The forum here will not allow me to update my location, however, I'm in Santa Cruz, California.
It's probably timeI have seen queen both times I've been in hive, should I put on another brood box, I don't recall seeing any "swarm cells"
Great advice. I'll find her and put her in a new box along with a few frames of brood at different stages, bee bread, and honey.The old queen will leave with a swarm as soon as cells are capped. So, I would make the first nuc with the old queen ASAP.
The queen will emerge about 8 days after the cell is capped. You want to move them after they are capped, but before they emerge. Keep in mind you have cells at different stages of development. If there are several or many cells on one frame and you want to make nucs from each of them, you can cut out around the cell and move it to a new frame. Cut a triangle hole in comb and gently push it in.
Queen cells are very delicate. Don't damage them. If you bump or jar the cell or frame, or if you tip it (including when you pull out a frame with QC's on them) more than 20 degrees, you will damage or kill the queen.
When you make a mating nuc (split) the foragers (more or less, the bees on the frames of honey and pollen)will return to the original hive. You may need to shake in some extra bees from brood frames to make up for that. It also means the original hive will continue to bring in honey and pollen.
That's my advice for what it's worth.
Good luck and let us know how it goes.
My problem with later queen rearing(and I would think yours, also) is that after the flow, you would have to feed the swarm box and mating nucs. Robbing is a real problem for me after the middle of June. I've lost too many mating nucs to robbing. Any suggestions?If you give the queen four or five frames of brood she will build up really fast. You can take a frame as soon as its capped and give it back to the hive.
P.S. I'm not very fond of spring raised queens. My best queens are raised after the summer solstice. Personally I wouldent shed any tears over excess spring queen cells.
That is a lot of extra work. Just add your empty when they are covering all but the outside two frames. During the flow, they will fill the boxes on top with honey before the queen can get up there. Then once there is a box of honey above the queen, she will not cross it. Beware, if you do not add empty frames below the honey once the next gets packed, they will start thinking swarm. I always try to break the brood nest up jut as Wolfer has described. I add frames with foundation, or even foundationless between drawn and capped brood in the lower boxes to give them something to work on and the queen a place to lay. I run all medium 10 frame equipment and seldom does the queen venture above the third box. So I let them use the bottom three for themselves and anything above that is surplus for me.A little off topic...but oh well
When I add another box I always move the frames with honey up to the second box and to the outsides. I leave the middle empty.
The frames I add to the lower box I add to the middle, pushing all the frames to the outside. This pushes out the brood chamber manipulating the bees to store their honey in the second box.
When I add the honey super, I move the same honey frames up to the third box but this time add them to the center. I find my bees want to place their honey on the outside so if I manipulate them just right, I don't need a queen excluded.