· Nucleus box with frames of drawn comb (ideally) or wax foundation.
On finding unsealed Queen cells proceed as follows:
Making up the nuc:-
- Close off the nuc entrance. Put a frame of stores plus the bees on it into the nuc box. (Check for queen cells & remove them)
- Find the queen and put her and the frame she is on in the nuc box. (Again, check for queen cells & remove them.) There must be some brood on this frame.
- Shake the bees from two more frames into the nuc box
- Add three frames of drawn comb or foundation (place one either side of the stores and brood frames) and close up.
- Open the nuc entrance and immediately block it loosely with grass. Place the nuc on a new stand. Feed the nucleus 2:1 syrup. (Check after 24-48hrs that the bees have released themselves and remove the grass if they haven’t.)
- Inspect weekly and this nuc will build into a new colony unless you choose to recombine it later with the original hive – AND - you also have the old queen as a fall-back if the new queen fails.
In the colony you have just removed the Queen from: -
This colony has just lost its Queen so shouldn’t swarm.
- Go through the colony carefully looking for QC’s. Pick ONE open queen cell with a larva, in a good position, and mark the top of that frame. Knock all the other QC’s down.
- Rebuild the hive filling up the gaps with frames of foundation and close up the colony
One week later
- There will have been eggs in the original colony when you removed the queen so the bees will have used some of these eggs to make emergency Queen Cells. GENTLY (don’t shake the frame) check the marked frame to ensure your chosen queen cell is still there and is now sealed. If it is still unsealed, missing or damaged choose another sealed Queen cell.
- Shake bees from all other frames and knock down all other emergency Queen cells you find.
Leave the colony alone for three weeks and then check for eggs/brood (A new laying queen!) but it can take up to six weeks before you see signs of brood. If you don’t see brood after six weeks, ask for help.
- Make sure you know the difference between supersedure cells (which you leave for the colony to sort out) and swarm cells (where you must do a swarm control)
- Don’t leave more than one queen cell in a colony!
- If any of the Queen cells in your original colony are sealed, it’s likely you are too late and the colony has already swarmed.