Artificial Swarm with a Nuc

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Ian_G 

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Hi all. About 20 mins ago I have just split the queen from my single hive into a poly nuc as per the apiarist instructions. These are back garden bees so the nuc is 7 or 8 metres from the queenless hive. I've placed them away from the 'normal' flight path and with entrances facing away from each other.

The apiarist mentions stuffing the entrance of the nuc with grass but that's not possible as the lawn was mowed too recently. Is it sensible to leave the nuc entrance blocked until tomorrow or sunday or should i just open it up?
 

jenkinsbrynmair 

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Hi all. About 20 mins ago I have just split the queen from my single hive into a poly nuc as per the apiarist instructions. These are back garden bees so the nuc is 7 or 8 metres from the queenless hive. I've placed them away from the 'normal' flight path and with entrances facing away from each other.

The apiarist mentions stuffing the entrance of the nuc with grass but that's not possible as the lawn was mowed too recently. Is it sensible to leave the nuc entrance blocked until tomorrow or sunday or should i just open it up?
If you are taking the queen away from the hive in a nuc because there were QCs you really don't want to do the grass trick, you actually want the flying bees to return to the Q- part of the split.
The flying bees are the swarm instigators, by keeping them with the queen you are risking the chance they will swarm from the nuc.
Unusually bad advice from the Apiarist to use the grass trick. Always better to leave the nuc not too far from the mother hive (a few metres is ample) and let the bees fly as soon as possible.
 

Ian_G 

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Thanks both. I made sure to shake bees from brood frames that didnt have queen cells. Hopefully plenty of nurse bees.

I've now moved the nuc back closer to the queenless hive as it was more convenient that way anyway and opened up the entrance.

This is my first spring with the bees so this manipulation was very exciting to me.
 

enrico 

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Thanks both. I made sure to shake bees from brood frames that didnt have queen cells. Hopefully plenty of nurse bees.

I've now moved the nuc back closer to the queenless hive as it was more convenient that way anyway and opened up the entrance.

This is my first spring with the bees so this manipulation was very exciting to me.
Well done, it is all daunting when you start.....oh! And it is still daunting after 40 years! 😆
 

Ian_G 

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The last instruction on the nuc is

  • If you do leave the nuc in the same apiary check it a couple of days later. The bees should have chewed their way out through the dried grass. If they haven’t, pull a bit out at the corner of the entrance to encourage them to fly.

When it says "check" does it mean inspect? Wondering if i should go in today? I have left the entrance open.
 
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The last instruction on the nuc is

  • If you do leave the nuc in the same apiary check it a couple of days later. The bees should have chewed their way out through the dried grass. If they haven’t, pull a bit out at the corner of the entrance to encourage them to fly.

When it says "check" does it mean inspect? Wondering if i should go in today? I have left the entrance open.
Check means check the grass. Some people jam such a wedge in that the bees can't get out
 
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If you are taking the queen away from the hive in a nuc because there were QCs you really don't want to do the grass trick, you actually want the flying bees to return to the Q- part of the split.
The flying bees are the swarm instigators, by keeping them with the queen you are risking the chance they will swarm from the nuc.
Unusually bad advice from the Apiarist to use the grass trick. Always better to leave the nuc not too far from the mother hive (a few metres is ample) and let the bees fly as soon as possible.
Completely agree. It took me a while to figure this out when I started putting queens into Nucs.

You’re often taught to move bees at least 3 feet away change entrance direction for every scenario rather than actually thinking through what is happening.

@Ian_G Think like a bee! Get the flyers to return, nurses will look after the queen, just make sure she has nurses and emerging brood to look after her and pollen and open stores to keep the small colony going until nurses ‘graduate’ and you decide what to do with your spare queen.

Even better, unite her back after a couple of weeks and you choose which hive has what queen…separate discussion!
 

Ian_G 

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I'm going in to inspect today with the intention of selecting a queen cell to retain in the queenless hive and ensuring the nuc has enough stores. Any tips on what to look out for?

I was thinking on this method vs the pagden. Disclaimer: Neither of which ive actually performed myself. But in trying to think like a bee, but more realistically 'thinking like what I little I know about what think a bee thinks'.... If the flying bees instigate the swarm and they've all returned to the queenless hive do they not still have that swarming intent?

With the pagden the flying bees stay with the queen but they dont reorientate. Does reorientation have any effect on swarming intent?
 

Erichalfbee 

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If the flying bees return to the queenless hive what are they going to swarm with?
Select one nice open queen cell. Mark the frame destroy the rest
Return in a week to remove all the emergency cells.
Walk away for three weeks
 

jenkinsbrynmair 

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remember to keep the nuc not too far from the mother hive (same apiary/a few yards away is fine), chuck plenty of extra bees in but don't stuff any grass in the nuc entrance or any other magic tricks
 

Ian_G 

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The flying period of a bee life is 13-23 days? So there may be some older bees left in 9 days when the new queen emerges.
 

jenkinsbrynmair 

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The flying period of a bee life is 13-23 days? So there may be some older bees left in 9 days when the new queen emerges.
bees can fly almost from the first day, the 'flying bees' we are talking about are the ones that were flying/foraging when you found the QCs, they instigated the swarming preparations, and as long as you didn't force them to reorientate to the nuc when you took the nuc away (grass trick or magic twigs) they will all have returned to the now Q- hive and can't make any mischief.
 

Erichalfbee 

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The flying period of a bee life is 13-23 days? So there may be some older bees left in 9 days when the new queen emerges.
In nine days a foragers life has been turned upside down. The swarming instinct has gone.
It takes consensus of over 50*% of the bees to swarm.
 

Ian_G 

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I went in and I should have rechecked the forecast as it had changed since this morning. As soon as the hive opened so did the skies. Found myself rushing which is not ideal.

Found 10 sealed queen cells, 2 of which looked to be emergency, the rest at the bottom of the frames. Also 2 or 3 empty play cups. There were no open queen cells. Took down all but the best looking cell.

I should have an emerging queen in a week who will be potentially fertile a week later?
 
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