Advise appreciated on combining

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keithgrimes 

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I am about to combine two colonies. One has a strong laying queen. The other is a 'swarm donor' colony. The queen emerged over a month ago and I have never seen her. There is no new brood in the colony but they are still bringing lots of stores in. No QCs being built and no behaviour that I would usually associate with a queenless hive, which puzzles me. I went in to this colony yesterday and could see no queen at all, no eggs or larvae either. Is it ok just to go ahead and combine, and assume there is no queen ??
 

Grub 

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Hi can you put a test frame in ? to confirm if she is not there before you combine?
as reading other posts on here in the past two weeks other forum members have the same or similar problem as you.
And what if the swarm queen kills the queen you want to keep................
Grub
 
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keithgrimes 

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Thanks for that suggestion. What do you need as a test frame and how do you tell from the test frame if a mated queen is present? I have been assuming that, as there is no sign of eggs/larvae after a month, that the virgin queen has either not mated or has gone. I also assumed (probably incorrectly) that if there were two queens in the colony, that the non laying one would be despatched. Rubbish?
 

oliver90owner 

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and assume there is no queen

Don't assume! As per Grub really.

Frame with eggs and young brood will do.

And no you can't tell if a mated queen is present, just a queen (and it makes no odds to the outcome here?). The test frame does not offer a definitive result if Q/cells are not produced.

RAB
 

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A test frame is a frame of brood from another hive (shake off all the bees) which contains eggs and v young larvae.

If there is no queen in there they will start to build queen cells from the eggs/larvae but if queenie is present the test frame will just progress as normal.

With all the bad weather recently it is possible that the queen has not yet mated.

(Had not see Rab's reply when I posted this)
 

MJBee 

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Please do not combine until you are absolutely sure that one colony is queenless. If you do the queens will fight and even if the queen you want survives she may be damaged and be superceded.

If you put a test frame of eggs/very young larvae and they build queen cells then the colony is queenless - remove the frame with the queen cells and combine. BUT if no queen cells are built there is a queen in there somewhere. She may be an unmated virgin or mis-mated, She must be found and removed.

Prior to this thread http://www.beekeepingforum.co.uk/sh...the super:banghead: Let us know how it goes.
 

Grub 

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Please do not combine until you are absolutely sure that one colony is queenless. If you do the queens will fight and even if the queen you want survives she may be damaged and be superceded.

If you put a test frame of eggs/very young larvae and they build queen cells then the colony is queenless - remove the frame with the queen cells and combine. BUT if no queen cells are built there is a queen in there somewhere. She may be an unmated virgin or mis-mated, She must be found and removed.

Prior to this thread http://www.beekeepingforum.co.uk/showthread.php?t=6577&page=2 I had offered 2 test frames, split the brood frames 6 & 5 left them for 20 minutes and spent 30 minutes looking for her Maj without success because she was in the super:banghead:

Let us know how it goes.
Mint answer:hurray:
 

keithgrimes 

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Thanks for all the advise. So if I put a test frame in, how long before I know For sure that there is no queen?
 

Grub 

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Keith
You dont as they could be superceading her
Beekeeping aint easy thats for sure

Grub
 

keithgrimes 

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Sorry. Waht I should have said was 'how long after the test frame goes in will they start building queen cells (realising there is probably no definitive answer)
 

oliver90owner 

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They would start PDQ. When you might recognise the constructions is a matter of experience. 3 days - clearly obvious , 2 days - should be and 1 day or less - could if...

Regards, RAB
 

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