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Hypothetical Re-Queening in Difficult Circumstances


Friday 23rd. Roof deck nucleus with Hawaiian queen doing well and had plenty of eggs. Closed up nucleus and closed off entrance with a screen. Moved nucleus back down to main hive.

Aggressive nucleus - two or three queen cells, all of which were destroyed. Single brood box main hive, about 4 or 5 queen cells, all carefully destroyed. All frames re-inspected to be sure.

Newspaper construct designed and built. :blush: We now had 2 four frame nuclei (one with a queen) and one queenless main hive brood box to recombine. Rather than combining one nucleus at a time, or making some nuc to 8-frame adapters, we wanted to combine them all at once. So I made a newspaper divider to separate the 2 nuclei in the same box, then I stapled a layer of newspaper onto the bottom of the box:

Very Heath Robinson, and entirely consistent with normal beekeeping methods. :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

We then put the empty newspaper box on top of the queenless brood box, and loaded the nuclei carefully into the space either side of the newspaper divider. Lid back on, closed up for the weekend.

Monday 26th, very quick inspection to check on the newspaper etc. All newspaper completely removed, and eggs plus young larvae galore, with no queen cells seen on cursory inspection. Seems like a successful merge and eventual queen introduction.

Phew, exhausting, as @Dee rightly said! :blush:


Thanks for taking the time and effort to share with us Dawn. :+1:


Just a few “take home” thoughts.

  1. It was great to have extra equipment. My husband almost audibly groaned when I bought nucleus boxes a couple of years ago. :blush: He forgave me, but over the last couple of weeks, he was very happy that we had the extras, including moving screens, dummy (follower) boards and a waxed cardboard transport nucleus.
  2. Splitting an aggressive hive really helps to make it more manageable. I would do this sooner in future.
  3. Making a queenless nucleus to house a purchased queen is easy and a low-stress way to keep her healthy. You can always recombine later with newspaper, when you are ready.
  4. Nitrile gloves truly are your best friend with aggressive hives. We got far fewer glove stings with a pair of XL nitrile gloves over the top of our normal leather ones. You can throw them away at the end of the day, and all of the alarm pheromone goes with them.
  5. Mann Lake’s wood pellet smoker fuel is amazing. A 1cm depth on top of newspaper starter would burn reliably for 2 hours or more. Actually the only downside is that it is hard to extinguish! :smile:

I am sure that there are more points, but those are the ones at the top of my list. :wink: Happy Easter to all who celebrate it. :rabbit2: :egg:


Hi Dawn, thank you. Same to you.

In relation to the smoker, all you need is something to jam into the spout. The smoker will die. I use the handle of an old paint brush.

In relation to finding the queen in an aggressive bees, I tried to help :frowning:


With these pellets, it still smokes around the seams of the lid, even after you plug the spout and lie the smoker on its side! :smile:

I know you did, @JeffH. I am grateful, and for most people, this would work well. However, I have about 6 inches of space in front of that hive (end of patio slopes down to a wall only a foot away from the hive entrance) - not enough room for a trap out, so I couldn’t do it, if this is what you were referring to:


Hi Dawn, the trap-out was the last option that I offered. The first one was to move the hive from the original position & replace it with another weak hive so that most of the bees will return to that. It is around comment #54 & before it that I was talking about that strategy. It’s also in the video that I posted.

The only thing in my video was that I opened the brood box straight away, the job was still made easier because the flying aggressive bees returned to the old site. With your scenario, my suggestion was to allow the field bees & the bees that have done orientation flights to return to the old site before looking for the queen.

When there is only nurse bees to contend with, the job of finding the queen would be far less stressful from 2 angles. #1 less bees to look over. #2 minimal to no aggressive bees.

The whole exercise could have been far less “exhausting”.

PS the trap-out idea would just be another way of achieving the same thing.


I don’t have the space to do that. My bee area is about 8 feet by 8 feet, and I don’t have anywhere to put the old hive. I have 2 hives in that space, and the max the City allows is 2 hives on my property… :thinking:

Maybe I am not thinking straight, but I just don’t have the space to consider a lot of options that were discussed above. I still appreciate your effort to help though.


Could you double deck a hive fake the city out so you could have 3 hives?


Until somebody complains, then you would get a big fine… :open_mouth:


I understand. But a gal can dream! :grinning:


What you could do is put a hive inside a fake wall, then have the bees coming & going out of a pipe up high.

Beehives, the new contraband :slight_smile:


I can’t think of another hobby that is done in such secrecy, hiding hives from neighbors sight, keeping that extra hive a secret or having it ‘some where else’. When someone finds out you have bees there is lots of bizarre questions (often legal questions).
Makes me sort of proud to be different and shocks the ignorant that most of what they eat would be gone without pollination.


I just say my first BBQ bee hive where bees set up house in a unused bbq smoker and the family just left it that way and lifts the lid and tends to it. The hive is huge and comes and goes through the chimney. :smiley: LOL


The tv show (Think Tank) that I got that word (sesquipedalionist) from, has just been repeated, a little over 2 months later.