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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have this hive installed from a package a 3.5 weeks ago. They were doing fine, queen was laying like a champ and I decided to mark the queen 1 week ago to know if she swarmed etc. Something must have happened b/c a week later when I checked on them I found no queen and no fresh eggs. And there were now a lot of supersedure cells (4 capped) AND swarm cells(3 uncapped) on the same frame as in the pics. The only thing I saw was older larvae which would coincide with something happening to queen after I marked her.

I added another deep, but don't want to lose any bees to a swarm. I am guessing I should split it. Asking for a friend 😭 😭 😭 🤦‍♂️🤦‍♂️🤦‍♂️

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These are emergency cells and not supersedure or swarm cells. Supersedure cells are purpose built and stand out from the comb a lot more than yours. Your cells are drawn out from worker brood - indicating an emergency.

They will also build them all over the colony in hopes of getting just one good queen. They can be at the top, bottom, doesn't matter. Location on the frame is a good indicator of supersedure or swarm cells but is just a guide. The bees don't know our "rule" and I've seen swarm cells in all kinds of locations.

Since you just marked the queen I'm guessing that did her in. Either she was damaged, got paint in an area it shouldn't have been in, or otherwise injured during that process. Marking is incredibly hard on queens and there are countless posts on here about people losing queens after marking, or having them fly off...etc. I lost a couple queens trying to mark and gave up on it. It wasn't until many years later that my bee handling skills improved to where I can do it without injury. It's a good idea to practice on drones. I think I had a thousand colored drones flying around when I decided to get good at it.

If it were my colony. I'd go through and knock down the smallest cells leaving 2-4 of the bigger ones. Then leave them alone for a month and check for healthy eggs/larvae.
 

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Let's not confuse this - all you see is emergency queen cells.
This is one reason to think twice before marking a queen.
Do you really need to mark the queen?
And if yes then do it without the damage.

Split 2-3-4 way (depending on how the strong the hive is and how many frames with the cells there are).
Let the queens mate.
Combine back if any matings failed
 

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Split 2-3-4 way (depending on how the strong the hive is and how many frames with the cells there are).
Really like that idea if you have the equipment. You certainly have the cells to share.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks guys. Can I move some of those Queen cells to nucs and then once I’m sure the mother hive is queenless , install a mated Queen that I bought?I’m concerned about missing all that laying time due to the new queen who they’re raising needing time to mate and get laying etc.
 

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If you were to buy a queen you'd want to make sure to tear down any and ALL queen cells. A hive won't accept a new queen when they have cells.

If you could get a queen locally and fairly quickly I'd get one on order asap. A mated queen is always the fastest and safest way to fix a queenless colony. Assuming your colony does raise a queen, there is no guarantee she'd return from a mating flight.

So you could order a queen and knock down all the cells. Make a split with some of the cells and knock them down in the parent colony to requeen. Or, do a split and requeen both sides. You have a few options and it comes down to what you're comfortable with, available resources, and availability of queens.

However, if you wait too long to get a queen and any of those cells emerge in the coming week you'll now have a virgin in there as may as well give it another couple week to see if she mates, putting you back on track.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
thanks for the wisdom. I went in yesterday and crushed some cells and moved the rest to the top deep and then put an excluder on the bottom box. I will go back in to take the frame w/ cells out and put in a nuc with the nurse bees that have come up on the brood.

Could I also install in a mini-nuc? How do those fare in terms of banking backup queens?






If you were to buy a queen you'd want to make sure to tear down any and ALL queen cells. A hive won't accept a new queen when they have cells.

If you could get a queen locally and fairly quickly I'd get one on order asap. A mated queen is always the fastest and safest way to fix a queenless colony. Assuming your colony does raise a queen, there is no guarantee she'd return from a mating flight.

So you could order a queen and knock down all the cells. Make a split with some of the cells and knock them down in the parent colony to requeen. Or, do a split and requeen both sides. You have a few options and it comes down to what you're comfortable with, available resources, and availability of queens.

However, if you wait too long to get a queen and any of those cells emerge in the coming week you'll now have a virgin in there as may as well give it another couple week to see if she mates, putting you back on track.
 

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thanks for the wisdom. I went in yesterday and crushed some cells and moved the rest to the top deep and then put an excluder on the bottom box. I will go back in to take the frame w/ cells out and put in a nuc with the nurse bees that have come up on the brood.

Could I also install in a mini-nuc? How do those fare in terms of banking backup queens?
Not just the bees on the brood (some of them will fly back home - you don't know if the 100% of them are nurses).
Add a couple of good shakes of the bees - in addition (to compensate for the fly-back losses).

If you talking of a cutting out the combs with the QCs to inserting them into the mini-frames - don't.
You will just shake the QCs and likely will damage them at this time.

If you are talking about standard frame mini-nucs (1-frame or 2-frame) - why not?
If you have enough frames and bees - you can try.
Then combine back as needed (OR hold a spare queen in a 2-frame nuc if end up with too many).
 

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So what's the current plan?

I second shaking in more bees than you think you need. A lot will still fly back.

You also don't have a queen so the excluder isn't necessary, nothing to exclude ;) A virgin queen could likely slip right through one as well.
 

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Just so you factor this in, if the package was installed 3.5 weeks ago, nearly all the bees will be old enough now to have learned the location of the hive and will return to that place after you do your split.

There will be very few if any newly emerged young bees that will stay where you put them.

It would be less risky to put your split somewhere a good distance away then bring it back in a month or two. You may have a friend, family, workmate or similar, who would not mind babysitting your split at their place for you for a few weeks.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
So what's the current plan?

I second shaking in more bees than you think you need. A lot will still fly back.

You also don't have a queen so the excluder isn't necessary, nothing to exclude ;) A virgin queen could likely slip right through one as well.
Well, another hive that had true supercedure cells I split yesterday and made up a nuc with the frame that had all the supercedure cells. I shook in like 2-3 frames of bees into that nuc.

For the once that has the 2 deeps, I have not split yet. I think I am going to put them in a mini-mating nuc. Will 1 cup of bees be enough? Those boxes are tiny.
 

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Haha, I'm getting a little lost on all the things going on over there!

Are you going to cut the cells out and put them in a mating nuc?

I think your focus should be on creating strong colonies vs using all your queen cells. Queen cells seem to have a novelty around them that they should be saved at all costs. I tend to think bigger in than the parent colonies should be saved. Making cells is easy, having a good strong hive that lives for years and gives you a lot of honey isn't.

I knocked down half a dozen cells just this morning while checking on my mating nucs. They're inferior quality and I'd rather introduce my big fat grafted cells.
 

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You also don't have a queen so the excluder isn't necessary, nothing to exclude ;) A virgin queen could likely slip right through one as well.
The queen excluder is based on the size of a queens thorax, something that doesn't change as she ages. If a virgin queen goes thru you excluder, it's most likely because the excluder is bent. Virgins cant squeeze thru an excluder any better than a mature queen can.

On my than one occaision I have resorted to shaking thru an excluder to find a virgin queen in a colony, it's worked every time. After smoking all the bees down thru the excluder, over in one corner there was the young virgin trying he darndest to get thru too, but she didn't fit.
 

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The queen excluder is based on the size of a queens thorax, something that doesn't change as she ages. If a virgin queen goes thru you excluder, it's most likely because the excluder is bent. Virgins cant squeeze thru an excluder any better than a mature queen can.

On my than one occaision I have resorted to shaking thru an excluder to find a virgin queen in a colony, it's worked every time. After smoking all the bees down thru the excluder, over in one corner there was the young virgin trying he darndest to get thru too, but she didn't fit.
I'd disagree but glad you've had success. I've had them slip through and end up in supers. Also, many report they don't work as swarm control, under the bottom box, as the queens slims down for flight. Results obviously vary but Marcos is still complicating things. I'm simply trying to keep it simple so he ends up with strong healthy hives.
 

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I think your focus should be on creating strong colonies vs using all your queen cells. Queen cells seem to have a novelty around them that they should be saved at all costs. I tend to think bigger in than the parent colonies should be saved. Making cells is easy, having a good strong hive that lives for years and gives you a lot of honey isn't.
True that. I still get a little giddy when I see a few (particularly ripe) queen cells and think, what can/should I do with these? Then I remind myself they can be had anytime you want to make someone queenless. I'm trying to make sure every hive stays strong where you can remove a frame or two of something and they build it back from foundation in 3-4 days. Splitting everything you have into weak splits will give you chilled brood, or bigger hives coming in and stealing all the groceries.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I have a queen on order that should be arriving at the end of the week. The problem is the hive I want to put her in has at least one hatched out emergency cell so likely has a virgin queen. How can I get around this issue as it's hard to find the virgin/young queen? I don't want to have the virgin kill the mated queen that I purchased
 

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I have a queen on order that should be arriving at the end of the week. The problem is the hive I want to put her in has at least one hatched out emergency cell so likely has a virgin queen. How can I get around this issue as it's hard to find the virgin/young queen? I don't want to have the virgin kill the mated queen that I purchased
And kill your new queen she will.

Only thing you can really do is go frame by frame and find her. She still looks like a queen just a little smaller and moves around a bit faster. But, you know it's a queen when you see her.
 

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Sometimes it can be tricky to figure out if they're emergency or swarm cells.

Swarm cells are frequently built specially on the bottoms, in a location that a queen would NOT ordinarily lay an egg. It's also a numbers game, pretty common to find numerous swarm cells.

no don't put a queen in that colony.

make a new split with some other bees, congrats you have local queens, which generally out perform purchased queens (but not always).,
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
And kill your new queen she will.

Only thing you can really do is go frame by frame and find her. She still looks like a queen just a little smaller and moves around a bit faster. But, you know it's a queen when you see her.
So I went in today and found the virgin queen. I think I got lucky, but I put her in a nuc and left the main hive queenless.

Is it likely that there was more than 1 virgin queen and there could be another virgin queen in the hive? I obviously want to be sure before I install the mated queen I had shipped.
 

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Thanks guys. Can I move some of those Queen cells to nucs and then once I’m sure the mother hive is queenless , install a mated Queen that I bought?I’m concerned about missing all that laying time due to the new queen who they’re raising needing time to mate and get laying etc.
If you have capped queen cells, the you shouldn't need to buy a queen. Unless, you don't like their genetics. The capped queen cells are there already, and you won't loose much time brooding at that point. About 2 weeks later you should have a laying, mated queen in your hive. I'd pick a couple of nice cells and put into a new nuc. Knock off the smallest cells, and leave a couple of nice ones in the hive for requesting itself. Hope all works good for you. 4 years in keeping bees, I havnt had the need to mark queens at all. I let the bigger guys worry about that. The ones selling queens, ect.
 
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