Walk Away Split & Drones

Hi Matt, you may like to look at making some stands for your hives so you can work with them more comfortably. I’ve got a sore back just looking at your hives on the ground. :wink:

Yes stands are important for sure. Those images above are just me trying to get a swarm off the passionfruit vine into a spare brood box - my actual hives are on plastic stands which also have frame holders.

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Hello again.

About 2 weeks ago I moved my split from the 5 frame box to a 10 frame and came back today to find a laying queen, a small amout of capped brood and eggs. Very happy about that! My first split :slight_smile:

I also inspected my other hive which is 10 frame with a flow super. Full of bees. Doesnt appear to be anything wrong in particular. However, i have noticed that the hive seems increasingly more defensive the last few inspections - and the tone of the hive sounds frantic rather than the typical low hum that im used to. I shook half a dozen bees off my glove to have them come straight for my face. Not something I’m used to. I thought maybe with such a full hive im rolling bees?? So I took extra care removing frames. I couldnt seem to find any brood on the 5 frames I removed and decided to stop there because the bees seemed like they’d had enough. The last time I eye-balled the queen was about a week after I did the original split.

Will a queen stop laying if the hive gets too full?

Now that I have another queenright hive - should I move a frame of eggs back into the original hive and see if they make queen cells ??

Thanks again.

Hi Matt, no the queen wont stop laying if a hive gets too full.

YES, definitely put a frame with eggs back into the original hive ASAP. The reason for the urgency is to hopefully get it in there before a laying worker gets established. You’ll need to check it in 4 days to see if they start making emergency queens.

You’re welcome Matt, cheers

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Thanks Jeff. I inspected this hive today, inspecting every frame. To my surprise I did find a queen and watched her carefully for some time. She did eventually put her abdomen down a cell and went through the motions of laying but I couldnt tell if she laid on egg or not - lots of bees on the frame and I didnt want to shake it with the queen on it. Other than that she looks healthy. However, there was no capped brood on any frame, no obvious larvae and no eggs that I could see - although its possible I missed them. I would expect though - that there should at least be capped brood or larvae to be seen at this time.

If I install a frame of eggs from my other hive - my guess is that the bees won’t raise emergency cells while the queen is still present - is that right?

Other than no capped brood or obvious larvae - the hive is full of bees, with a lot of furry new bees present.

What do you think ??

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Hi Matt, you’ll have to look back at the time lines of the chain of events. Is this the old queen? or a new one?

No the bees wont make emergency queens with the presence of a queen. The good news is that a laying worker wont develop. The other good news is that because you know a queen is there, & you find out that she is a dud, you can kill her, leave her body in the hive while leaving a frame with fresh eggs. The bees will discover her body before instantly getting into emergency queen mode on those fresh eggs.

It’ll be important to look back on the time lines because she could be a new queen that has just started laying, so therefore you wont see any young larvae for a few days. Give it another week before another inspection. Then decide whether you have a dud queen or not.


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Wow ok. I hadn’t considered the possibility that the small swarm we had 20 (or so) days ago could have come from the established hive - not the split. That explains a lot.

I will leave it for a week and check again before decided the course. Also - a great tip re leaving the dead queen in the hive.

Really helpful - thank you!!

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Well done on your first split. It will only get easier from here.

I experienced this once, and it turned out the hive was preparing to swarm so getting defensive to protect the colony. They eventually swarmed as I missed a queen cell during my inspection. I caught the swarm. But since then, the colony has been well behaved :rofl:

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You’re welcome Matt. I killed a queen myself this morning. I felt that the colony wasn’t performing as good as can be expected.

Killing the queen & leaving her body there just speeds thing along a bit because sometimes it takes 3 days for a split to work out that they are queenless before they start building emergency queens. That’s from my experience anyway. That’s why I say to look for emergency queens 4 days after taking a split.

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I have found that too, @JeffH. Whenever I dispatch a queen for requeening too, I hardly ever find queen cells before 2 or 3 days. By 4 days, they will be there for sure. After 6-7 days, they can’t make any more. Some people leave their hives queenless for 7 days before introducing a new queen, just so that the bees have no choice of making a queen of their own. I don’t find this to be necessary.

Any how, I digress, again. Sorry, but bees are just so fascinating! :wink:


great to know thanks for the info