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white50car 

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I am a second year bee keeper and am feeling a little overwelmed at the moment. The more I learn about beekeeping the more I realise, I know nothing.

Two days ago I knocked down all the queen cells in a colony and added a second brood box to create room and to try and prevent them swarming. I didn't feel I could do an artificial swarm as it was too cold to spend ages trying to find the unmarked queen.

The colony didn't appreciate my efforts and when the sun came out again yesterday, they swarmed, much to the consternation of my neighbours, one of whom phoned the police. I had visions of the police coming to arrest the bees.

I caught the swarm and put it in another hive and put a queen excluder between the bottom of the brood box and the mesh floor.

Questions:-

1. Will the queen have slimmed down to such an extent that she can fit through the QX? In which case she might go again (this happened to me last year)

2. In the original hive which now has no queen cells, will the workers be able to make an emergency queen cell and if they can, is it likely to be any good?

3. Should I just see if I can buy a new queen?

4. There is no shortage of queen cells with other beekeepers, should I try grafting a queen cell in place?

I am sure I have made innumerable errors in this process and got myself into a pickle but any advice would be most welcome.

Thanks

Gill
 

Hebeegeebee 

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1) Unlikely she is too thin. I would personally feed the colony to help them draw comb. A mature queen should be laying in a few days.

2) If you have a lot of bees an emergency cell could be fine. Cut out all but one after 5 - 7 days.

3/4) You could get another queencell but it should be just ready to emerge as will be less easily damaged and less likely to die when out of the hive (cool).


if all goes wrong with the queenless hive, you could unite later.
 

drstitson 

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"I didn't feel I could do an artificial swarm as it was too cold to spend ages trying to find the unmarked queen. "

or equally valid - too cold to spend necessary time trying to find ALL the queen cells.
 

oliver90owner 

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white50car,

1) Who knows? It is usually the thorax which stops the queen getting through. The exo skeleton of the honey bee is fairly rigid. Scrub queens can be marginal.

2) Depends. If eggs and/or young brood are present, the answer is yes. Bees are not normally stupid enough to leave home without provision for the bees left behind - no point in swarming (reproducing the colony) if that were the case.

3) That is a decision for you. You already have three colonies, so queens should be available under appropriate husbandry conditions. What their temperament might be is another consideration entirely.

4) It is a possibility, but not one I would particularly resort to in your apparent circumstance (temperament considerations, neighbours, etc).

I might ask if the queen excluder is rigid or flexible - and if the former, whether framed? You seem to have ignored your previous experience with this small matter; if it can happen once, it can happen again, surely?

I would suggest you did not destroy all the queen cells two days ago.

Hope this helps a little.

RAB
 

Poly Hive 

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More to the poing going back to day one.

Knocking out queen cells and giving room is usually not going to work.

I am doing it myself at the moment with a nuc that was over crowded and I will report on the result, but in general if you find cells knocking them out achieves nothing. I have no idea who says it will work or teaches it but I do wish they would stop proving their ignorance.

PH
 

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