Caring for a nuc raising their own queen

Discussion in 'Beekeeping 101' started by Larus, Apr 19, 2012.

  1. Larus

    Larus New Member

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    Last Saturday, for the first time ever, I made a split from one of my hives. I found 3 frames in the brood nest with capped swarm cells of undetermined age (all I could tell is that they were fully built queen cells, not queen cups). I took all three of those frames out (with the bees still on them) and put them into a 5-frame nuc with a full frame of capped honey and an empty frame. I also put a hive top feeder on the nuc and gave them some sugar syrup.

    As of yesterday (Wednesday, 4 days later) the nuc was still alive - I peeked under the lid and the brood frames were covered with bees. I saw very few bees coming or going - one every few minutes or so.

    Assuming I didn't carry the queen over from the mother hive (which I don't think I did), how long should I wait before checking whether they have a mated queen (i.e. look for eggs)? Should I do any inspections in the meantime or just refill their feeder with syrup and leave them alone otherwise? My intuition is to disturb them as little as possible, but I also want to help them along however I can, because I know they are in a precarious position.

    Also, I have a MegaBee patty that I gave to one of my newly installed packages, but the landscape is awash with dandelions right now and the apple trees are in full bloom, so the "package" hive is completely ignoring the pollen substitute. Should I give it to the nuc, or just let them get pollen from the dandelions if they need any? I am assuming that since they don't have brood to raise right now, they won't need a lot of new pollen.

    Thanks in advance for your help.
     
  2. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    Check the original hive for eggs. If you don't have eggs, then yes, you moved the queen. If you have eggs in the original hive, all is well.

    Assuming the queen cells were capped, you can consider Sat. as day 10. Wait 2 weeks from then and look for eggs in the nuc. If no eggs, wait another week.

    If you have SHB in your area, remove the pollen patty and freeze it. The bees don't need it now.
     

  3. riverbee

    riverbee Active Member

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    Hi larus,
    I like doing nucs, and I will be making up some nucs in the next week or so. As Iddee said from day 10 wait 2 weeks or even 3. Queens emerge on the 16[SUP]th[/SUP] day, so up to-20 days or more for the queen (after emergence) to, mate and start laying, but should be laying within 3 weeks.

    SHB has been reported in Wisconsin, first found in 1999. According to the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, they are not established here and are reintroduced every year with the movement of bees to the south and back, and package bees. I have never found them in my hives.

    The Department does a survey every year of many pests, including SHB, reports of surveys and numbers with maps and counties with SHB are here from 2005-2010:
    Wisconsin Pest Survey

    And also an informative pdf from 2007 (Dept. of AG) on SHB in Wisconsin:
    Wisconsin Exotic Pest Survey includes SHB

    well wishes to you on your new hive!
     
  4. Larus

    Larus New Member

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    Thanks for the suggestions. I also looked up a queen rearing calendar on line and did some rough math. 2 weeks from last Sunday should be the first day I can reasonably expect to see eggs. Until then, I will keep refilling their syrup, but leave them alone otherwise.

    I did some observations of the parent hive yesterday (4 days after the split) and they weren't acting like a queenless hive. There was vigorous foraging traffic (it was sunny and 68 dF), with many foragers bringing in pollen. The bees were too busy working to pay attention to me standing next to the hive and practically sticking my nose into the entrance. A guard bee bumped me eventually, but overall the bees weren't agressive or nervous at all. I will still check for eggs, of course, next time my schedule and the weather permit. We are experiencing another cold front, for the next week or so it will be too cold to open the hive.

    Thank you for the SHB info, riverbee. I've never had an SHB problem and I don't know anyone around here who has. Everyone I asked has said that they don't pay much concern to it. But I have heard of it being sighted in Wisconsin and in Michigan, so I will keep an eye on that pest survey.
     
  5. riverbee

    riverbee Active Member

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    good luck on your nuc larus.
    it's been raining here most of the week, today is cold and rainy. i have never had SHB, and have never been concerned about it and most keeps i know in minnesota and wisconsin the same. when iddee mentioned it, i thought i would post the info for any wisconsin keeps.
     
  6. riverbee

    riverbee Active Member

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    larus,
    thought i would dig this out and post this on queen development, from my mentors scribbles and papers, you may already have this timeline?

    day 1 egg laid>egg
    day 2 egg
    day 3 egg
    day 4 larvae
    day 5 larvae
    day 6 larvae
    day 7 larvae
    day 8 queen cell sealed
    day 9 pre-pupa
    day 10 pre-pupa
    day 11 pupa
    day 12 pupa> red eyes
    day 13 pupa> yellow thorax
    day 14 pupa> yellow abdomen
    day 15 pupa> pupal moult
    day 16 adult> your queen emerges
     
  7. dr.buzz

    dr.buzz New Member

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    I'd also add that you need patience the first little bit. All foragers went back to the old hive, and it takes a while for your nurse bees to increasingly graduate up to forager age, so you shouldn't expect much activity at the entrance yet. I usually just start them with syrup, like you did, and reduce the entrance. It's easy to be paranoid, but usually everything is fine. When the flow is on, let them do their thing....
     
  8. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    an Iddee snip..
    Wait 2 weeks from then and look for eggs in the nuc.

    tecumseh:
    aging the queen cell is the real issue here. since these are natural cells the age of the cell is not totally known. you can look for certain signs that do give you some clue. as the cell approaches emergence the workers chew the wax covering the very tip of the cell off (the very tip end looks a bit like rough leather to me). if the cell can be somewhat dated then I would amend the above schedule to 2 weeks + 2 days. for more certainty wait a bit longer an look for larvae... these are just much easier to see.

    for me in regards to mating nucs some feeding is essential but any kind of pollen like product is absolutely prohibited <here this will invariable encourage the small hive beetle and even a few is more than enough to over come a weakly populated nuc.

    other concerns in this process > 1) with natural cells if they are capped you are doing a coin flip in regards to the question of if the old queen is still in the box and 2) there is nothing that does not suggest the cells are not superscedure cells and if the hive in question has already murdered the old queen there may be nothing left in the old hive for the bees to make a replacement queen.