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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Carrollton va
    Posts
    46

    Default Transfer to Mating nuc

    I had 80% losses this year so I am down to one hive left. I am trying to be very conservative with the resources of the hive. I set up a starter for queens and have recombined it with the main hive above a queen excluder. Now my hope is that the main hive will finish the queen cells. My question is about transferring the queen cells to mating nucs. I am planning to get one frame with open brood to put with a queen cell. I will add honey (from the various dead hives) as I can along with feeding. I have had problems with the bees leaving and flying back home making the mating nuc very light in population. I am hoping the open brood will keep them in the nuc, but I will not have enough frames of brood for each of the queens. What else can I do to keep the bees from absconding and leaving the queen behind?

    When the hive is broken into mating nucs is it common to confine them to the nucs for 24-48 hours? Does that help give the bees a new sense of home? I have tried putting them into their new home with grass over the entrance but have not had good luck when done from the start. does confining them help? How long would you recommend confining them? Can I just put a cup or 2 of bees in a hive if they are fed well with thin syrup. I will be using 2 deep frames in a box with a reducer board.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Jacksonville, Florida
    Posts
    1,645

    Default Re: Transfer to Mating nuc

    I'm not sure I would make up mating nucs. If you are trying to rebuild your hive numbers why not just make up regular nucs let them build up and then split again? What are you going with a bunch of queens from mating nucs if you don't have enough bees to make up hives with? When you make up smaller nucs for mating purposes it often helps to move them to another yard because they can't afford to loose many bees back to the parent hive. Keeping them closed up for a couple days does help some but, you will still loose some bees back to the parent hive once you release them. Since you lost so many hives, I think you would be better off making fewer stronger nucs until you can build back up some. JMHO

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Carrollton va
    Posts
    46

    Default Re: Transfer to Mating nuc

    Thank you for the response johng.

    I am worried about the queens transition from queen cell to laying queen. I was asking about mating nucs to get the laying queens. Once I have laying proven queens I will be splitting up the main hive. At this point I am still 3 or 4 weeks from that. The idea of the small mating nucs is to increase my chances of getting a few good queens without using a lot of resources esp in the beginning. I know the really small mating nuc use a little as a few cups of bees. How do they keep the bees in those boxes? My plans are for 2 deep frames in a regular hive with a reducing board.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Sacramento,California,USA
    Posts
    3,657

    Default Re: Transfer to Mating nuc

    I think your plan is sound. I would shake in a frame of bees or a cup of bees as well as the adhering bees on the open larva frame. If you weather does not get too warm, screening them in, in the dark (if you have a basement or root cellar is great, place nucs in full shade if no cellar) for three full days does help quite a bit, but you will loose some. If you put the queen cells in the day they are going to emerge, or day before, the queens will emerge while the nucs are screened in and that may help the bees stay when you remove the screens as well. Good luck and keep us posted eh?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Jacksonville, Florida
    Posts
    1,645

    Default Re: Transfer to Mating nuc

    Yes, two deeps will work. I make two frame splits most of the time and have never had any problems. Just give them a extra shake of bees to make up for drift if you leave them in the same yard. As a matter of fact those two frame splits will grow into full hives pretty quick without moving the queen. Just feed them and let them grow.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Lincolnton, NC
    Posts
    1,107

    Default Re: Transfer to Mating nuc

    I've been making my small splits with capped brood instead of open. I have a book on queen rearing by Marla Spivak and Gary Reuter which states to use capped brood. Is that why I lose so many? I have 15 going right now and plan to keep them closed for about 3 days.
    Lawrence Heafner
    15 hives; 15 years; TF for 10; Zone 7B

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Benton, KY
    Posts
    115

    Default Re: Transfer to Mating nuc

    I also had lots of losses. 90% losing 18 hives. I bought packages early as I knew loses were early. I also ordered queens. Its hard to do any kind of cell builder with few hives. Later in season( July?) Splits would be better.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,108

    Default Re: Transfer to Mating nuc

    >I had 80% losses this year so I am down to one hive left. I am trying to be very conservative with the resources of the hive. I set up a starter for queens and have recombined it with the main hive above a queen excluder. Now my hope is that the main hive will finish the queen cells. My question is about transferring the queen cells to mating nucs. I am planning to get one frame with open brood to put with a queen cell. I will add honey (from the various dead hives) as I can along with feeding. I have had problems with the bees leaving and flying back home making the mating nuc very light in population.

    Shake the bees off of one or two frames of brood. Stop when you have twice as many bees as you want in the mating nuc.

    > I am hoping the open brood will keep them in the nuc

    It will keep the nurse bees. It won't keep the field bees.

    > but I will not have enough frames of brood for each of the queens. What else can I do to keep the bees from absconding and leaving the queen behind?

    Brood is best, but if you don't have it, I guess you don't have it. Even more bees might help.

    > When the hive is broken into mating nucs is it common to confine them to the nucs for 24-48 hours?

    Some people do. I don't. I've seen too many overheated bees I guess, so I really don't like to confine them unless I see no other solution to my current problems...

    > Does that help give the bees a new sense of home?

    Yes, it does. If you have them in the shade where they won't overheat and they have honey and pollen and you have a feeder you can give them water in, you could confine them for 72 hours and that will make almost all of them reorient.

    > I have tried putting them into their new home with grass over the entrance but have not had good luck when done from the start.

    It takes at least 24 hours to make much difference. 72 hours to make a lot of difference...

    > does confining them help?

    Yes.

    > How long would you recommend confining them?

    They need water and they can easily overheat when confined, so it would change depending on whether you can get water to them, whether they are in the sun or shade, and what the highs are...

    > Can I just put a cup or 2 of bees in a hive if they are fed well with thin syrup.

    The thin syrup will help with the water issue. It takes more than a cup or two of bees, in my opinion, to make a decent nuc especially if they have two combs to guard from the wax moths and hive beetles...
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Carrollton va
    Posts
    46

    Default Re: Transfer to Mating nuc

    Now everybody is in mating nucs. Here is what I ended up doing:

    I got 5 queen cells that could be moved. I did get more but some were too close to cut apart so I just move the cluster. As that was fewer than I expected I had enough to put some open brood most of them. My plan was only for 6 or 7 queens so that they would be well fed. The cells look very good, nice and big. I am using 8 frame equipment and reducer boards so I had room to put in a cup of water with mulch floating in it for water and I fed thin syrup. I kept them closed for 2 days. We have had a cold snap so I was not worried about overheating. I opened them up yesterday and 4 were flying and orienting. The last may be a little weak so I will add some more bees to it when it warms up so more. We will see if they are successful in about 2 or 3 weeks. I may try again in 3 weeks if I have more equipment. This batch did not seem to slow down the original hive. If they are successful I will be moving the reducer board to add more room to eventually make them into full hives.

    This plan works for me with one hive but is a lot more involved and management intensive. In the past I have made queen to do big 4 or 5 frame splits that took off with very little extra work. As always if I only had more bees.....

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