Building a colony from 5 frame nuc in July - checking my approach

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SteeveeTee 

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Hi, My first post and hive, so all advice gratefully received and what a helpful site in general.
Does the following sound like I'm doing OK. The local beekeepers don't meet for three weeks?


Two weeks ago I picked up a five frame nuc, my aim being to build a colony big enough to winter and survive (given many losses by locals last year). I installed in my WBC as a 'warm' set up (ie. frames parallel to entrance), with two empty frames of foundation on either side of the nuc frames.

I have been feeding the bees, first week with syrup, second week with invert syrup made using yeast as per David Cramps advice (used oven thermometer to check temps, no sign of dysentry so think this worked).

I also moved a frame of full brood over a frame of partial brood as per David Cramps Prac Manual of Beekeeping advice to spread the broodd and help it build up.

The bees have drawn out one side of each of the two empty frames and made a small start on the other sides (at front of hive and against the dummy board at the back). No eggs in these at the mo, but looks like some honey (alittle is capped in corner)

Queen seems well, plenty of larvae and young larvae although I find it difficult to spot eggs (will take torch on next inspection in four days). Bees with pollen go into hive every 4/5 minutes. I anticipate putting in another frame or two of foundation next week, don't have any with drawn comb.

I am guessing the sugar helps them build comb, and that they don't need more supplements as pollen is going in, and the hot weather is helping and the heather that is 1.5 miles away will flower soon too and that regular inspections will mean I find brood in the two new frames and can then add more foundation. Am I on the right lines?
Cheers,
Steve.
It's a joy isn't it!
 

jenkinsbrynmair 

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Wouldn't bother feeding them anymore - there's plenty of forage around and you want to leave space for laying, I'd leave well alone as regards manipulating the brood - leave them sort themselves out, otherwise, just keep ckecking they have plenty of space - a couple more frames before they riun out of room - and you should be fine
 

derekm 

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If you want build up, insulate...
 

itma 

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Agree - no need to feed.
And don't mess around with DIY invert syrup - particularly at this point in the season.

They aren't a swarm so will only draw comb as and when they think they need it. A surge in nectar inflow combined with Q laying more CAN catch them out.

You need to get all frames drawn, so they can stuff them with stores for the winter.
If (ie when) they *fill* a frame with stores, insert one foundation frame between the stores and brood. Frames outside stores frames would be drawn much more slowly.
I think that having just 2 foundation-only frames in the hive at a time is plenty. Bookend with a dummy board, and put some space-filling insulation (bin bag of crumpled newspaper?) in the void.
Top insulation is never a bad thing, even in your WBC.

Particularly with a non-swarm (so frames get drawn gradually rather than fast), they may not be keen to draw comb all the way to the bottom and particularly all the way into the bottom corners. Later that will become a nuisance, and a great place for making Queen Cells...! But your first target is to get them to create enough storage space to make overwintering easier. Don't worry too much that they could have done it better - you can live with it.

Varroa. Never to soon to try and get a feel for the level of infestation. Put in the inspection board for at least 3 days, and work out the daily drop rate. This will help you plan/schedule treatment.

Enjoy! They are your bees now!
 
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SteeveeTee 

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Thanks, seems obvious now I know!


Two minutes later...
Replies coming faster than I can write "Thanks" now, thanks again.
 
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Finman 

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I am guessing the sugar helps them build comb, Am I on the right lines?
!
- you have a nuc which grows further when new bees emerge. There is no way to accerate the hive in these weathers.

- feeding really harms the build up. Bees get enough food from nature. Even too much.

- drawing combs is not at all important. Bees build them when they need them more. To press with sugar is a mistake.

- You should follow the growth of bee amount, what they really cover in the hive. It does not help when you add foundations and force bees to draw them. They fill first brood cells and then draw new cells.

- The growth of the colony depends, how much the queen layed 3 weeks agou... that amount emerges then. one frame broopd produces 3 frame bees.

- Half frame brood produces 1,5 frames bees. If you fill frames with sugar, you get 50% less bees.

- dummy board is good if bees do not cover yet 8 frames.

- Winter is far away. It is not an issue now.

.- and keep the box warm. Shut the mesh floor if you have such. 1 cm x 10 cm is proper entrance to 5 frame nuc, or 7 , what ever.
 

Queens59 

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I like this - a newbee who admits to reading bee books :D He is addicted already by the sounds of it!! ;)
 

Mellifera397 

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I'm not going to make any promises but if you keep an eye on them and don't make a huge mistake then you should be fine as I overwintered an august nuc last year. As per earlier advice DON'T feed, last year I overfed my bees and ended up with a lack of brood space, leave them to it and feed in september/october to avoid getting too much ivy in the combs.

good luck

M
 

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It sounds as if you’re doing a fine job but I agree with others about not feeding them at this time. Plenty of forage coming in and need to leave space for her to lay.

Good luck.
 

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