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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've never done this but was wondering if anyone has tried to add a mated queen to a weak hive coming out of winter? I have a small cluster of bees in one hive and can order a mated queen and install her. Just not sure if this is a waste of a new queen or if it's a good idea in the making.
 

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If it's a small cluster and your purchasing a queen ($30 or more), IMO I wouldn't waste my time or money. A "small" cluster is subjective. You have to ask yourself why the hive is weak. You didn't mention whether you had other hives, which would give you more options.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for the thoughts. I have other hives, though had cut back last year to prepare for a knee replacement. I do have several strong hives that are building up now.

Was just wondering if that would work- instead of starting over with a new nuc which, of course, is more expensive.

The problem was not taking care of the varroa mites in the fall.
 

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I was going to suggest a combine, but if that small cluster is already diseased from mites then I would pull a frame of eggs from another hive and see if they can raise a queen. Otherwise I would just shake them out.
 

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Aylett, VA 10-frame double deep Langstroth
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Small cluster could simply be due to a poorly laying queen. One of my overwintered nucs still only has small patches of brood, while other nucs are 4 full frames. You need to find the old queen and pinch her before trying to install the new one. Shaking through a queen excluder works pretty well. My plan is to give them a frame of capped brood to boost numbers, then give them a capped queen cell.
 

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What makes you think they don't still have a queen? This is what I did with a weak one last spring take it for what its worth (it won't cost you much). Take a frame of capped brood from one of your booming hives with adhering bees (make sure you don't get the queen with it). Add them to the hive putting that frame on the outside of the small cluster. I did this and within a week the queen had begun laying and the hive quickly turned around for me. I might have also reduced them into a nuc I cant remember for sure. My suspicion is that the existing bees were too weak and worn out to raise any brood and by adding those young bees on top of a frame of about to emerge bees they were able to create brood food again. Also possible the existing bees were unable to feed the queen the royal jelly in quantities she would need to lay eggs.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I had thought of combining and may still do so. I need to take a closer look at them but the weather hasn't been co-operating. I think maybe tomorrow or Saturday.

Will know more after this.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
OK, checked them out yesterday. They lost their queen. There were enough bees to try to get them going again. So added a frame of eggs, larvae and sealed brood. That got their attention. Today they are going like 60, bringing in pollen, which they hadn't done in the last previous days. Lot more activity. I'll check them out in a few days to see if they are starting a queen cell. If not I may have a local fellow that will supply a mated queen. We'll see...
 
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