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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Everything was going so good this year with the bees.............. I have been keeping an eye on my strong hive and today I just had a feeling. I tilted up the boxes and saw empty queen cups every where and a few with jelly. These are Carnies and I was going to try to graft them and make some nucs this year but they seemed to beat me to it. I am more interested in making more bees than honey at this point

So I went through frame by frame and looked for the queen. I pulled the cups with jelly and I made two nucs. Most of the cups looked pretty new. One cup they had started to build out longer. I deformed the longish ones a bit at the ends just moving them around, I am hoping the bees will fix that. After searching the whole hive I could not find the queen but I did find eggs and larvae at all stages. The brood appeared to be spottier then normal and the eggs were spotty, not the even pattern that you normally see. There did appear to be empty room to lay rather than back filling.

Questions:
- Should I go back tomorrow and look for the queen again? How critical is it that I moved her? I checker boarded with some foundationless and some foundation.
- I forgot to shake nurse bees into the nucs and I will do that tomorrow. I want to mirror ideal queen rearing conditions and I am wondering If I should have put all the queen cups in one hive body. Probably the best thing would have been to leave them with the hive and move the queen correct?
- Is this the correct time of year in NY to make a production hive queenless in order to optimize worker strength and eliminate brood rearing. Is that a good option for the large hive? They already have a super about half full.
 

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Margot,

Making up nucs with queen cells is a fine idea, but you may have jumped the gun just 3-4 days. If the nucs don't have plenty of bees they may be challenged to finish the very young cells you are describing - it would probably have been best if you had let them finish building them before making up your nucs.

Also when you "checkerboard" a hive as you describe (not to be confused with the manipulation promoted by Walt Wright) you effectively make it much weaker than it would be, and may end up with wacky comb in the places where you used foundation. It may help prevent swarming I suppose if things have not already gone too far.

Sorry to sound so negative, but I doubt if you have made any kind of serious mistake.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for the help David. If I wait longer don't I run the risk of the queen taking off? I put in 10 frames total into three medium boxes. Three were without foundation, and they were between drawn comb. They should be fine right? I guess I can put everything back together if I find the queen tomorrow? MD
 

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Im in the same boat as you, yesterday when I made a split there were queen cells galore. Mine had several capped, so, I transferred those frames. I too was worried as i didnt see the queen on the inspection/splitting. After further review, I learned that even if I did move the queen it will possibly just have mimicked the swarm, not bad. Assuming you left lots of brood in the Mother hive, They will have larvae to work with to rear a new queen. So, I just quit worrying and will let the chips fall where they may. Seems very disruptive to go deep in the hive 2 days in a row if not necessary. At least thats the advice I have been given. On another note, both the nucs I made are in a different yard, side by side. checked them today and bees are flying equally. I dont know, but seems if the queen was in one they may drift to that hive. they will figure it out. The Bees are the Beekepers. G
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Agreed biggraham610. I would be happy if the queen was in the nuc, I want to mimic the swarm. I just want to spread out the nurse bees I have to get some good queens without leaving the three mediums light. I could reduce the big hive to two boxes.
 

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As was already stated, you moved a couple days early, and having the nucs finish the queens from early stages will cause substandard queens. They won't have enough bees to keep them well fed enough to have fat and sassy queens. In a perfect world ( one beekeepers rarely find themselves in) you would go into the hive right before the swarm cells are capped. Find the queen and take her and some brood and food and bees, move her 2 miles away, then 5 days after the cells are capped you make your splits. Move them 2 miles away, and then 2 weeks after that look for eggs in the splits. If you want you could leave the original hive without a queen cell and bring mother queen back and reunite her with the field bees and any thing else you had left.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
If you want you could leave the original hive without a queen cell and bring mother queen back and reunite her with the field bees and any thing else you had left.
I am not sure if I follow you here. What if I find the queen tomorrow? Can I remove her, and reassemble the hive. I am in NYC in a community garden so the first goal is to keep them from swarming.
 

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I am not sure if I follow you here. What if I find the queen tomorrow? Can I remove her, and reassemble the hive. I am in NYC in a community garden so the first goal is to keep them from swarming.
Of course. It's not ideal, what I described is more ideal, but that horse has left the barn. If find queen and recombine everything there will probably be a bit of chaos, but bees are used to dealing with our foul ups and they will sort things out.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
If you want you could leave the original hive without a queen cell and bring mother queen back and reunite her with the field bees and any thing else you had left.
Sorry, still trying to understand this. Are you saying that I could remove all the queen cells, and put the hive back together assuming I find the queen. Won't they just make more queen cells?
 

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Sorry, still trying to understand this. Are you saying that I could remove all the queen cells, and put the hive back together assuming I find the queen. Won't they just make more queen cells?
I wasn't clear. After making the splits you wanted with queen cells that were available, instead of having a split left at original location you could bring mother queen back and let field bees strengthen her nuc (I tend to make these type of queen mother splits pretty weak because A) I want hive making cells as strong as possible, and B) she's still laying and can restrengthen.)
 

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2 weeks after that look for eggs in the splits. .
Ok RWeakley, so 2 weeks is my target if the nucs were provided frames with capped cells? Does that give them enough time to hatch, Go on Mating Flights and start laying? I was looking at a queen rearing calendar and it seemed longer, 3+ wks. 2 would be much better. That works for you? Thanks, G
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I am using 5 frame nucs. If I go the shaking in nurse bees route, should I stack the boxes and make it 10 frames? Is that a more ideal cell building set-up? Should I take out the empty comb and reduce the mother colony to 2 boxes after I shake out the nurse bees? I am glad you laid out the perfect world plan Rweakley. It's good to know, even though I am pretty sure I am never going to live in that world :)
 

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What's done is done, just tweak it a bit.

One way would be more of a split using 10 frame boxes.
The parent hive in it's present location is going to retain the foraging bees and the two new nucs you made are going to lose any foraging bees back to the original location. Because of this the nucs need a large population of nurse bees which can be found on the brood frames.

Take all but one or two capped brood frames and move them into the nucs with bees attached divided evenly between the two. Leave two capped brood frames in the original hive at it's original location. Make sure the 2 nucs and the original hive have eggs or day old larvae, 1 frame in each or 2 frames if you have it with nurse bees to cover. Make sure they all have pollen/nectar frames, the nucs should get more than the parent hive as the parent has the bees to forage for pollen and nectar where the nucs only have nurse bees at this stage.

All three now have the resources to make a queen and the bees to support it. If the swarm cells you moved into the nucs are still viable all the better but the new frame(s) of eggs/day old larvae gives them a second chance at making a queen. What ever hive the queen ended up in (if she is still around) will not swarm because it either has no field bees (she's in a nuc) or few nurse bees because she's in the original hive location where most of the nurse bees were removed on the brood frames given to the nucs.

This will meet your goals of stopping the swarm, give you more bees and build on what you have already done. (If you had wanted to maximize honey this would not be the way to go.) I assumed 10 frame boxes for the splits.
 

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5 over 5 frame nucs will work also. 2 Capped brood and 2 eggs/young larvae frames in bottom and maybe one pollen/honey frame as well, ready to emerge frame or two up top in middle, honey/pollen outside of that and maybe an empty drawn comb to easily see if the queen is in a nuc because she'll need a place to lay if she is. It will make it easy for you to check just that one frame for new eggs if she's there.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I like it Clyderoad. I only have the nuc bottom boards. I would have to make two of my splits with a two story 5 frame nuc set-up. Does that matter? I could move the splits a few blocks away but I would guess it doesn't really make a difference in this set-up. I'll feed the splits with the nurse bees and queen cells, correct?
 

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I am in the same boat. I install 5 packages this year and one has swarmed so far and I have seen queen cells in some of the others.
 
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