Queen emerged- not may workers left to look after her

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Mar 19, 2009
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26th April 09- Built up a 3 frame national nuc with one frame of brood, some loose bees & 2 of stores and introduced a QC.
3rd May- the queen had emerged.
17th May- no eggs and dead queen seen on floor of nuc- new QC introduced.
31st May- queen emerged- no eggs yet. I'm worried as there aren't that may bees left from the original brood frame which was placed in the nuc 5 weeks ago. I estimate about enough bees to cover one side of a national brood frame. Plenty of food in a feeder but not alot of pollen
Question is should I just wait and see if the queen mates and starts to lay or should I try and introduce some 'young' bees' with soon to emerge brood +/- some pollen?
The nuc is in an out-apiary 35 miles away.
Personally, if I had access to another colony with young bees, yes, I would put in a frame of bees and brood - sprayed with a light syrup, as you may lose the new queen as well as this Nuc.
Well after five weeks there won't be will there?

Three weeks in house and three in field and end of.

If you are going to add a frame of brood to this very stale nuc then you have to balance the risks here. Your brood is vulnerable to chilling with less than two frames of bees to keep it cosy.

So on one side of the scale is a frame of brood and two frames of bees, on tother side is a stale virgin and a dying nuc.

Me? I'd dump it and start over. I call it cutting my losses.

Why stale virgin PH?. She emerged 2 days ago - In a Nuc with a decent dollop of fresh bees suitably treated- Maybe end up with two little colonies to bring on to greater things.
Mis read that Heather.

However. We have a dying nuc and a queen emerged two days ago. So no eggs? Of course not.

Is it worth the hassle, at 35 miles distance to support this virgin?

Depends on how good the line is I suppose.

I'd be inclined to give it a shake of sprayed bees but no brood.

I am used to virgins taking 21days+ to mate and come into lay and am not taken aback at 28 days weather depending.

2 days? Gie her a wee break Jimmy. ;)


I was working 2 + 2 weeks on and two off, at the time and made up some Mini Nucs before going to work on the rig.

came back and one was unmated. Oops the slide had moved, or been left wrongly and so the Virgin was stuck inside. I opened the entrance and with in minutes she was on an orientating flight, a very different flying sound by the way, and with in five days she was a proper Queen and laying her heart out.

She was ready to get after it.

Thanks for all the input.
The queen probably emerged on the 24th May- only checked the hive on the 31st May.
So she has been out for 8-9 days now.
It's a 3 frame nuc and I was wondering if it would function as a 'mini nuc' so that the small number of bees would still be able to get the queen started.
Well after five weeks there won't be will there?

Three weeks in house and three in field and end of.

It's not "end of", and it's not 5 weeks, it's a variable. What jobs they do and what period they do it for is variable, and largly depends on the needs of the colony.

Haven't you noticed queenless colonies for example aren't as eager to work themselves to an early grave, instead but take things a little more gently? They pick up their pace once they have emerging brood again.

I have noticed many things. I could tell you stories you flatly would not believe.

And so I stick to the published facts which of course are the averages.

If I said that field bees, knowing my AMM stocks lasted a good 5 weeks , and the books say 21 days the newbies would think I am fibbing so I stick to the published figures.

I ain't thick laddie, I post for the general readership.

Checked the nuc yesterday.
Roughly same number of bees.
Small area of sealed worker brood and few eggs- so queen is laying.
No sign of the queen despite small number of bees.
There is a similar but stronger 3 frame nuc next to this one so I swapped them over, hoping the flying bees from the stronger nuc would help support a larger brood area. There didn't seem to be any fighting going on when I left them to it.
Will re-check in 2 weeks
I collected a small cast swarm (a 1000 to 1500 bees, if that) two weeks ago and deposited them in a nuc. They have drawn just one and half sides of foundation - out of 5 frames of fresh - and I haven't yet seen the queen or any eggs. I'm also a bit concerned that the flying bee numbers will diminish quickly in the next week or two due to natural wastage and they'll just fade away.

I have my fingers crossed that the virign queen....if there was one....gets herself sorted asap!
I think I would agree with those who said to add bees but no brood. I had a small colony of bees just arrive in my garden and take over a spare hive. I shook them into a nuc hive and wondered whether it was a cast with a virgin. After a while I was pleasantly surprised to see larvae but just enough that this small colony could cover and keep warm. i suppose her rate of laying will depend on how many bees she has. I notice now that the bees are going hell for leather at getting in pollen. The growth will be gradual at first but if we get a half decent summer they might be Ok by autumn.
Oh and I threw in some bees yesterday. i had a small queenless colony in a nuc that had had laying workers. I filtered out any layers and drones by chucking them out of the hive across the other side of the garden, taking the hive back and putting a queen excluder entrance. I then made a box to fit over the top of the small nuc colony I wanted to keep with a sheet of newspaper between the two and chucked the filtered bees into the top box. Noticed today that the bees have chewed through the paper and joined up, so have taken the box off. Wonder if that will give a boost to the queen.
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I have been really lucky - 5 collected swarms and all have newly mated queens laying well - within 10 days. Just no equipment left so hope no more phone calls - but I hate to say No - isn't this where we came in on this conversation, Hawklord
Moved both colonies back to Manchester on Sunday.
Checked both nucs yesterday.
The one with not many bees had a lot more bees but no sign of any queen activity- will place test frame in tomorrow.
The other colony had a laying queen withbrood at all stages.
Unfortunatey the swap didn't work- but it doesn't appear that I am any worse off.

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