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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Orinda, California, USA
    Posts
    99

    Default How do you add stray clusters of queenless bees to a small hive or Nuc?

    I have some spots in my bee yard where there are clusters of queenless bees. It happened because I moved some frames from mating nucs to regular 5 frame nucs and the workers now cluster in the old location 'cos they are lost or disoriented. Is it okay to get these to cluster on a frame and then brush them into the entrance of a weak hive towards dusk? They will go in with no problem. Do you think they will be problematic? Will they fight? They have been queenless for well over 24 hrs.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Arcata, California, USA
    Posts
    23

    Default Re: How do you add stray clusters of queenless bees to a small hive or Nuc?

    I would add an extra box on top of the weak hive and insert the frame of queenless bees into this box. Insert a sheet of newspaper between the existing weak hive and this new box with the queenless bees - cut a few slits in the newspaper between a few of the frames to facilitate pheromones passing between the boxes. It will take the bees a little bit to chew threw the newspaper and by then they will be used to each others "smell" and you shouldn't have any issues.

    If you have more than one of these clusters and they are from different hives, I'd either do one at a time, or stack a few boxes on there with newspaper between each. I would not just dump them at the entrance or the fight will be on - it doesn't matter if they've been queenless - the new queen's scent will be foreign to them and more importantly, the bees in the hive with the queen will be defensive toward these suddenly inserted bees. The newspaper allows enough time before they merge for the pheromones to pass around any everyone to be okay toward one another. Just remember to cut the slits, both to facilitate the pheomones and also to give the bees an easy starting place to chew through the newspaper. Also, I would not have an upper entrance in this added box with the queenless bees - let their only way out of this box be through the newspaper and into the hive below.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Orinda, California, USA
    Posts
    99

    Default Re: How do you add stray clusters of queenless bees to a small hive or Nuc?

    Yeah i have done newspaper combines many times and it works great for hives. What i am talking about here is more like small clusters of bees. Essentially they are field workers that have returned to the old hive location. I want to gather them up and let them walk into a nuc. On a normal sized hive these numbers would be inconsequential. But in a small nuc they make a difference. What I am trying to do is arrange for "drifting" artificially. Brushing these lost bees into the entrance of a weak nuc. I know they walk in quite freely. How do I know if they are accepted?

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