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Discussion Starter #1
Yesterday proved to be an interesting bee day.

I came home from work to see the air filled with a cloud of very noisy bees! Swarm...first I have seen. They aggregated on a low tree branch amongst some bushes. My son in law lopped off the branch which I caught in a cardboard box. There were still bees flying around. I put a frame with open brood in a 10 frame lang deep. Dumped in the bees, put in undrawn wax frames (I don't have drawn frames), closed them up and put on some sugar syrup. Later in the evening when no more bees were flying about or in the tree I put an excluder on the bottom of the box. This evening I plan to move them to the bee yard. I am quite certain they were from my bee yard.

I then checked 2 nucs that I made up..both have queen cells on the frame I notched. I hope they emerge and get mated.

I then checked some of my hives.

I was amazed that several had only capped brood with lots of nectar, pollen and some capped honey. I saw no eggs or open brood but lots of bees. In most of these I saw no empty queen cells. There were drones and drone brood. I saw no Queens..I had marked some of them.

Are these hives that:

have already swarmed
are getting ready to swarm...but how without QC or open brood
other issues

Two hives had obvious QC. Some cells were open and some closed. Some were side by side with with one open and 1 closed. Will the closed ones be duds or perhaps a bit older.
As there were open cells and I thought perhaps the hives had already swarmed I cut out the closed QC. One hive had several QC.

I also witnessed a queen emerge from her cell and put her in a hair roller cage. There were already open cells in the hive and unopened ones. I didn't want to emerge simply to get in a fight with an emerged Queen. I cut out the remaining QC ( easier than I thought...they came off plastic foundation just fine) and put them in roller cages.

I have a hive that I am trying to get brood out of 2 dadants so it has 2 deeps with an excluder between the deeps and dadants. I pulled some frames and put them into 3 deep Queenless (I hope) nucs. I then put the roller cages..QC and virgin queen..between frames of the excluded dadants.

Once the 3 new nucs know they are queenless should I transfer a roller cage into each? I would have to remove a frame in the nuc to fit in the roller cage. The excluded dadants have have way more bees.

Is it likely the QCs I put in the roller cages will hatch or will they be unhatched because they are duds?

I have 1 hive that I requeened. Initially there was brood, now there is no open brood. How do I tell if they are on a naturally induced swarm brood break vs being hopelessly Queenless?

I will have to decide what to do with the Queen when and if the QC emerge.

If I decide to release the recently emerged queen into one of the new nucs how do I best do this. I did look for queens on the frame but it was late evening and I was very tired.

Lastly...the final I went into last was crazy aggressive. It did not have QC and did seem to have nectar in the brood nest. It did not have open brood that I could see. Are bees crazy aggressive around swarming...preps or after?

I have never dealt with swarming..the preps and aftermaths there of.

Thanks for any and all help. I feel I do not have a handle on what I need to do:(
 

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I haven't any answers to your questions as I am just a perpetually perplexed second-year beekeeper, too. But I'll second the feeling of not really having a handle on my hives' activities and needs. And I thought the first year was bad -- the second year seems even more nerve-racking as I know much more about the potential pitfalls, but apparently even less about what to do about them than I did in my first year. Wonder what the third year holds in store!

Enj.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Hopefully those with experience will come to our assistance.
I would like to install that virgin..if she lives..into a nuc I put together last night. I have no idea
..when best to it, now or wait a few days
..whether I release her onto the frames, start her in the cage roller or under a Queen screen placed on brood. It looks like it will rain here in the next day or so.

Also have to figure out how best to handle the cut out QC and what to do, if anything, for the hives that now have no open brood.
 

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The nucs already know they are queenless if in fact they are. Put a frame with queen cells from hive that swarmed in each nuc. Should put a stop to the swarming. Check and double check for eggs as that is proof of a queen at least three days ago. Make sure there is NO queen, only a cell or cells on frames you put in nuc.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I cut the QCs off the frames as there were a few per frame and put them in roller cages in a hive with Queen excluder. Did the same with the newly emerged virgin. At the moment I have 3 new nucs that I intended to be Queenless.

Am wondering how best to introduce a virgin Queen to a nuc. Should I wait and see if the QCs emerge first and then introduce them as virgins or move a couple to the nucs as QCS. I don't think my hives can spare enough frames to make up 10 more nucs. When making up nucs what us the minimum number and types ( capped brood, open brood, nectar/honey/pollen, drawn frames, new foundation)of frames one can add.
I was hoping to do so e of this this evening but am waiting for advice.
 

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WOW, that's quite a list.

I'll try to address some of your questions if you'll try to rephrase ( and perhaps number) the ones I misinterpret or miss.

1. Leave the swarm alone for the most part for a week or two. Resist the urge to dig in there. Nature has created a phenomenon that has been repeating itself for eons, and it should do fairly well with little intervention on your part. Feed syrup if you can, and they will take it. Try a pint jar to begin with.

2:Your hives with capped brood but no eggs or larvae have most likely swarmed, and are awaiting the virgin queen to mate and begin laying. This might take a few weeks, so mark these hive with a brick on end, or something to let you know to keep an eye on them & check back in a few weeks. "No queen cells" is a bit curious, but the bees will usually tear them down when they are no longer needed, so maybe that's the case.

3:Hives with open & closed cells: Careful you might let nature take it's course here. Emergent virgin queens will often dispatch any & all remaining queens(kill them in their unhatched cells) before they can emerge. Sometimes the bees won't let them because they "want" to cast several swarms. If the old queen has swarmed, and a subsequent virgin has also swarmed, the closed cells may be the only hope the hive has left. Splitting the hive or giving it more space might reduce the urge to swarm, but you've stepped in the middle of it when you have an open cell and other unopened ones. Making a split over a double screen will increase your chances of saving the one, and perhaps gaining another. If one fails, you can later re-unite them and not lose altogether. Place some closed qc's above a double screen board, and leave some below, give them a few weeks, and move on to your next challenge.

4: Requeened, but apparently queenless hive: try to be certain there are no eggs or young larvae = no queen. No remnant queen cells (or a hard to find virgin?) If none - add a frame of eggs and newly hatched larvae, misted with syrup to encourage acceptance. Check back for QC's in a week. Yes? - leave alone, No? - repeat or unite with a queen right hive.

5: Queen cells in roller cages: They may or may not hatch. Once they do, they need access to honey cells. The worker bees won't feed them, and pretty much ignore them from what I understand. I'd divvy up any that emerge between the nuc frames you have, and hope they get mated and begin laying.

6: What have I missed? Slow down, relax, enjoy. Do one thing at a time. The bees can do a lot of this without you. Read a few more books. ABC-XYZ, The Hive & the Honeybee, or one of my favorite's - Richard Taylor's "The How-To-Do-It Book of Beekeeping".
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thank you.
I agree about the dilemma with the hive with open and closed cells. Rightly or not I cut out the remaining cells I could see and put them in roller cages in a Queen right hive above the excluder. If in few weeks there is no brood I will introduce eggs and larvae or a Queen. How long to leave them before adding brood?

From other threads I thought one could bank virgins and the bees would care for them. If not I should release the virgin that I saw emerge yesterday into a Queenless nuc .The question remains how best to do that successfully ?

The hive that had multiple eggs in some cells seems to now have single eggs but low numbers of bees so I put them on the stand of a thriving hive and moved the thriving hive to the side. I hope the weak hive picks up more bees than it loses to its old location.

I felt the hives with just capped brood had likely swarmed without me noticing. I will have to watch they have eggs in the future. How long does one wait before feeling they are hopelessly Queenless.

I have opened a fair bit drone brood and so far no varroa on them.i hope that is a good indication.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I will search out the book.

In the mean time:

How long can I bank virgins...will bees care for them at all?

How best to release them in nucs?

I am not certain the QCs will emerge so don't want to pull apart hives to make up nucs I may not need. If the consensus is to place QCs rather than virgins I will do so.

I have read posts by Lauri whereby she grows on QC into virgins in an incubator. The horizontal roller cages in the incubator contained the virgins. Perhaps she will chime in as to how she manages her virgin Queens. I do have 1 four way 2 frame compartment mating nuc but as yet have not used it.

I did move the swarm to its hive stand last night. I have a Queen excluder under the frames. This weekend I will remove that. So far they seem content with their new home and are taking up the syrup.

I also moved the hive with few bees onto the hive stand of a stronger hive and moved the stronger hive to the side. I hope the weak hive picks up some extra bees.
 

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>How long can I bank virgins...will bees care for them at all?

In my experience, no, they don't care for them and they often die. A few days is the maximum. From emergence they have a window of three weeks to find good weather and get mated. After that they will mate but become drone layers.

>How best to release them in nucs?

Smoke the nuc. Run them in.

>I am not certain the QCs will emerge so don't want to pull apart hives to make up nucs I may not need.

You can always recombine.

>If the consensus is to place QCs rather than virgins I will do so.

That's what I would do. You have no introduction issues...
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Thank you folks for your help. This afternoon I will smoke a hive and add the virgin if she is still alive.
I will add a QC to the other 2 nucs.

I will then have about 6 QCs left. ..I will either put together the mating nuc with 4 compartments or steal more frames for nucs.

I have a few dadant frames that I am
waiting for brood to hatch out of so I can use them for honey supers. I suppose I could use those in my deep nucs. They may comb on the bottom but that could be cut off and wired into a foundation less frame.

Do you have to have open brood in nucs or will capped brood suffice? That is what I am short of now that hives are swarming.

I have ample frames with honey, nectar and pollen.

https://www.facebook.com/jannepotter1/posts/721971981187634
 

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I sure wish I had this resource when I started beekeeping. Not much in my dusty old books about virgin queens, beyond what has been said. Virgins CAN feed themselves, but ARE cared for shortly after "normal" emergence. I've found that a mist of syrup(w/smoke) often smooths any kind of introduction.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I checked today...the newly emerged Queen was dead...thanks to those who warned me...I will try to better by her if I get another.

None of the QC had emerged and I put them in the 3 nucs I made up.

I will take the Queen excluder off the swarm from yesterday tomorrow...unless advised other wise. They are orienting and going In and out of the entrance.

There seemed to be another tiny swarm in the same area this morning. Only had a nuc box for it and as the bottom board is flat no Queen excluder for them. I gave them a frame with nectar, honey and empty comb along with undrawn foundation frames and a hive top feeder. This evening I added a frame of late open brood and capped brood. It did have a few bees clinging to it so hope they get along. The nuc seemed busy and content with bees going in and out of the entrance. When I get home later tonight I will move them over to the other nucs.

Thank you so much for all your patience and guidance. I hope this thread is helping others going into their second year.
 

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By my second year, I had one great Buckfast hive and was building a second with (another) package. Back then you could get a "select" queen for an extra $2 (which I did). My second harvest was 575 lbs.
 

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I posted this elsewhere, then though I'd give it to you straight. Your question intrigued me, as it was one of the many I didn't or don't know the answer to - so here's what I found ;

" On another thread I was asking about holding (banking) and releasing virgin Queens for those that don't have incubators...How does one hold virgins and cut out qc if waiting for nuc placement?"

You peaked my interest on this one, so I did a little digging. I finally found one reference - "Rearing Queen Honey Bees" by Roger Morse - he says

" In no case should virgin queens be caged, mailed, or otherwise confined. They should be allowed to fly and mate as soon as possible."

I found very little other information on the subject, not that it isn't out there... I surmise that QC's should be placed individually in queenless nucs as soon as possible after their removal from the parent colony. One unfortunate unknown, in many cases, is the age of any capped cell one finds while inspecting. QC's are in a very delicate stage from around the 9th to 14th days, and moving or jostling during this time is to be avoided. Basically that is from the day, or day after they are capped, until 2 days before they emerge.

Perhaps that's why so many "cut & move" QC's fail?
 

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Discussion Starter #16
I posted this elsewhere, then though I'd give it to you straight. Your question intrigued me, as it was one of the many I didn't or don't know the answer to - so here's what I found ;

" On another thread I was asking about holding (banking) and releasing virgin Queens for those that don't have incubators...How does one hold virgins and cut out qc if waiting for nuc placement?"

You peaked my interest on this one, so I did a little digging. I finally found one reference - "Rearing Queen Honey Bees" by Roger Morse - he says

" In no case should virgin queens be caged, mailed, or otherwise confined. They should be allowed to fly and mate as soon as possible."

I found very little other information on the subject, not that it isn't out there... I surmise that QC's should be placed individually in queenless nucs as soon as possible after their removal from the parent colony. One unfortunate unknown, in many cases, is the age of any capped cell one finds while inspecting. QC's are in a very delicate stage from around the 9th to 14th days, and moving or jostling during this time is to be avoided. Basically that is from the day, or day after they are capped, until 2 days before they emerge.

Perhaps that's why so many "cut & move" QC's fail?
Agreed that I had no idea if the qc were duds, in the delicate or ok to move. I read somewhere if you don't remove extra qc after an initial swarm the hive may swarm with each new Queen until very few bees are left. Not great. On the other hand by removing the capped qc in a hive with no eggs or young brood I am running the risk of a helplessly Queenless hive if a virgin doesn't get mated and return. Such a dilemma:)

I know Lauri has posted pics and posts of her emerged virgins sitting in horizontally placed roller cages and her capped, developing qc sitting vertically on the same shelf of her incubator. I wondered how long she keeps the virgins this way and management of them. I also wondered why she holds her qc in roller cages rather than qc placement directly in the mating nucs.

Input from those raising queens would be appreciated.

It is hard to think seriously about Queen raising before one has a solid plan to follow:(
 

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Just go and tell somebody they "can't or "shouldn't" and see what happens - it starts in childhood! I didn't get queen rearing fever for a number of years. I found that reliably raising nice queens, while harvesting honey, was very demanding, and nerve racking! 'Found some notes in the above mentioned book - one read ('97) -" Started with 10 good cells"... ended with "ultimately 5 became mated laying queens of exceptional size". I was buying "select" Buckfast queens back then, and the price kept going up $2 per queen, per year. I think it was the year after I ordered 40 queens that I came up with the (insane) rationalization that I should just do it myself.

Nowadays I lean towards splitting QC colonies over a double screen. 3 med brood chamber, either the queen, or some QC's in 2 old & 1 new, below, and the nicest QC's in 1 med on top. It splits the brood chamber while providing more space, which inhibits swarming. It reduces all around effort and usually leaves me with the choice of re-uniting & re-queening the original colony at the same time, or taking a nice split with a newly mated young queen. I've been keeping bees here for almost 30 years, and never buy clipped queens - always let mother nature have them back, so my young queens are probably getting a good dose of the original genes back from the local "wild" drones. With a slight variation, you can raise a few of your own (really nice) queens, every year, without taking much away from the honey producing potential of the original colony.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Just go and tell somebody they "can't or "shouldn't" and see what happens - it starts in childhood! I didn't get queen rearing fever for a number of years. I found that reliably raising nice queens, while harvesting honey, was very demanding, and nerve racking! 'Found some notes in the above mentioned book - one read ('97) -" Started with 10 good cells"... ended with "ultimately 5 became mated laying queens of exceptional size". I was buying "select" Buckfast queens back then, and the price kept going up $2 per queen, per year. I think it was the year after I ordered 40 queens that I came up with the (insane) rationalization that I should just do it myself.

Nowadays I lean towards splitting QC colonies over a double screen. 3 med brood chamber, either the queen, or some QC's in 2 old & 1 new, below, and the nicest QC's in 1 med on top. It splits the brood chamber while providing more space, which inhibits swarming. It reduces all around effort and usually leaves me with the choice of re-uniting & re-queening the original colony at the same time, or taking a nice split with a newly mated young queen. I've been keeping bees here for almost 30 years, and never buy clipped queens - always let mother nature have them back, so my young queens are probably getting a good dose of the original genes back from the local "wild" drones. With a slight variation, you can raise a few of your own (really nice) queens, every year, without taking much away from the honey producing potential of the original colony.
Let's see if I have got this concept correct:

You are using dadant boxes as brood boxes. You put 2 brood boxes and 1 new brood box below with original Queen or QC (I assume if she has gone), then a double screened board (does it have to be a double screen), and the best QC in an original brood box above the screen. You then let the QC develope and once laying can take the top box off to make a separate hive. I presume both top and bottom have entrances...do they face opposite or the same direction?
 

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Yes, that's the concept.

A double queen excluder setup may also be used. Other issues arise.

2 entrances, generally opposite.
 

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By my second year, I had one great Buckfast hive and was building a second with (another) package. Back then you could get a "select" queen for an extra $2 (which I did). My second harvest was 575 lbs.
I am not even going to ask how long ago that was!!!
 
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