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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    media, pennsylvania
    Posts
    42

    Default new beekeeper, new nuc, first inspection

    howdy all,

    i am posting this here because i am going to be doing treatment-free beekeeping.

    i received my 5-medium-frame nuc of small-cell bees from wolf creek apiaries last monday morning (5am) and installed them into my waiting 8-frame box as soon as it got light enough. for some reason i was under the impression that the queen would be loose, but she was in a cage with wooden plugs and no attendants. i removed the plug from one end and placed the cage between the wall frame and the wall and then i closed everything up and went on a business trip for three days.

    since i've been back i have been observing their activity and i notice that about every third or fourth returning forager is laden with pollen. i was concerned that i had missed a large locust flow (and i still think i did), but it seems that they are finding something worth bringing back. they've found the water source i put out for them (large chicken fount with small rocks for footing), and all seems well from the outside observations as far as i can tell. i even cut the grass yesterday and they were cool about that, coming and going like normal.

    this morning i opened the hive to remove the empty queen cage and that went well, bees reacted to smoking as i have read. but i noticed a couple of things and i'd like to ask if i should be concerned:

    1) they are building comb between frames. i did NOT disturb that, since the hive is only five days old now, but i am worried that i should do something before it really gets out of hand. can i wait another week? what should i do?

    2) i am using foundationless frames, but the ones in the nuc do have foundation. the two wall frames and one next-to-wall frame are the foundationless ones i put in the box around the nuc frames. the bees have not started building comb on those frames. how long would it take before i should see some evidence of comb being built on the new frames? i know the answer depends on the flow or dearth, and i am not savvy enough yet to know if we are in one or the other, but for general guidelines, am i being too eager to see comb being built on the new frames after only five days?

    thanks in advance for your time and advice,

    -eric zwicky

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Parsonsburg, Maryland, USA
    Posts
    60

    Default Re: new beekeeper, new nuc, first inspection

    Yeah I run all foundationless hives too.. tear down any bur comb you find.
    If you just installed the nucs you should be feeding them which will help them build comb faster.
    I wouldnt worry about the flow the first year their not strong enough do much yet..
    Right now just make sure the queen is laying well and feed until 7_8 frames are drawn then add a second hive body and take a couple frames of drawn comb from the bottom (no brood) and put them in the center of the top box...

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    media, pennsylvania
    Posts
    42

    Default Re: new beekeeper, new nuc, first inspection

    Quote Originally Posted by Beeman410 View Post
    tear down any bur comb you find.
    thank you beeman410, but how best to accomplish this? should i just run the straight edge of the hive tool down between the frames and sever the burr comb that way? it seems as if it would be difficult to remove frames that are bridged together.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Parsonsburg, Maryland, USA
    Posts
    60

    Default Re: new beekeeper, new nuc, first inspection

    Yep that's how I do it
    if there is no good drawn comb on the frame take it all right down to the comb guide and let them start from scratch.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Calhoun Co, Texas, USA
    Posts
    1,310

    Default Re: new beekeeper, new nuc, first inspection

    Also, if you put your foundationless frames BETWEEN frames with nice, straight comb on them, it helps the bees draw them out nice & straight (and tends to encourage them to draw the foundationless frames out faster too, in my experience.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    media, pennsylvania
    Posts
    42

    Default Re: new beekeeper, new nuc, first inspection

    yikes! i'm gonna feel like a marauder but i will bite the bullet and do it. i just read in michael bush's book that letting errant comb go un-corrected will haunt one forever.

    robherc, i will also do as you recommend, thanks for the tip. i had kept all the frames of the nuc together because i could swear i read that i should do that, maybe in dean and laurie's book, but i can't remem]ber for sure.

    well, i was going to wait another week before disturbing the young colony again, but i guess i have a plan for tomorrow morning, thanks guys.

    -eric

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    media, pennsylvania
    Posts
    42

    Default Re: new beekeeper, new nuc, first inspection

    ok guys, i did NOT feed, but i did intersperse the foundationless frames among the already-built-up frames from the nuc. the colony seems to be thriving, and there's a lot of foraging going on apparently, so i am going to check again next week and see how things are going.

    when i checked yesterday, i was so nervous about opening the hive that i did not remove any of the frames... i just peered down into the hive.

    but today, with my wife there with me, i pulled and looked at each frame. the thing is, after months of looking at pictures, i still did not know what i was looking at... the bees were almost totally covering up the frames. but they were docile and compliant, which really put me more at ease.

    i did see capped honey and pollen, and some comb whose cappings looked darker than the honey or pollen, but the sheer mass of bees made it hard to see really.

    i know this is just due to a lack of experience. i will look again next weekend, and at my wife's suggestion we will thoroughly document each side of each frame with pictures and note-taking.

    thanks again for your help, have a great sunday!

    -eric
    Last edited by ezwicky; 05-20-2012 at 10:01 AM. Reason: typos

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Calhoun Co, Texas, USA
    Posts
    1,310

    Default Re: new beekeeper, new nuc, first inspection

    post the pics of anything you're not 100% sure what you're looking at & we'll be glad to throw in our $0.02 for ya then

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    Dayton, OH USA
    Posts
    303

    Default Re: new beekeeper, new nuc, first inspection

    Generally the darker capped cells are brood cells. They can look like capped honey cells but the honey cells tend to be a brighter, cleaner looking yellow wax. The brood cell cappings tend to look much closer to a brown color.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Leominster, MA USA
    Posts
    170

    Default Re: new beekeeper, new nuc, first inspection

    Quote Originally Posted by ezwicky View Post
    yikes! i'm gonna feel like a marauder but i will bite the bullet and do it. i just read in michael bush's book that letting errant comb go un-corrected will haunt one forever.

    robherc, i will also do as you recommend, thanks for the tip. i had kept all the frames of the nuc together because i could swear i read that i should do that, maybe in dean and laurie's book, but i can't remem]ber for sure.

    well, i was going to wait another week before disturbing the young colony again, but i guess i have a plan for tomorrow morning, thanks guys.
    U
    -eric
    u
    U
    Hi Eric,

    Depends on population of hive and how close brood is to emerging. You don't want to split up brood if there aren't enough bees to cover it. When you introduce foundation between brood frames you need more bees to cover.

    If hive is packed with bees and brood is emerging (more bees) you may have enough bees to split them up with foundation. Bees will use adjacent brood comb as a template for drawing nice foundation even if not between combs.

    Laurie (aka Ramona)

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    media, pennsylvania
    Posts
    42

    Default Re: new beekeeper, new nuc, first inspection

    thanks laurie, and everybody else who replied.

    i did another inspection today and the foundationless frames are being drawn out pretty nice, among the frmaes that came with the nuc.

    this was the second inspection since i hived them almost three weeks ago and i still am not sure what i saw. my wife took movie pics but she did something wrong and nothing came out, so i can't even show the forum.

    i did see lots of pollen cells and lots of honey cells, but there were so many bees on every frame that it was really hard to make out what was what.

    but there is a lot of activity all day long, and the foragers are returning loaded down with pollen still.

    i am going to do another inspection next weekend and we will take still pictures. i will also do my best to examine very closely the frames instead of just holdnig them up for the camera like i did today.

    thanks again to everybody for their time and advice.

    -eric

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