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markb2603

House Bee
Joined
Apr 23, 2022
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Location
Donegal, Ireland
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National
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Hi Folks,

i hope it’s not a faux pas to post multiple questions in one post but it’s been one of those days!

1) Helped a fellow new beekeeper today with 2 swarms - a prime and a caste which seem to have left at the same time due to a few days bad weather - we went through the relevant hive after to try and cut down all the remaining queen cells and leave one. In that process, one of the cells I had removed and walked away with began to hatch in my hand! We hurried back and put the hatching queen back in the hive, it got out on top of the frames and scooted on down into the hive with no issues. Amazing sight but we were thinking that given we moved her out of the hive for maybe 5 minutes and then back in, could the hive reject her?

2) my pal offered me the second nuc, probably with the virgin queen, could I possibly keep it as an overwintered nuc or is it too early in the year and I’ll need to hive these?

3) one of my 3 hives has a very defensive temperament, I thought I could handle the dive bombers at inspection time but they are getting worse as the season goes on. Today, one of the kids nearly got zapped after being bombed a few times and he was about 50 metres away from the hive and I’d inspected over 20 minutes ago. Understand they would be annoyed after an inspection but I’m thinking the queen has got to go now that the kids are involved! My other 2 hives are absolute dreamboats when it comes to defensiveness. Not a bother on them during or after inspections. If I wanted the defensive hive to read a queen from an egg from the good hives, would I nuc the bold queen, wait a week, break down any queen cells in the hive and replace with a frame of eggs from the good hive then let them at it for 3 weeks or so until the new queen is emerged? Should I inspect in the interim?

a long one, so thanks in advance for the help!
 
1) No
2) We are in the start of June, in all likelihood it will grow to a full hive.
3) The queen has to go, you could do as you suggest, but there is a possibility, that while the hive is queenless, they could become more of a nuisance. If you had an out apiary it would be out of the way for the manipulations. You could buy a queen but there is no guarantee of acceptance. It is basically a no go area for your kids at the moment, while you carry out the manipulations. If you turned this hive into smaller units it may calm them down a bit, while you requeen and then once it is done recombine them. If you added young day old larvae to each split, it would improve your situation. I don't mean a frame of bias in each, you could cut small sections out
 
When you split the hive to requeen you could move the split brood boxes (only containing brood and nurse bees) away but leave a virtually empty hive on the original spot. Close it up on the first night and euthanese the foraging bees inside. These are the ones causing you trouble at present. It will give you some respite but once the brood in the splits emerges they will probably restart problems until your new queens start rebuilding the colony.
 
nuc the bold queen, wait a week, break down any queen cells in the hive and replace with a frame of eggs from the good hive
while the hive is queenless, they could become more of a nuisance
Try this: cage the defensive queen and leave the cage in the hive between two top bars for seven days. Remove and kill her and add a frame of eggs & young larvae from your well-tempered colony.

By this means you will avoid the awful temper of a queenless colony and the need to hunt for emergency QCs; do a quick check for QCs, though, just in case.

After day seven the colony will have only one source of brood to use for emergency QCs and the colony can be left to select one, as the impulse is to replace the queen, not swarm. However, to be safe, as we're in the swarming season, you have the option to go in once the cells are sealed and leave one only.
 
1) they should not reject the Q. But what did you leave the hive with as you were intending removing the cell? If you left another virgin Q in there one will be killed or another cast swarm. If further Q cells to emerge you are possibly back to the scenario you started with.
2) once the Q is mated they will build up to a full hive by winter . An option would be to keep removing frames of brood and replacing with foundation. This will keep them at a size suitable to stay in the nuc to over winter
3) only issue of letting them raise a Q (even from a frame of brood from your good hive) is the Q will open mate and if there are drones with aggressive / defensive characteristics in the area you take your chance. Personally I would look to buy in a mated Q of known origin from a reliable supplier. This is an issue I have and buy in a handful of new Q’s every year
 
Why can't you just kill the queen and combine with one of your nice hives?
 
Why can't you just kill the queen and combine with one of your nice hives?

I was actually thinking I might do this after reading through another thread over the last few days - newspaper method to combine a Q+ and Q- colony. If I took this approach would I need to wait a week and clear the queen cells before combining with newspaper or could I do it at the same time?

1) they should not reject the Q. But what did you leave the hive with as you were intending removing the cell? If you left another virgin Q in there one will be killed or another cast swarm. If further Q cells to emerge you are possibly back to the scenario you started with.
2) once the Q is mated they will build up to a full hive by winter .

1) we had left another queen cell which we thought would be new queen as there was no sign of another queen in the hive. We went back in yesterday and removed it as all seemed well in the hive.

2) just for my own info, if someone wanted to start a winter nuc, at what time of the year would they start one? I’be done a bit of reading up about it with a view to maybe starting one but can’t seem to find anything definitive.

thanks
 
I was actually thinking I might do this after reading through another thread over the last few days - newspaper method to combine a Q+ and Q- colony. If I took this approach would I need to wait a week and clear the queen cells before combining with newspaper or could I do it at the same time?



1) we had left another queen cell which we thought would be new queen as there was no sign of another queen in the hive. We went back in yesterday and removed it as all seemed well in the hive.

2) just for my own info, if someone wanted to start a winter nuc, at what time of the year would they start one? I’be done a bit of reading up about it with a view to maybe starting one but can’t seem to find anything definitive.

thanks
I don't wait. Just get everything set up for the unite. but you obviously need to find the queen. knock her on the head and unite straight away. It is the one time I tend to use newspaper if one of the hives is aggressive.
 
You can start a winter nuc whenever you want. As long as they are strong enough to get through winter you are fine. If they are too strong then just keep replacing brood frames and using them to strengthen other hives in the same apiary.
 
I was actually thinking I might do this after reading through another thread over the last few days - newspaper method to combine a Q+ and Q- colony. If I took this approach would I need to wait a week
No, do it immediately
 
2) just for my own info, if someone wanted to start a winter nuc, at what time of the year would they start one? I’be done a bit of reading up about it with a view to maybe starting one but can’t seem to find anything definitive.

thanks
[/QUOTE]
You can’t find a definitive answer because there isn’t one. Too many factors play a role here.
Weather, how well the Queen was mated, how prolific she is, how many many bees to tend the brood, available forage, feeding etc etc.
It’s all about monitoring its progress and keeping a balance between colony size, stores & space for the Q to lay. As said above & as per Enrico’s reply frames of brood can be replaced with foundation if needed
 

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