How to encourage a nuc to expand

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clare p 

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1 new Nuc and a swarm caught on the 10th July
I have had a new nuc for 4 weeks now, they are very busy and have just started collecting white pollen (any ideas what that is from? we are on the edge of the Ashdown Forest in Sussex lots of heather there)

On the same day that I collected my nuc I also caught a swarm, they flew straight into a brood box left near some scout bees for 2 weeks.
The swarm are now in my parents garden and are doing really well, lots of brood and stores being built up. I put in several frames of foundation on one side and several frames empty of foundation for the swarm so there was space for them to move into, interestingly they have left the foundation pretty much alone and have built 4 beautiful combs in various sizes on the bare frames.


The nuc came on 4 frames plus one frame of stores, I have put an empty new foundation frame between the 4 brood frames and the stores and they have only just slowly started drawing it out is there any way to encourage them to get a move on so they can build up their stores for the winter?

I have just started feeding them to see if this encourages them.

Any suggestions?

Cheers Clare
 

george 

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Feeding should do the trick .
When you say a frame of foundation between the drawn brood , what exactly do you mean ? You must not split the brood nest otherwise all sorts of complications arise . I may have misunderstood what you had written (not unusual).
George
 

oliver90owner 

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If the other colony is definitely healthy, you could transfer a frame of 'hatching' brood to help the nuc expand. Not the first hatchings from the swarm colony - that is likey to contain a high varroa loading.


There may be other reasons for the slow expansion. Tell us more about the frame arrangement in that brood box, and any other information which may be relevant.

Regards, RAB
 

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Believe me, it is summer, and brooding becomes worse when you fill cells with sugar.
4 occupied frame is what i use often in mating nucs.
1) restrict the space to the frames what bees occupye
2) make the hive warm and keep only 2 x 2 cm wide entrance

the duty is to maximise the radius of brood area. Heat is important and it does not escape to useless space.
3) wait that new bees emerge enough and it takes 4 weeks ,
 

MuswellMetro 

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Believe me, it is summer, and brooding becomes worse when you fill cells with sugar.
4 occupied frame is what i use often in mating nucs.
1) restrict the space to the frames what bees occupye
2) make the hive warm and keep only 2 x 2 cm wide entrance

the duty is to maximise the radius of brood area. Heat is important and it does not escape to useless space.
3) wait that new bees emerge enough and it takes 4 weeks ,
agree,
 

Finman 

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I start my nucs often with one frame of bees. It takes 10 days that the new queen starts to lay.
When i meet a proper frame of emerging bees, i add it to the nuc.
.
Like today i had 3 frame nuc, i took 1 food frame and 2 larva frame off to the big hive.
I gove 2 emerging frame and 1 empty comb.
NOTE THAT I TAKE FOOD OFF BUT NOT ADD. More nurser bees is a key.
 
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clare p 

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1 new Nuc and a swarm caught on the 10th July
Finman and everyone thanks for the replies,
just realised that it is not 4 weeks but only 17 days, (seems longer because I have been dreaming about them and beekeeping scenarios (does that make me weird?)
am a bit confused,)

should I leave them as they are and feed? just had a peep today at the syrup and they have not really touched it

or should I remove the frame between the brood and the frame of stores and block off the rest of the hive? so they are enclosed. If I do this how are they going to expand?

sorry for the questions, they may seem a bit dumb

many thanks in advance
Clare
 

Poly Hive 

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If I have this right you have a 6 frame nuc in a National Brood box with some sort of feeder involved. I assume a top feeder as no frame on has been mentioned.

There is a junior colony not making much progress. Or taking feed.

I would dummy them up. I would not replace the feed. I would want to insulate them above, and if on an OMF then close it off with some ply.

In essence give them some warmth.

PH
 

oliver90owner 

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should I leave them as they are and feed?Tell us how they are now.
block off the rest of the hive. Probably yes, but probably not remove the frame. Describe the set-up as it is now and maybe you will get some other constructive hints.

Like is this also a WBC? Lets start there.

RAB
 

clare p 

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Hi
they are in a WBC, positioned warm way
the frame of stores are at the front, then there is an empty frame with foundation followed the four frames of brood and bees that made up the nuc followed by the rest of the undrawn frames of foundation, there is a board on top with a top feeder (icecream tub) above. The hive has a solid floor but I am thinking to change over to an OMF, is this adviseable and with a WBC are there may different types of bases?

again many thanks in advance
 

oliver90owner 

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Right, difficult to be cold way in a proper WBC.

I would likely leave the nuc frames as they are but insert a divider after the first frame of foundation behind the brood nest. I use dividers, but many simply insert a dummy frame. I may have started furthest away from the door but it is not so important with a WBC as a single walled hive.

I would want to keep the brood area warm, because even at this time of year heat is leaving the broodnest which will be in the middle 30s, so a sheet of insulant over the crownboard would be good as there is little else to retain brood nest warmth with a WBC and heat rises. I would move the divider as the frames are drawn and only feed if necessary, as per Finman. Adding hatching brood or simply swapping capped brood in and uncapped brood out allows the house bees to increase more quickly and with having more 'servicing capacity' for brood, they will start to accelerate her laying. The new hatching brood will soon start to be surplus to brooding (small larvae need less feeding) and commence drawing more comb.

It is simply an energy balance and numbers game. With warmth, and more bees, the colony will start to accelerate growth (expansion) and can hopefully soon be filling those frames and providing enough warmth to perpetuate that cycle of increase. They just need a kick-start.

Feeding more than necessary at this time of the year will simply build comb to store sugar solution - using precious bee hours when they could be feeding and tending brood. Later when needing winter stores is the time for serious feeding. Not sure what your feeder might be - suspect it is upturned with perforations in the lid and not sure what you are feeding to them. Remember, also, they need protein, as well as carbohydrate for larvae development. One without the other is a waste of time and space.

Hope this helps.

Regards, RAB
 

Hebeegeebee 

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To put a sheet of insulation on the crown baord with a feeder in place is difficult. I assume you have a spare super. This can be put on the crown board with the feeder still in place. You can then add insulation over the top of the empty super - polystyrene or a few sheets of cardboard. It's surprising what effect that has - you can feel the added heat in this top space that would otherwise leak out.

I have some WBC's and some Nationals. I converted the WBC's to have an OMF which I think is better. Not instantly required but worth doing when you can.
 

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