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SixFooter 

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I put out 3 mini nucs with Q cells 3 weeks ago. They are 4 ft off the ground and about 4 ft apart, but in a line. I opened them up this weekend and there is no sign of any Qs. Also, most of the bees have drifted to the smallest nuc (apidea) at one end.
I guess there could be lots of reasons why no Qs, but can anyone tell me why the bees all congregated in the apidea?
 

Somerford 

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Hi 6feet

Interesting - I have had a similar experience in the past 7 days with 3 Apideas - all had pulled virgins run into them, 2 seem bereft of any queens, the third has a nice queen but no eggs yet.

I didn't have time to place them up high, so they are together on a few old plastic trays, 2 facing forwards on an angle, the third facing the reverse (in the middle).

If you read 'Von Frish' and his studies on bees, they can and do drift. Perhaps even the cells hatched and a very small swarm issued ?

It can help to mark the tops of the nucs with a pattern (eg star, triangle, square) painted on to help them navigate, or maybe place them in the Buckfast pattern, one facing N,S,E, and West.

Better luck for the rest of the season for us both eh ?!

S
 

Finman 

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The nuc must have a piece of brood. Otherwise bees do not feel the nuc as their home and start to seek a better home. They collect to somewhere which smells best.

This is common in multi champer nuc box.
 

SixFooter 

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The nuc must have a piece of brood. Otherwise bees do not feel the nuc as their home and start to seek a better home. They collect to somewhere which smells best.

This is common in multi champer nuc box.
Ah. You hit the nail on the head. The Apidea they drifted to has been used before and had drawn comb whereas the others just had strips of foundation.
 

Mike a 

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Ah. You hit the nail on the head. The Apidea they drifted to has been used before and had drawn comb whereas the others just had strips of foundation.
Am I right thinking you made them up on the day when you had the queen cells with a mixture of bees and left the entrances open.?
 

MJBee 

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My 4 Apideas were new and had only foundation strips. They were charged with bees in the morning and had virgins run in that evening (the queens emerged in my incubator earlier than expected.) I kept them in the garage (cool) covered with a towel (darkish). 72 hours later I spread them out over the garden.

The lowest was on a concrete block 20cm, the highest was on top of an empty TBH - 3', the other two were on a flat topped wall 2'6" with distinctive plantpots and about 10' apart.

IMHO I think it is necessary to provide some sort of landing area for the returning queen - I remember my first solo landing was more of a controlled crash - and some distinctive feature for her to recognise.

The above worked for me - one to replace a failing queen and 3 nucs made up yesterday. The only fun and games was catching and marking 4 very spritely queens that insisted on lurking in the corners of the Apidea:coolgleamA:
 

SixFooter 

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Am I right thinking you made them up on the day when you had the queen cells with a mixture of bees and left the entrances open.?
The Apidea was made up on its own from a QC from a colony.
The 2 KB mininucs were made up from QC from a different colony a couple of days later. All were left closed for a day before being moved to the final site and opened up. i.e. the colonies the bees and QCs came from are on a different site.

If by mixture of bees, you mean from different colonies, then Yes! They were from shaken from 3 colonies into a plastic bowl, sprayed with H2O then scooped up into the mini nucs.
 
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Hivemaker. 

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You would be better to leave them shut in a cool dark place for two to three days after the virgins have emerged,plus space them a bit further apart.

sorry Chris...posted same time.
 

Polyanwood 

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Why do you leave them shut in HM?

I shut mine in for 3 days, but didn't put them in the dark, but mine drifted when I let them out. Was this because I didn't put them in the dark?
 

Poly Hive 

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How did you get the bees to stock the units Polyanwood?

PH
 

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The reason all the bees ended up in a single mini nuc is they all swarmed at the same time.

Swarms can contain multiple virgins and bees when they swarm are not fussy about which bees they join up with. This can be seen with mini nucs when you put them out with the queen excluder bit on the front as the entrance. The bees come out, all come together in a single swarm then end up in the nearest nucleus hive to the swarm when they discover they are queenless.

You can see the virgins in the hives the bees have left as they can't get out. If a virgin does get out when the bees try to swarm they will end up on a tree or something.

I had an interesting scenario a few years ago where I had made up an artificial swarm. The queen was penned in by a queen excluder. Anyway, the bees decided to try and swarm. So they did their thing and ended up on a tree. As queeny was not with them they formed a cluster, started looking for her found she was not about, panicked and flew home.

The funny thing is there was another hive which had virgins in queen cells. These had been trapped by the bees until a break in the rainy weather at that time. In short, this hive issued several small casts, these joined the swarm from the artificially swarmed hive and all the bees (virgins and all) ended up in the artificially swarmed hive.

Unluckily for the virgins they got balled by the bees in the artificially swarmed hive because they already had a queen.

Don't forget polystyrene hives can get very hot in the sun and this encourages absconding through heat stress....
 

Polyanwood 

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I stock the mininucs 3 or 4 days before I think it is time to put in the QC.

To be honest, I couldn't face sieving them, so I took bees out of supers.... on the understanding that it would be more nurse bees and no drones...is this mad???

I shook them into a bucket and sprayed them with syrup to slow them down, then tipped them in the nucs.

Let's be clear here. I'm on a learning curve, so am keen to learn best way of doing it, so feedback very welcome.

The mistake I made with my bees in mininucs was I think, due to me being sentimental, I thought... they've been shut in for 3 days... they must be bursting for a poo... I'll let them out while I go to get the QCs to put in them.

It was like mininuc party time... not good. Bees from different colonies and apiaries mixing with each other.
 

Poly Hive 

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Bees can go 6 weeks with out needing to go poo as you so politely put it.

As for letting minis out with out anything in side them to nail them down is just a bit not good.

The main thrust is to use an economical amount of bees, to make them desperate to accept the virgin and yes virgins are the best way to kick them off, and they need to be well marked, the hives this is to help them identify which is theirs. I will take a pic of some of mine.

Hopefully that is clearer and no most of them were painted by Bernard Mobus not I, and further to a comment above poly hives stay COOLER in hot weather.

PH
 
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Polyanwood 

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I loved the photos PH.

I have painted mine more beautifully, but probably not as easy for bees to tell the difference. I haven't painted the Apideas though - do people paint them?
 

Polyanwood 

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Don't forget polystyrene hives can get very hot in the sun and this encourages absconding through heat stress....
I think poly hives stay cool in Summer and warmer in Winter... polystyrene is a great insulator. I put polystyrene sheets on top of my wooden hives all year for this reason. They don't look nice though.
 

Poly Hive 

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I would yes. When in Germany I saw lots of mating nucs and every one was painted like mine, and in Switzerland when I visited a Bee House the boards above the entrances were painted the same to assist the bees find home.

So not done for fun eh?

PH
 

susbees 

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On the subject of mininucs, ours were stocked on May 26 with spare QCs which yesterday were discarded as duds. Did the queenless bit properly and kept them three days in the filing cabinet (slightly ajar) in the well-shaded cool bee shed.

As expected they built wild comb in their feeders which has some stores in now whilst ignoring drawing down their bars (Keiler).

So, this afternoon the weather gave us a window to check the hopefully-making-queens hives and pulled another five QCs out of a full hive whilst leaving one with what looked like a polished tip. They are heading for a frame of eggs if this doesn't work. The other split had finally hatched a queen so returned the now drawn test frame to the TBH.

Sooooo...question is with new QCs and a to-date dislike of building comb what are the chances of these QCs being kept warm and the bees being right age to build comb if they do hatch? They were stocked with brushed off nurse bees at the time.
 

m100 

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Don't forget polystyrene hives can get very hot in the sun and this encourages absconding through heat stress....
Surely they are cooler than wooden hives in summer conditions :confused:
 

OXFORDBEE 

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I'm sure I've read somwhere that there have been problems with polystyrene mini nucs in Australia but can't seem to find the article I've read. However, I can state that whenever I've put polystyrene mini nucs on locations that get a lot of direct sunlight and the temperature is hot the bees tend to abscond when the virgins fly to get mated.

However, when I put them under hedges or in more shady locations the bees don't seem to vanish, although the virgins might not make it home..

I'm quite happy to be told I'm wrong!
 

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