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Discussion Starter #1
Third year beekeeper with three strong hives in three different locations with plenty of irrigated gardens. All three queens are laying well and bees are bringing pollen. Drones present in all three yards. I want to add hives. Don't know if this is technically a walk away hive procedure but wanted to run this by everyone to see if I am on the right track.

1. Take frame with queen and bees on it and put in nuc (open or closed?) along with sealed brood/unsealed brood. Add food stores (maybe syrup?). Move this nuc to another yard where another strong hive resides.

2. Follow this procedure at other two yards so all three queens are taken away from mother hive.

3. Queenless hives would have plenty of bees, stores, egg to make a new queens along with drones in other hives to mate with.

This way I would end up with nuc hives containing strong queens to build up those hives.

The three established hives would be strong with bees, brood, and egg to start over.

Anything wrong with my plan?
Anything I am missing?

Any suggestions would be appreciated.

Thanks in advance.

Soapy
 

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just plan to keep feeding/watching them. advertise for swarms. good luck,mike
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Checked one of my three hives I spoke of earlier and found my oldest and most productive queen (3 yrs) and two frames away a big fat sealed queen cell about two inches up from the bottom bar. So that made my decision for me as far as she goes. I quickly got a nuc and put the old queen and the frame of bees with sealed brood and food on it in the nuc. I took another frame of sealed brood with bees and added it. Then a pollen frame and and empty drawn frame and finished it all off with an inline syrup feeder. Took it about 50 ft. away.

Then took the old hive and filled its empty spaces with drawn comb and blank foundation along with an in line syrup feeder.

So, we shall see. I am thinking she was being superceded so she is probably losing her pheromone power because she is still the best egg layer I have. Good quantity and good pattern. So I am going to try and rear some more from her.

Now, on to the other two hives I spoke of earler.

Any suggestions appreciated.

Thanks

Soapy
 

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Two inches from the bottom sounds more like a swarm cell to me. You stopped swarming for a few days but if the hive is still strong, it probably has more cells and will swarm with a virgin queen when they emerge.
 

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sorry, double clicked!

If it's a swarm cell, you've already "swarmed" the hive in a way by removing the queen and some brood. Now I'd take off that feeder, sounds like they are in a flow if they are building queen cells. If they are thinking of swarming, a feeder will only increase the odds for them to swarm.

The plan you've outlined has merit. There are many ways of doing splits, your plan is one way that is good. The nuc you split away with the queen won't have any field force. What I'd recommend is to put it in place in the new yard of the main hive that is there, moving the main hive to the side. Also make that nuc into 10 frame box as it'll catch a major portion of the field force of the main hive you moved to the side. Then make your split off the main hive and move to the next yard, doing the same thing there as you did here. This will give you more equal sized hives after 30 to 45 days.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Ok, back into the hive today to check on queen cell. Bottom of cell was open and virgin queen was not around the cell. Looked for her throughout the hive but could not see her. No other queen cells present in rest of hive. So, I am going to wait a few days (how many?) and check back. I know she, if present, has to take a mating flight. I do have drones around in that and other hives. In line syrup feeder was bone dry after feeding Friday.

Any thoughts please.

Thanks,

Soapy
 

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Virgin queens can be hard to find. Give it about a week to 10 days and check for eggs. Just today I found the first eggs and larvae of my first successful self raised queen. Its exciting man! Good luck.;)
 

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Hi Soapy,
Virgin queens are hard to spot. They don't have the right shape, exactly, yet. They are not hardened, not hard and glossy. The other bees will be leaving her alone, she won't have a court of bees so the patterns you look for to find her won't be there. She won't be laying eggs of course so looking on young larva frames won't be an option either! My advice is close it up for 2 weeks for her to harden and mate, then check to see if eggs or queen is present.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Should I feed or does it matter? They are certainly taking the syrup.

Thanks for the advice.

Soapy
 

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Ray Marler's advice is dead on, regarding that colony.

Regarding your other two, do you want to try for a good honey crop from them this season? What has worked for me is this:

I check the two remaining hives for swarm cells. If I find them, I remove all frames with swarm cells and set up a walk away split with them. No swarm cells, I take a frame of honey and pollen and bees, and a frame of eggs and bees from each colony, and set up walk away splits. I add either comb or foundation to the splits, and the same in the vacancies in the parent hives.

If I have found swarm cells, I make sure I find the queen in the parent hive, so I know they're not queenless when I remove the swarm cells. There is the chance she may have already left, and you want to be sure of that. You also don't want to remove her with the swarm cells you're putting in the splits.

This way in 4 weeks I have mated laying queens in my splits, I've reduced the possibility of swarming in the donor colonies, I've added additional room, and top supered the donor colonies, and will/should get the usual honey crop off the donor colonies.

Then I feed the splits like mad, to get them built up to overwinter. Here in Missouri I can have them in two deep brood boxes by fall, with stores for winter.
Regards,
Steven
 
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