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taff.. 

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as per the title really.

I hefted my nuc yesterday and fancied it felt a bit light, so this afternoon I took over some fondant, but when I opened them up there was very few bees. In a way I've been a bit surprised that they made it this far as they were quite weak going into winter.

so seeing that they are so weak, I wanted to see that they still had their queen, which they do.

a few questions

I'm thinking that this 'colony' is pretty much doomed as they are soo small, is there any way of boosting their numbers from one of the other colonies? I did think I could swap their position with the strongest colony to get a few more of the flying bees, but they are not flying much so the few bees that may go to the nuc may just be a waste from the full hive.

failing that (which I think is a non starter if I'm honest)

the queen in the nuc has a better temperament than the one in my strongest colony and i would like to requeen the hive with her, but... its far too cold to be pulling the hive apart looking for the queen at the moment and the nuc may not survive until it warms up.


any thoughts?
 

darrenperrett 

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I can come out in sympathy with you Taff.
I lost a Nuc this week to robbing. :(

Darren.
 

Mike a 

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My first thoughts are you may have to just accept losing the nuc colony. I personally wouldn't risk another colony just for the sake of a good queen at this time of the year.

However as you asked and this is IMHO a long shot which has a flaws like the weather and temperature and if the bees bother to chew through the paper but it might just work.

Based on the same method when combining two colonies with newspaper and also providing some food as well.

Take a drawn frame and partly fill one side with soft fondant use a wall paper scrapper type blade to smear it into the cells so the upper colony has a good food source for this time of the year without simulating either queen.
Remove the roof and crown board of the (QR) queen right hive and place a couple of sheets of newspaper directly over QR brood box then place a QE on top and then a brood chamber then quickly transfer the nuc frames into the new brood box and the frame with the fondant then add a dummy board and fill the remaining empty space behind the dummy board with screwed up newspaper, straw or some thing similar to help channel some of heat from the lower chamber only into the side of the upper chamber with the frames and not the non-frame space and replace roof and leave for 2-3 days. (Optional) block up the lower entrance with grass.

2-3 days later first check to see if there is plenty of bees in the upper chamber before swapping the upper frames quickly and carefully back into the nuc, exchange one frame with minimal stores on it for the frame with fondant.

Remove the QE and remaining newspaper and rebuild the original QR hive as it was.

The hope is the fondant will encourage some of the lower colony to chew through the paper and help repopulate the upper colony but as you probably well know this isn't the best time of year to be messing with the colony even if she may be a good queen.
 

ENZO 

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I had a situation where I took 2 small nucs into winter, they had new queens but only a couple of seams of bees, this was october, I had requeened most of my other colonies so what else could I have done with these two. They didn't have that much in the way of stores so I put some fondant on the frames, put in two poly dummy boards and put the varroa slide in, my roofs have insulation built into them with no top vents so I was hoping that would be enough to keep them warm, then left them to it, not really expecting much.
To my amazement they were both still alive in Jan, flying on sunny days but they felt very light, so on went some more fondant. The cluster was the size of a tennis ball, I was worried they would chill so I put in each hive a 15 watt reptile heater mat which I placed on top of the varroa slide, under the mesh floor. Two months on and I see 3 seams of bees and quite a bit of brood in each. I think the heater mats have made a big difference, I cannot help thinking I would have lost them as they were so small but now they seem to be doing well.
The heater mats were about £9.00 each from ebay.
Some may say that this exercise has been a waste of time and effort but for me this has all been a labour of love and if they make it, I'll have a couple of spare queens.

Enzo
 

jezd 

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:) Enzo, what is the running costs per day?
 

jezd 

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you sure thats right, I thought we had done that math on this before and I/others got shot down in flames, if those number are correct then its seems ideal for small nucs
 
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steve1958 

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Its certainly cheeper than heating my house.
Shame I cant persuade my kids to move into a BeeHive
 

Finman 

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I think the heater mats have made a big difference, I cannot help thinking I would have lost them as they were so small but now they seem to be doing well.
The heater mats were about £9.00 each from ebay.
Some may say that this exercise has been a waste of time and effort but for me this has all been a labour of love and if they make it, I'll have a couple of spare queens.

Enzo
I have used now several years 15 W heaters.

The most amazing thing is that the biggest colonies get the best advantage from heating.

Now, you have 13 hives. Take from a big hive a frame of emerging bees and add to mini colony. That is only proper way to get the nuc up an to normal hive. Spare queens are important.
 

steve1958 

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mbc 

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the queen in the nuc has a better temperament than the one in my strongest colony and i would like to requeen the hive with her, but... its far too cold to be pulling the hive apart looking for the queen at the moment and the nuc may not survive until it warms up.


any thoughts?[/QUOTE]

Temperament of little colonies can often be docile untill theyve built up more numbers- its not always agood indication of queen temperament if a little nuc doesnt seem feisty
 

taff.. 

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My first thoughts are you may have to just accept losing the nuc colony. I personally wouldn't risk another colony just for the sake of a good queen at this time of the year.

Mike a, thanks. this is pretty much where I am to be honest, where you have live stock you have dead stock. the object of this thread was discussion and thats a very interesting manipulation you've described :cheers2:


I had a situation where I took 2 small nucs into winter, they had new queens but only a couple of seams of bees, this was october, I had requeened most of my other colonies so what else could I have done with these two. They didn't have that much in the way of stores so I put some fondant on the frames, put in two poly dummy boards and put the varroa slide in, my roofs have insulation built into them with no top vents so I was hoping that would be enough to keep them warm, then left them to it, not really expecting much.
............

Enzo

Hmm, thats something practical I can think about, the problem is they are over in the orchard with no power supply, I'd probably have to buy a battery :cheers2:



Temperament of little colonies can often be docile untill theyve built up more numbers- its not always agood indication of queen temperament if a little nuc doesnt seem feisty


this queen was heading a colony, but after a chalkbrood event I requeened the colony. to later find out that I probably chilled the brood causing the chalkbrood :blush5:

I made up a fairly strong nuc towards the end of last season but it was hammered by wasps for a week which weakened the colony loads :(

I am learning lots:nature-smiley-005:
 

ENZO 

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From a hobby point of view the cost and trouble of heating a few hives is worth the expense, at least for me. If it keeps a couple of spare queens going, Great, I still think for me that proper management consists of having spare queens/nucs when needed and as I am in Jersey, I am unable to just Buy a queen when I want.

Enzo
 

Poly Hive 

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Last gasp try is to shake them into a mini nuc. And feed.

PH
 

m100 

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ditto what poly hive said.

Quick cheap and no buggering about with other colonies or electrics.
 

taff.. 

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Last gasp try is to shake them into a mini nuc. And feed.

PH
Hmm, shame, I don't have a mini nuc.

they have fondant right over their heads and insulation over the crownboard,

I think they are at the point that if they survive they survive, fingers crossed and hope for the best


cheers all :cheers2:
 

Mike a 

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Edited - Removed my reply as its not applicable as Taff doesn't own a mini nuc.

Let us know how they get on Taff.
 
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Poly Hive 

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If you don't own a mini nuc then can you borrow one?

Failing that dummy them up.

Put insulation next to the wall they are nearest too, and then a piece on the other side of the face of the occupied comb, so if they are covering one comb dummy them to that one, if two then two and so on.

Hmm... feed above is ok if they have DIRECT access to it. If not fill a frame with syrup and give them that.

If this queen is a good un then she is worth a bit of effort and the forecast is for a bit warmer this weekend to let you do it.

PH
 

taff.. 

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I was thinking about doing this, this afternoon. I have actually cut up some insulation already and will be taking it over tomorrow

cheers PH
 

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