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I did my first AS yesterday. The original colony was an over-wintered nuc that was moved into a full size hive (single nat brood box only) in mid April (when the weather warmed up) with 6 frames of foundation. They had been building up OK, but still had frames of undrawn foundation so I was a bit surprised to find several (~8) queen cups along the bottom of frames when I looked last Tuesday.

When I looked again yesterday there were four sealed QCs + others unsealed but with fat grubs in. I panicked a bit until I found the queen - marked so definitely the original - then got out my pre-prepared spare hive to do the AS. Just hope I did it right:

1. Moved the original hive off its stand so that it is now next to the new hive;
2. Placed a new floor + bb on the original stand;
3. Transferred the frame with the queen on from the original hive to the new hive and removed all the QCs from it (and all the drone brood that was clinging to the bottom of the frame just to be sure);
4. Filled the rest of the new bb with foundation;
5. Closed up and gave a gallon of 1:1 syrup.
6. Added a frame of foundation to the original hive and closed up. Original hive contains all the remaining QCs.

I intend to move the original hive in a day or so to catch a second tranch of flying bees into the new hive.

Was I right to leave all the remaining QCs in the original hive? Or should I have thinned them a bit? I'm thinking they may issue caste swarms.

Should I feed the original hive too? They do have stores but of course a much depleated foraging force.

Thanks
 

Heather 

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Personally I would have put at least 3 frames of brood, and a frame of pollen into the new hive with the queen. Then moved her away- with a good feed. The fliers would go back to the original hive- but to their thinking she has swarmed and gone so life settles quicker. Leave that queen to emerge and mate as a swarmed hive.

The original hive -removed all but the best queen cell. . If they had stores - ok otherwise feed- it is so cold for foraging.

I then bring on those excess queens in an incubator as insurance- always apidea them if not needed in main hive

But others may differ in opinion .....:D
 

rae 

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8 and 3 nucs...it's swarm time...
Well, we did exactly what the OP has done - so I hope it is the right answer! The only difference was that 7 days after the AS (yesterday) we moved the "queenless" hives again, to further deplete the flying bees. We also split them, and distributed the sealed queen cells across both of the splits. All of the "queenless" hives are on feeders.

Personally I would have put at least 3 frames of brood, and a frame of pollen into the new hive with the queen. Then moved her away- with a good feed.
I thought the idea in all this was to convince the original queen that she had swarmed. We put her in the new box, on the old location with all of the honey supers and the frame of brood/stores she happened to be on - the rest of the brood box is foundation. As she is on the original site, she gets all of the flying bees, so it is just as if she had swarmed - a nice empty box and loads of flying bees. But what do we know!!

Weather is looking a bit better for matings flights this week, fingers crossed.
 

Bugfan 

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Why did they not swarm?

Hey,

Any thoughts as to why the old Queen did not swarm when the Q cells were sealed?
 

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Heather
Personally I would have put at least 3 frames of brood, and a frame of pollen into the new hive with the queen.
My understanding is that the objective is to separate Q + most flying Bs from brood to simulate swarming as closely as possible. Hence one frame (minimum qty) of brood + Q + foundation on original site to catch the flying Bs. I intend to move the original hive as rae did to catch more flying bees in the new hive.

I like the idea of cacheing one of the QCs in an Apidea though - I bought one at the GBKA auction on Saturday so it might come in useful quicker than I thought!

rae
Weather is beautiful here today - not hot but sunny and little wind - so also everything crossed for good mating weather. I have another hive in mid-supercedure - when I looked yesterday one QC had emerged (classic 'hinged lid') and the other was just emerging so I quickly closed it up.

Bugfan
Any thoughts as to why the old Queen did not swarm when the Q cells were sealed?
My thoughts exactly and the reason for the initial panic attack! Most likely the crappy weather.
 

Roy S 

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I'd go with just one frame of brood with the queen on too. After all no swarms I know of travel around with pollen and stores as well as brood. If they don't think they've swarmed they may well do it again.
The reason the swarm hasnt left after sealing the queen cells is probably down to the cold weather more than anything else.
 

VEG 

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Hey,

Any thoughts as to why the old Queen did not swarm when the Q cells were sealed?
Sorted out my hive yesterday it had 6/7 sealed cells and a few unsealed, but the queen was still there as well it has been chilly here so that must have stopped her going.
 

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Gone wrong

Today I did the second part of the AS - I moved the original hive (which contained most of the brood + QCs) from beside the new hive (which had the queen + 1 frame of brood + flying bees) to a new location to catch a second tranch of flying bees into the new hive.

After moving, I checked the feeder on the new hive. They have hardly touched the syrup - probably 90%+ of it left. So I decided to take a look to see how they were doing. Most of the sealed brood on the one frame has emerged but the Bs haven't begun to draw out any of the foundation. And the worst thing is my marked queen is absent.

I didn't leave any QCs in the new hive, so I don't think they will have swarmed. Has anyone else had this? Queen disappearing after an AS I mean. Do they (AS queens) ever move back to the original hive? I did have a quick look through the original hive and all looks fine there but I didn't expect to see a queen yet so I wasn't looking for one.

There are still a lot of sealed QCs in the original hive - ~8 of them. I can see I might have to move one into the new hive - what do you guru beeks think?
 
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mbc 

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Today I did the second part of the AS - I moved the original hive (which contained most of the brood + QCs) from beside the new hive (which had the queen + 1 frame of brood + flying bees) to a new location to catch a second tranch of flying bees into the new hive.

After moving, I checked the feeder on the new hive. They have hardly touched the syrup - probably 90%+ of it left. So I decided to take a look to see how they were doing. Most of the sealed brood on the one frame has emerged but the Bs haven't begun to draw out any of the foundation. And the worst thing is my marked queen is absent.

I didn't leave any QCs in the new hive, so I don't think they will have swarmed. Has anyone else had this? Queen disappearing after an AS I mean. Do they (AS queens) ever move back to the original hive? I did have a quick look through the original hive and all looks fine there but I didn't expect to see a queen yet so I wasn't looking for one.

There are still a lot of sealed QCs in the original hive - ~8 of them. I can see I might have to move one into the new hive - what do you guru beeks think?
Colonies often delay swarming for quite some time for a variety of reasons ie. suitable weather or sometimes the cells are ready before the queen is slim enough to be capable of flight. Its worth noting that the bees can delay ripe queen cells from hatching - this can be witnessed by the fact that sometimes on disturbing them for an inspection you'll suddenly have loads of virgins hatching out at once. Also a queen cell is sealed for a longer time than it takes them to feed up the larvae ( 6/7 days from egg to sealed cell stage opposed to another 9 or 10 days before hatching ) so they have a reasonably long window of opportunity for swarming.
The old queen sometimes gets rejected by her own daughters when conducting an AS, possibly because all those old flying bees arriving back to a new and strange smelling hive full of unfamilier foundation simply dont recognise her. She probably smells quite different when slimmed down and prepared for swarming than her usual smell when in full lay.
People have comented on being suprised to find their bees swarming when they still have plenty of room in the form of undrawn foundation but they should take into consideration the fact that undrawn foundation is effectively the same as a dummy board to the bees - they dont recognise sheets of manmade foundation as 'home' untill they have worked it a bit and given it their own smell. I'm coming to thinking that smell is massively important in everything they do especialy for their comunication
 

wilderness 

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I did an AS on my 2 colonies this morning.

Do the supers from the original hive go with the old queen or with the QC and brood??

I put them with the QC and brood but then thought that the remaining bees have a lot of work to do to keep the brood warm and the supers.

Also, the old queen and flying bees will need plenty of food to draw all the foundation.

Advice please.
 

rich 

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Most of the foraging bees will be with the queen on the orignal site; so they can get out and do just that, forage.
I normally put a frame of mixed brood a full frame of stores, the rest is foundation with the queen, everything else goes with the queen cell and young bees, don't forget there won't be many foraging bees with the split for a little while.
But keep an eye on the weather if it its so bad the foraging bees can't get out much you may need to borrow another frame of stores from the split, the Q/C part.
I also put a queen excluder under the brood box with the old queen in, I lost two queen in my first year when they decided the new home wasn't to there liking :eek:

Rich
 

oliver90owner 

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Do the supers from the original hive go with the old queen or with the QC and brood??

Normally all with the old queen.

I don't always put all the bees with the supers all with the old queen. I reckon the brood can do with some help. After the flying bees join the old lady, feed the brood box with 1:1 (after the flyers have left, to prevent robbing) as there will be a lot of growing larvae and not many foragers, so water for feeding larvae is important.

Regards, RAB
 

mbc 

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I did an AS on my 2 colonies this morning.

Do the supers from the original hive go with the old queen or with the QC and brood??

I put them with the QC and brood but then thought that the remaining bees have a lot of work to do to keep the brood warm and the supers.

Also, the old queen and flying bees will need plenty of food to draw all the foundation.

Advice please.
Wildreness,
Its not set in stone which way round the different pieces get put back together so long as the beekeeper understands what he/she is trying to achieve but the 'classic' AS has the supers put back with the old queen on the original site to try and maximise honey production as its this colony with its greater number of foraging aged bees and very little young brood to raise which has the potential to get a crop straight away however some people take the view that its this colony which is most likely to swarm even after the AS manipulation and so prefer to put the supers on the other hive on the new site to try and further deplete the numbers of bees with the old queen , lessening the chance of it continuing to try to swarm. Sorry about the stupidly long sentance
 

Poly Hive 

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There are a couple of issues here worth remarking on.

I would not leave a sealed cell in an AS situation. Only the very youngest I can find and if there are none then I would leave them none provided there are young grubs.

I would never "just" give the Queen and bees foundation only. As remarked already it is a major barrier. I would give them on EACH SIDE of the brood frame she is found on empty drawn combs to lay up. The rest can be foundation and a frame feeder with one to one syrup.

PH
 

wilderness 

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I would not leave a sealed cell in an AS situation. Only the very youngest I can find and if there are none then I would leave them none provided there are young grubs. PH
Can you explain the thinking behind this please?

By giving them a sealed cell are you not a couple of weeks closer to getting a mated queen?

Is there still the risk that they will swarm on the emergence of the queen from the sealed cell because they are still in "swarm" mode?
 

victor meldrew 

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There are a couple of issues here worth remarking on.

I would not leave a sealed cell in an AS situation. Only the very youngest I can find and if there are none then I would leave them none provided there are young grubs.

I would never "just" give the Queen and bees foundation only. As remarked already it is a major barrier. I would give them on EACH SIDE of the brood frame she is found on empty drawn combs to lay up. The rest can be foundation and a frame feeder with one to one syrup.

PH
The Queen has all the flying bees! it's the young bees with the brood that need watching , usually most of the frames are wall to wall brood, as overcrowding is a typical swarming inducement .

John Wilkinson
 

Bcrazy 

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Heather,
If you are planning to use your new Apidea then may I remind you to ensure there are strips of foundation in the frames and also to put the bees from the colony that you are taking the Q cells from into the Api four days before you intend to move the Q cell. Also feed fondant. After you place the Q cell in the api then let them out a couple of days after the Q cell is placed in it. The reason to do this is because the bees will accept the Q cell as its from the same hive as the bees.
 

victor meldrew 

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When we're charging mininucs we are always short of bees to fill them:eek:.
We harvest bees from supers ,tumble them all together and share them out between the nucs , we then introduce the queen cells , we no longer wait for a couple of days with the nucs in the dark as used to be the advice :).

John Wilkinson
 

oliver90owner 

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Can you explain the thinking behind this please?

A sealed cell might be just that - a cell!

Leaving an open cell, you at least know there is a larva in that cell and it will be well fed.

I would always leave two if they were sealed.

Regards, RAB
 

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