking for 1 bug out of 40,000.
 
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