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BeeBird

Lakes bee from Mungrisdale near Keswick
BeeKeeping Supporter
Joined
Aug 26, 2022
Messages
74
Reaction score
80
Location
Cumbria
Hive Type
WBC
Number of Hives
4 WBC & 2 Abelo 12 frame national poly
5 day’s ago I split a large colony put the Queen (2023 model) into the Nuc with brood, food and a mix of new and drawn foundation. New Queen arriving at the weekend for the mother hive.
2 day’s later I could see the bee’s trying to squash the Queen out of the Nuc entrance, thought they were trying to swarm with her.
Today had a look and see they still have her at the entrance and managed to film the moment that they decided to kill her, WHY are they behaving like this? I was going to dispatch her when the new queen arrived for the mother hive and newspaper combine the Nuc with the smallest of my colonies. Do you think I should continue with this plan or do something different?

View attachment IMG_5080.mov
View attachment IMG_5101.mov
 
put the Queen ... into the Nuc with brood, food and a mix of new and drawn foundation
The swarm instinct and the nuc may have been strong and because the bees were thwarted in their desire, panicked and balled the queen. You will find in the nuc EQCs, and may reduce to the best one; open that entrance and allow them to re-queen, or remove all QCs and introduce the new queen.

New Queen arriving at the weekend for the mother hive.
Presume you have good reason not to allow this colony to make its own queen, and intend to go through the combs thoroughly and remove all QCs before introducing the new queen; even so, it is not a good plan to introduce a travelled queen, out of lay, to a full colony in season. Better to make up a nuc (as above) with emerging brood, wait for her to come into lay, and unite to the main colony.

going to dispatch her
Why?

continue with this plan or do something different?
Strong colonies make most honey and if you wish to do so, organise the unites and splits to give strength in one or two, rather than middling in 3.
 
Presume you have good reason not to allow this colony to make its own queen, and intend to go through the combs thoroughly and remove all QCs before introducing the new queen; even so, it is not a good plan to introduce a travelled queen, out of lay, to a full colony in season. Better to make up a nuc with emerging brood, wait for her to come into lay, and unite to the main colony.
:iagree: I'm struggling to work out what the initial objective was, but my thought is, as Eric, the nuc was made too strong and packed with bees wanting to swarm, keeping them behind that queen excluder did them no favours whatsoever (to be honest, I've never seen the point or reason for those setting, I only ever use fully open, fully closed or closed and vented.
 
The swarm instinct and the nuc may have been strong and because the bees were thwarted in their desire, panicked and balled the queen. You will find in the nuc EQCs, and may reduce to the best one; open that entrance and allow them to re-queen, or remove all QCs and introduce the new queen.


Presume you have good reason not to allow this colony to make its own queen, and intend to go through the combs thoroughly and remove all QCs before introducing the new queen; even so, it is not a good plan to introduce a travelled queen, out of lay, to a full colony in season. Better to make up a nuc (as above) with emerging brood, wait for her to come into lay, and unite to the main colony.


Why?


Strong colonies make most honey and if you wish to do so, organise the unites and splits to give strength in one or two, rather than middling in 3.
Thanks for your reply. My reason for the split
The swarm instinct and the nuc may have been strong and because the bees were thwarted in their desire, panicked and balled the queen. You will find in the nuc EQCs, and may reduce to the best one; open that entrance and allow them to re-queen, or remove all QCs and introduce the new queen.


Presume you have good reason not to allow this colony to make its own queen, and intend to go through the combs thoroughly and remove all QCs before introducing the new queen; even so, it is not a good plan to introduce a travelled queen, out of lay, to a full colony in season. Better to make up a nuc (as above) with emerging brood, wait for her to come into lay, and unite to the main colony.


Why?


Strong colonies make most honey and if you wish to do so, organise the unites and splits to give strength in one or two, rather than middling in 3.
:iagree: I'm struggling to work out what the initial objective was, but my thought is, as Eric, the nuc was made too strong and packed with bees wanting to swarm, keeping them behind that queen excluder did them no favours whatsoever (to be honest, I've never seen the point or reason for those setting, I only ever use fully open, fully closed or closed and vented.
The swarm instinct and the nuc may have been strong and because the bees were thwarted in their desire, panicked and balled the queen. You will find in the nuc EQCs, and may reduce to the best one; open that entrance and allow them to re-queen, or remove all QCs and introduce the new queen.


Presume you have good reason not to allow this colony to make its own queen, and intend to go through the combs thoroughly and remove all QCs before introducing the new queen; even so, it is not a good plan to introduce a travelled queen, out of lay, to a full colony in season. Better to make up a nuc (as above) with emerging brood, wait for her to come into lay, and unite to the main colony.


Why?


Strong colonies make most honey and if you wish to do so, organise the unites and splits to give strength in one or two, rather than middling in 3.
Thanks for your reply. My plan is to re Queen the mother hive with a calmer and perhaps less swarmy Queen. This one descends from a line of swarmy Queens and I wanted to move away from that. Plan: Nuc her (for insurance purposes) knock down Queen cells in mother hive and new Queen ordered from BMH to arrive on day 8 when I will check again to make sure they are hopelessly queenless and introduce new queen. Then dispatch the old queen (they’ve now done it for me) and do a newspaper unite of Nuc bees onto my smallest colony.
Would it be best to get them into a hopelessly queenless state before I try to unite them? I don’t want them to swarm with that colony. I really don’t want to increase my number of hives’s, hence the plan to unite.
 
re Queen the mother hive with a calmer and perhaps less swarmy Queen. This one descends from a line of swarmy Queens
Swarmy queens are not as common as you might believe and it's often the result of a late beekeeper giving insufficent timely brood space (I should know, I still do it) and if you've been keeping for two years, you might still be paddling that surfboard, way behind the wave.

The most swarmy queen I came across was one that churned out 252 QCs with v defensive genetics in two weeks; we removed cells regularly, and they'd already swarmed once; the supplier replaced them with a lovely nuc. This event was a genetic freak, and regular swarmy queens are nowhere near that bad, but might produce 10-30+ and will not stay long in a box. What this means is: are your bees swarmy or is the beekeeper not keeping up?

Bad temper is a different matter, and so long as there are no mitigating reasons - bad weather, lack of forage, queenlessness, clumsy beekeeper drinking beer for breakfast or wearing Midnight Cowboy - then by all means re-queen, but do so in a nuc and not the main colony.

really don’t want to increase my number of hives
Fair enough, but re-queening a nuc and later, uniting it to the main colony will not increase numbers. Time to rationalise is at the end of summer, when queen performance can be assessed and reductions and unites made.

don’t want them to swarm with that colony
Guess you mean the mother colony; if so, they may swarm when the first virgin emerges on day 16 after you removed the mother, so you must ensure (by day 8) that either one QC is left, or all QCs removed.

The first scenario is likely to reduce the bad temper often associated with a hopelessly Q- colony; when the new nuc is laying, remove this temporary queen and unite the nuc.

The second scenario will ensure that when the nuc queen is laying, the unite can go ahead straight away, but in the meantime colony temper may be awful or lovely, depending how the colony reacts to being hopelessly Q-. A flow may well keep temper sweet, as well as the absence of those defensive genetics.
 
Swarmy queens are not as common as you might believe and it's often the result of a late beekeeper giving insufficent timely brood space (I should know, I still do it) and if you've been keeping for two years, you might still be paddling that surfboard, way behind the wave.

The most swarmy queen I came across was one that churned out 252 QCs with v defensive genetics in two weeks; we removed cells regularly, and they'd already swarmed once; the supplier replaced them with a lovely nuc. This event was a genetic freak, and regular swarmy queens are nowhere near that bad, but might produce 10-30+ and will not stay long in a box. What this means is: are your bees swarmy or is the beekeeper not keeping up?

Bad temper is a different matter, and so long as there are no mitigating reasons - bad weather, lack of forage, queenlessness, clumsy beekeeper drinking beer for breakfast or wearing Midnight Cowboy - then by all means re-queen, but do so in a nuc and not the main colony.


Fair enough, but re-queening a nuc and later, uniting it to the main colony will not increase numbers. Time to rationalise is at the end of summer, when queen performance can be assessed and reductions and unites made.


Guess you mean the mother colony; if so, they may swarm when the first virgin emerges on day 16 after you removed the mother, so you must ensure (by day 8) that either one QC is left, or all QCs removed.

The first scenario is likely to reduce the bad temper often associated with a hopelessly Q- colony; when the new nuc is laying, remove this temporary queen and unite the nuc.

The second scenario will ensure that when the nuc queen is laying, the unite can go ahead straight away, but in the meantime colony temper may be awful or lovely, depending how the colony reacts to being hopelessly Q-. A flow may well keep temper sweet, as well as the absence of those defensive genetics.
Thank you for such a detailed reply, I appreciate it. I thought/hoped I had gauged brood space needed by adding a second dummied down brood box on the 1st May when the existing brood box had 80% of capped brood. I gave more foundation as the brood nest expanded, then added a super on
11th May as UBB was drawn and was being laid up quickly. A second super was put on 9 day’s later as a lot of the shallows in the first super were capped.
This colony were much quicker to get going, possibly because they are in a polyhive?
I have also put another 3 colonies onto double brood over the last few weeks and they are progressing nicely, albeit more slowly.
I think it will take me some years to even partly understand the nuances of honeybees, but I am enjoying the challenge even if I am at times frustrated, by the amount of curveballs thrown at me 🤯.
Thank goodness for this forum and its knowledgeable sharing members.
So 😬 if I decide to unite the newly queenless nuc with my smaller single brood Q+ colony, should I knock down emergency cells and leave them 8 day’s to become hopelessly queenless, or knock down cells and unite tomorrow? To be honest I was shocked by the way they “murdered” their own mother! are they just badass 🐝
 
Would it be best to get them into a hopelessly queenless state before I try to unite them?
the best thing to do when either replacing a queen or uniting two q+ colonies is to introduce the new queen/unite immediately on dispatching the old queen. in this case, as it seems both sides are now Q-, you have to wait until they are hopelessly queenless
 
the best thing to do when either replacing a queen or uniting two q+ colonies is to introduce the new queen/unite immediately on dispatching the old queen. in this case, as it seems both sides are now Q-, you have to wait until they are hopelessly queenless
Great, thanks for advice. I will go in to the nuc at the weekend and take down any emergency cell’s then wait until they are hopelessly queenless, then unite 🤞
 
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