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Accidental caesarean (c-section)

I helped a new bee keeper inspect his hive today. He couldn’t find the queen on his last inspection and wanted to mark it today. He also had concerns he didn’t seen a good brood pattern last. Today we discovered this frame:

All other frames were void of eggs, larvae. There were some frames of capped brood (pattern was fine). Bee population was still strong and plenty of stores in the super.

I suspect that the queen may have been killed in the last inspection (2 weeks ago). To reduce the chance of swarming we knocked out a handful of queen cells and left 4 healthy looking ones.

However, one of the queen cells we knocked out contained a fully developed queen - possibly a day away from emerging, this is her after we helped her out of the cell:

This is her feeding herself on a frames of capped honey from the super:

I couldn’t bring my self to euthanize her, so I introduced her into a split I created yesterday. The colony appeared to accept her and started feeding her (can you spot her?):

I’ll report back in a few weeks time on progress of both colonies.


Excellent move fffffred and I’m interested if you meet with success…your story reminded me of this:

There’s a commercial beekeeper in my area that runs 4000 hives…he’s a very good beekeeper and uses every opportunity to make sure young queens are at the head of his powerful colonies before winter. He claims that young queens winter best and can actually out pace the spring/early summer varroa mite population build-up… just by the queen’s ability to produce so much brood. Of course this situation is transitory as the varroa populations eventually start to catch up. Similar to your story, he produces a lot of queen cells and the day before the queens hatch he places them in nucleus colonies…standard procedure. But what is interesting is how he requeens the rest of his operation…those big honey producer colonies with honey supers still on. During late summer he pops a queen cell into the top of those hives with an existing laying queen…that’s it. He claims he gets 80% acceptance and subsequent mating using this technique.

Salvaging queen cells the way you have is a great idea…you can even give them away to other beekeepers if need be.

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We have eggs! But I don’t know if it’s from the queen I rescued… maybe I should have marked her before releasing her into the nuc… live and learn :rofl:

The newbies hive has yet to be checked. He tried to inspect by himself today and he tells me about 50 of them darted for him… Hopefully it’s not agressive queenless behaviour… Will inspect on Monday and report back.

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Interesting :slight_smile: His claim correlates with Filatov’s (1953). Actually, exactly the same. 80% of his colonies were going into the winter with new queens.

There are some technical details too for those who are interested. The method includes the use of a “ripe” queen cells (a day before hatching). The cell is installed at a 40-45° angle, so the tip could be seen without pulling things out. If bees destroy the first one, a second cell is offered. If the second attempt was unsuccessful too, then the old queen remains in the colony for another year. Or replaced by other methods if required.


How does one determine a ripe Queen cell?

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Count days since capping of the cell. Day 8 - capping. Day 16 - hatching. 7 days since capping is the day before hatching.


So we inspected the hive we suspected may be Queen-less. Low and behold, she’s laying! The hive has suffered a drop in population. But I reckon they will be fine building back up. We only pulled the 3 middle frames as it was late in the afternoon. I’ve advised him to shrink the entrance down.

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