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  1. #1
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    Aug 2011
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    Accomack County, VA, USA
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    Default Do you shake off the nurse bees when "sharing" a frame?

    Hi There,

    Was wondering if I needed to shake off the bees from a frame of Brood,Larvae,Eggs when putting it into a different hive? I used this great method of checking for a queen when I thought one of my hives was queenless by adding a frame of eggs and brood and then checking 3 days later for queen cells. Every time I did this I shook off the bees and was wondering if that was neccessary? Would those nurse bees be accepted in the new hive if I left them on the frame and would they want to be accepted? (-: Thanks for your input!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
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    Auckland,Auckland,New Zealand
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    Default Re: Do you shake off the nurse bees when "sharing" a frame?

    Only share the bees if you know where the queen is. If the purpose of moving the frame is just to test to see if the bees will build queen cells, then no need to share bees also you can shake them off saves looking for the queen. But if the purpose is to boost a weaker hive or make a strong hive less strong then move the bees also.
    44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
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    Accomack County, VA, USA
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    Default Re: Do you shake off the nurse bees when "sharing" a frame?

    Ok Thanks Oldtimer, but I have another question (-: So when you combine a queenless hive with a queen right hive you use various methods including the newspaper so they can get used to the queen scent before complete introduction and hopefully won't kill her. Why does it not matter when putting in a frame of brood with nurse bees? They won't fight eachother?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2011
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    Livermore, CA
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    Default Re: Do you shake off the nurse bees when "sharing" a frame?

    The only problem I can see with not using the paper combine method between a QR hive and a QL one would be the unknown factor of laying workers in the QL hive that may kill the queen, then again if the QR hive is pretty strong they should be able to fend off the laying workers, am I correct?

    I have never just moved a QL hive on top of a QR hive before, I've done the paper method each time.

    Would like to know others experiences as well.
    Coyote Creek Bees

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
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    Camas, WA
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    1,949

    Default Re: Do you shake off the nurse bees when "sharing" a frame?

    I think that fighting is much less likely with weak hives. I never bother shaking bees off of frames when I am making up nucs with bees from different hives, or adding brood and bees to weak hives. If I am adding a box with a weak queenless hive to a strong hive, I would probably put down the newspaper just in case. If I am combining two weak hives I probably would also, but I know that I have done so in the past without bothering and haven't noticed a problem.

    I have made up a nuc by taking 4 frames and the queen from a strong hive and placed the remaining bees on a hive with a queen and a couple hundred bees before and they grew to my strongest hive of the season last year. I didn't use newspaper. So newspaper is always a safety tool and is more necessary the stronger the hives are that are being combined. I also think that nurse bees are never a threat to other hives or queens.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
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    Auckland,Auckland,New Zealand
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    Default Re: Do you shake off the nurse bees when "sharing" a frame?

    EDIT - Wrote this post before I saw yours Beedeetee, so covered some of the same ground, sorry!

    Bailey I think it's about the bees being put into a hive being a small minority, plus being mostly young bees. Transferring bees in this manner has been standard procedure for me with virtually no problems.

    One thing to bear in mind is how to do this if it's robbing season. You don't want to put bees into a weak hive that may return to the strong hive and tell their bees where the honey is. In such cases, shake the brood comb in such a way to make old bees fly but keep the young bees, or else don't risk it at all and shake all the bees off before transferring.

    BeeGhost, I rarely use paper now, but did around a couple weeks ago when I combined a weak nuc to a strong laying worker hive. The nuc went on top, over paper and an excluder, I was at the site a week later so popped the lid for a look, the bees had combined and queen was OK and laying, but I left the excluder in for another week just as a safeguard to stop her getting down among old, unfriendly bees.
    44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Coatesville, Pa, USA
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    833

    Default Re: Do you shake off the nurse bees when "sharing" a frame?

    Oldtimer I'd like to know what you did differently than I. I tried this also this year. Combining a nuc w/ a laying worker nuc. (Both were 5 frame hives) the laying worker hive had a queen that either didn't hatch out or didn't make it back. I didn't check to see if she emerged. When I looked at them the next day after combining w/ paper, I saw them balling my good queen who I freed, she went to the top of the frame and flew off. Thankfully she was fat so she didn't go very far. (Only about 10 feet or so to the ground) I got a queen cage and put her in and back into the hive. I did use newspaper, but the laying workers were too strong for this nuc even though they were basically broodless for 3 weeks or more. (at the time I combined them the laying worker was about 1/3 the size of the good nuc) So from here on out If I need to combine a laying worker hive, I'll either cage the queen just before letting them combine or do a push in cage as I saw here sometime ago.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Herrick, SD USA
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    4,372

    Default Re: Do you shake off the nurse bees when "sharing" a frame?

    The difference is the ratio of queenless to queen right bees. Newspaper won't alleviate the problem of the population imbalance a lot of bees maywell just chew through the paper in a matter of hours. I don't like to add queenless bees directly to any queen right hive. My rule is make sure the queen right bees outnumber the queenless ones at least 2 to 1 when doing a combine and even that ratio might be a bit risky. If you have a lot of extra queenless bees I just like to shake them off to the side in a yard and let them find another home on there own and leave the old spot vacant.
    "People will generally accept facts as truth only if the facts agree with what they already believe."- Andy Rooney

  9. #9
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    May 2011
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    Default Re: Do you shake off the nurse bees when "sharing" a frame?

    I think I am with Jim on this one. In my limited experience with laying worker hives I would rather just shake them out than to try and requeen them and risk having a perfectly good queen get killed. I've tried the adding a frame of brood a week to get them to make a queen but I missed a week and basically jacked that up.
    Coyote Creek Bees

  10. #10
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    May 2011
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    Livermore, CA
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    Default Re: Do you shake off the nurse bees when "sharing" a frame?

    Old timer,

    I'm surprised that the nuc was able to fend off a laying worker hive. I know you have a lot more experience than I do, so why wouldn't you just shake out the LW hive? Just curious.
    Also, how many times have you been able to put a nuc on top of a LW hive and have it work out with out the queen being killed?

    I always hate dealing with LW hives!
    Coyote Creek Bees

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Do you shake off the nurse bees when "sharing" a frame?

    I didn't shake it out, because it was essentially still a strong 2 box hive with potential to still get a crop this year. Agree with other posters though, a nuc on a strong LW hive is high risk, there's a couple factors why I did it on this one, the LW hive somehow gave me good "vibes", they were pretty calm and just somehow looked a good candidate to try, and the other is I've got enough spare queens to take a risk. Luckily it worked out best case scenario, when I eventually pulled the excluder bees had moved up and totally filled the box the queen is in allowing her to lay up big time. There's enough bees to let her fully lay the next box also, so yes, it will soon be a good hive again and will pay it's way this season.

    I've shaken out LW hives but not much, although I recommend this practise because it's a reasonably safe option, for myself I usually succumb to the temptation to try to save them.

    How many times have I done it? Well firstly, good somebody prepared to ask that because so often people will say they did this, or that, and it worked, but turns out they only did it once. Some stuff is a numbers game and if you know it works, say, 85% of the time, then it's worth doing, maybe. But that can only be known after doing it quite a bit. I don't actually know how many times I've dealt with LW hives it's not something that happens daily. . But over my life, certainly in 3 figures, I would have dealt with a LW hive in one way or another. I have paying customers I help and nearly all their problems are something to do with the hive "going queenless", as they would say, this season I've dealt with more than 20 of those with 100% success, I have to know what is done will work when it's a hobbyist with one, very loved hive.

    Quote Originally Posted by delber View Post
    Oldtimer I'd like to know what you did differently than I. I tried this also this year. Combining a nuc w/ a laying worker nuc. (Both were 5 frame hives) the laying worker hive had a queen that either didn't hatch out or didn't make it back. I didn't check to see if she emerged. When I looked at them the next day after combining w/ paper, I saw them balling my good queen who I freed.
    I think the operative word here might be looked at them the next day. This is just asking for trouble. If doing a queenright to LW combine I would tell anyone to leave it completely undisturbed for 2 weeks. The way I approach it is the queen is set up among a tight enough bunch of bees on at least several frames, that they will keep her safe even after they start interacting with the other bees, it's also important they have a decent quantity of brood which has a calming and stabilizing effect.

    Having said all this I just want to say I'm spouting off like some kind of expert & I don't like to sound like that I'm no expert, but just doing my best to answer the questions. But using the above methods I've almost never had a failure.

    For somebody wanting to combine a small queenright nuc with a strong LW hive, here is a pretty failsafe way, long as you have a bit of spare time. Put the nuc in a full sized super and put it right next to the LW hive. Keep the entrance pretty small to help them fend off robbing. Over the next days, bees will gradually drift from the LW hive to the queenright one, but never in enough numbers at any one time to create problems. Reduce the size of the LW hive, Jamming them in. If migration to the queenright one is too slow, move the LW hive away a yard or two, just whatever's needed to have those bees gradually moving to the other hive. Do not open or disturb the queenright hive, just be aware if it get's to the point it needs another box and if so give it one. Keep reducing and removing frames from the LW hive till you have it down to zero, which may take, say, 3 weeks.
    44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).

  12. #12
    Join Date
    May 2011
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    Default Re: Do you shake off the nurse bees when "sharing" a frame?

    Thank you for replying Oldtimer!
    Coyote Creek Bees

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