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Hello Everyone,

I have been asked many times over the years if it would be better to purchase a new laying queen, let the hive re-queen itself, install a queen cell or place a virgin in the hive. All of these management styles will work, you just need to decide what you are trying to accomplish based on timing and accuracy of mating. If you were interested in having a known hygienic queen in your hive, you should probably purchase a queen from a proper hygienic queen breeder. If hygienics in the hive are not your first concern and you were not in a hurry, you could select from the other options listed and hope that things will work out.

I have listed below the timing involved for each system.


Using the existing queen

brood in 21 days with no interruptions

Introducing a mated, laying queen

brood in about 26 days

Using a virgin queen

brood in about 29 days

Queen cells will produce brood

in about 32 days

A queen from brood

takes about 41 days

Bee Talk   

  Hey Dennis,

  How's things at LSF?  Things are pretty good here.  Got a quick question for you.  Last class you mentioned keeping a five frame nuc as a utility hive for extra frames of honey, brood, and a spare queen if needed.  I was wondering, what is the advantage of keeping just a five frame nuc over a full 10 frame hive as a utility hive?  Thanks,   Jeff

 Hello Jeff,

 That's a good question. If you use a five frame nuc for a utility hive, you are more likely to keep it as a nuc. When you use a ten frame hive, you are more likely to get the urge to add another brood box on top and run another hive. You could let your nuc increase to a ten frame hive right before winter and run it through the winter that way if you haven't already used it to beef up another hive.


  Hi Dennis,

 I am looking for some advice from you. Apparently there are some bees in the space between the roof and the sofit boards. (Maybe 20 ft. high)  They are not in the attic. A beekeeper came over today (from Taylor) to talk removal, I was not there for all of it, but he was saying to pull off wood and remove, scrape off wax etc.

 A comment was made about just spraying and killing them in there. I don't like this because

 1. killing bees. 

2. Honey and wax would still be in the space. 

3. Would this them encourage ants to harvest the Honey?

 I would like you to comment on this situation, have u dealt with this before?

 We have council meeting on Tuesday evening, and I am sure it will be discussed then.

 We are located in Thorndale. Thank You. M J McDaniel

 Hello Mary,

 I passed through the big town of Thorndale to and from Round Rock today. In order to savage the bees and wax you will need to remove the sofit boards in order to get access to the hive. Take the individual sheets of comb with bees and all and tie them into a brood frame using string. The bees will fasten them to the frames. Place all the frames in a hive body and treat it like you would a normal hive. If you have a drawn-out brood box, place that on top around November first and feed the heck out of the hive. During the winter, the bees will move everything to the top box and form their winter cluster. The bottom box will be empty in February and you can remove it.

 I hope this helps you and thank you for not killing the bees.



 My neighbor gave me a bee hive several months ago. The cover is closed with a special screw so I have not seen inside,  but it appears there are not many bees in and around the hive.  I went to the Walker County Beekeeper meeting last night and asked allot of questions.  It was suggested that I might need to feed the bees but I do not know how to do this.  Also, I have been seeing ants going in and out of the hive and that has worried me too.  I read on bee blog that bee’s ants do not like cinnamon, so I have been sprinkling that in front of the hive......it seems to have worked, so far.

 I did read some of your newsletters last night about the sugar ratio and made some 2:1 syrup this morning and set it next to the hive.  There wasn't much activity around the hive so I do not know if they have found it.    All this said, I am wanting to know what type of sugar-water feeder can be used with my hive.  I am sending a photo for your view as I have no idea how to feed the bees.

 I haven't done any of the other things you suggest to do, simply out of ignorance.  I am hoping my neighbor brings his bee suit soon so I can at least see what is going on inside the hive.    Oh, by the way, my neighbor said these are Russian bees.....it that the type that thrives in this area well.

 Hello Pat,

 Before you do anything with the hive, you need to open it and inspect what's inside. There are several experienced beekeepers there in Huntsville that can help you. There is no reason to feed if the hive doesn't have a queen or if there are bee diseases present. After your inspection, let me know what you found. 


 Dennis can you answer a question for me?

 I split a hive in June and I installed a new queen when I split them.  Since that split I have been constantly removing supersedure queen cells from the 10 frame brood box. I had as of this Monday 2-1/2 frames on the right side of the hive with a great brood pattern on them and another 1/2 of another frame with larva and eggs. The queen had been laying good, and in my opinion she is still laying good considering drought conditions. The left side of the hive, frames 1-6 had nothing but a little capped/uncapped honey or water for cooling and very little pollen. I also have a honey super on the brood box WITHOUT a queen excluder that is petty much filled with honey/some 1:1 sugar water. Ever since I split the hive the bees have been building supersedure cells. I am at a loss.

 P.S. I started feeding them pollen patties and 1:1 sugar water yesterday. I would say the hive is at approximately 50 - 60% + -  the queen has brought the population up very well since June. Tomorrow I am going to move the full frames on the right side to the middle of the hive?

 Why do you think they keep building supersedure cells? What resolution might you have? Just let them hatch a new queen? Hardly any drones in the hive!   Ron Miller

Hello Ron,

Which split is building the queen cells? The split with the original queen or the split with the new queen?


The split with the new queen.


 I figured it was the split with the new queen. I believe that the new queen is not fully mated and her pheromone level is not strong enough to keep the bees interested in her. The bees can pick up on this and want to re-queen themselves. If it were my hive I would pinch the new queen, kill all the queen cells and then unite the hive with another hive (s). The drone population right now is low so to allow that hive to raise a queen is not a good idea. The new queen that would hatch out will not be able to mate with enough drones this time of year so you would be facing the same problem later. You can split the hive again in the spring.

 I hope this helps.


 Hey Dennis! How are you?

  I am writing in regards of Lois Gilliam's bee hives. I went to Centerville, Texas and inspected Lois' hives. Most of the hives were empty from swarm or winds,(lids blown off and water filled), also, these were plastic hives  but there was still one hive that was still there. The hive is a triple deep and is strong, FULL of bees, brood, and honey. Very sweet bees also.

Since it is a strong hive, I was wondering if I should wait for spring or if I should just split it now? Would a walk away work this time of year? 

 Something tells me no but have to ask! My fear is that they will take off in early spring before I am able to get another Queen for them.

 As always, I appreciate your knowledge Dennis and would like to say thank you!       Tracey.

 Hello Tracey,

 It is not a good idea to make a split at this time of year. (Oct) I would make sure that they have everything they need and split them in the spring when you can get a queen. You are welcome. You email me anytime.



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