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What to do about queen cells

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aseeryl 

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Hi, I was given 2 frames of bees, with an active queen, and capped queen cells about 5 weeks ago whilst attending a local intro course. I'm new to this and its my first time out, so to speak. They seem to be doing well and the original 2 frames have now expanded to 4 with mainly sugar/honey in the comb.Comb building now extends to 6/10. Larvae, eggs etc can be seen in three frames. This morning I went with another ex"student" to look at a possible swarm - but they turned out to be masonry bees or similar. When we went back and had a look at my hive we found that 2 queen cells, both capped have appeared on one of the gifted central frames, since I looked last Saturday, also for the first time, we saw the resident queen. To cut a long story short- my friend has a hive but no bees. Would it be OK to give her the frame with queen cells within the next few days, before they hatch to form a nucleus for her own colony. There are a number of drones about in the hive. She is very keen to get started before the season passes.

2nd query-- I tested for varroa about 2 weeks ago - 2 in 24 hours from a 20% occupied hive. Dusted with icing sugar 5 in 2 hours alive. This was for initial assessment. Anyway I put a half size super frame in to get some drones There are now eggs in this frame with honey/pollen but whilst they are building comb in the empty space this is unoccupied. ?? will the larvae in the small frame be drones or workers. Will I need to destroy the new comb or could I give with the queen frame to my friend so they can mate the queen.
Bit long-winded. Thanks in anticipation of advice
 

jon 

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You could certainly use the queen cells to start a nuc but you would need to give her a couple more frames with adhering bees unless she can get frames of bees from somewhere else.
In addition 2 sealed cells like this with a resident queen sounds like supersedure. This shouldn't happen with a new queen which has only been laying a few weeks but I have seen it myself this year and many others have reported the same.
be careful your resident queen does not leave with a swarm as there are reports of bees swarming on supersedure cells.
Re. the drones, you can tell by the size of the cells. Drone cells are noticibly wider than worker cells.
Re. mating, queens don't mate in the hive or just with drones from the hive. The queen flys to a place known as a drone congregation area where drones hang about waiting for virgin queens to arrive. This could be a couple of miles away and drones can travel for several miles to it so the lack of drones in your own hive is not an issue.
Re. varroa. It doesn't sound like you have too much of a problem at that level. If your bees make drone comb you can uncap a few cells and see if there are any mites in there.
 
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aseeryl 

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Plan A

Thanks for the info and advice. If we can get hold of our mentor (on holiday just now) we will pursue this as the best option. It's a bit of a worry that bees from a half full hive might swarm, perhaps if we clear the queen cells it will stop such a tendency.
 

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