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Hi Jeff, ok red flag. I’d say it’s too risky (for me) to do preemptive splits and leave more than one queen cell in the split as I might end up with the very thing I was trying to prevent…irrespective of where I place the split. There is a bit more to these splits than meets the eye. I’ll look back on old posts as I think @Dee described the queen cell removal process some time ago.
Thanks for the heads up!


No worries Dan, Dee’s talking about swarm cells, I think.

I’m taking my splits away so that no bees return to the original hive. Mainly because of cold nights & the risk of chilled brood, also our issue with SHBs. With too many bees returning, that will leave the brood unprotected.


I quickly found this one…she is talking of culling emergency queen cells from what I can see (point 8).

And a bit more here…Dee meant to say “thin” not 'this". This is one reason why I was surprised with your swarms @JeffH as you wouldn’t have had too many flying bees.


Hi Dan, it was an interesting day today. The colony that issued the swarm yesterday did a practice swarm today. Not long after they settled back into their hive, another colony swarmed. It was the colony in the flow hive. It may have been a caste swarm because it only covered 2 frames. The one we got out of the tree yesterday might have been the primary from the same hive as it was marginally bigger.

I think I put a stop to the colony that did the practice swarm. I split it, with the virgin queen in one split & the frame containing more queen cells in the other split that I took away. Mind you, there was only 5 frames of bees to split, however each frame was more than covered in bees.

One observation I made was that the bees that wanted to swarm weren’t interested in drawing foundation beforehand.


Hi Jeff, interesting observations.

At the moment I’ve decided I don’t trust bees with more than one queen cell…:grimacing:

I appreciate there will be different views of course depending on many things.

Anyhow, I’m trying to research how long after a split to thin the queen cells down to one and other such things.

edit: I believe for me, a non queen cell thinned split is something of a conundrum as if too weak it will suffer chalkbrood and if too strong, it may swarm.


Yeah I think one good queen cell should be ok, as per how @Dee does it. After 5 days is a good time to take a look.

What’s happening with me at the moment is more an exception than the rule. It looks like being an exceptional swarm season. When I drive to my bee site, the distant gum trees are looking more whiter every time.

I did a split today on a colony that wasn’t ready 5 days ago. I took brood frames without bees. I took 5 & left 4. I brought them home in case more swarms issue here tomorrow.


In the light of this latest discussion I think I need to get into a hive I split on the 26th July and thin queen cells. By this time they would be sealed. Had I gone in earlier I might have been able to select an open cell with a younger larvae in it but now I can’t tell. Does anyone know if there is any way to determine which might make the best candidate to keep? I also want to take one and add it to a nuc which I must not have given young enough brood to and it hasn’t produced queen cells itself. Any tips to doing that successfully - guessing they shouldn’t reject it???


Hi Cathie, if you have queen cells on more than one frame, you should be able to just add one of those frames to the split that didn’t make queen cells.

I did one split that didn’t make any queen cells. I later discovered that I had the queen in there. The colony I did the split from will be making emergency queens.

In your case & also mine, we can split the splits rather than tear queen cells down. I’m going to be doing some of that after breakfast. I’m down to my last dilapidated box that contains a bottom board.

I believe my trouble has been too many full frames of sealed brood emerging at once. I put a couple of those into my flow colony to boost the numbers while they were building queen cells. I think slower & steadier will win the race. Also that colony had one of those frames full of pollen that I should have removed. I included it in the split because it had a small area of brood in it. I just remembered that this minute. I’ll pull it out this morning.


Warm him that the bamboo QX won’t stop the queen or drones passing through it Jeff. Guess you will give him the sad news that he bought junk, at junk price.:face_with_raised_eyebrow:


I now have proof that @Peter48 is gender-blind! Not a bad thing at all… :blush: :rofl: :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye: He wrote the above after @JeffH wrote this…

OK, sorry guys, teasing time is over now. :zipper_mouth_face:


Hi Peter, they figured they got a bargain. We’ll see what happens. The flow QX I put on today was all warped after being in use for only 12 months, so I put another identical new one on. I guess that one will also only last 12 months. I have a good wire one (8 frame) somewhere.

I’m not complaining, they came with the gifted flow hive. As far as quality goes, those plastic QX’s leave a lot to be desired. I figure if you get 12 months out of a bamboo QX, they’re on par.



-can’t find anything on your specific situation but found this old post from @dee which descibes a slightly different approach…might help now or in the future.

I know this is too late for your situation but I believe she has also said to go in 4 days after doing the split to choose an open queen cell but I’m still researching old posts on the subject.


I only use the wire QX, the plastic one is more restrictive to moving of the bees through it and I don’t like the idea of the sharp edges.


Wow, really interesting link Dan. I have bookmarked for the future. Today I went back into the hive I split on the 26th July. I had unwittingly taken the queen along with three frames of brood and put them in a nuc on that day. The original hive is very strong, has drawn out the three frames I put in there and half filled them with nectar. I broke down about eight queen cells, leaving them one and I took another frame of brood with a queen cell on it to give to another nuc. It was hard to destroy those queens but I have to control swarming as neighbours are just a few metres away and not so happy about the idea of swarms. I am really hoping this works for a while. I think I may have to weaken both original hives again before the end of spring as they appear quite strong and will probably continue to build up as the weather warms. I may get to try Dee’s technique after all.


The plastic QX I started with is completely warped and wavy. Definitely upgrading to a metal one as soon as possible.


Nah, it’s not over Dawn, you got me. But it was sent to Jeff, did it land on you? Hey, at my age we are all equal, at least in a bee suit. :grinning:


Hi Cathy I threw out the plastic excluder a long time ago. They flex so much and pull the frames up when you try to seperate. Now I keep a spare metal excluder. I use plastic door wedges crack the flow super put a wedge in each corner under it then twist the super in both direction then lift off. Put the new excluder on during the inspection and then clean the removed one up at leasure. Helps reduce squashed bees.


Great tips there Gaz. I often struggle with that flow super - even after removing a couple of frames it is heavy with honey and my bees glue it down with propolis. If I loosen one corner and go to the next one, the original sometimes reglues! I’ll try the wedges. Still have to get up to Morayfield for new excluders.


Morayfield is a great branch and a very switch on girl there. Placing an order over the phone she has it all ready when I get there every time, great service.


Well, 28 days later, still no reply to my phone call when I informed him that his split had a nice queen laying beautiful brood. His daughter took the call & told me she’d get him to phone me as soon as he arrived home.

I’m not gunna chase him. Yesterday I removed 4 frames of brood from his nuc. Prior to that I’d been removing half filled honey frames, so as to lighten the box for when I shift it every time I want to inspect the hive that it sits on.