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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Sacramento, CA

    Default Mating nuc question

    I made some mating nucs, you can see in the attached picture,dividing deep hives in 5 some of them in 4. In one section I have 2 or 3 frames (9 5/8). For some reason my success ratio was very low, I would say less than 50%. Out of 5 sections I had mated queens only in 2.
    In most cases I filled up the sections with honey and brood frames from strong hives, then gave them capped queen cells. Several times I divided some nucs, made earlier, that had capped queen cells on 3 or more frames, so I placed one frame with capped cells in each section. I noticed many virgin queens emerged and then after several days they simply disappeared. Can anybody advise what to do to improve the success ratio or what was done wrong? Thank you.
    Last edited by happybees; 09-01-2008 at 01:10 AM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    College Station, Texas


    your 'success ratio' (or lack thereof) could be attributed to a number of factors.

    1) usually the first concern is the stocking rate of the individual nucs. that is the live bees which actually will stick in a particular box.

    2) tightness of equipment. usually a problem with divided boxes is that there is some 'leakage' between the boxes that you cannot see. for most of these an oil cloth inner cover is almost essential. this will limit leakage around the top of the box.

    3) at this time of year with air temperatures approaching 100 degrees a prime reason for bees to abscond from a nest site is excessive heat.

    the list of possibilities could go on and perhaps some further elaboration on your part in regards to your situation might generate some more ideas.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2007
    morehead city, nc, usa


    The statement that "many virgin queens emerged and then disappeared" reminded me of my own impatience when dealing with the bees. Several times this summer I have given up on a nuc or a split, thinking no queen was made, only to find that the bees were on their own schedule, not mine.

    It goes like this: I tend to do most of my bee work on weekends. I'll pull a frame of eggs from a strong hive and build a nuc. I start counting. When I thinks it's about time to see a queen cell, I look in....usually on a weekend. If I see cells, I try to guess about when they will be "ripe". On the weekend nearest this projected "ripeness" I will take another look.

    I sometimes see capped queen cells, sometimes opened cells, occasionally I'll spot a queen, sometimes there is no trace of the cells. Of course I jump to conclusions based on very sloppy data. I am learning to give things more time.

    Seeing no queen, even after spotting her on an earlier inspection, is not necessarily the end. Give her a little more time to return from the mating flight. I've had more pleasant surprises than disappointments this year.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    VENTURA, California, USA

    Smile Can anybody advise what to do

    From the photo that you provided I can see one major problem!
    You need to move the nuc out of the yard and off to one side to prevent the queens from drifting. I would move the nuc down the fence row to at least that post in the background. You may want to paint with red, yellow, blue or green, the top of your nuc so that the bees can orintate to their location. Sometimes I use a piece of painted scap lumber to help the queen to find her way back home. The bees will use that fence post for locating their hive too. Queens have a tendency to drift out of a weak nuc into something stronger.
    I have had Cordovan and Carniolan queens drift as far as 200' from their prospective nucs. I would be caging out mated queens looking for a Cordovan and up pops a nice Carniolan.
    Good Luck and I hope this helps your queen matings.
    Ernie Lucas Apiaries.
    My website

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA


    Several things affect success with mating nucs. One is that there is a flow or you feed. Queens don't like to fly in a dearth. It seems odd, but it seems to be that way. Also, they won't fly if it's raining every afternoon. They also don't seem to like to fly when the temperatures are in the 90s or above. Then the risks are getting eaten by dragon flies, swallows, etc or getting hit by a car. And, of course, as mentioned, drifting into a hive with another virgin queen.
    Michael Bush "Everything works if you let it." 42y 40h 39yTF


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