24 hours ago I split my hive into a nuc, checking first that the queen was not on the frames I moved over. This morning I approached the split with new caged queen and sat her on-top. Bees came to her slowly and calmly, they were easy to brush away and seemed to be trying to lick (not bite) her.
To be extra sure the nuc was the queenless part, I took the caged queen to the entrance of the parent hive. Bees came over but more aggressively and didn’t like being pushed away.
Now confident, I returned to the nuc - removed the queen from her cage and marked her, then set her down on top of one of the nuc frames after the paint was dry. Two bees immediately rushed her and started biting at her, locked on in a death battle.
I grabbed them away and managed to remove one bee very quickly but the 2nd had a really good hold. I had to squash it and still was locked on - was very hard to remove.
I returned the queen to her cage, which still has two attendants thankfully, and took inside. She seems to be ok at the moment, still walking around in the cage etc.
My questions are…
- what would you estimate the viability of this queen still is?
- would you purchase a new queen and assume this one is ruined
- why would the hive be so calm and welcoming to her whilst caged but aggressively rush her upon (direct) release?
- do you think that, despite my searching, the ‘old’ queen had somehow ended up in the nuc? I am rubbish at finding her to be honest
I don’t want them to create their own queen as the nuc was to be a gift for a friend who is starting and I want to build it up big and strong quickly for him.
Temporarily I have recombined the nuc and parent hive, shaken all the bees off the nuc frame into the parent and moved the frames I had in it into a new brood box inserted between existing honey super/brood box. There are QX’s between all boxes now. I had read this approach will force nurse bees up to the middle box to care for the open brood and ensure that the queen is definitely trapped in the bottom box. I will try the split again once I know the queen is ok/have a new queen.