What to do with a spare queen

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New Bee
Apr 21, 2018
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My two hives came through winter nicely. The weather here in Derbyshire has been pretty poor so I was feeding until April. However things have picked up and they have been building up nicely since then.

We're going away on holiday in early June (peak swarming season for me) so I decided to split both hives on 7th May to, hopefully, reduce the swarming instinct whilst we're away. Because I'm not good at queen spotting I simply split the brood and stores in half (like a walk away split), but with the intention of identifying the queenless hive (by lack of new brood after 10 days) and buying in new queens. This worked well and I was fortunate that both old queens ended up in the new boxes and the queenless hives stayed on the original sites.

I ordered two new queens but unfortunately only one arrived last week. I knocked down the queen cells and, a day later, installed the new queen. Everything seems to have gone well.

Unfortunately the second queen has only just arrived today and the weather is too poor to install her today. The hive she is destined for has a lovely queen cell which, given the timings, is probably close to hatching.

So here, eventually is my question. What should I do with the new queen?
- If not hatched leave and do something with the new queen?
- If not hatched remove and replace with new queen?
- If hatched leave as new queen will not be accepted?

It seems sensible to move either the unhatched queen or the new (bought in) queen into a nuc as insurance against a queen failure. I have a nuc but don't want to deplete the newly split hives. What's the minimum resources a nuc would need to see it through the next few months?

Thanks for your help
I agree make up a nuc with the queen cell, or the new Queen (though I would put her in the hive and use the cell for the nuc so your hive continue to expand and have a better chance of a good crop)
I make up a 6 frame around this time of year with a frame of stores, a frame of brood(emerging preferred but sealed is fine) and shake in about 3 frames of bees.
I would prefer to make up the rest with Drawn comb if adding the mated Queen so she has room to lay, foundation is fine for the QC.
The bought in queen would survive in a poly mini mating nuc with a cupful of young bees. They need quite regular feeding initially.
if you are just knocking down a queen cell and inserting the new queen in cage, doesn't really mater what the weather is like. If you have an assistance, get them to cover the hive with an umbrella, but not essential for bees ;)
The bought in queen would survive in a poly mini mating nuc with a cupful of young bees. They need quite regular feeding initially.
Indeed this above works and is also a really good way of insuring a 100% queen introduction. Might be worth having a mini nuc extension handy and make sure regular feeding every 2/3 days with fondant.
As mint bee. You know where the QC is so lift just that frame, remove the QC and put in your new queen, never mind the rain