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drex 

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11 days ago I moved a cast swarm from a skep into my National nuc ( my first bees) , with 5 frames of undrawn foundation and a frame feeder ( which I kept topped up, then removed at day 5).

The bees are calm. 3 Frames are mainly drawn, and they are starting on the other 2. I have not seen the queen ( inexperienced), and still have no eggs. The drawn frames have a nice arc of honey ( some capped) and a small arc of pollen. I could not see that any cells had been polished ( again could be my inexperience).

I know she is ( or was) probably a virgin queen, and will take time to come into lay. The workers are calm ( suggesting queen is still present). However today there are two play cups on bottom of middle frame. I know that play cups in themselves are not significant, but they have increased my concern as to whether I still have a queen who has potential to lay. In the bottom of a few cells were a few blobs. I thought these could have been eggs from laying workers, but they were yellowish and possibly a bit jagged ( ?wax debris?).

I know I must just wait, but anything else I should be doing?
 

plumberman 

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I would not worry - I picked up a cast about 17 days ago: queen has only just come into lay. They have also produced so called play cups. Perhaps if nothing in a week, think about some test eggs/larvae.

Remember that rate of lay starts slowly, so it's also easy to miss the first 2/3 days of egg laying, unless your eyes are significantly better than mine.
 

milkermel 

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Hi drex I wasnt planning on expanding more than 1 new hive when ready as i am going into my second year and wanting to take it slow - SO I missed a check day by 1 day and ended up with 3 swarms not 1 hive!! I was in similar concerns as unable to see my queens and no eggs 14 days later I went into my hives today and have a good collection of eggs coming on. And suddenly could find 2 out of 3 queens - I was told to sit back and wait a couple of weeks, so will pass on the info that was given to me!!! All the best
 

MuswellMetro 

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In the bottom of a few cells were a few blobs. I thought these could have been eggs from laying workers, but they were yellowish and possibly a bit jagged ( ?wax debris?).

I know I must just wait, but anything else I should be doing?

i would think it is pollen , unlikey to be laying workers' eggs after 11days,

wait but just look at the play cups in 7 days
 

oliver90owner 

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I would be considering moving to a full box very soon if they are drawing all 5 frames. A decent divider would keep the warmth where needed and allow further frame addition as soon as they can expand. Set against that is the need to leave her undisturbed until mated and you will know that by finding eggs/brood (a bit of an oxymoron there, I know!).

They should need little feeding now - enough for the brood when expanding. A frame of hatching brood added as soon as she is laying would help the expansion as the colony will otherwise be dwindling for a further 3 weeks and the extra house-bees would enable her to lay at a higher rate than perhaps otherwise.

Then I read your post again and am not sure which is correct - your post (first bees) or your profile (2 colonies).

No 'probably' about it if this was a cast; she will be (or was) a virgin, by definition!

'Anything else' you should be doing? Be patient! Minimum disturbance.

I would be checking weekly-ish for eggs, no more often (easier to see larvae!); frame drawing can be assessed without pulling frames and they should not need any more stores until brooding heavily, even if then (at this time of the year), unless in the middle of a large block of OSR or a tiny colony!

Regards, RAB
 

drex 

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Thanks all, especially Rab,

Yes I do say 2 colonies but first bees. The hives are on a fellow allotment holders plot, which is in fact a very good site for them ( I know there can be problems with allotments).

My mate on the plot also has one hive, but is considerably older than me, and lacking in confidence, and even though we are both beginners ( have both been on theory and practical course) he tends to look to me to take the lead - hence I post as 2 colonies.

We are both in same position in that we started at same time, and I was given two cast swarms - 1 each. He was not able to be present at the inspection I just did, and we agreed I would be with him tomorrow when he is able to check his hive.

Anyway - we have no brood available. - it would have been nice, as I was concerned about how worker numbers will dwindle before any new hatch. I was thinking about moving mine into a national, in view of the rate of drawing comb ( with some dummies), but then thought it would not be needed in view of lack of brood.

Rab, Can you please elaborate. At present they are keeping the bottom centres of frames empty, I presume ready for brood, with nice arcs of pollen and honey above.

All the advice is greatly appreciated. I have read the books, but still lack the confidence too. Not to mention no experience. Thanks again
 

drex 

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Well the one hive ( mine ) that I was worried about is OK. I had a quick look at one frame today and there were grubs on it. So I am relieved.

I helped my friend with his hive inspection ( nucleus box, caste swarm installed about the same time as mine). I could not see any eggs ( but then I didn't in mine) nor the queen. However today his bees were unusually feisty, and there were 3 proper queen cells ( not just play cups). I will again be patient, as it paid off with mine, but I fear he may have lost his virgin queen. Any suggestions?

In 5-7 days I intend to transfer my bees from the nucleus to the National hive on which the nucleus is standing. Any thing I should do to help them in, or to find, their new home?

Thanks all. Knowing you are out there is a great help. I do not like to disturb our BKA tutor too much, as he has taken on 45 beginners this year.
 

oliver90owner 

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You have answered your own questions really, I think.

OK sorted on the misunderstanding of colony numbers. Makes a big difference!

would not be needed in view of lack of brood.

The sooner comb is drawn the better. The more eggs she can lay (up to the limit the house bees can service), the faster the expansion. If the comb is drawn before she lays the house bees can divert to brood duties. Win, win situation.

with nice arcs of pollen and honey above.

No further comment necessary now you can see why it was ready and waiting.

3 proper queen cells

No good if an unmated queen!


Any suggestions?


Yep! do nothing yet. Until you are sure of the situation.

The obvious route then would be to unite the colonies, unless a laying queen was available for the queenlees one. Time is against a small cast swarm (to raise a queen from a queen cell) and even more so, to try for an emergency queen (not a sensible option for several reasons). The two combined would be a better starting point in a few weeks time for a possible late split later if it expands well, particularly if a queen were to be spare from someone nearby.

Any thing I should do to help them in

Move the nuc down to the stand, or floor, level first and allow them to get used to the new position before transferring into the brood box.

Regards, RAB
 

drex 

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Thanks Rab,

I will move the nuc down onto the stand tomorrow, ready for transfer into BB next weekend ( obvious now that you mention it - but never entered my mind) - damn beginners!

Have read the post about feeding a few threads down. Seems at this time of year, no great need, best to let the colony develop at its own rate, so that there are enough bees to tend the brood.

However are you suggesting that I feed for a short time, once transferred, to encourage comb drawing, so that they will be available for brood duties later?

Des
 

oliver90owner 

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You said: I was thinking about moving mine into a national, in view of the rate of drawing comb ( with some dummies), but then thought it would not be needed in view of lack of brood.
Now you say: are you suggesting that I feed for a short time, once transferred, to encourage comb drawing, so that they will be available for brood duties later?

My answer (I hope) was to allow as much comb building as they can fit in before brooding duties (no shortage of space if required).

They have sufficient stores at present and would only need feeding if those stores were, or were likely, to become depleted. Space to lay is important, extra stores is counter-productive as it uses potential brood space with no advantage to the colony. No brood space (due to filling with stores) means neither the brood will increase, nor the stores get used. The foraging bees will still forage and may make the situation even more unbalanced. Ideally the bees will use mainly nectar (collected by the foragers) to feed the larvae, not honey.

You will need to realise that if this is only a small cast swarm it may take some time to get going as there will be too few bees to fully satisfy the queen's laying ability. I don't know how big and how long that might be. I like strong colonies as they expand quickly.

For instance, a reasonable, but not huge, prime swarm has filled a 14 x 12 broodbox wall to wall with brood and stores in 3 weeks. No feed at all on that one. They have drawn every bit of comb themselves and have been on a full box for that period. They are now busy drawing super frames, but the OSR flow has subsided and I am contemplating moving them to spring beans, but the colony is likely too heavy for me to move easily!

Compare that with yours; small, another 2 1/2 weeks before any more new housebees. So be patient. It will take some time.

IF you need to unite the other colony to yours, you would get a far faster expansion (after she can 'up' her lay-rate). You would not notice the difference (your lack of experience) but I would certainly be aware of it!

Regards, RAB
 

goodbobby 

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another cast swarm

I hived a medium size cast swarm a week ago in a full 14 x 12 b.b and fed from the following day on 1:1. There is plenty of activity and some pollen coming in. I opened the hive today. They have taken down all 4 litres of syrup and drawn out 5 frames to accommodate a lot of this. I found a good size unmarked queen so I presume she is probably a virgin. Is there any point in marking her in a weeks time when I next inspect? Should I continue to feed, I cannot see any harm in doing the latter but I may be missing the point?
 

oliver90owner 

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drawn out 5 frames to accommodate a lot of this

Says it all really. Yeah, continue to feed; fill up all the space she might have had for laying space. Then what?

You certainly are missing the point. Stop feeding while there is a chance they may draw some comb for her to lay in! Let them actually make some honey, not an illegal-to-sell concoction.

RAB
 

Hivemaker. 

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I would leave any marking of the queen until she is laying well and has brood,if she is already quite large she may of mated, but just not come into lay yet,or could be an old queen which has not started to lay yet after being slimmed down for swarming.
 

drex 

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Thanks all,

Your comments have boosted my confidence.

I am now looking forward to transferring them to my national BB, gradually increasing the number of frames ( as they dictate), and holding off feed ( as they dictate).

I had a look from outside today and they were still busy foraging, despite having brood to attend to, with plenty of nearby forage ( pees and beans).

You are right Rab, I do not have great number of workers, so I will be patient or hope ( selfishly) that my mates hive is queenless and we unite ( he says he has a swarm promised him)

Thanks all

Des.
 

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