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The only unsuccessful split from a swarmed mother hive with lots of queen cells early in the season.

I would combine, but the workers have been laying (drone sized cells) and I'm afraid they would attack the queen in a different hive, thinking they already have their own, since they have their own "brood".

It's a little too late in the season to try to get them eggs at this point to raise a new queen.

There are only about 3 frames of bees.

Thoughts?
 

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Sprinkle them around like confetti! It is fun to stand in a cloud of bees.
Scratch the caps and spread the frames out for clean up.
 

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I would do a newspaper combine, 3 frames of bees is still 3 frames of bees. If you just let them wither away you run the risk of wax moths or SHB running your frames. At this point the drawn frames maybe more valuable than the bees. Do a combine now and save the drawn out frames to make splits with next spring.
 

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Shake them out on the grass several yards away from the rest of the hives. They will beg their way in to the other hives where they will be prevented from harming the queens. If you want to take the chance of starting a bunch of robbing don't put these CLEAN frames that just have some honey and larvae on them out where they will be torn up by robbers and any disease present will be transmitted to all your hives! Put the boxes on a strong colony which will keep the combs safe for you until the frost and wax moths and shb are gone for the year. Then store them.
 

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i recently has similar experience with a 1st year beek. one hive went queenless and laying worker, the other hive they have was very full of bees and brood...etc. we did a split on the strong hive giving the queenless portion a queen cell from one of my hives. the bees that were in the laying worker hive were shaken out in the grass about 15 yards away from the hives. they all seem to be doing well now.
 
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