Help Purchased NUC seems to be spliting 4 days after installation

Discussion in 'Beekeeping 101' started by windyridgefarm, May 5, 2012.

  1. windyridgefarm

    windyridgefarm New Member

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    I am new to beekeeping and could use some help. I installed a NUC I purchased from Gardner's Apiaries Monday evening and the hive seems to be splitting as of Fri. The weather has been rainy and cold so they did not have a chance to go out foraging til Fri. More than half of the bees came out of the hive on Thurs late afternoon to evening and the hive seemed to be looking to abscond so I put them all back into the hive and blocked the entrance.
    The weather improved on Friday so I let them out and now half of them seem to want to stay in the hive and are foraging. The other half have swarmed a short distance away and remained there overnight. It is cloudy and cold so I covered them with a clear plastic box and dont know what to do now! HELP... All this started after I checked on the hive to make sure the queen was ok. She was out of her cage so I removed it and left it nearby
     
  2. afterburn001

    afterburn001 New Member

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    Was the nuc originally placed where the ball of bees are and then got moved for some reason? Check for the queen in the nuc, if she is not there, she is with the swarm. If that is the case, catch the swarm, try to recombine, stuff entrance with grass/straw and let them reorientated.
     

  3. windyridgefarm

    windyridgefarm New Member

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    Thanks for the reply.
    No the NUC was never there- it is just a random patch of grass about 12 feet from the hive and the other half of the hive is out foraging. What should I do if she is still in the nuc and not with the swarm? I am trying hard to understand this behavior. Thanks Randy
     
  4. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    Sounds like you have 2 queens or a queen cell in the nuc. Check the nuc for a queen and queen cells. If both the swarm and the nuc is, or will be, queen right, install the swarm in another nuc. After both queens are laying, you can do a combine if you only want one hive.
     
  5. Omie

    Omie New Member

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    Various thoughts occur to me on this...

    What kind of box and frames and foundation have you provided them with? I'm wondering why so many are trying to get out of the box.

    Are you sure you got a nuc and not a package? Nucs should have frames of brood and they wouldn't typically abandon them to abscond.

    I also wonder if there may have been a virgin queen extra in that nuc you brought home- perhaps if you put the clump of bees from the grass into their own nuc, if they are merely foragers they will leave that box and return to their proper nuc home, but if they have a queen they will settle in.

    also, when you say:
    ...I'm wondering what you mean by 'looking to abscond'- were they just hanging on the front and bottom of the nuc in a mass like a beard? If this is normal 'bearding', they may have been merely crowded or too hot in the nuc- bees often hang from the box while trying to keep from getting overheated, especially in late afternoon when it's hot- adding ventilation helps reduce bearding, but it's kind of normal.


    Ooops- looks like Idee and I were both posting at the same time! :lol:
     
  6. windyridgefarm

    windyridgefarm New Member

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    I'm sorry I thought once a package was installed in the hive it was reffered to as a nuc. It was a package and yes they were bearding but it was late in the day and into the night on a cool day and there is plenty of room in the new hive. I was wondering about a second queen also, but is that common and why did they swarm when they did? (after a couple days in the new hive, within hours after I removed the queen cage, in the evening) Could it have been because the other queen got free? Is it normal for a swarm to stay inplace overnight and for a couple days? I didnt think a hive would tollerate two queens and that they would normally swarm in the morning. Not sure if being a virgin queen would make a difference. lol
    I tried looking for the queen/queens but they are unmarked and therefore hard to find. Guess it cant hurt to put them in their own hive and see what happens. now I just have to go get / make one in a hurry. Wasnt quite prepared for that. Thanks Randy
     
  7. Omie

    Omie New Member

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    Ok so it's a newly installed package then, not a nuc. Do you have it in a ten frame deep box now?
    To have them bearding hanging off the front of the hive is not that unusual, even in the evening if it's warm. Packages don't usually 'swarm', though they may abscond if they don't like where they are and their queen is able to fly.

    I'm not sure they actually did swarm. Sounds like you have some bees bearding off your hive front, right? Do you also have a big clump of bees clustering or hanging in a ball elsewhere, away from the hive? By big I mean larger than an orange or a grapefruit?

    Are you feeding your new package? Do they have frames and foundation?
     
  8. Eddy Honey

    Eddy Honey New Member

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    Howdy Windyridge,

    How did you introduce the queen to this new package?
    If you hung her cage with her escape facing up have you checked to see if she has been released?
    If released, is she alive?
    Have the bees built honeycomb for the queen to lay in and is she laying?
    If she is missing/ and didn't lay any eggs you need to get a new queen in a timely fashion.

    So I would look for the queen or proof that she is alive (eggs/larvae) as step 1.

    Good luck to you.
     
  9. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    Eddy, you haven't read the OP.
     
  10. windyridgefarm

    windyridgefarm New Member

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    The package divided in two with 1/2 staying with the hive and foraging and the other half gathering in a ball on the ground, larger than a grapefruit about 12 feet away and remaining there all afternoon overnight and into the next night. I gathered them well after sunset when it was cool so they would be less active because when I tried to gather them earlier they were a bit aggressive. When I did I saw what I believe to be a young queen. Now I am wondering if it is a good indication that the original hive has a queen if they have been foraging and acting normal. Now there has been now more bearding. I have been feeding the package and spraying the swarm with sugar water.
     
  11. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    Place the swarm in a nuc and wait to see if the queen starts laying. You can remove one queen and combine them after both are laying.
     
  12. PerryBee

    PerryBee New Member

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    Sounds to me like you ended up with two queens. In your original post you say that you removed the queen cage and "left it nearby". This isn't the spot where the bees are sitting on the ground is it?
     
  13. Eddy Honey

    Eddy Honey New Member

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    Sorry,

    Windy had said the queen was out of her cage but I didn't know if she was out and dead.