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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey guys,

I still consider myself a newbie. Last year I started with 3 hives and did 3 splits and ended up with 6 hives. I lost one in late fall but the other 5 made it through winter.

The bees were building up quickly here in North Texas so I decided to make some splits from 2 of my stronger hives. One had queen cells and the other had around 20 queen cups on the bottom but not cells. So I took these two hives and made splits.

Here is a timeline and obeservations:
March 26th - split both hives (queens left in original)
April 3rd inspection: Found capped queen cells. I eliminated the smaller ones and left 3 larger ones in each hive
April 12th walked to the front of split #1 and found a dead queen on the ground
April 17th did an inspection on split #1 and #2. Found no eggs (not sure if this was a good idea)

I plan to do a inspection this weekend hoping to find eggs. According to Michael Bush's beemath there's a good chance I should have a laying queen.

My question is this. Over the past two days I have watched the landing board of both splits. split #1 has activity but very little pollen coming in....maybe 1 out of 20 bees? split #2 I see pollen coming in somewhat rapidly. maybe 1 out of 5 bees. Would it be likely that split #2 has a laying queen and #1 maybe without a laying queen? Really just curious at this point. I should hopefully have my answer this week or next
 

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I always give them 1 month before doing anything. March 26->April 26. Because it is spring and cool still you could probably factor in an extra week until a queen really gets going.

I also dont make final judgements on queen quality until they go through a winter, but our winters are very different.
 

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The nest time around don't do the walk-away splits anymore - the least optimal way of splitting.

As you now see - you only created one new queen which very well may fail too in many ways (not returning from mating is a pretty common case). In the end you may have wasted your time and interrupted your harvest potential too.

Fingers crossed the young queen is just waiting to get started.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I am not expecting these splits to produce honey, the main goal was to stop the main hives from swarming....and so far it seems to be working. Our main flow around here starts in 1-3 weeks. Just wondering if pollen coming in is a sign of a mated queen. Obviously my inspection is going to be the real answer....this is just me being curious. I also don't look at it as a waste of time, doing the split so far has served its purpose. Really hoping I get new queens out of it, but if I don't I will just try again (add a frame of eggs and young lavae) or purchase a mated queen if I can find any over the next few weeks.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I always give them 1 month before doing anything. March 26->April 26. Because it is spring and cool still you could probably factor in an extra week until a queen really gets going.

I also dont make final judgements on queen quality until they go through a winter, but our winters are very different.
Around here the cool weather is gone. We actually had a really late frost 2 days ago but that was an oddity. Most of the time the weather has been in the upper 60's to lower 80's around here :)

And I like your philosophy on final judgement of queens.
 

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I could be wrong but I don't think you can tell if a colony has a laying queen by the amount of pollen coming in. I haven't been able to determine why some colonies bring in more than others. On the splits I've made I've often seen queens a week or so before they start laying.
 

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I agree with Steve on the timeline (I take the same approach). For the hive that didn't have queen cells started yet (and add "-ish" to all of these dates):

March 26-29: Bees recognized they're queenless and eggs started to hatch. The workers started making emergency queens.
March 29-April 10: Development of the queen, up to queen emergence
April 11-April 17: Queen settled in and became sexually mature
April 17-April 24: Mating flights (weather dependent)
April 25: she starts laying.

Based on these timelines, for walkaway splits I check on day 5-7 to make sure there's active queen cells like you. Then the hives stay buttoned until day 30 as long as I think the weather was good for mating flights.

Your dead queen that you found could have been from the battle of the queens that happened when they emerged.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Just wanted to give an update on the situation:
Did an inspection on saturday (4/24):
Split #1: I saw no capped brood, no open brood but I think I saw a few eggs. Unfortunately it was very cloudy and all the foundation in here is white...but I am almost certain I saw a few eggs. The hive was packed to the brim 100%. So I gave them a second box. Didn't see a queen but with that many bees it was difficult for me and my priority was to find eggs/larva
Split #2: Saw a queen and found a frame full of capped brood! So this one is a success. Hive got another box because it was 100% full as well.

I plan to check Split #1 again this weekend. If I don't see any brood or larva I will see if anyone locally has a queen or worst case scenario steal a frame of egg/young larva from another hive.
 
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