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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Was wondering if anyone had a suggestion for my problem. I split my one hive a couple of months ago. The split is doing great, but the original hive never raised a new queen. Now their numbers are really low.
Around 10 days ago i stole a bar of capped brood from the split and added it to the original hive, and replaced it with a bar of empty comb, then went back a few days later and there were some eggs in it so i took it and put it back in the original hive. Checked today and it doesnt look like they’ve taken advantage of my gifts to raise a new queen, and the number of bees is really low.
Possibly related to the drastic drop in numbers in the past 10 days...there have been several swallows (birds) coming by every afternoon and circling the hives, snatching bees as they circle. I didnt think they could do any real damage, but maybe.
Also, something more interesting then having to do with this topic...i have a bunch of drones that are a blonde or golden color. I’ve never seen that before.

Sooo, any suggestions? No idea if this is feasible, but can I take the queen and put her back into the original hive for a couple of weeks? Or permanently and let the split raise a new queen? Should I keep stealing from the split?
Thanks!
 

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Aylett, VA 10-frame double deep Langstroth
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You did not specify the dates, but a hive could take over a week to create a queen cell you could see with the eggs. You should probably put the original hive into a nuc to tighten them up a bit. Stealing from the split is a matter of personal choice. If it is strong enough, sure. But do not jeopardize the split to save a hive that is on its last gasp. Better to strengthen the split and split it later.
 

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can I take the queen and put her back into the original hive for a couple of weeks?
Can you? Yes. Should you? No.

If the original hive will not now raise queen cells, this says that it will very likely kill any laying queen introduce to it.

Should I keep stealing from the split?
You can, but....

By constantly re stocking the failing hive from the good one, you may eventually help it recover and make a new queen. But the method is very heavy on resources needed from the good hive. Likely a better plan could be to re combine the 2 hives or shake the failing one out, so those bees can help build the good one until it can be split again. If you do go the re - split route, next time buy a mated queen for the queenless half. This will speed things up a lot, plus avoid the possibilty of the split failng to requeen.
 

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You need a TON of young, healthy, worker bees to raise a good queen. The best royal jelly is produced by the youngest bees and if you are late into a split, there might not be a lot of the young ones left. Bee roles can be pretty plastic, but it could be that the bees that ere available to try and raise a new queen just weren't there any more. If I was in your situation, I would break down the failed hive, shake out all of the bees, let them redistribute around my apiary and focus on building the colony up with the original queen.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks for the comments. Why you guys say “shake them out” do you mean just shaking them off the bars onto the ground? Could i put them into the other hive?
 

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Yes, they mean shake them onto the ground.

Why? Because they have been 2 seperate hives for 2 months now. Which is long enough for each hive to have it's own identity, smell, etc.

If you just dump those bees en mass into the other hive, they will not recognise the queen as their own, and if they come across her in big numbers all of a sudden, may kill her.

Shaking them onto the ground means they have to individually hunt around to find a hive to go to, and once there, have to "beg" their way in, and are processed by the recieving bees. There is still a small risk to the queen, but very small, compared to dumping them all in at once.

So, don't dump them right outside the other hive, best to dump them 10 or more yards away. Do not fret that you may lose some bees. That is a better option than losing the queen in the good hive. However you may not lose any bees at all.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Great information. Thanks for that. Okay, i’ll go take a final look tomorrow and then shake them if nothing has changed. The split is doing great so I should be able to split that soon.
Is there something I could have done to cause them to not raise a new queen? The hive was packed with brood and pollen and honey when I split it, so it wasnt for lack of resources. This has happened to me a couple of times and so i’m just wondering.
 

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Shaking them onto the ground means they have to individually hunt around to find a hive to go to, and once there, have to "beg" their way in, and are processed by the recieving bees.
:D Now I am picturing a "Papers Please" type queue of homeless bees trying to get into the motherland.
 

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Is there something I could have done to cause them to not raise a new queen? The hive was packed with brood and pollen and honey when I split it, so it wasnt for lack of resources. This has happened to me a couple of times and so i’m just wondering.
Probably not much / anything you could have done different. Every queenless hive if it has eggs, will raise a new queen. Where it can go awry is when the new queen takes her mating flights. Not all queens are successful and losses can often be about 30%. This can be better in some areas and seasons, and worse in some areas and seasons. You may have just got unlucky, twice.

Making new queens should be planned to be at the same time as there is good weather and lots of drones around.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Went to shake out the hive today and found what i’m thinking might be a weird queen cell? See pic. I’ve never seen anything like this. Decided not to shake them out till i know what this is. If it is a queen cell i’ll leave them for a bit more time, even though i didnt see a queen.
 

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Went to shake out the hive today and found what i’m thinking might be a weird queen cell? See pic. I’ve never seen anything like this. Decided not to shake them out till i know what this is. If it is a queen cell i’ll leave them for a bit more time, even though i didnt see a queen.
I don't know if I'd consider THAT a true QC and I would not depend on that thing either.
Looks like an attempt to build an emergency QC around an unfertilized egg.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Got it. Well I’ll take another look this weekend and see what it looks like and then make the call.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Shook out the hive today. But while i was doing that I had a question....why shake them off instead of just leaving them and letting the hive run it’s coarse?
 

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If you let it run it's course, it will eventually go laying worker and those bees are mostly worthless. If you recombine with another hive the bees will go to work and make honey and otherwise support a healthy hive.
 

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Shook out the hive today. But while i was doing that I had a question....why shake them off instead of just leaving them and letting the hive run it’s coarse?
This is a valid course IF you specifically want to broadcast THOSE drones.
Which I have done.
This is also a valid path IF you know(suspect) a parasite/infection present in that hive and prefer NOT to spread it.

Of course, if you badly need the hive/frames from there - well, just take them (without the bees).
 

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If you let it run it's course, it will eventually go laying worker and those bees are mostly worthless. If you recombine with another hive the bees will go to work and make honey and otherwise support a healthy hive.
As long as the material to combine is healthy (else you make it worse rather than better).
 
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