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beesrus 

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Hi All,

I'm new to beekeeping and today my nuc swarmed and I nearly lost my second swarm of the season.

The Queen was a virgin literally 1-2 days old, please can someone explain to me why this would happen? On my last inspection there was a new queen and still a capped QC could this be the reason? There was no chance of over crowding but I read that temperature and ventilation could be an issue.

Any advice would be most welcome

Thanks
 

oliver90owner 

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You need a different strain of honey bee. You obviously have apis mellifera swarmiolian in your hives at the present time. I would complain to the supplier.

Regards, RAB
 
T

Tom Bick 

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Hi All,

I'm new to beekeeping and today my nuc swarmed and I nearly lost my second swarm of the season.

The Queen was a virgin literally 1-2 days old, please can someone explain to me why this would happen? On my last inspection there was a new queen and still a capped QC could this be the reason? There was no chance of over crowding but I read that temperature and ventilation could be an issue.

Any advice would be most welcome

Thanks
Yes the capped queen QC was the reason, and your virgin queen has left as a cast swarm.
I assume you got the nuc knowing that it was given or sold to you as a sort of swarm control measure of a larger colony and not a great deal of money changed hands.
The thing to do now is to leave the bees and remaining QC alone for three weeks and hope the remaining QC produces a virgin queen and after the three weeks she should all been well laying.
Not the end of the world but also not the best situation to be in good look.
 

Chris B 

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Bees swarm. It's natural. It's not the suppliers fault unless they were already making queen cells when sold.
However, you are a bit unlucky as most nucs will not swarm - they don't get big enough until main swarming season is over.

If you saw a virgin queen the best action would have been to destroy all remaining queen cells.

I assume you got the nuc knowing that it was given or sold to you as a sort of swarm control measure of a larger colony and not a great deal of money changed hands.
Tom, not sure how you come to that assumption. In any case, even if true why would it alter the value of the bees?
 

Midland Beek 

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On my last inspection there was a new queen and still a capped QC could this be the reason?
Er, could be.

There really is the case for doing some learning about the craft of beekeeping before anyone actually gets bees.
 

jezd 

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Er, could be.

There really is the case for doing some learning about the craft of beekeeping before anyone actually gets bees.
lmao, so true so true, but I tell you now there are hundreds+ in the same boat across the uk
 

beesrus 

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It was actually a process to raise a new queen for one of my Queenless hives. I intended on combining them in a few weeks before my main colony suffered to much. Unfortunately I now have 2 weak nucs with virgin queens. Any advice on how to recombine nucs would be appreciated?


Can I just say

I have been on a 10 week bee keeping course read my book but it doesn't tell u these finer details which I can only imagine come with experience. Almost everytime I post here someone has a pop at new beekeepers. I have spent over £100 on resources to educate myself, books, evening courses etc. If u can recommend a book that details how to prevent a virgin nuc swarming I'd be happy to read it.
 

justme 

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Almost everytime I post here someone has a pop at new beekeepers.

Hi beerus, hope you get your bees sorted ok:.)

As to your comment above you must have just got your request out on a bad day. I've not had any 'pops' aimed at me (also newbeek) but could easily have done:.)
Pick out the good bits, ignore anything seen as a dig and you'll get along fine. Great guy & gals on this forum:.)
 

madasafish 

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I recommend hands on experience... as a newbie. Works far better than book learning..
Our local N Staffs Association trains us at its apiary and I can only praise them for their dedication and ability to teach..

One of them helped me with a swarm last night in deepest Stoke on Trent: watching a pro in action and helping is worth 10 books in my view..Happily enconsced in my hive at 10pm.. scouting this am.. Fingers crossed.

(This is NOT written to have a go but just as a general point)
 

MJBee 

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Hi Beesrus, Don't get too downhearted, time to take a step back and think about the problem(s).

First your two weak nucs. Both have a virgin queen so leave them both alone for at least 2 weeks to give them a chance to mate and come into lay - no sneaky peeks - If the gods are with you they will both come into lay. You can then remove one queen and unite the 2 nucs by putting the queenright one on top of the queenless one with a sheet of newspaper between - prick a few holes in the paper to give them a start.

The queen you removed can be used to requeen your queenless colony by introducing her in a Butler cage with newspaper over the open end held in place with an elastic band.

Finally how to stop a virgin nuc swarming. Golden rule There can only be ONE queen . Where you have a nuc or colony with multiple queen cells the first virgin to emerge will either kill her siblings by tearing open the side of the cell and stinging the non emerged queens OR she will leave with a swarm (cast). This can and does happen with each emerging queen in turn and leaves the colony in a very weak state. By leaving a virgin AND a queen cell in your nuc you allowed her to take the second option.

It's a steep learning curve for the first few (25) years, hang in there, read the forum and learn from the mistakes of others cos you wont live long enough to make them all yourself:coolgleamA:
 

jimbeekeeper 

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If u can recommend a book that details how to prevent a virgin nuc swarming I'd be happy to read it.
I would say bin them books!


Its like learing to drive, you might have done the course and passed the test but dose not make you better than Lewis Hamilton!

Simples, one queen one hive...there saved you you £100.


On you last inspection when you saw the virgin queen you should have placed the frame with the still capped QC in your other queenless hive.
 

beesrus 

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Great advice guys thanks very much, I did leave 2 QC's for insurance purposes under advice of someone else on the forum. I guess not all advice works with unpredictable organisms!! Will now leave the little monkeys alone for a couple of weeks and hope they sort themselves out.

FYI I placed a brood frame in my first hive a week ago to see if I might raise a queen directly into the hive. The nuc was for insurance once again just incase it didn't work.

Thanks all
 

jimbeekeeper 

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I did leave 2 QC's for insurance purposes under advice of someone else on the forum. l

I would have done that myself, but on seeing idealy the new virgin queen or evidence she has hatched, THEN you remove the other queens cells which where your insurance incase the best you you picked (which is generally not the one the bees pick) does not hatch.
 

susbees 

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Thought process (Sunday morning so never great ;)). As we're on max colony sizes now, surely two nucs with queens laying will give a stronger overall colony for winter if recombined (stronger one could be moved back to a BB if it's out of space). So....would it not be better to wait a bit before the recombine, and, if so, when would be the optimum time?
 

grizzly 

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Good advice above, I'm still a newbie only my 3rd season, I think it's also important to remember that although we all know the written process, what works for one does not necessarily work for another in many situations, different bees, different location, different set up, and ultimately we are dealing with a species that will never be controlled completely.

Best thing I do is have a good laugh at myself then make notes on what happened, next time you will know or have text that is more up to date and specific to you and YOUR Bees.

Have fun.
 

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