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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Asheville, NC
    Posts
    45

    Default week old nuc install queen cells

    Hi all,
    Did my first inspection yesterday and spotted the beginnings of 2 queen cells on the bottom of a frame. Should I be taking action? Here's the details:

    Installed a 5 frame nuc into an 8 frame deep a week ago on Friday the 13th. Was too afraid to inspect frames closely at that time, so I didn't notice the queen or any eggs/larvae, but saw lots of capped brood. Set my entrance reducer on the smallest opening.

    In the first 24 hours I had some rookie issues that I won't describe in detail, but that resulted in dozens of drowned bees in the feeder, and a perhaps 100 bee cluster that overnighted on the outside of the screen-bottom board before I brushed them back into the hive. I can't say for sure whether there was a queen in that cluster. I added a medium with foundation the following day at the advice of the fellow I purchased the nuc from. Replaced my ill-fitting hive top feeder with a quart jar over the inner cover.

    On Thursday the 19th I noticed a huge amount of activity at the front of the hive that looked like orientation flights. Traffic was really backing up at the entrance, so I switched the reducer to the larger opening.

    Did my first hive inspection yesterday, Friday the 20th. They don't seem to be very interested in the sugar syrup - about 3/4 of it was still there. There were very few bees on the medium frames up top. Saw traces of white where they were starting to draw comb, but not much going on there to speak of. In contrast, the deep was jam packed. The new, outer frames were each about 1/2 drawn. A single layer of busy bees covered both sides of each frame. Still seeing lots of capped brood, and some uncapped nectar. To my naive eyes, the brood pattern looked pretty compact. I am only just learning how to recognize things, and there were so many bees it was hard to see in the cells. But I didn't notice eggs or larvae for the first several frames. Finally on one of the last frames I saw a small patch of eggs (maybe a dozen). It is possible that there were eggs/larvae on the other frames and I just didn't look closely enough, but I can't say for sure. They certainly weren't obvious. On that same frame, I noticed the beginnings of 2 or 3 queen cells, close to the bottom of the frame. Actually, it was those queen cells that forced me to look closer for eggs.

    So, please correct me if you think I'm way off base, but here is what I'm thinking: I'm hoping that in my rookie nervousness, I just didn't look closely enough to spot more uncapped brood, and that there is actually a decently laying queen in there. I'm guessing that the girls are just feeling a little crowded, since there isn't much drawn comb for them to move to, and are preparing for a swarm. Its almost as if they haven't figured out there is a medium to move to, or that they don't like it.

    How soon should I go back in and look more closely for uncapped brood?
    Once efforts have started toward a swarm, will that nearly empty medium make any difference?
    If they figure out they have enough room and don't swarm, what happens to those queen cells? Do they destroy them?
    Should I watch and wait? Destroy the queen cells? Get a new queen?

    Thanks in advance for your advice...

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Calhoun Co, Texas, USA
    Posts
    1,310

    Default Re: week old nuc install queen cells

    Well, first, congrats on getting your new bees going

    As far as worrying about 2-3 queen cells, don't ... if there are only 2-3, then they're not likely to be swarm cells, just emergency cells if you accidentally injured the queen,or supercedure cells if there's nothing else wrong, but the bees think it's time for a new queen. Either way, nothing to get overly concerned about, both happen frequently.

    If the bees aren't taking much of your sugar syrup, then you can safely remove it as long as they have a little capped honey...that way you'll have one less thing to have to worry about maintaining.

    If you don't have any drawn frames to put in the Medium, it might work better to get them started drawing it out if you put it UNDER the deep for a few days, then just move it back to the top once they've gotten a good start on drawing it out. Bees sometimes don't know what to do with new, empty space over the tops of all their combs, because in nature they almost ALWAYS start at the top of a cavity, then build down.


    Hope this helps;
    Rob

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Asheville, NC
    Posts
    45

    Default Re: week old nuc install queen cells

    Thanks Rob! That's a relief to hear. So the appearance of these cells is a "just in case" ... it doesn't necessarily mean my queen is injured or not laying well?

    I'll try putting the medium on the bottom and see what happens....

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Calhoun Co, Texas, USA
    Posts
    1,310

    Default Re: week old nuc install queen cells

    Quote Originally Posted by Zanna View Post
    So the appearance of these cells is a "just in case" ... it doesn't necessarily mean my queen is injured or not laying well?
    It could be "just in case," if there are no larvae in them yet. If there are larvae in the cells, then they're raising a new queen; most likely because the one they have is injured/dead, or for whatever reason the bees think she's ready for retirement.

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