Queen Removal Followed by Newspaper Combine

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House Bee
Apr 23, 2022
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Donegal, Ireland
Hive Type
Number of Hives
I’m looking to combine a weakish nuc with a decent hive (brood box and half drawn super currently) and I’m hoping to keep the nuc queen, remove the hive queen and newspaper combine.

There are a couple of strings to this. Firstly, the hive, the queen in here is 2020, not marked and very shy. I haven’t actually seen her since I got her as part of an overwintered nuc in 2021. The reason I’m replacing her is the hive is very much on the fiesty side while the nuc, while weak is very calm.

So what I am proposing to do is:

1) remove the existing brood box 50m away and replace with an empty brood box for any returning fliers. This should help with aggression a little.
2) pass the now removed brood box through a Queen excluder and find the queen.
3) dispatch queen
4) take the now queenless brood box back to original location
5) Queen excluder and newspaper on top
6) brood box with the nuc and queen on top
7) close up and leave for 1 week.

Should I remove the brood box to another location or just suck it up and try work quickly?

Should I put the new brood box containing the nuc at the top or bottom of the full hive? Both are sitting next to each other facing different directions so either works.

What should I do with the half drawn super?

I’ve watched the BMH video on how to complete the pass through to find the queen but a vital component is missing and that is how to get a few frames of brood in the bottom box to draw the bees down. Does anyone have experience doing this?

Should I go in after 3 days to look for queen cells in the existing hive?

Saturday looks like the last good day for a week or so (25 degrees forecast here and dry then drops to sub 20 degrees and patchy rain for the week) so I’ll give it a go then I think
while the nuc, while weak is very calm.
Nucs are nearly always calm, but if you are confident the parent stock was calm, all should be well. Of course, open mating can upset the mix...

existing brood box 50m away
5m will be enough; nuc on top in BB, then QX+ newspaper, then super.

after 3 days to look for queen cells in the existing hive?
No, the new queen will take over, though colony temper may take 6 hours or 6 weeks to improve.
An update. After 2 of us doing a thorough search for the original queen on Saturday and having no luck, I pulled the trigger and passes through a Queen excluder - not a pleasant exercise but we managed to spot and dispatch the incumbent queen within a couple of minutes. Put the hive back together, sheet of newspaper and a new brood box with my weak nuc and queen. I then put the half filled super (cleared earlier in the day) on top. Closed up and walked away. Within a day I saw newspaper being deposited at the front of the hive which had me a little worried. Checked the hive today and first frame I pulled out, there was my marked queen from the nuc happily walking out.

A good result that brings a long saga this season to an end!
Good news.
The bees get through the newspaper in an hour in my experience but I usually leave them a couple of days to check the new queen has survived.

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