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BabyBee 

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got my nuc with unsealed QC a week past sunday. for a variety of reasons i havent been able to check the hive till tonight. lovely day, so thought the emerged queen might have taken her maiden flight today and didnt want to interrupt her during the day.

situation is this: QC was broken so presumably the queen has emerged. lots of sealed brood & drone cells and stores. thought all looked grand UNTIL i spotted 4 other QC's....all sealed!!!!

as i see it there are the following options:
1. do nothing and hope the new queen (that i didnt see but i am a newbee) stings the others to death;
2. nip off the other QC's;
3. nip off either 2 or 3 of them and leave one as 'insurance';
4. panic

any advice (please be kind!!) gratefully received
:bigear:
 

VEG 

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Were there any eggs in the hive? Is there any room in the nuc box?
 

BabyBee 

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i couldnt see any eggs but i was traumatised by the time i saw all the sealed QC's so i couldnt be sure - i would doubt it though cos the queen would only have emerged in the last day or so.

and did they have enough room? perhaps not, there were 3 frames put into the nuc, i added 2 more for them to draw out but didnt realise that there was a dummy board in as well (dont ask!) so the 2 new frames i added, were actually the other side of the dummy board. what a plonker eh!?

so maybe not enough room and that is why they build new QC's

i suppose regardless of the reason, there ARE sealed QC's though....
 

VEG 

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They probably built queen cells as emergency cells as there was no queen in the hive when you got it. I would remove the dummy board and leave them to it.
 
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RoofTops 

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Ideally, ask for your money back or a new nuc from the supplier. You have been sold a pup.*

If this is not possible then remove all but one sealed queen cell, taking great care not to damage the cell you wish to keep while removing the others. If this can't be done leave more cells as a nuc shouldn't throw off casts.

Dig out lucky rabbit's foot and other totems and hope. See * above.
 

susbees 

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RoofTops, there is a story behind this nuc. It wasn't a sale but an opportunity for a mentored newbee itching to get going.
 

RoofTops 

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there is a story behind this nuc. It wasn't a sale but an opportunity for a mentored newbee itching to get going.
Thanks for the back story, the phrase "in at the deep end" springs to mind -but isn't that how we all got involved? All good experience.
 

susbees 

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Thanks for the back story, the phrase "in at the deep end" springs to mind -but isn't that how we all got involved? All good experience.
Erm. Yes. Only these days we all talk about it for the world to hear rather than just down the local over a warm pint of mild...
 

winmag270 

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not saying anymore in case SWMBO reads this... ;o)
Erm. Yes. Only these days we all talk about it for the world to hear rather than just down the local over a warm pint of mild...
With all toenails and bits of hops floating in it, as "proper" beers should be!! :D
 

rae 

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8 and 3 nucs...it's swarm time...
You say there is a broken cell - is this emerged, or torn down? If emerged, then you have a queen in there. Find her, and once you have, remove all of the other queen cells. If you find no queen, then I would get rid of all but one of the "extra" cells.
 

Finman 

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Quite unfair nucselling. Bees some frames and swarming cell frame into the hive.
I have not heard about this kind of business.

I am said to be greedy beekeepers but that is a robbering.

The first law of capaitalism: the clever wins the stupid.
 

Roy S 

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First thing is to take a deep breath and stop flapping :D

Next go through the colony and leave just one QC Hopefully there is a queen in there, if not you have covered yourself by leaving the QC to emerge.

If there is a queen in there hopefully she will sort out the capped QC you leave.

In at the deep and indeed, not the way I'd choose to introduce someone to beekeeping.
I have to admit if it was me and no money changed hands, I'd have took out the queen cells put a test frame in there, and if they started making QC's, bought a queen and put a KNOWN quality of bee in there.

Always best to start off beekeeping knowing exactly what you've got yourself into. Theres plenty of time later on to experiment ;)
 

susbees 

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Quite unfair nucselling. Bees some frames and swarming cell frame into the hive.
I have not heard about this kind of business.

I am said to be greedy beekeepers but that is a robbering.

The first law of capaitalism: the clever wins the stupid.
For just this once Finman I am right without argument (must find time for our "discussion") :D....please see my first post...this WASN'T a nuc sale.

Buying hives and nucs with absconded queens is de rigeur this season btw. But, I agree there are some shady nuc practices going on. Seems odd that people are so overawed at the prospect of getting a nuc that they don't insist on seeing a marked queen and brood in all stages in the flipping thing on purchase day.
 

Finman 

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If the nuc has a queen cell only, it takes almost 3 weeks time to get eggs into the hive. It is almost one brood cycle.

And it is not wise to recommend the new beekeeper do himself either this kind of nuc. When people recommend to other their tricks, I have asked are you willing to do it to yourself - NO!

I say that no backbone at all.
 

susbees 

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If the nuc has a queen cell only, it takes almost 3 weeks time to get eggs into the hive. It is almost one brood cycle.

And it is not wise to recommend the new beekeeper do himself either this kind of nuc. When people recommend to other their tricks, I have asked are you willing to do it to yourself - NO!

I say that no backbone at all.
We agree. This was a case of have a go now with what's available with a local mentor. But I still agree it is a long way from ideal. But lots of people are still looking for bees in the UK this year. Some associations have their own "code of nuc best practice" and that has to be good, but BKAs vary quite a bit...
 

BabyBee 

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oh dear, i seem to have opened the proverbial 'can of worms' here! i am sorry. but as susbees says, this wasnt a sale, more an opportunity presented itself and i took it (as i had no way of knowing when or if, i'd get my bees otherwise).

so i guess i am just trying to do the best thing for the bees to give them the best chance of surviving at the moment.

i get the bit aobut destroying the other QC's but what if I've managed to lose the Q when i've been going through the hive last night? should i hope that she, if she's there, will tear down the other QC's?

and if she isnt there, then at least i've got some insurance with the other QC's?

should i go through them again tonight more carefully and (with mentor maybe) try and find the Q? at what stage does one 'mark' the Q?

i have added more frames but not taken out the dummy board (though have put it in the right place at least!) - is it ok to leave now or do i still need to move it out the hive?

and do i want to be putting a Q excluder on? Super? (lots of OSR fields around here)

thanks
 

Finman 

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how many frames the nuc has?
Ho many frames are covered by bees?

If there is only queen cells, the hive does not grow before than 1,5 month.

But if you get a swarm, and join it with nuc, it will be a good hive at once.
 
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SJH 

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oh dear, i seem to have opened the proverbial 'can of worms' here! i am sorry. but as susbees says, this wasnt a sale, more an opportunity presented itself and i took it (as i had no way of knowing when or if, i'd get my bees otherwise).

so i guess i am just trying to do the best thing for the bees to give them the best chance of surviving at the moment.

i get the bit aobut destroying the other QC's but what if I've managed to lose the Q when i've been going through the hive last night? should i hope that she, if she's there, will tear down the other QC's?

and if she isnt there, then at least i've got some insurance with the other QC's?

should i go through them again tonight more carefully and (with mentor maybe) try and find the Q? at what stage does one 'mark' the Q?

i have added more frames but not taken out the dummy board (though have put it in the right place at least!) - is it ok to leave now or do i still need to move it out the hive?

and do i want to be putting a Q excluder on? Super? (lots of OSR fields around here)

thanks
Everything is cool

If your queen is there and you missed her = everything is cool
If the new queen has gone, you have loads of charged queen cells = everything is cool

When raising new queens, my bees typically raise 20-25 queen cells, others say the same, so what you are seeing is perfectly normal.

The queen's mating flights may take a few days

If you are queen right, and hoping that she will kill other queen cells. In my experience she won't get them all and they will swarm, but you have time to stop that.

Don't worry about the dummy board, mine ignore new frames for ages sometimes, so it can take a while anyway. Leave it at the end of the frames, where there is a gap, this acts as the wall.

Super / QE - not yet, make sure it is queen right and egg laying first.


Procedure 1

Step 1:

Stay calm and prepare what you want to do before you open the hive.

Get set up with all the kit and anything else you need.
You want to carefully check each frame for eggs and / or the new queen.
A head torch is quite useful to help you see into the cells.
Go through in your mind what you want to do before you do it.

Step 2:

In the evening when the bees are in and you would expect the queen to be back in the hive, have a look.

Lite the smoker, don't go crazy with it, make sure the smoke is cool (dried leaves, grass, some green if need be). Give them a little and wait a few mins. This is to keep them calm, to reduce your stress levels.

Step 3:

Open the hive and calmly inspect each frame. Look closely into the cells, especially bottom centre. Using your head torch, shine it into the cells, hold the frame up into the light, whatever you need to do to see into the cells.

Whatever happens remove all but one queen cell (see more on this later). Humans do not know what the ideal bee queen cell is, the bees do, but you want to reduce your worries, so just go for the one you feel is in the right place and looks the best.

If you see eggs, the new queen is in business, move to procedure 2

Step 4:

If you definitely can't see any eggs, try looking for the queen. She will typically be around the bottom half of the frame, inspecting cells to lay in them. Often when you take the frame out, she will sneak around the back, so when you lift it out, quickly scan the sides from the midpoint down. She will probably be moving about the cells very quickly, and can often be spotted by her rapid movement across the frames.

If you find the queen, move to procedure 2

Step 5:

If there are no eggs and no new queen, keep the remaining queen cell and start the process again.

But repeat step 2-3 again the next day, just in case you missed her or she was out late getting busy. It may take the new queen a few days to start laying, but with the pressure of queen cells active you need to be sure relatively soon.

If you have the option to take a frame and queen cell out and place in a second nuc, you could do this.

Procedure 2:

Queen Right= yes
Eggs = yes

You must also destroy any remaining queen cells.

You should thoroughily check each frame for queen cells, blowing on them will make the move or gentle brush them with your finger. The ideal situation, would be to secure the queen, then take each frame, and firmly jolt / shake the bees off into the box, so you can really inspect each frame.

Once you are sure the new queen is laying well, where you can see lots of eggs in worker cells, mark her. You don't what to mark her whilst she is on mating flights as that may draw attention from predators. Loads of text on marking, if you want any advice pm me.

If you are feeling confident follow the steps to clip her wing, if not leave her alone.

Good luck

Regards

SJH
 

Roy S 

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Blimey o' reilly what a palava

just get rid of all but one queen cell, job done!!!

If there is a queen and she decides to swarm then you'll loose only 1 swarm. If you leave more than that there is always an outside chance more swarms will follow.

I would advise against going through ANY bees in the evening especially as you are only starting out in beekeeping. A queenless colony can be a fiesty beast, and the evening when they are all at home is not the time to be finding this out.

If there was a QC that was torn down the chances are the queen has emerged and mating flights will be taking place in this warm weather, and hopefully you will see eggs in the coming week.

Just carry out your normal inspections and try to remain calm and think about what you're seeing and doing
 

susbees 

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I would advise against going through ANY bees in the evening especially as you are only starting out in beekeeping. A queenless colony can be a fiesty beast, and the evening when they are all at home is not the time to be finding this out.
Extremely sensible advice...we checked a split last week early evening and before rain. They are very gentle bees but several spent ten minutes trying to ram their stingy bottoms in my veil. No stings but very unhappy to see us...and, yes, currently working on making a queen.
 

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