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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My last inspection was about a month ago where I noticed the girls had run out of space. Having only one deep, as that's all they could support with the dearth we had here, I added another box.

I did another inspection today and found that both boxes were full, the kind of full to where you can't see the bars through all the bees. Just about every bar was full of bee bread and all stages of brood.

I also found...queen cells...or let me clarify for you who are going to ask...queen cups...they were all near the bottom of the hive where several had larvae in them and others had day old eggs in them. The ones with larvae were already being extended into full queen cells.

So in my readings I've learned that if the cell is at the bottom of the frame, they are swarm cells, correct?

If I'm to split the hive into another, how would you go about this? Give 4 frames? One with a queen cell, some brood, bee bread and honey?

How many splits could I do?

Checkerboard split? (every other)

What happens if a queen hatches in the hive where the current queen resides? ...I've never been very good at finding the queen.

Thanks in advance.
 

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I guess it would depend if you have the equipment or if you are worried about interrupting the buildup before the main flow; but they need to "think" they have already swarmed or you might loose them as soon as the cells are capped. You can make up multiple nucs with individual queen cells if they are on different frames, or move 2 queen cells to another frame if you have lots of QC on only one frame. Once the new queens have hatched, you can decide if you want to keep them as nucs or if you want to newspaper combine some back into the main hive and sell just the queens to local beeks in need of one. I'm sure your local bee club would be tickled to have extra nucs available or at least the queens to make some splits for the nuc list.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I have a lot of equipment (long story) but I have about 15 empty deeps with frame available to use.

I'm thinking of splitting whatever I need to. Add a frame with brood of all stages with at least 1 queen cells (is two better?) along with a frame of bee bread and one of honey? I that about right? I was told you always want 3 frames minimum?

At what stage should I wait for the queen cells to be a before I split? If they cap them, it may be too late?
 

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Interesting convoy as I'm new and have only one brood box with foundation less frames, been in I think just about 3 weeks and all but 2 frames are built up.I have similar questions, I plan to put on a second brood box in the next day or so, the colony is a swarm caught in new Orleans and I've been feed sugar water as well and seem to bee doing really well and has grown obviously! I put the 2 frames with little or no comb drawn in towards the center for a day or 2 then put 2nd brood box.
 

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Here's the pickle. Unless you can find your queen and get her moved your bees are gonna swarm. Probably as soon as the cells are capped. It takes lots of bees the right age to properly feed a queen larva.
In my opinion they can't be moved until a few days after their capped.

If you google ( queen calendar generator ) it will give you a timeline on when the cells can be moved.

IMO you really need to find that queen pronto.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Funny Wolfer as I was just reading an article on that.

I'm thinking if I take out the queen and use her as part of the split. I'll then do a split or two with the other cells and leave a couple cells with the parent hive to raise another.

That should do it?

It's not that I can't find her...it's just that I've never really needed to...I see eggs...I assume there is a queen.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
It looks like I don't have a lot of time. According to the calendar they will cap the cells after 10 days...I may only have 4 or 5...yikes.
 

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I 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"
 

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I 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"
It's probably time
What I go by is if the box is pretty full of bees and you have 5 or more frames of capped brood. Your population will near double in the next few days. If there's not room they will go into swarm prep. Once they decide to swarm their hard to stop.

When I add a second box I move a couple frames up and put in the center. Dropping new frames in their spot in the bottom box. Make sure there's a drawn frame between them. Once the bees are in the top box I separate the two drawn frames with an empty. As soon as its drawn I repeat. This will get you some really good comb.

A hive in build up mode with a strong flow will easily draw a frame a day.
Woody Roberts
 

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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.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
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.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
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.
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.

I'll keep an eye on the queen cells and split again when I find them capped. I'll put one cell in each nuc but I'm guessing I also have to leave one for the hive ;)

I'm wanting to focus a little more on honey production this year, is there another method that would allow the hive to keep its numbers up for higher honey production? I feel like every spring I have to split my hives and I end up with a bunch of hives...and not a lot of honey.
 

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The only way I know is to only make one split-the one with the old queen. Then, destroy all but one or two or three of the queen cells. When the first queen emerges and is "okayed" by the bees, she will destroy other queen cells. But often she either doesn't get them all or the bees don't let her destroy them all. Then you will have swarms and lose a lot of your population. (If you didn't split out the old queen, she would leave with the prime swarm and the swarms that occur with the emerging virgin queens are called afterswarms).
 

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The only way I know is to not save the queen cells. Pull your old queen and leave two cells in the hive.

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.
This the best of both worlds. Your queen is still contributing brood and your hive is not prone to swarm with no queen/ new queen.
As the flow slows down let your old queen go ahead and fill a single deep. She will be in good shape for winter and in the spring she will go into buildup mode again. Add boxes as needed, keep the brood nest open and by the time she's done swarm season will be over.

This works better in theory than in practice but I can usually get it to work. Bees are like horses, they'll make a liar out of you.

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.
 

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Wow a lot of Info for this rookie, I will do my best but I guess it's all about trial an error! I will keep y'all posted.
 

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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.
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?

I hadn't thought of giving frames of brood back to the original hive. Great idea!
 

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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.
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.
 

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Two problems with later queen rearing. My mating nucs are two frame. Robbing is certainly an issue. But I haven't had any trouble with my current setup. My entrance holes are 1/2"
They can fight off robbers but they have trouble regulating temp. There's not room for a bee to be pushing air in and another to push air out.
I'm still thinking about how to handle this issue.
Problem no 2. I lose a bigger percentage on their mating flights. Not a high percentage but certainly more than I do in the spring. But if a queen doesn't make it back her two frames goes in a nuc with one of the queens that did.

I do have to feed these hives. Our main flow is in the spring. We have some maintenance flow thru the summer but not much. Fall flow can be pretty good but it's pretty rare right here where I am.

In a real dearth I keep damp sugar in the yard about 200 yds from the hives. It'll take them two weeks to go thru 10 lbs. I feel like it gives the robbers something to do.

Also, my bees are Russian ferel mutts. Their not near as prone to robbing as some of my buddies Italians. There are no other beekeepers near me that I'm aware of.
Woody Roberts
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Great input guys. I think I've finally got a good plan figured out. I'll get the queen taken out tomorrow and wait for the other cells to be capped to move them/destroy them.

I do have a 4 lb package of bees said to come in on the 15th. I'm wondering if I could split that up with some queen cells? Oh...the possibilities.
 
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