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  1. #1
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    Sep 2011
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    Default Leave them alone for 10 days question, confirmation

    I placed a 5 frame nuc in a ten frame deep body last Monday. I have read over and over again to leave them alone for 10 days. I also read that healthy bees can draw out that comb in a couple of days. I am just confirming that I should not get curious and open the hive until next Thursday. Am I correct? I have not seen any reason to be concerned anything is wrong in any way. I am just concerned the queen has room to start making a proper nest. She was pretty hemmed in by honey and the nuc was busting at the seems when I moved it. Opening things up and giving her room to lay properly is my biggest concern right now.
    Stand for what you believe, even if you stand alone.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2011
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    Campbell, Wyoming USA
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    422

    Default Re: Leave them alone for 10 days question, confirmation

    Take what I say with a grain of a salt cause I'm no guru but I think as long as the bees have room to draw out comb they'll get busy drawing out comb. If the nuc has frames of emerging brood your queen will be able to lay in the cells that have just opened up as well as being able to lay in the frames that have honey as the honey is being consumed. If your bees have the other frames drawn in a few days I'd be looking at putting a second deep on. I think you'd be able to look at them before ten days if you want though, I think that applies to newly introduced queens to keep the bees from balling the new queen but even that is kind of conjecture. I've had hives I peeked and poked around in after four days that did just fine. Like anything with beekeeping, ask three beeks get four answers. Good luck,
    We the willing have done so much with so little for so long we can now do anything with nothing

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
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    Tulsa, OK
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    3,391

    Default Re: Leave them alone for 10 days question, confirmation

    After 4-5 days it won't hurt anything to take the top off for a short time and see how they are doing on drawing comb. You can look down between frames without removing anything to determine if they are drawing out comb. You don't need to do that, but any new beekeeper will want to and it won't hurt anything.

    In my experience, a nuc is not going to draw out 5 extra frames in a couple of days. A big swarm fed syrup can do that, but not any nuc I've bought.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
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    Camas, WA
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    1,917

    Default Re: Leave them alone for 10 days question, confirmation

    I think that a nuc is different. If you only have foundation or are replacing a queen, etc., then waiting a week or more is best practice. A nuc is very unlikely to supercede their queen or abscond by early looking.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
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    Tulsa, OK
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    3,391

    Default Re: Leave them alone for 10 days question, confirmation

    Now that I think about it . . .

    It's been a long time since I've installed a nuc. I've just caught swarms and made splits for the last 4-5 years. However, I think I did complete inspections after a week with no problems.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Fort Wayne, IN
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    908

    Default Re: Leave them alone for 10 days question, confirmation

    I look whenever I feel like it and have the time. Bees don't seem to mind as long as you don't choke them with smoke and bang them around too much. This is a hobby and a learning experience so enjoy it. Looking is the most important thing you can do if you are a newbee. Every colony / year is different so there are no hard fast rules. With the weather we have had this year I think they are so busy that you could look every couple of hours and they wouldn't care.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    Suffolk, VA
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    2,461

    Default Re: Leave them alone for 10 days question, confirmation

    Yes, its best to not disturb them, BUT, this is your first experience getting bees, and its important that you learn the basics of hive inspection and manipulation. So, I suggest that you wait a couple of days then feel free to take brief peaks into the hive. You may not need smoke at this point, but have your smoker going just in case. Fight the urge to find the queen every time you open the hive. Don't rearrange the frames - put them back exactly as you pulled them out. If they are not drawing comb, you may need to feed, but it depends on both what the colony needs and what nectar is available. Feel free to post more specific questions.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    media, pennsylvania
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    42

    Default Re: Leave them alone for 10 days question, confirmation

    i want to piggy-back my own question onto this thread. i too just installed a nuc, last monday, into an 8-frame medium hive. the queen was in a cage, so i pulled the wooden plug (there was no candy) and kind-of wedged the cage in between the wall frame and the wall, with the hole pointing toward the front of the hive.

    i'd like to open the hive tomorrow and remove the cage before it gets propolized and difficult to remove, will that be ok?

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Milwaukee, WI
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    378

    Default Re: Leave them alone for 10 days question, confirmation

    Yes, I'd remove it sooner rather than later.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
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    Washington County, Maine
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    2,665

    Default Re: Leave them alone for 10 days question, confirmation

    I think the 10 day reference is primarily geared toward splits where you are expecting the split to make their own queen - not nucs. You are not going to hurt anything by waiting 10 days but you're not doing anything especially beneficial for the bees either. I tend to treat new packages and nucs much the same way. I was in a yard with 8 single deeps into which packages were installed about a week ago. Today was my first visit to refill feeders. 1 of the 8 had been taken the syrup completely. I took a closer look at 1 colony that seemed like it had a smallish population and once I spotted the queen, the cover went back on. I did a full inspection on one colony - saw eggs and the queen, fair amount of pollen too. Decent build up although the second deep is probably a month off. I had previously inspected them after 3 days to ensure queen release and remove the queen cages. (From an education pov you need to be in the colony to see/learn what is going on - future colonies that you may acquire can be left on their own / be interfered with less.)

    Your first inspections do not have to be invasive. You can tell much by just taking off the cover and looking down. Have the bees spread beyond the nuc frames? Are they taking feed? What is their temperament? No need to pull frames unless you want to verify how they are drawing their new frames and to give you an initial impression of queen performance.

    When you installed your nuc did you keep the frames from the nuc together? A good populous nuc will be all over their new frames and you could very well be ready for an additional brood chamber after 10 days.

  11. #11
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    Jan 2012
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    Chickamauga, Walker County, Georgia
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    352

    Default Re: Leave them alone for 10 days question, confirmation

    A nucleus hive is supposed to be "a very small hive that is nevertheless self-sustaining," where as a package represents an entirely man-made situation.

    The admonition to "leave them alone for X days" is, I suggest, far more important for a package, simply because the package must (to borrow a geek term) bootstrap "a natural situation" from absolutely nothing. A nucleus is supposed to already be in that "a natural situation" already.

    A few days after putting the hive into its new home, I'd check it briefly one special time to make sure that nothing is outrageously the matter. (i.e. "if you ... oops! ... goofed something up, the time to catch it is pronto.") Then, and forever after, "keep an eye on things." Observe the hive every day or so (keeping a daily written record of your observations, perhaps), and have a regular inspection at regular intervals (absent any observation on your part that you think might warrant a closer, sooner looky). The whole process might take ten minutes or less. Then, religiously, go update your log (and file-away the pictures from your phone). Even if each time you find "nothing of interest," when you look back upon your diary you might notice things over an interval of time that might be useful to you. (In many unrelated situations, diaries and running-logs have often "usefully surprised me.")

  12. #12
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    Jan 2012
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    Reidsville, NC
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    114

    Default Re: Leave them alone for 10 days question, confirmation

    Quote Originally Posted by mrobinson View Post
    The admonition to "leave them alone for X days" is, I suggest, far more important for a package, simply because the package must (to borrow a geek term) bootstrap "a natural situation" from absolutely nothing.
    I concur, with a nuc feel free to treat them like any other hive. And as was just noted, keep notes on what you do every time you go to the hive.

    The one and only nuc I ever bought (horrible waste of money IMHO) I moved frames after a few days to give more empty space in the brood nest; without any problems.
    Experience is better than theory.

  13. #13
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    Aug 2005
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    Default Re: Leave them alone for 10 days question, confirmation

    Please note that when I spoke of treating nucs and packages similarly I was speaking of newly started nucs - 2 frames of brood and some honey and either a queen cell or mated queen. There is not much natural about a new nuc - the bees will in time learn their new jobs, but at the beginning they are neophytes. Most were nurse bees until their frames went into another box. I agree that a five frame bursting at the gills nuc is much more robust than a package, and much closer to a fully functioning hive in practice.

  14. #14
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    Dec 2008
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    Phoenixville, PA
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    579

    Default Re: Leave them alone for 10 days question, confirmation

    I've followed the rules with problems and ignored them with success.

    I doubt you'll create difficulty by popping the top and sniffing around for a minute or two. I don't suggest much more until you see a need. Hey, it's a past time! Have some fun!

  15. #15
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    Sep 2011
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    Reno, NV
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    Default Re: Leave them alone for 10 days question, confirmation

    Well based upon the reply in this thread. I was mobbed by my kids to go open the hive up. So we went out and lifted the inner cover and took a peak. The bees seem to still be mainly on there 5 original frames. I had one frame of foundation sandwiched between the two frames of honey from the nuc so I lifted it up just a bit. They are drawing the comb at the top of the frame but not a lot of it. I was careful not to mes with anything I thought the queen might be on. Then pulled out the out side frame of honey. and it was covered in bees all looking busy about something. It seems they are drawing out the comb on their existing frames even deeper rather than drawing out the foundation. They are also making comb in other places that it does not belong, like the bottom of the inner cover, tops of frames etc. So anyway they are building comb and I am happy to see that. I take it as one more sign that all is well and they have what they need to be bees.

    My next question is how should I arrange the frames? I have 5 frames fromt eh nuc and 5 frames of foundation. Right now it goes from frame 1 to 10
    1.Foundation
    2.Foundation
    3.Foundation
    4.Honey Pollen
    5.Brood/ Sealed brood
    6.Brood/ Sealed brood
    7.Honey pollen and maybe some brood
    8.Foundation
    9.Foundation
    10 Honey

    I did not want to place a frame of foundation between 6 and 7 if there is brood in that frame. I also did not think I should seperate the nest from all the frames of honey by placing a frame of foundation in between frames 4 and 5. So frame 1-4 are there to keep food etc close at hand to brood rearing while frames 8 and 9 are placed for them to sort of be in their way and hopefully get them to draw it out and fill it up. I don't like two frames of foundation side by side. I swapped frames 9 and 10 yesterday because the bees seem to be drawing out the comb on frame 10 longer and longer.

    We have also been feeding sugar water right from the get go. It is hot here the last few days and the bees have a lot more room to try and keep cool etc. I figure they can use all the help they can get right now. They are drinking about a quart a day and we are feeding it in two quart jars at a time. It helps keep the line shorter. I actually think we do not have nearly as many bees foraging as we would without the feeding. Many of the bees are at the feeders. This is fine with me because I want them in the hive building a home anyway.

    So anyway they are building just not at an impressive rate yet. I am manly concerned about how to place the frames to encourage them to build out new comb but still keep the nest together. As someone mentioned the nest will enlarge as honey is eaten so I know it is going to happen. With that I figure the best thing I can do is to keep giving them the sugar water to help replace the lost honey storage space.

    I have noticed subtle difference each day in the bees. Each day they seem to appear jsut a little more protective. I finally see guard bees at the entrance etc. The overall effect is that the bees are just starting to settle in and recognize this as home and getting organized to act like a complete hive. We tend to go set by the hive several times a day and just watch it. I think int he process we have pretty much been recognized as a normal occurance. One of our dogs ran by the hive yesterday and I saw the first of what looked like an alarmed response from the bees. Suddenly there where a few dozen bees int eh air outside the hive and they where looking for the threat. They payed no attention to me or my daughter but I think the dog got hit at least once. He made a jump and nipped at something at his side anyway.

    Anyway they seem to be doing everything bees should be doing just on a tiny scale.

    Oh and the neighbors youngest boy came and peaked over the fence asking a ton of questions. I caught a drone and showed it to him. I told him it didn't even have a stinger. Then I got a female to crawl on my hand and told him. "This one does, But as long as I don't give it a reason to be afraid, it won't sting me". He then asked if there was a difference in the bees I had and the ones he always saw flying around his house. I told them what he was seeing where hornets and not honey bees. He seemed pretty excited that the neighbors are making honey and that the bees could be held in a persons hand and not get stung.
    Stand for what you believe, even if you stand alone.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Seneca, sc
    Posts
    830

    Default Re: Leave them alone for 10 days question, confirmation

    I think you need to check bees often to see if you have any problems. If a queen dies this time of year and they do not have the means to replace her the box will be empty in 60-70 days. When I check a hive I am not looking for the queen just open brood. If I see open brood the queen is laying. The next thing is how much stores are in the hive. If I see open brood and honey and nectar in the hive I move to the next one. This could mean that the hive will be open less than 5 minutes.

  17. #17
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    Sep 2011
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    Reno, NV
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    Default Re: Leave them alone for 10 days question, confirmation

    I was not happy with how I left the frames arranged two days ago. So I went back into the hive this afternoon to fix it. got my first sting on the tip of my finger for it. I think the bees are thinking of this more and more like their home every day. they had a little more reaction to the hive being opened today so I put my bee suit on as well. I think I may have actually pressed on the bee when I was trying to lift out he first frame so I was asking for the sting. The bees had a much different reaction when I lifted the inner cover as well. Not exactly aggressive but far more of a interest. I decided to put my bee suit on for this visit. I am not at all afraid of bees but I am also not stupid. They can and will sting whether I fear it or not. I don't really want to have an eye swollen shut for a day or two so I took the warning seriously except I didn't put on any gloves Probably never will work the hive with them so that is the way it is.

    Before opening the hive it appeared to me to be far more active at the entrance. The bees where coming and going with a more business like activity. they flew straight and and came straight back in. there was very little orientation type flying in front of the hive. It just struck me as they must have found something that they where getting serious about. There was also another noticeable in crease in the number of bees coming and going. I actually increased the size of their entrance because of it. Bees where having to crawl over each other to get in and out.

    Inside the hive was the big surprise. the foundation that was nearly untouched two days ago was about half drawn. every frame of foundation has some degree of drawn comb on it but the frames in position 8 and 9 are looking like honey comb.

    I wanted to split these two frames and place the #5 frame of honey and just a hand full of sealed brood between them. It seemed to me that my decision to move these frames away from the outer wall was a good one. So I moved the most drawn frame right next to the two frames of brood. Hopefully making an additional frame of cells available to the queen in just a few days. I also moved a frame of foundation next to the two frames of brood on the other side.

    The hive is now arranged as follows
    10. Honey
    9. Somewhat drawn foundation
    8. honey, pollen with a bit of brood
    7. approx half drawn foundation
    6. brood
    5. brood
    4. foundation with little comb drawn
    3. honey and pollen
    2. foundation with little comb drawn
    1. Foundation with very little comb drawn

    Frames 4 thru 10 I don't expect to have to move again. Frames 1 thru 4 will have to moved again in order to get the foundation fully drawn. I don't expect to have to look in to this hive again for a week and that will be an inspection on how the queen is doing. I also expect to move frames 1 and 2 at that time in order to have them among the old nuc frames. I hope that will then have all new frames in a position that the bees will start using them as part of their home.

    I also started a log and a map of the hive so I can do my thinking before I get into the hive. Hopefully this will prevent me from moving things and then deciding I don't like it after all. I sort of did a half baked attempt of that this time and am much happier with what I did with this disturbance. When I came in I actually put it all on paper and it helped a lot to see just where to go next with the frames. I might have to have someone stand there and read me the list of things to do. Btu at least I won't put the hive back together and then remember that one other thing I should have done. Very helpful, thanks for the recommendation of a log etc. It is very helpful.
    Stand for what you believe, even if you stand alone.

  18. #18
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    Sep 2011
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    Reno, NV
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    2,809

    Default Re: Leave them alone for 10 days question, confirmation

    Well am I not proud of myself. Pat myself on the back the call in sick from the dislocated shoulder. I have managed to say out of the hive for 6 whole days now.
    That will change this afternoon. I plan on a full inspection today to check on the queen and hopefully see if the brood nest has begin to expand. I also hope to make the last manipulations of the loser body today. If I am real luck y that will not be necessary but watching the bees over the past few days tells me they are favoring the west side of the hive. that is where they had the most drawn comb at my last inspection and it is where they head upon entering the hive as well. I am thinking of just swapping all the frames (1-3) on the east side of the hive for frames 8-10. assuming they have frames 8-10 fully drawn that is. I am thinking there is a good chance they do.

    I do have a question. Should I wait until they actually have these new frames filled to 80% before adding a second body? or can I add new frames of foundation to the lower body even if it is only drawn but unused comb? What I am thinking is removing a couple of new drawn frames to use when I do add the second body and giving them two new frames of foundation. I am jsut a bit stumped about how to go about adding a second body full of undrawn frames and still have some drawn frames to place those new frames between. Should I just move the frames of honey from the lower box up and use them like I did before as the guide frames? Basically doing exactly what I did in the first body less the brood frames. Move unfilled comb to the outside and adding new foundation to the lower body. this then starts to remove any honey pollen or nectar from the lower body though. not sure that is the right thing to do.

    I guess I am starting to see the answer to my own question. if I let the bees fill those new frames. I have more frames of honey to work with. I don't ahve to remove all the food from the brood nest but can still have a couple of frames to start a new body with.
    Stand for what you believe, even if you stand alone.

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
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    Camas, WA
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    1,917

    Default Re: Leave them alone for 10 days question, confirmation

    Personally I think that a lot a people on Beesource over manipulate their new hives, but that's a management decision that you will need to make. You will almost never find "drawn but unused" comb in a new hive. They draw it as they use it. I always just added a whole box of foundation after 8-9 frames were pretty well drawn and the bees just moved up when they were ready. If you leave foundation in the bottom box when you put the top box on, that foundation may never get drawn.

    It has been a long time since I was a new beekeeper, so I might not remember being impatient with my bees drawing comb, but disrupting their home by moving frames when they are a small hive doesn't seem like a helpful thing to do. Now moving frames of a large hive around is a whole other matter. Personally I wouldn't expect to see a lot of change in your nuc after 6 days unless you had a lot of capped brood just ready to emerge.

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
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    Chickamauga, Walker County, Georgia
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    352

    Default Re: Leave them alone for 10 days question, confirmation

    I would cautiously nod assent at that observation, beedeetee. There's a delicate balancing act between doing enough and doing too little; with being a steward and being meddlesome. We do tend to think that we are being helpful when maybe what we are actually doing is just second-guessing. For instance, "moving frames." They put them there; why move them? I'm not saying that it is right or wrong because I have no way to know; I'm not a bee. In fact, I'm not anything or anyone else but lil' ol' me. It's simply not a form of intervention that I personally would choose to do. To a certain extent maybe we're a bit like over-doting parents sometimes. We plan their lives out for them, then they do something completely unexpected (by us, anyway) ... and ... maybe it works out just fine, after all. Like you said, it's a personal management decision that you have to make.

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