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Help reassure me on new nuc cell types!

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malawi2854 

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Hello,

I picked up my first nuc of bees on Saturday - and installed them a couple of hours later (after journey home, and "settling" time when I got home).

Obviously, being my first bees, I am still a bit clueless - I've read every book going - but as they say, no amount of reading makes up for practical experience.

As suggested by the lady I got them from, I didn't look at them when I popped them in the hive on Saturday - as the weather was horrible - she said just to get them in, and maybe take a look, and give them a feed today (Sunday).

So - this I did - I also added 2 new frames, either side of the 5 frame nuc, as suggested.
As the weather was *slightly* better today (Sunday), I also took the opportunity to give it a look over, and see if I could spot the queen, and stores etc. etc.

I spotted plenty of stores, and loads of brood, and also got a brief glance at the queen. I was very pleased with myself - then spotted a couple of things that have really worried me.
I am sure i am being paranoid - but thought I would seek some advice regardless.

1. There were quite a few cells around that stuck out a very long way - they were capped - I would have merrily assumed these were drone cells, as they were all along the bottom of the frames. But then I spotted 2 of these cells at random higher up, near the top of the frames. Should I be concerned about that? I was a bit scared they might be emergency queen cells or something??? :eek:

2. After these weird cells above, I spotted 2 ACTUAL queen cells on the bottom of one of the frames. This instantly scared me half to death - and I am now fretting about them!
The cells were not capped - indeed, they didn't even seem to have eggs in, but they worry me nonetheless.
Is it likely, simply that in the time they were in the nuc box (only about 6 hours in total I should think), and the time they were in my hive without any additional frames (about 18 hours), they would have decided it was a bit cramped, and started to make queen cells, preparing to swarm?

Now that I've added the extra frames, should they now take the queen cells down, and continue to expand as normal?


Sorry to be a complete whimp... but I am so eager for them to all be OK, and not to cock anything up - that I've turned myself into a nervous wreck! :angelsad2:


Thanks!
 

oliver90owner 

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Do you know what a developing queen cell looks like? Back to the internet or the books? They are unmistakable as queen cells when about to be capped!(well, nearly always!)

That said, they are not queen cells 'proper' until royal jelly and a larva are installed and the clock is then ticking. The clock can still be stopped by a change in circumstances.

Your bees are unlikely to be building queen cells if in a full sized hive with foundation and being of only half the size of the box, at most, with a laying queen. Could be, but that would likely be for a supercedure of the queen.

It may be that the nuc has been made up recently or it may have over-wintered as a small colony - we have no idea, and I doubt you do, unless the vendor offered the information.

So what you have is what you have got; start making notes now, as records, so you can be reasonably sure of changes as they occur within the hive. Particularly notes on rate of development are important to gain experience.

Regards, RAB
 

malawi2854 

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Do you know what a developing queen cell looks like? Back to the internet or the books?
I'm familiar with how queen cells look in pictures... but as I say, not familiar with them in the "real world"... and was just a bit puzzled to see them at all, so soon!


It may be that the nuc has been made up recently or it may have over-wintered as a small colony - we have no idea, and I doubt you do, unless the vendor offered the information.
The lady I got them from told me they were from a strong colony, with a queen she bred last year, which she has been really pleased with. The nuc was made up on the Saturday I collected them. As I say, they'd only been in the box for a couple of hours when I picked them up. She did say they were quite tightly packed in there, and that she had shaken extra bees in, to bolster it up in size a bit.
I thought this might be the reason for the queen cells?


start making notes now
As it happens - I've just been writing some notes on what I saw today! I'll certainly *try* and keep it up!
 

rae 

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8 and 3 nucs...it's swarm time...
Well, until 2 weeks ago, I'd never seen a queen cell either, so don't feel daft about not knowing what you're looking at!

Cells "sticking out a long way" sound like drone to me. You know what peanuts in a shell look like? All dimpled? Well imagine a small peanut shell - about the size of the end of your little finger, probably bigger. That's a queen cell, and it won't be pointing sideways, it will be pointing down, usually hanging below the bottom of the frame.

I really doubt a nuc would decide it was going to swarm, especially if it had only just been made up. They're quire possibly the remains of queen cells from the previous occupants of the frame. A 5 frame nuc wouldn't have enough bees to make a swarm.
 

Hivemaker. 

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A 5 frame nuc wouldn't have enough bees to make a swarm.

Yes they would.........if they were a strong nuc.
 

malawi2854 

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Well, we shall see!

I put their food in a frame feeder today, which I will be going back to on Wednesday, to check and top up (assuming OK weather). I can take a quite peek at those frames that had queen cells then - hopefully they'll be all gone, and I can stop panicking!
If they're not gone... I'll see if I can get a photo!
 

oliver90owner 

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There are numerous images and videos which will show clearly a typical queen cell.

Try this in google video search: Drone, Eggs, and Larvae

The first hit, and about 5:45, in was as clear as seeing it in the flesh.

As Hivemaker says too, if a strong nuc or one made up with more than enough bees (and possibly from a hive in swarm mode) they could be starting to make q/cells. Unlikely that they would continue when introduced to twice the space.

Regards, RAB
 

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