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Caz 

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Hi All,

I’ve recently started beekeeping again after a break of a few years (couldn’t juggle work, small kids and bees) and I’d appreciate some AS advice.

I purchased a Nuc from a local beekeeper at the end of March, and I’ve watched the bees building up.

When I inspected last Saturday I noticed play cups with eggs. I removed them and went back today to see what the bees were up to.

Today, I found one cup with larvae floating in royal jelly and approx six other cups with eggs. Whilst manoeuvring the frame with the larvae to get a good look I managed to accidentally give it a good knock against the brood box so I destroyed the cell on the basis that I was likely to have damaged it.

I went ahead and did an AS - flying bees, original queen and undrawn foundation in original position. All BIAS frames and non flying bees in new location, with entrance facing different direction.

Was I too quick to AS? Should I have waited for more than one charged cell?

Original Queen and flying bees are on undrawn foundation, with a super with largely undrawn foundation. I know it takes a lot of effort to draw frames so do I need to think about feeding them? I’d take off the super if I was going to feed but should I remove the super anyway for now?

I’m planning to go back into the colony with BIAS and non flyers on Saturday, and reduce to one good queen cell. I’m not expecting cells to be sealed at this point - expect they will be 6/7 days old. Is this timing ok - should I then just leave them alone and give them a chance to raise a new queen?

Is there anything els I should be doing or thinking about?

Thanks,

Caz
 

hemo 

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The QL half moved away can be treated as a walk away split as they should in theory decide which Q to keep, cells will be EQC's and may be numerous or may only be a few. EQC's will be started straight from Larvae and not eggs as they will be in panic mode with no Q pheromone, quite different to removing a laying Q with cells already established.

If not wanting to leave as a walk away then the EQC's will be sealed within 6 days so if one wants to go in Monday and mark two or three good looking late stage open cells (and if poss all on different frames) and remove all others, then later on if 100% sure of dating cells then at about day 14 just leave one good cell. Any other marked cells can be utilised if needed in mini nucs.

In hindsight it may have been better to leave the colony as one and check again in 7/8 days for progress then A/S them, then any cells produced aren't under emergency conditions.
 
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hemo 

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The weather is set fine and forage should be very good, top super isn't needed but may help with heat dispersal but depends on over all colony strength now it has been split.
 

Caz 

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Thanks for the feedback. So, I was too quick to AS, and should have waited for more established cells before doing anything. I’ll remember that for next time. My intention was not to make them panic!

Hadn’t thought about using additional QCs to raise a spare queen, so something for me to think about. Does using EQC make a difference to the quality of the resulting queen?

Don’t think the colony is now strong enough to need the super, so I’ll remove when I go over on Monday.

Thank you
 

hemo 

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EQC's tend to be started on older larvae of about up to three days if other viable brood isn't available but one should get a decent queen still, in 5/6 days time one will have an idea on how advanced the cells are at to when they were started. The fact they are QL will cause some panic so they might be tetchy until she emerges, don't rub any cells out until all frames have been accessed. Mark the position any good looking open cells with a nice size larvae with a drawing pin on the top bar, any sealed you may want to remove. An open cell at this stage should indicate a younger larvae or an egg to have been selected so in theory a better fed one.
 

hemo 

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So, I was too quick to AS, and should have waited for more established cells before doing anything. I’ll remember that for next time. My intention was not to make them panic!
Yes, jumped the gun a little. But it is done now so time to let them get on with it. Although early your aim will be to get them established for winter and main honey producers next year, the QR half won't see any new brood emerge for at least another 21 days and the QL half for another 40 days or so.

The QR colony may give some late summer honey.
 

Caz 

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Well unfortunately being too quick off the mark attempting an AS has resulted in the bees doing exactly what I was trying to prevent!

Had a look yesterday and the QR colony has gone - obviously didn’t want to be subjected to anymore of my beekeeping skills 🙄

On a positive note, the QL side were very good tempered. There were 7 sealed EQCs and 2 unsealed (checked that they had good sized larvae in) so I’ve removed the sealed ones left the 2 unsealed. All the ECQs were on the same frame.

Was going to go back in on day 14 to leave just one cell, but what would you recommend given this is my only colony? Is this still the best idea?

Thanks
 

hemo 

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I normally give them no option and leave just the one cell, but this is a walkaway QL split, others may chip in but I know Wally Shaw recommends leave them to it to sort themselves out.
 

Erichalfbee 

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Yep. A nuc us probably safe with more than one queen cell a full size hive..... definitely not. IMO
 

Caz 

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Thanks All.

I’ll go back next week and just leave the best looking cell.

I’m going to go look up Wally Shaw.
 

Beebe 

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I normally give them no option and leave just the one cell, but this is a walkaway QL split, others may chip in but I know Wally Shaw recommends leave them to it to sort themselves out.
That's who's advice I took....they didn't sort it out (in the extreme!) :)
 

Little_bees 

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Had a look yesterday and the QR colony has gone - obviously didn’t want to be subjected to anymore of my beekeeping skills 🙄
Do you mean swarmed or absconded completely?
 

Caz 

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Went to reduce the 2 ECQs I’d left down to 1 today.

Found another 6 ECQs all on a different frame, all sealed. It was the first frame in the box, and there were definitely no EQCs on this frame last week.

This is day 14 without a Queen.

I wasn’t expecting to see any new ECQs - should I have been? Will they try to keep making ECQs whilst they still have uncapped worker larvae available, even if they already have ECQs?
 

drex 

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14 days without a queen, so where are the eggs for these new cells coming from?
 

Boston Bees 

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Went to reduce the 2 ECQs I’d left down to 1 today.

Found another 6 ECQs all on a different frame, all sealed. It was the first frame in the box, and there were definitely no EQCs on this frame last week.

This is day 14 without a Queen.

I wasn’t expecting to see any new ECQs - should I have been? Will they try to keep making ECQs whilst they still have uncapped worker larvae available, even if they already have ECQs?
That want insurance against cells failing, and they want to be able to send out multiple swarms, as each batch of queen cells is ready to emerge. More chance of genetic success. Not good for us though
 

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