Queen cups when splitting?

Discussion in 'General Beekeeping' started by afterburn001, May 26, 2012.

  1. afterburn001

    afterburn001 New Member

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    We are going to make a nuc from one of our strong hives today and let the bees in the nuc make their own queen. I know the eggs have to be between 1-4 days (?) for them to make a queen but does there have to be an established queen cup in the new nuc or will they make one that fast?
     
  2. dr.buzz

    dr.buzz New Member

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    You really might not want to do that. You need a strong population to raise a good queen, and a nuc is a weak population. You might want to take the queen and 2 or 3 frames of capped brood and stores and leave eggs and larvae with the main colony so they can raise their own queen. Letting the colony keep it's old location means foragers will keep the nectar and pollen coming in. A small nuc in a new location would have no foragers and a small population and they probably would not raise a queen at all.

    As to your question, no, there doesn't need to be an established queen cup before your split. The only time there would be a queen cup would be if they were fixing to swarm, or fixing to supersede the old queen, or if they had been made queenless and started emergency queen cells.
    So, if you don't currently have queen cells getting started now, the only way there would be is after your split, and they would start several emergency queen cells. The first one to emerge generally kills all her sisters in their cells. Then in about 5 days she goes on a mating flight and if all goes well, you should see eggs/larvae about a month, sometimes a little less, sometimes a little more, after doing the split.

    As far as age of eggs....there aren't 4 day old eggs....Eggs are eggs for 3 days. Then they kind of lay down and start to curl into a comma shaped thing called larvae. Queens can be raised from larvae no older than 3 days. The wording can be tricky. Someone might say something about "2-3 day old eggs" for making eggs, and what they mean is 2-3 day old larvae.
     

  3. PerryBee

    PerryBee New Member

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    You do not need a queen cup to start a nuc. Queen cups are something bees build just in case kinda thing. Now if you have a queen cup with an egg in it, that's a whole other story.
    I agree with the Dr., while a nuc will raise it's own queen, much better to move the queen in the nuc and let the more populous hive raise a new queen.
     
  4. afterburn001

    afterburn001 New Member

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    Uggg! that's the only thing about raising bees. Your read up on a topic, decide to do something and someone else says "Bad idea" :lol:.

    I don't want to take the queen from the original hive because that is our strongest hive and will be our main honey producer this year and I don't want to risk any disruption in that one. I really don't want to introduce a new queen to the nuc either because I would like one with the same genetics that is in the mother hive.

    Quote from: Bush Bees

    "A walk away split. You take a frame of eggs, two frames of emerging brood and two frames of pollen and honey and put them in a 5 frame nuc, shake in some extra nurse bees (making sure you don't get the queen), put the lid on and walk away. Come back in four weeks and see if the queen is laying. "

    So the above quote is wrong?
     
  5. PerryBee

    PerryBee New Member

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    The quote is correct, however I would interpret what Michael has said as more of a walk-away nuc. To me a walkaway split is when you take a strong populous hive and split it (evenly in two), that way there are plenty of bees to raise a good queen. You can do exactly as Michael has suggested and be alright as well.
     
  6. heinleinfan

    heinleinfan New Member

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    I have two very hives just going good as good can be that were both 'walk away' splits that weren't requeened this spring. I, too, had a super productive hive and was thinking I did not want to move that queen, and get some massive honey from it. I did my splits with 7 frames rather than 5, because I wanted them to be strong and knew they needed a lot of bees to bridge the gap between their current brood and new eggs while making a queen.

    But here's the catch.

    I had not yet seen queen cells in that hive, but there were so very, very many bees I knew it was just a matter of time before they swarmed. I thought splits would keep them from doing so, but apparently that doesn't always cut it, as I learned when my double-split hive went ahead and swarmed, then got told about this on the forum here, then read up about it. Heh. If they've already started swarm talks in the hive, they're gonna do it, no matter what UNLESS you can fool them into thinking they have.

    You fool them into thinking this by moving the queen. New hive goes "Oh, well, here we go, we swarmed, nice new place we have here, start laying, queenie" and old hive goes "Oh, well, here we go, we swarmed, queen's gone, better get a new one going!"

    I personally don't mind swarms, it's what bees do and I don't consider myself a failure if a hive swarms...but I would like to get more hives in future years for free, so from now on my first spring split is going to be moving the queen to the new split.
     
  7. afterburn001

    afterburn001 New Member

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    NEVERMIND :cry::cry:

    We just got back from the farm. We put supers on four of the five hives and went into the large one to look. Lots of capped brood but we found no eggs! Our egg laying machine just pooped out! There were six or seven capped supercedure cells and a few uncapped with larva in them. We found the old queen and then noticed a uncommon hum. Yep, they are done with her. A few bees were chasing her around and nipping at her. We just put a second super on that hive and left them alone to figure it out for themselves.

    Kind of weird and sad at the same time. Two weeks ago there were a ton of eggs and now she just pushed the stop button. This was our first queen from our first hive.

    Oh well, we got to witness something new and we now know that hum that people talk about. :thumbsup:
     
  8. PerryBee

    PerryBee New Member

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    In every cloud there is a silver lining. While this queen has done her job and apparently done it well, she is leaving you with offspring with genetic material that you are very happy with.
    Nature, while sad at times, is a marvel to behold.:smile:
     
  9. heinleinfan

    heinleinfan New Member

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    Hmm...I haven't heard about humming, but....when a swarm is eminent, the queen needs to lose some weight so she can fly, eggs make her too heavy. So workers will stop feeding her and she'll stop laying eggs in preparation while the workers encourage her to start thinking about flying, they'll chase her around.

    And while the most common swarm queen cells are along the bottoms in Lang hives, bees will build them anywhere they feel is a good spot. I have seen them be on frame faces, especially where I wasn't taking care of frames enough and they weren't straight, and there would be a sunken place or something with a lot of spare room for them to build the queen cell.

    Not seeing your hive, and not being regularly in it to know their behavior I'm not going to say "They're swarming!" But if I saw that behavior and state of queen cells in my hive, I'd believe they were about to swarm any minute now.
     
  10. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    a dr buzz snip..
    You might want to take the queen and 2 or 3 frames of capped brood and stores and leave eggs and larvae with the main colony so they can raise their own queen.

    tecumseh:
    I raise cells so this is somewhat an academic question for me although I have done this on any number of occasions. In years when I was pushing number I did pretty much like dr buzz describes (I think???) in that I would either push a hive with feed and at the first sign of swarming (bearding) I would split into as many parts as possible or remove the queen and once the cells were about mature split (ie remove queen and split later). NO ONE should minimize or wonder about the total net effect to some small population of bees in this 'seemingly' insignificant difference in process time of these 10 days to two weeks.

    another snip...
    "A walk away split. You take a frame of eggs, two frames of emerging brood and two frames of pollen and honey and put them in a 5 frame nuc, shake in some extra nurse bees (making sure you don't get the queen), put the lid on and walk away. Come back in four weeks and see if the queen is laying. "

    tecumseh:
    here four weeks later you would if you did just as described above come back to find nothing but a bunch of wax moth and hive beetle infested small boxes and likely not a bee one. in some very unique places this MIGHT work SOMETIMES. in most places with doing a lot of other stuff at the end of the 4 weeks the description would go like this... you started off with one healthy and very robust hive and at the end of the process you have one or two very weak nucs which will not make the winter.

    the quote itself is 'by the book' correct... in the real world things will not work out as some people suggest.
     
  11. afterburn001

    afterburn001 New Member

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    I don't know enough myself to know what is on their minds but judging from the way they were treating the queen my hunch is that this is a supersedure event not a swarm event. Of course I reserve the right to be wrong about anything at any time. :lol:

    I have a tendency to over analyze everything and with that brings the urge to micro manage things to death. I have learned real quick that there is no micro managing honeybees, you can only nudge them in a direction an hope they are agreeable. I'm going to let the girls figure this one out.
     
  12. barry42001

    barry42001 New Member

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    lol bees tend to do best if managed the least, every time you open the hive you've disruped their routine of work, and it takes some for the routine to be re-established. What we as beekeepers do is provide a method of doing what they would be naturally inclined to do anyway, in a manner that is easier and more beneficial to us ( humans lol ). We also manipulate thier instinctive impulses for our benefit--given their own preferences there would be a far greater range of cell sizes rather then the almost entirely worker cell foundation we provide them we want way more workers then drones unless your breeding queens. Even with that said, the bees will re-work the foundation we give them to have some drone cells where there should not be any, why---because they wanted them there lol
    Barry
     
  13. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    a snip...
    lol bees tend to do best if managed the least

    tecumseh take:
    I concur... but likely now the best approach for most new beekeepers???? for me the really good hives require almost no attention at all. the weak, the sick and the new borns is what requires the most of my attention and time.

    ps... cups are just cups. without an egg in them they will be totally unused in the process you seem to be describing. the bees will refashion worker cells (and somewhat in numbers directly related to the population of bees in the box) into queen cells and very quickly. some bees (or hives) seem to do this a bit quicker than others. after about 2 days (after the point in time when you removed the queen) these refashioned cells are relatively obvious. most refashioned cells tend to be constructed at the outer edges of the brood nest.
     
  14. afterburn001

    afterburn001 New Member

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    Well either way, we should know in a few days what happened. We saw several in various stages... cups (empty), cups (larva) and capped cells. All mid frame.

    In the mean time I have been hanging out with the hive we have at home (actually, their water bucket). I will be updating my bee gallery soon! http://www.markedell.com/Other/Bees/17660866_xB4J7m#!i=1838945107&k=BDGHJLB

    HBIF_small.jpg
     
  15. barry42001

    barry42001 New Member

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    you have queen cups with eggs and larvae in them-----how long ago was it when you started this hive? If infact any of those queen cups are active within a week they will be full sized or close to it, and within the next day or so capped. The cups you showed were along the bottom edge of the comb, very normal and almost never used, infact in time the bees will tear it down and re-use the wax somewhere else, but should there be an active queen cell, and you have a existing queen that colony absolutely will swarm, unless somehow the " old " queen dies or superceeded. Superceedure cells are almost always in the mid-line of the frame.
    Good Luck keep us posted.
    Barry
     
  16. afterburn001

    afterburn001 New Member

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    we started this hive over a year ago. I don't believe I showed any pics of the cells?? Anyway, the cells were mid frame. I will go out tomorrow and see if there are any balls of bees hanging around.

    Has anyone ever caught their own swarm with one of their bait boxes? I have two out.
     
  17. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    After reading all your posts in this thread, adamant, I will go out on a limb and say this.

    Within 6 days, possibly tomorrow, you will have a swarm from that hive.

    Now you have a choice. Either let them swarm on their own and hope to catch the swarm, or do as was said above. Take the queen and 3 or more frames of bees, brood, and stores, and make an "artificial" swarm.
     
  18. afterburn001

    afterburn001 New Member

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    OK, we decided to go back out in the morning, split the hive, take the new hive with the old queen home with us and see what happens.

    Wish us luck.
     
  19. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    Good choice. Don't take any queen cells or cups with larva with the queen.
     
  20. afterburn001

    afterburn001 New Member

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    Indeed! Thanks!!