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Donna K

Question Best way to introduce cell queen cell into queenless hive

Question

I'm a second year beekeeper.  Three weeks ago I caught a swarm.  On first inspection I did not see any eggs (I'm hopeless at spotting the queen).  The hive was busy, lots of bees coming and going, even put on a second brood box on during this first inspection as they were fairly tight with space.  On second inspection after going through all the frames (20), the only eggs I spotted were two, which were on the side of a cell.  Also found a couple of large drone brood cells, which had already hatched.  It looked like the hive was queenless!  I have located three capped queen cells - what is the best way to introduce these?  Should I made a nuc or two, or place all three in the hive?  Should the capped queen cell be in a cover?  If so what is best?  Advice appreciated.

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These capped queen cells are in another hive? If so, the safest way is transfer the whole frame they are on into the other hive.

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Hi Alastair, wish they were but I am buying three either this afternoon or tomorrow and placing into the queenless hive.  

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Next swarm you house, leave it a couple of weeks before poking around. new Qs  are easily disturbed and vulnerable. 

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Have you no other hives that you could transfer a frame of eggs across?

As a hobby it's cool to raise your own queens especially if you have a good quiet hive with a queen that is a good prolific layer. Keep those traits.

Just a thought... plenty people out there that will take your money.

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Good advice, but unfortunately can't do :(  Last year was my first year beekeeping and I had a brilliant hive, just the one, but sadly lost it late autumn.  Now I have two hives from swarms.  The other hive swarmed, a week after it was rehoused.  I did spot a capped queen cell when last opened, two weeks ago.  Fingers crossed it has mated successfully.  So I need to intervene in the queenless hive and think the only way is to introduce capped queen cells or a virgin queen.

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5 hours ago, Donna K said:

Good advice, but unfortunately can't do :(  Last year was my first year beekeeping and I had a brilliant hive, just the one, but sadly lost it late autumn.  Now I have two hives from swarms.  The other hive swarmed, a week after it was rehoused.  I did spot a capped queen cell when last opened, two weeks ago.  Fingers crossed it has mated successfully.  So I need to intervene in the queenless hive and think the only way is to introduce capped queen cells or a virgin queen.

You will only need one of either, cell or queen. You don’t need to add 3 queen cells, just one. If the other swarm you caught is more advanced and has some brood to spare you could swap a frame over to see if they will raise a queen.

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In case it helps Donna, I had a queenless

swarm recently (the person who found it sprayed it with fly spray).

They had a laying worker, but it wasn’t 2 eggs per cell, it was about 8 or 10. They weren’t in there all nicely, they were sprinkled all over the place. More telling was the behaviour of the hive. The bees flew out when I opened it and they were really unsettled. A tiny puff of smoke and they took off.

I added a caged virgin and 3-4 frames of brood  and supplies (capped brood mainly, not grubs that need feeding) then waited a week, checked she had got out, then left them for a while. I was supposed to wait for 3-4 weeks after introduction before opening, but I got impatient and looked after just 2.5. I wouldn’t do that again, but I did get away with. Lots of eggs were there and it’s now a nice little hive.

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