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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I had two hives over the winter that did very well. So well, that one of the hives was making queen cells like crazy and was packed to the top with bees. I took the brood chamber and stuck it on top of an empty medium as i am trying to get all my bees in to medium boxes. That one is doing fine and has tons of new eggs and brood (no queen cells). The two mediums with all of the queen cells were placed on an entrance board and given some open frames. However, upon inspection today, i see very little larvae and no queen cells. they tore them all down. They also act very strange, bearding on the hive entrance and generally just look confused. I think i kept them from swarming, but now i believe them to be queenless. My goal this year is to split and not worry about honey, so i don't want to recombine the hives. I want more hives. Is my best course of action to get two mated queens and do a split of these two medium boxes? They are packed with bees and they are actively building comb on the empty frames. If that is a good idea, are there any breeders that have queens now? I am new beekeeping and know i made some mistakes, i'm just trying to salvage these bees the best way possible. Thanks.
 

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Give the hive you think might be queenless a frame of eggs/young open brood. If it is queenless in 5 days there will be queen cells on that frame.
 

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I would make my own queens. Check out a queen calender to understand timing as far as queen hatches, mating flights, laying

So you split out 2 boxes with queen cells, were you able to retain a decent population in the boxes you moved? Were the queen cells capped and intact when you moved them? How long ago did this all happen? It takes 1-2.5 weeks for queen to lay after hatching. They will tear down cells to various degree, randomly, you never really know. Generally cells dispatched early will have a hole in the side. The only way I can tell if a queen actually hatched is circular hatch at the bottom the emerging queen cuts (its unmistakable), but again they will tear that down, sometimes they won't. The clumps of bees outfront could be from the mating flights, they may also be looking for a new home.

I would look again in a few days, see how they cap the new larva and look for new eggs. If you don't see any signs of queen then davids advice is best, perhaps do it now to be safe. You will need a decent population of bees or they won't fair well.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
The problem with giving them eggs is that i don't have any in medium frames that i could find, just in deeps. Yes Burns, i split two mediums off my best hive. They had queen cells, but no they were not capped. I moved the boxes last weekend. Since it has only been a week, can i move them all back together since it looks like neither is looking like they will swarm? I can then do a better job of splitting them and making sure i have good queen cells.
 

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just spitballing but could you chop the bottom off one of your deep frames with eggs? I'm not sure if that would cause too much disruption to the eggs.

maybe someone's tried it before.
 

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The thing is that more likely than not the hive you think is queenless really isn't. In which case if you go recombining them or adding a purchased queen no good will come of any of that. One month after you did the split you should be able to easily find brood - don't do anything rash until you wait at least that long.
 

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I agree with David, they wouldn't tear them down, I bet you have a virgin in there. Were the cells capped when you did this?
 

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The problem with giving them eggs is that i don't have any in medium frames that i could find, just in deeps.
Maybe you can do a cut out. You don't need a lot of eggs. When it is not obvious that I made a blunder I don't back track because it usually ends up with two blunders. If you can put eggs in put eggs in. If you can't wait it out would be my choice.
 

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I've done this before when I was attempting to take some hives to all mediums. Take a frame out of the top medium and also take the medium frame directly below it out. Drop a full frame of fresh eggs/larvae into the slot. You can either leave the frame in until new queen hatches or once queen cells are sealed, cut out cells and gently push into medium frames. I'd just let it stay until hatched.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
If i can not find another good frame in my deep box, what about my thoughts on recombining. Is it too late for that?
 

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You can recombine, what's the timeline been as far as the time you made the split and now? If the cells weren't capped, at the time of the split, I'd say it was about 10 days for the new queen to emerge, and I'm betting at least two weeks to start laying this time of year after mating. As long as you're not at laying worker yet, I'd say it's safe to recombine. If you give them a frame of young larvae and they don't make queencells, it's a good bet there's a new queen in there, but whether or not she's worth anything as far as getting mated well this early might be a gamble.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I think in a bit i will look for another good frame of eggs from my good hive and move it in with the lost bees. If they have a queen no loss. If they don't, they should make a new one. I just hate taking two good frames of brood from my best hive. I suppose since they are mostly eggs, the queen and hive wont miss a beat.
 

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I just hate taking two good frames of brood from my best hive. I suppose since they are mostly eggs, the queen and hive wont miss a beat.
You hear this same concern a lot, but If you can replace it with empty comb then it will hardly cost the donor hive a thing. Anyway it isn't like you are throwing them away. as long as the recipient hive is able to take care of what you give it, and you don't let them all just dwindle away from neglect you can always recombine when/if you decide it is a lost cause. If the new queen starts laying you can always repay the loaned frame of brood then - although I would tend to give the weak hive resources from the strong hive until they are more or less equalized. That is how you would usually get the most total increase from them.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Yeah, makes sense. I took a deep frame with eggs and larvae and placed it in to the medium frame hive. I left the spot open under it as was suggested. I guess all should be good within a few weeks. There's no worry of them not being able to take care of the brood, the hive is jam packed with bees and they are foraging and building comb well.
 

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If the hive is that strong it is probably going to be fine - queenless hives often dwindle a bit due to drift. If you check the frame of brood you transplanted in a few days and there are no cells on it then you can safely put it back if you want so that you don't get so much burr comb going because of the odd sized frame. Of course they may have already built it out by then anyway.
 
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