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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'll try to keep this short, but I need some immediate advice.

I have two hives, one is kept in the mountains and one is kept on a friend's land down in the valley.

The hive in the mountains doesn't get as much of a nectar flow but regardless has done very well to where last week I noticed swarm cells. I immediately removed the queen from the hive and put her in her own box with brood etc. Standard stuff. So now I have two hives up in the mountains. If my calculations are right, the queen will emerge sometime this weekend in the old hive. These bees are also incredibly HOT and I cannot go within 15 feet of the hives without being attacked.

The hive in the valley is incredibly docile...I don't even need a suit to work on them as long as I'm patient with them. I'm pretty sure the hive already swarmed as I found a hatched out queen cell at the bottom of one of the frames. However, I cannot find that queen or any eggs, with only a few larvae and capped brood remaining, I can only guess she too has left with a swarm...there are also about 15 queen cells in this hive, all within three frames. Strong numbers but will quickly decline without a queen, obviously.

The problem:

I'd like to use the genetics from the valley hive for all my hives as they are much kinder. The mountain hive has a lot more bees with a great laying queen. My hope is to move the two frames with the majority of the queen cells from the valley hive to make splits with the bees in the mountain hives. I could easily take frames of brood from this queen without a problem. The problem is, can I move these frames without any bees or do I need to load up some of the valley bees in the nuc to make the trip? (about 30 minutes away but don't want to sacrifice their numbers) Do I need to wait for the queen cells to be capped? They are currently extended with a very large larvae inside, but are not yet capped. My worry is moving the frames and killing the queen cells if I do it improperly. I do have access to a local queen breeder who offered me one of his first bred queens of the season. I was thinking it would be best to add a queen to the valley hive so it doesn't have to spend a month to get workers...good idea?

I'm also hoping I can remove the queen cells from my queenless mountain hive and replace it with one of the queen cells off these frames. Can I just use a fine hobby knife to cut them off and place them into the wax of the hive? I'd also like to use the same method to add 1-2 queen cells per split off these two bars.

In short, I'd like to get the queen cells from the valley hive up to the mountain hive so I can use their resources to do multiple splits. I'm worried about transporting the frames with queens as I have never done this. My end goal is to have multiple hives with these "gentler" bees that I can then move back down to the valley...Maybe only leaving one hive in the mountains....probably my resilient, likely Africanized, hive of death.

What would you do?
 

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No expert here, but I'd wait until the valley hive's queen cells are capped then then move the frames to the mountain. If possible make a couple of queenless nucs a day ahead of the planned move, then insert then frames w/ queen cells in the nucs. You could cut the cells out and place in the nuc, but I think that adds complication, where it would probably be safer to move the frame in a box for the trip. Should be fine without bees on the frames for a 30min ride.

By starting the nucs, you would be able to ensure the queens are bred and start laying, then remove hive queen who is doing well, but hot, and then integrate/combine nucs into the hot hive/splits.

Hope this helps, and if I am off base, I'm sure there will be a correction shortly... hope all goes well and good luck, Andy
 

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A newly capped queen cell is VERY fragile. The wax is like putty. A queen cell two days from emergence is much less fragile (but still fragile). If you cut out a queen cell (be generous, don't try to cut too close) that has a papery tip (the bees remove the wax shortly before emergence) you can usually press your thumb into a comb to make an indentation and set that queen cell in the indentation (carefully of course).
 

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Keep an eye on the cells until they cap them. You can move them safely about 6/7 days after they get capped. Personally, I would cut out the cells and move them by themselves (no bees). I usually transport them on their sides in an insulated lunch box with a box of warm water underneath a towel to keep them nice and warm.
 

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Would it be better to just let the mountain queen mate and see the results? The valley queen could mate with hot drones and be a hot hive anyway. Or the mountain queen could be calmer than mother. Just let the valley make a calm queen & calm drone nuc?
True you would have to do a later combine but splitting off a small hive to combine should work.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I'll cut off the queen cells and move them to the mountains.

Unfortunately they did not build these cells on any of my foundationless frames. How do I go about removing them from the foundation without damaging the cell? When the bees draw out a queen cell does the queen occupy the entire cell or can I cut it close enough to the frame to get her out unharmed?
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
That's what I was afraid of. There are about 15 cells on the two frames I want to take...should I destroy any of them or just let the bees take care of it?

Is it possible to do daily, quick inspections to see if any of them have hatched and move the frame to another nuc? Remember, I'm trying to get as many queens out of this hive as possible for genetic reasons.

I'd hate to only get two splits with so many queens...
 

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That's what I was afraid of. There are about 15 cells on the two frames I want to take...should I destroy any of them or just let the bees take care of it?

Is it possible to do daily, quick inspections to see if any of them have hatched and move the frame to another nuc? Remember, I'm trying to get as many queens out of this hive as possible for genetic reasons.

I'd hate to only get two splits with so many queens...
Use a dremel tool with a wide cutting blade and cut up the foundation. Cut from top to bottom in four inch strips and it should be stable enough to place in a empty frame and pop in a new hive. I guess your need a long power cord or take the frame to garage.
 

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You could but a cage over some but it does not take them long to dig under. Reverse use of an introduction cage. I had it fail most of the time and work once, but I did not check every day.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Use a dremel tool with a wide cutting blade and cut up the foundation. Cut from top to bottom in four inch strips and it should be stable enough to place in a empty frame and pop in a new hive. I guess your need a long power cord or take the frame to garage.
Do you think the rotary "drill bit" attachment would work? I don't have a saw attachment big enough...but it's a clever idea.
 

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I do as Saltybee said, make little 5 sided boxes out of #8 screen 1 1/2 x 2 x 3/4 inches, pushed all the way down to the foundation. They will dig under if you don`t. If you want to cut them out without all that vibration from a saw, use a butterknife and a torch. heat it just enough to melt the plastic Pete N3SKI
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Great input.

I'll try some tests with the dremel and a hot knife on some drawn out frames I have laying around to see which is least invasive. I'm thinking the rotary drill bit with the dremel at full speed will cut through the foundation like it isn't there...but a knife is much more peaceful...we'll see.

I'll also try some cages around the queen on the frames I don't intend to remove. I have some #8 cloth...any tips on how to build this 5 sided box?
 

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cut a piece of wire cloth 3 1/2 x 3 inches, then cut the 3/4 x 3/4 inch corners out, then fold it. it helps to remove the first wire around the outside so that it is easier to push into the comb. Make a bunch you`ll have this happen again I`ve had 7 on one frame before. I have pics on my phone before hatch and after. I don`t know how to get them on here . Good luck Pete N3SKI
 

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Wouldn't it be better to make the nucs from the mountain hive and bring them down to the valley hive? That way you are transporting nucs with bees and there is no worry about chilling queen cells. Once you're there you simply move the queen cells into the nucs. You still have to solve the problem of cutting them off plastic foundation.
The other benefit is that the newly emerged queens will mate with the gentle drones instead of the drones from the mean hives in the mountains.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Wouldn't it be better to make the nucs from the mountain hive and bring them down to the valley hive? That way you are transporting nucs with bees and there is no worry about chilling queen cells. Once you're there you simply move the queen cells into the nucs. You still have to solve the problem of cutting them off plastic foundation.
The other benefit is that the newly emerged queens will mate with the gentle drones instead of the drones from the mean hives in the mountains.
I had this realization late last night. I wanted them near me in order to feed and watch over, but there is a huge nectar flow in the valley right now. As long as I'm able to cut out the queen cells, I should be able to load the nucs up with brood and bees first, then move them down to the valley to add the queen cells.

However, keep in mind that the drones from the "gentle" hive will be related to the emerging queens and I'm doubtful they would mate? However, they most certainly would mate with my aggressive hive...which isn't a plus.
 

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Doubtful that your hives are the only ones supplying drones. If your gentle hives mated in the valley then next should be similar.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Doubtful that your hives are the only ones supplying drones. If your gentle hives mated in the valley then next should be similar.
Exactly. I'm hoping they will made with drones in the area and not with my drones. Although I'm also sure there are other drones in the area, it's almost certain that one of them will be from my stock and as this angry queen bred here...she may have bred with a neighboring, aggressive, hive.
 
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