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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all. I had a set back with a split I did a few weeks ago due to beekeeper error.. I had a very strong 4 medium box hive that I split evenly. I introduced a new queen the the half that was queenless 24 hours after splitting. I did not face the hives towards one another to minimize worker drift back to the original hive because there was a solid amount of capped brood and stores in the new hive I situated a few feet from the original location. I reasoned that the capped brood would hatch out over the next week and they would replace the foragers in a fairly short time frame. The new hove was also the half with the original queen. My undoing was that within a few days of the split we had a final winter front blow through and temps went into the low thirties for a few nights. Once the workers drifted back to the original hive, apparently there were too few bees to cover the brood and the cold temps killed many of the bees including the queen.

The other half of the split, in the original location, with the queen I introduced was fine and strong, as was a package I hived a few days after making the split.

When I inspected the hive this weekend (the first opportunity I've had to return since 4/17) I found a small cluster of surviving bees (softball size), several frames of chilled/dead brood, and a lot of dead bees. There were no larvae or eggs in there whatsoever. I was not able to locate the queen, and based on the lack of young brood, I assume she perished.

I added one frame of capped brood and one frame of eggs and larvae from one of my other hives. I will wait to see if they try and make a queen. I won't get back out there until next Sunday. Here are my questions:

1. Will the bees clear out the frames with the chilled capped brood or do I need to get rid of that comb?

2. Next Sunday when I go out, if I don't find a queen cell on the frame of eggs and larvae, I plan to do a paper combine back to one of my other hives, probably the package. Thoughts?

As always, thanks in advance.
 

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How many frames of dead brood are you talking? A dead/dying hive stinks to high heaven...I would think that would be an issue getting other bees to want to stay. I don't know what your SHB situation is up there, but that would just be an open invitation to a SHB block party here. I would have to clean it out, or it would be an absolute disaster. It may be different in your area, but I would think it's gonna get pretty stinky.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Good points on the smell, I hadn't thought of that. I left three or four frames that need cleaning and removed the rest. Those frames were not solid brood. I was wondering if I could filter in the other frames to the stronger hives to get cleaned out and reused or if that would be a problem.

We have SHB here to, but the infestations aren't quite like what you have to contend with. This hive is so weak now though it could definitely be a problem.
 

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> 1. Will the bees clear out the frames with the chilled capped brood or do I need to get rid of that comb?

It takes bees to do that work. But if there were enough workers, yes.

> 2. Next Sunday when I go out, if I don't find a queen cell on the frame of eggs and larvae, I plan to do a paper combine back to one of my other hives, probably the package. Thoughts?

Sounds good.
 

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Crazy question: Would ants clean this (frames)out if uncapped and left on a ant hill?
 

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Irmo, I'm cheered by your resilience in the face of the weather -induced split failure. I just split two very strong colonies and now we're back in a cold snap, temps at night into the upper 30s for several days running. Likely that my new splits will lose brood in the cold. I'm feeling pretty bummed about this setback, but your example is a good one. Get over it and take the next reasonable step. Esp. with climate change, I guess living with unpredictable weather is just the new normal.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Hi Karenarnett, good luck with the cold snap. By the way, don't count it as a setback until it really is one. Bees are resourceful. They may do just fine.

An update on my situation, the side of the split that lost its queen to the cold is trying to make a new one with the eggs and larvae I put in the first weekend in May. Last week there were two or three capped queen cells. I put in another frame of capped brood to keep the population going, and will continue that until I see larvae. Meanwhile the other side of the split is going gangbusters. They may be looking to swarm so I will start a nuc with the queen in there to see if I can persuade them not to. If the weak side of the split is not successful raising their queen, I'll do a paper combine with the nuc queen and see how that goes. I hoping the weekly brood I'm adding, paired with their attempt at queen rearing, will prevent a drone layer from starting.
 
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