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When might she start to lay?

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drex 

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This is my first lot of bees, so I am quite unsure. Have been on theory course and am on practical with local BKA.

Last weekend I was given 2 small swarms. One came in a nuc with 2 drawn frames and 3 of foundation. The other came in a skep. The nuc I just placed on top of the hive and unblocked the entrance and let them get on with it.

The skep I shook into my nucleus box. Initially they all clustered on the outside, but a few hours later when they were still there, I realised that was probably where the queen was so I brushed them in. She obviously went in, as soon after, the others were queuing up at the entrance to get in. The nuc only had foundation, so I gave them a feed of syrup in a frame feeder, which I had to refill after 3 days.

Today was the first proper, but quick inspection. Those that came in the nuc are doing nicely, bringing in plenty of pollen and nectar. 1 full frame of stores, other half full, and they have started drawing out foundation ( the 5th frame just started).

The skep swarm are also now foraging, and drawing out comb, which they are beginning to fill with nectar and pollen.

As I say quick inspection, did not see queen in either ( not good at spotting queens yet) nor any eggs, but the bees were quiet as if queen was present ( have opened two queenless hives with tutor).

Think I am worrying needlessly as it is early days for them, but am worried I might be queenless. If queen is present when might I start to see eggs?

Your advice will be appreciated.
 

admin 

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Check again next weekend and you will see eggs if you have a queen.
With it being a small swarm I expect it was a cast with a virgin.
It can often take a week until you see eggs,Also you should expect 30-100 eggs over the first couple of days so you could well of missed a patch of eggs as they would all be within 2-3 inches.
Also check if they are taking in any pollen,if they are then eggs/brood will be present.
Your advice will be appreciated.
Go open a beer/bottle of wine thats my advice.
 

drex 

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Thanks admin. They were only small swarms.

Plenty of pollen coming in. I was fascinated to see so many "yellow legs". Also saw some cells packed with pollen.

Would you see 30-100 eggs in first few days if all they started with was foundation?

I am really enjoying this. I can spend a long time just sitting watching them in and out.

It is hard to resist the urge to fiddle, being so new, but I am managing. Just a bit unsure, and appreciate your reassurance
 

Midland Beek 

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Small swarms would tend to indicate second swarms containing virgin queens.

You could be waiting a month before you see eggs. Settled bees working with a purpose suggests they both have queens, and if they didn't they would have buggered off by now.
 

admin 

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Would you see 30-100 eggs in first few days if all they started with was foundation?
No,in the first couple of days from when she starts laying.
 

Poly Hive 

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Assuming they were a swarm then as Admin suggests.

If they were casts (you said small) then it may be another two weeks or so before they successfully mate and begin to lay.

I have three which are just into lay today. Been nucs for some 2 weeks. Just an indicator as to time line.

PH
 

drex 

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Thanks all. Thought I was worrying needlessly. I will be patient.

Another question. There is a good chance next week I will be given a prime swarm. I only have 2 national hives, and 2 nucs.

Prime swarm can go straight in a National. Assuming the 2 casts continue to build, I will not have a hive for them both( 8 weeks delay on budget hives from T's).

Just out of interest. How to unite two nucleus boxes, neither with a removable base, or a nuc and a National BB?
 

oliver90owner 

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How to unite two nucleus boxes, neither with a removable base, or a nuc and a National BB?

One way is to resort to icing sugar dusting or perfume spraying.

I would puff icing sugar on all bees, on all frames, as I transferred them to a hive.

An alternative is to house them in brood boxes and then afterwards use the newspaper uniting method. Must be lots of other variations - use your imagination and think up a couple more possibilities!

Regards, RAB
 

VEG 

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I would first find out if both were queen right. No sence in joining them only for a viable queen to be killed in a fight.
 

Midland Beek 

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Just out of interest. How to unite two nucleus boxes, neither with a removable base, or a nuc and a National BB?
You can do both the above in the same way.

Using the two nucs as an example, lets say you have to get 10 frames down to just 5. First of all, take away surplus frames. Meaning, take away two from one box and three from the other. Bump off bees from redundant frames so that bees mostly end up on the frames you want to keep.

Transfer frames to nuc box and fix, as best as you can, a single sheet of newspaper vertically in nuc box. Make sure newspaper has holes. Bit fiddly, but it is not critical to do a good job.

Spray of weak sugar syrup will help no end.
 

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