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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I posted about this situation in my hello post, but I have an update and a question.

Here is a basic rundown......

My wife and I started to hives from packages this year in April. As instructed we have been feeding them, we were told to feed until they quit taking syrup. Which they never have, we have had very below ave. temps and non-stop rain, so that makes sense.

Hive one is pretty much what we expected, decent brood patterns, a growing population, albeit a little slow, they completed their first box several weeks ago and are starting to draw comb in the second brood box, but the queen isn't up their laying yet as she is still laying in the bottom box.

Hive two, the queen in this box is a laying machine. Brood patterns are very solid and some of the frames have nary any room for any honey or pollen storage in them. They filled up their bottom box to 80% three weeks ago, we added the second box, and when we checked it last Friday they had five frames of brood put into the top box. But, upon inspection I found several queen cups, which I didn't worry about, but then I found two capped queen cells about half way up on one frame, all queen cups were empty. I inspected the bottom box and found that most of it was empty of brood with a few frames that had about softball sized patched of capped brood and a few that had some pollen and honey. I left the queen cells alone and also the queen cups.

So, I rotated boxes to get the queen to hopefully move up and posted here for advice. It was recommended that I might want to do a split with the old queen into a nuc. Which I thought was an awesome idea as I didn't want to lose this queen to supercedure when she lays like she does.

Yesterday, I acquired all the necessary equipment to complete a split. Went out to the hive, found the queen laying away and pulled that frame full of eggs, another with capped brood and two with honey and pollen and installed a frame feeder into the nuc. I then continued my inspection to make sure the capped queen cells hadn't hatched. What I found and this is my question, one was torn down and the other was full of holes (looked moth eaten) and empty. The end didn't look like a bee had hatched and was still intact, but the sides of the qcell were eaten away.

Would they really tear down two capped queen cells?

I wondered if they changed their minds or if I was just two late. The one cell was far enough gone I couldn't verify it hadn't hatched by chance. Either way it had changed in a way that made me reconsider doing the split, so I put everything back as it was when I started. If that virgin hatched, it's going to be what it is. If they tore it down I didn't want to leave this hive in a situation of having to create an emergency queen and set them back at this point.

Any advice, suggestions or critique is more than welcome.

Thanks
 

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I am a greenhorn beek but I can suggest some reason. perhaps answers you can verify yourself.

I understand that a package of bees needs to be fed syrup until they have two deep worth of brood nest built up (that is four mediums) When they have a couple of frames of capped syrup that means they have enough that they are storing it. You can pull the feed then. If the stores start dropping you can put it back, anytime.

Hive one The queen will only lay eggs proportional to the number of bees available to cover the brood. She will get down there. I would just let her do her job.

Hive two I have read that first year packages will not swarm, maybe they do? Queen cells located in the middle of the frame are indications of supercedure. Queen cups are for emergency use they will have them around. I have also heard that the queen will be reluctant to pass a band of honey to lay more eggs. Is she "stuck" in the upper brood box? I can see how simply reversing the boxes could cause this situation. Check into "checkerboarding" remember that the bees need to cover the brood and the honey band concern.

I know nothing about splits or emergency queen nucs. I have culled a few queen cells while waiting for a mail order bride!

Maybe your queen finally came across the queen cells and tore them down, killing the potential heir to the throne. I know they do that. For sure if one hatches first, her first order of business is to kill her rivals. Are you sure your original queen is still around? Is she marked (makes them real easy to spot) Maybe she was successfully supersceded

Good luck, keep us posted on your progress.
 

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Hi,
There is a possibility that she hatched, & you had a mother daughter laying in the same hive. If you wait a few days you will know if there is still a laying queen in the hive.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Yes, the original queen is marked, and she is in there, I actually pulled her originally yesterday in preparation for the split. There is no way it's honey bound, hardly any stored syrup, thus why we are still feeding, we are headed north of a hundred pounds of sugar already in these hives since April 17th.
A few beeks up here have actually had their hives starve this spring, we got the dandelions, but then three weeks of constant rain and high temp around 60 have shut down the nectar, although they are getting some pollen. All the people at the bee shop yesterday were talking of the strange season so far. We lost our pear crop, warm weather, trees bloomed, then four nights of hard frost.

I guess time will tell, but I figured it was better to err on the side of letting the bee's be bee's. I guess she may have found them as she was only a frame and a half away, I never thought of that.

Thanks
 
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