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Spring split gone sideways

Inspected and split overwintered hive consisting of a single 8 frame brood box and a full honey super all frames covered with bees on 23 Aug.
Attempted a Snelgrove 2 Modified split as per Wally Shaw booklets, but due to work commitments could not complete Snelgrove split i.e. returning original queen to the new hive and let it requeen as per a walk away split.
Checked today to discover both colonies queenless and no larvae or eggs 18 Sept. My thinking is there maybe a new mated queen in the split not laying just yet.
I do not know why the parent hive lost queen, I probably rolled or squished her, still does not explain why original hive has not requeened.
Did not find any queen cells in either hive, could they be pulled down already?
I have one more colony which is queen right so I took a frame of brood with eggs and larvae for each split, now to wait another 4 weeks to see if I am back to 3 hives.


I’ve got my fingers crossed for you!

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You did the right thing by adding those frames of brood. Yeah I like to wait a month before checking for evidence of a new queen. Take a look in another week, you’ll either see emergency queen cells or evidence of new queen activity.


You have good advice from @JeffH and when I do a split I leave it alone for a month before looking for a queen and new brood.
I used to knock down queen cells then in a couple of days find they have made another, but after making them they are left unused, unless the hive goes queen-less for some reason. When a queen emerges from a queen cell the cell isn’t pulled down, it might be cleaned out, but then just left from my experience…

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Hi Pete, I never knock queen cells down, I like the process of natural selection. I used to think that bees don’t swarm with emergency queens, however I was proven wrong last year, quite a few times. What I do now at home is keep the splits relatively small until I know the queens are sorted. Then I will add extra frames of brood, as they become available.

It’s becoming evident that this spring is nowhere near as productive as last spring. However it’s still early days.

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I’m with you on natural selection of a new queen Jeff. When I said I used to knock down queen cells it was about the ‘play cells’ that never seemed to get used.
I fear this Spring is just a continuation of the drought that started last November as my last entry I have that I got any rain was last March. There is heaps of pollen coming into the hives but there is very little honey in the frames and lots of brood in the frames which will only put more demand for honey by the bees — a catch 22. :pensive:
Cheers mate

Hi Pete, my colonies are holding their own as far as raising brood is concerned, as well as storing some honey. I’m starting to see evidence of colonies expanding the brood by removing honey & allowing queens to lay more eggs. The middle brood frames have brood up to the top bars, however I’m not seeing any drone larvae between the top bars & the QXs yet. The nights are getting warmer with days lengthening, I’m optimistic of things improving going forward.

Widespread heavy rain is not far away :slight_smile: Well, we have to be optimistic.

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Thanks @Martha, @JeffH and @Peter48 I have to confess to a mistake, I thought about the splits last night and could not understand why both had no queen cells old or new. The child split consisting of brood box with two frames of brood and one honey from parent hive and five foundation-less frames, QX plus the honey super as per a Snelgrove 2 modified split. The parent was left with four brood and one honey frame plus three foundation-less frames.
There was two much activity at the child hive, lots of nectar and pollen coming in which made the penny drop, did I trap the queen up in the honey super?
Yep, checked this morning and sure enough loads of capped brood and larvae in the honey super.
Stupidly, when I looked/lifted the honey super which was over wintered without a QX I surmised it was all honey as viewed from top, and the weight of it.
The parent brood box had lots of capped brood, eggs & larvae and I decided to do preemptive swarm control, as @Semaphore has mentioned in other posts, the winter has been very kind in Adelaide and colonies were already swarming.
So I now have a double brood split with a flow super, here I was thinking I mucked up the splits and I would miss the spring nectar flow. The parent hive is down to one brood box with the donor brood frame from yesterday. I think it did not make a new queen as all the foragers would have gone back to the child split as that was in the old parent location and I did not leave enough nurse bees to raise a queen.
As I work away on a 2/1 week roster I could not complete the Snelgrove 2 modified split and may have picked up on the lack of queen cells after the 9 day wait period.
We live we learn, especially in bee keeping :blush:

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I’m finding brood to the inside of the outer frames and honey on the outside so the hives are building up in number quickly with lots of pollen about but the hives are only holding their won with honey.
Can you supply me with some of your optimistic pills please, if we don’t get some good rain soon I fear things might go pear shaped. :smiley:

I’m very much in favor of doing splits as a part of swarm control and in building up my hive numbers.
I’m pleased you have figured out where you went wrong. A simple mistake to make mate. Bee keeping is a never ending learning interest.

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Hi Anthony, can I talk you into ditching the idea of using founationless frames? Apart from that, learning from experience is always the best way to learn, in my view.

I would advise against adding a QX & honey super on a split, especially if you are expecting the bees to make a new queen, not to mention if the split doesn’t fill a whole super/brood box.

It always looks good looking down on a honey super when the queen’s up there. You get excited expecting a whole super full of fully capped frames of honey. Oh the disappointment while lifting the first frame, revealing the brood.

Hi @Peter48, I’m optimistic because we always get rain with spring storms at some stage. Look if your bees are bringing in pollen with no honey, just keep feeding them, as I read earlier you were doing.

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Hi @JeffH ,The child split is probably the wrong term now, its basically back to where it started as the primary hive, the bottom brood box although having no brood has been fully built out with the queen (whom has been in the child split from day 1) now being able to access it with the QX now between the 2nd brood box and flow super. Sorry I have no photos to explain fully but the hive is full of bees and the bottom brood box is acting as an nadiring brood box.

No, I know there are issues with wonky comb but I like the idea of the bees deciding what to build.
The brood frames over time tend to straighten out I’m finding, I may try some small cell foundation at some time to act as guides when I get around to checker boarding.

Thanks @Peter48, Im still kicking myself, but in my defence at the time, 4 weeks ago, I removed two frames of all honey for the splits and the others look similiar but I guess the queen was in the middle and just starting to lay in the super. I was lazy for not checking all frames or ensuring the queen was in the bottom box and it bit me on the butt.

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Will the extra space below the brood be enough to stop swarming or do I need to split again in near future?

Child split on left, parent on right.

At some time soon, as it is still early Spring, it is likely that your parent hive may need a split with it being just a brood hive the population will probably bring on a swarm, but you can always add a box as a super to it. I have already done a couple of splits of Spring splits. There is warm weather and lots of pollen so the colonies are booming.
As a side note, about using foundation I have to agree with @JeffH the bees will always build some drone cells on worker foundation if they want more drones as in the Spring season. But both Jeff and I don’t like wonky comb that makes like hard for the bees and for us when it comes time to do inspections and extracting the honey. But each to their own ok…