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  1. #1
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    Question How many larvae can a nurse bee feed?

    Hi, I was wondering how many larvae a nurse bee could feed? Is it possible for there to be more larvae than nurse bees?
    Good enough is perfect - Joel Salatin

  2. #2
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    Default Re: How many larvae can a nurse bee feed?

    I believe that you can have more larvae than nurse bees and still get everyone fed. What I don't know is whether a 1:1 ratio is enough to keep the larvae warm. The nurse bees will start ejecting of some of the larvae if they can't handle them all. Really good question and I'd like to know more. Are you seeing this in your hives?
    Rusty
    http://www.honeybeesuite.com "A Better Way to Bee"

  3. #3
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    Default Re: How many larvae can a nurse bee feed?

    Quote Originally Posted by sammyjay View Post
    Is it possible for there to be more larvae than nurse bees?

    Well, of course, yes. But why are you worrying about it?

    It is not that likely that there will be more larvae than the colony can take care of. In the progression thru the list of jobs which bees do as they mature after emerging from the comb, when necassary some can regress and do the job which they have graduated from. Which is a crude/nontechnical way to describe what happens.

    Are you perhaps concerned w/ chilled brood caused by not having enuf adult bees to cover brood were temperatures to drop suddenly drastically?
    Mark Berninghausen "That which works, persists."

  4. #4
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    Default Re: How many larvae can a nurse bee feed?

    From the Hive and the Honeybee...

    A larvae is visited about 1300 times a day, and more than 10,000 times during the eight day period from egg to sealed brood.

    How many combs of open brood are you seeing in a colony? How many larvae on a comb? I had a cell building colony last summer that had seven combs of larvae. With 4000 larvae on a comb that's 28,000 larvae that are fed 1300 times a day....or just under once every minute.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: How many larvae can a nurse bee feed?

    Quote Originally Posted by Rusty67 View Post
    The nurse bees will start ejecting of some of the larvae if they can't handle them all. Really good question and I'd like to know more. Are you seeing this in your hives?

    No, I'm not. I was just wondering what the minimum number of bees to start a colony was or what was the minimum amount of bees to have left in the spring was.


    Quote Originally Posted by sqkcrk View Post
    Are you perhaps concerned w/ chilled brood caused by not having enuf adult bees to cover brood were temperatures to drop suddenly drastically?
    No, not really, although this might be happening in my hives. I haven't checked but they are probably raising brood and we will probably have some temperture swings. Like the above post, I was wondering what the minimum amount of bees for starting a colony was or what was the minimum amount of bees to have coming into spring was.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: How many larvae can a nurse bee feed?

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Palmer View Post
    How many combs of open brood are you seeing in a colony? How many larvae on a comb?
    Last year both hives probably had 8 to 12 thousand bees and probably a similar number of larvae and eggs.


    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Palmer View Post
    I had a cell building colony last summer that had seven combs of larvae. With 4000 larvae on a comb that's 28,000 larvae that are fed 1300 times a day....or just under once every minute.
    How many bees do you think was in the colony?


    Nathan

  7. #7
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    Default Re: How many larvae can a nurse bee feed?

    Quote Originally Posted by sammyjay;
    I was wondering what the minimum amount of bees for starting a colony was or what was the minimum amount of bees to have coming into spring was.
    Enuf bees to cover three frames of brood. I've never counted them. It's an eyeball thing.
    Mark Berninghausen "That which works, persists."

  8. #8
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    Default Re: How many larvae can a nurse bee feed?

    Quote Originally Posted by sammyjay View Post
    How many bees do you think was in the colony? Nathan
    I'm still hung up on why you want to know "How many bees ...". What are you going to do, count each one?

    Are you planning on making nucs or something?
    Mark Berninghausen "That which works, persists."

  9. #9
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    Default Re: How many larvae can a nurse bee feed?

    I think increase essentials states 1:2 nurse be to larvae ratio so technically a hive could double every 21 days.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: How many larvae can a nurse bee feed?

    Yes Mark, I am planning on making nucs.

  11. #11
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    Default Re: How many larvae can a nurse bee feed?

    Do you have a plan on how to make them?
    Mark Berninghausen "That which works, persists."

  12. #12
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    Default Re: How many larvae can a nurse bee feed?

    Not completely sure yet. But ,Maybe Michael Palmers plan or 1 frame brood, 1 frame food, a queen and some workers.

  13. #13
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    Default Re: How many larvae can a nurse bee feed?

    I'd put more than that in a 5 frame nuc box, but that's about right.
    Mark Berninghausen "That which works, persists."

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