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BabyBee 

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posted this elsewhere, but think this might be a better place

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i got a 3 frame nuc with an unsealed QC on the 23rd May this year.

Did nothing with them other than move them to a BB, added a few more frames and some 1:1 syrup (topped up 3 times since then).

On the 7th June a very expereinced beek came to check them with me. QC was open (didnt see the Q) and stores were coming along. Added remainder of frames and moved a couple around (if I remember rightly). Took 2 QC's away (which emerged as they were being moved and placed into matchboxes).

Went through hive today, fully expecting to see all the frames drawn out and lots of brood.

Was very surprised to see only about 4 of the frames with lots of stores (and 3 of them came from the nuc!). A few bees on the remaining frames, but apparently not doing very much with them and what looked like THREE capped drone cells.

So here's what i did.

Moved 2 undrawn frames nearer into the centre, either side the frame with the capped cells. added the super on the basis of thinking that maybe they can only go UP for some reason - and they have to go through the super to get to the syrup so might decide to use the supers! didnt put the QE on as she cant lay in the super frames anyway as they arent drawn out!

other than that, i just retired politely and asked them to get their skates on!

anything else i could have/should have done?

many thanks

L
 

rae 

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8 and 3 nucs...it's swarm time...
I wouldn't add the super if you only have 3 or 4 frames of bees and loads of space in the brood box. As I recall from earlier threads, you are about 2 weeks behind our "new" queens, and they have just kicked off brood production in a serious manner. So it is quite possible that you have a mated/mating queen in there that is biding her time. They are devils to spot at this stage. If still no brood/eggs next week, then get concerned, if the same the week after then I would give them a test frame, and very quickly get a queen in if they turn out to be queenless.
 

Rosti 

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If nothing else I would suggest:

a) replace QE and keep the queen in your brood box where you want her and can find her. You could mis her in the super, remove it and then loser her outside the hive if nothing else.

b) if its a small colony add a blanking/frame board to keep the brood nest warm giving them two extra frames to draw, adding as they draw these until you have a full box

c) if there are plenty of stores stop feeding, they may be filling brood space with syrup, stopping the queen from laying and getting you into that horrid cycle where > no space to lay > no fresh bees > no expansion > no frames drawing > no space to lay .....
 

Midland Beek 

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Took 2 QC's away (which emerged as they were being moved and placed into matchboxes).
This statement means that your original queen has left with a swarm. It also might mean that you have lost other (second) swarms that have left your hive with newly emerging virgin queens.

You need to hope that experienced beek friend did not make your bees hopelessly queenless by taking away all virgin queens.

You need to hope that there is in your hive a virgin queen looking to mate. What would have been better is for experienced beek friend to put into your hive those two virgins that emerged in matchbox, so then you at least can be sure of the fact that there is at least a queen in your hive. The virgin queens would have fought it out if they were set loose at the same time, rather than swarming. Lesson there for novice beeks.
 
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Erichalfbee 

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The virgin queens would have fought it out if they were set loose at the same time, rather than swarming. Lesson there for novice beeks.
Could this be why bees guard hatching queen cells preventing their emergence; so that they arrive together,bash it out with the biggest and fittest surviving?
Probably a stupid thought:smilielol5:
 

Hebeegeebee 

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12 on a good day, often more..
A 3 frame nuc is pretty small - it would not usually be sold to a new beekeeper.
Capped DRONE cells? Drone cellsa re not aproblem. is that what you mean?

For a small colony a super will slow development down as any heat to keep the brood warm will go upwards where it is of no use. Super off. Crown board on.
Did you have a queen AND an unsealed queencell when you got the colony?
 

BabyBee 

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confusion.

sorry folks if I've confused anyone - not deliberate!

3 frame nuc was not intended for me (newbie), just ended up being right place/right time - kind of. so received 3 frames & one unsealed QC from someone else's hive that was being split to prevent swarming.

after they were with me, they built the other QC's for some reason.

hope this clarifies.

and many thanks, as ever, for useful and very helpful responses.

tomorrow i will:

1. take off super (shaking all bees back down)
2. remove syrup (lots of stores so this makes sense)

shall i put the put dummy board back? or just let them get on with things/
 

Poly Hive 

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I have a very bad feeling about this situation.

This baby colony now has undrawn foundation on either side of the one brood comb involved, on which there now seems only to be drone brood left. 24 days have passed by my calc here.

How many bees are in this situation please? A mere handful? Can you visualise a normal coffee mug: and one side of a normal frame would fill it. So how many mugs?

PH
 

BabyBee 

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" only drone brood left".... OMG, I didnt think about that! i thought this was NEW brood, but of course you are right!

you asked how many bees - i think there were bees on both sides of 3 frames - but i didnt take note, well not proper note anyway - no excuse but i was nervous i think.

how do i "fix" my stupidity?

and if it means anything at all - the bees were quite calm - no-one was trying to sting me or anything
 

Haughton Honey 

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Lots of Commercial hives.......
" only drone brood left".... OMG, I didnt think about that! i thought this was NEW brood, but of course you are right!

you asked how many bees - i think there were bees on both sides of 3 frames - but i didnt take note, well not proper note anyway - no excuse but i was nervous i think.

how do i "fix" my stupidity?

and if it means anything at all - the bees were quite calm - no-one was trying to sting me or anything


Buy a new nuc and unite the two - having obtained a test frame and inserted first to ensure that there isn't actually a virgin Queen in there.

Whatever the scenario you'll need more emerging brood due to the void in brood production and the dwindling hive population.....
 

BabyBee 

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Buy a new nuc and unite the two - having obtained a test frame and inserted first to ensure that there isn't actually a virgin Queen in there.

Whatever the scenario you'll need more emerging brood due to the void in brood production and the dwindling hive population.....
if i have a Q, surely with all the fab weather recently, she'd have had her mating flight by now?

and what would be the minimum amount of bees for a hive to stay viable?

and how do i convince someone to give me a 'test frame'? and assuming someone gives me one, do i just stick it in? and watch for what exactly?

PS - 3 other hives nearby (not mine)
 

susbees 

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Yes, stick it in. After one day an experienced beekeeper can spot a white cell...ie one with more royal jelly, safer three or four days to see if the bees have started to build a QC. That means no queen.

If they ignore building QCs and just get on with the nursery thing there is a queen of sorts somewhere.

I did two of these recently...one was ignored, the other they spirited away day old larvae onto other frames and now have a queen (not quite due to lay).
 

Midland Beek 

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3 frame nuc was not intended for me (newbie), just ended up being right place/right time - kind of. so received 3 frames & one unsealed QC from someone else's hive that was being split to prevent swarming.

after they were with me, they built the other QC's for some reason.
So, you received a queenless nuc. The queen stayed in other person's hive, and you got some combs and bees?

You can do what you want with syrup and supers, but you are perhaps missing the point.

If you got a queenless nuc, the whole point is to try and let the thing get queenright, and for that you need to hope that there is a queen in there, as per my previous post.
 

BabyBee 

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So, you received a queenless nuc. The queen stayed in other person's hive, and you got some combs and bees?

You can do what you want with syrup and supers, but you are perhaps missing the point.

If you got a queenless nuc, the whole point is to try and let the thing get queenright, and for that you need to hope that there is a queen in there, as per my previous post.
midland beek - i dont think i am 'missing the point' - i didnt get a queenless nuc - just an unemerged queen (if that is the right terminology). and i am trying to do the right thing - but not everyone is experienced and needs to ask lots of questions. thanks for your comments - they have made me feel totally useless now
 

rae 

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8 and 3 nucs...it's swarm time...
Don't feel useless, as I said in previous threads on this, you're doing it the (very) hard way as a beginner. Taking on a nuc with a queen cell rather than a mated queen gives you a load of opportunities for disaster, none of which are your fault.

The important thing is to work out whether you have a queen. Get hold of a test frame (the experienced beek will be able to source one), and if they build queen cells, they are queenless. If this is the case, buy in a queen, and get the experienced beek to help you introduce it. If they just raise the eggs normally, then you have a queen in there somewhere.

Do it fast, or you will have insufficient bees for a viable colony.
 

BabyBee 

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thank you rae - straighforward and helpful - i think i love you!!:cheers2:
 

bushman1872 

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I might have missed it somewhere but has anyone suggested about trying to get on a swarm list somewhere, sure it might come to nothing you might not get a swarm but if you do you could be quids in especially if it is a prime swarm. Even if there is a queen in there it will take a reasonable while before you start getting new bees out and even longer before they become foragers and start bringing in food. I know its a shot in the dark but essentially there are only a couple of months left for them to sort themselves out before the necter flow drops off and winter arrives. After all a swarm in june is worth a silver spoon. Don't loose faith
 

rae 

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8 and 3 nucs...it's swarm time...
Honestly, what a beginner needs is a nice nuc, with a laying queen and some established brood. Then the only hard thing they have to do is get the frames in a hive, then sit back and watch the brood grow throughout the summer. Starting off with an unsealed queen cell, which may not hatch, which may be damaged, which may not mate, which may be a drone layer....is all very difficult. As someone who is in his second year of all this, I have now done all of these things - and of the 6 splits/swarms taken through the process, two look like they are in trouble and will need to be merged back to their original colonies. I don't think I did anything wrong with these two, just luck of the draw.
 

Rosti 

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Honestly, what a beginner needs is a nice nuc, with a laying queen and some established brood.
You are right of course Rae, but then most beginners would expect to pay for that 'perfect nuc' and from what this thread suggests this was a freebee, hence swapping the lack of cash outlay for a steep learning curve. I guess BabyBee's problem is that of many starting out, no other hives from which to quickly aquire donor / test frames. In that sense Midlands observation on priorities is, I think, also right.

My split success seems similar to yours by the way (2 of 3)
 

Midland Beek 

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i didnt get a queenless nuc - just an unemerged queen (if that is the right terminology).
So, yeah, you got a queenless nuc.

There is no point in having what you have got unless it contains a queen. That is my point.

All you can do is hope that you box contains a queen and that your beek friend did not take them all away in a matchbox.
 

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