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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
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    lee county, fl, usa
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    Default adding bees to mating nuk

    Last week I brought home a frame from a harvester/trap out that was loaded full of bees, and they had capped queen cells on the frame--which is why I brought it home. I have it in a 5 frame nuk-- that frame, a frame that had about half capped honey (I'd cut out half for comb honey) and an empty drawn frame to keep up against the other 2 frames for containment. I have a robber screen on the nuk.

    My math tells me that if they survived the move and if bees didn't tear down cells, they will emerge no later than tomorrow. I'd like to add more bees to the mix.

    I'm thinking a frame of bees from another hive. Or a shake of bees, not sure that's what I'm asking.
    At this point, what would be the safest way to add bees to the mix? I'm leaning towards a frame with different stages of brood and its adhering bees? Spray with sugar water? Set them apart from their original hive for a few hours before adding so they don't kill queen?

    I don't know how queen rearing will even go this time of year. I'm going to watch for drone population around the nuk because last time I had queen cells in a castle at this same spot, I knew when there was a virgin queen because of all the drones hanging out at the box. I don't even know if the queen cells are ok right now because I haven't looked since I moved them here.
    I sure would like to take a peek.
    "Rule Three of beekeeping...Never cease to feel wonder" Laurie R. King--
    March 2010; +/- 30 hives, TF

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Auckland,Auckland,New Zealand
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    5,837

    Default Re: adding bees to mating nuk

    Re drones and mating, isn't it mid winter?

    But to the rest of the question, from a practical perspective, there is little to gain by adding bees before the queen is laying. If the bees are added after she is laying they can actually do something useful, ie, feed and cover a larger area of brood.

    But if you want to add them now, couple things. If you add bees from the same yard to this nuc, because it does not have a laying queen, any bees of flying age will be inclined to leave it & return to their original hive. They will then tell the other bees they know where there is a nuc that can be robbed. Being set apart for a few hours first will not change that. Robbing bees will not be excluded very vigorously, partly because there is no laying queen, and partly because the bees in the nuc will be confused about who is who cos they've just had a load of bees added from the hive that is now doing the robbing. Robber screens are a deterrent, not an absolute robbing preventer.

    Likewise spraying with sugar water could start robbing.

    It is possible you could do all these things and still not have robbing, however it is taking a risk.

    The safest way to add the frame of brood with bees is to pull the frame from the donor hive & check the queen is not on. Then you give it a kind of light vibrating shake, that encourages the flying bees to leave but the young bees cling on. Then put that into the nuc, they won't rob, and they won't kill the queen. No sugar spray.
    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
    Apr 2011
    Location
    lee county, fl, usa
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    822

    Default Re: adding bees to mating nuk

    Thanks Oldtimer. Yep 80's during the day, mostly high 60's at night unless a cool front comes through. Then we have cooler temps, meaning 70's, low 80's during the day and 50's at night. This weekend we will have one night in the high 40's. A few years we have had freeze temps but that doesn't happen until February.

    As this is the first year I'm raising some queens, and there was no plan to do winter queens, I have no idea how this will turn out. I don't go into my hives this time of year unless I need to. Last time I looked, like when I pulled out the open brood frame to put in trap out hive, there were still drones but not a lot of them. This is more an experiment than anything else. Even if mated, it might not turn out to be a very good queen. I have room to play and experiment now that I have more than enough hives.

    Thanks again. I'm going to do "the safest way" and pull from one of my country hives, not a backyard hive. I appreciate your answer.
    "Rule Three of beekeeping...Never cease to feel wonder" Laurie R. King--
    March 2010; +/- 30 hives, TF

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Auckland,Auckland,New Zealand
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    5,837

    Default Re: adding bees to mating nuk

    Quote Originally Posted by bevy's honeybees View Post
    I'm going to do "the safest way" and pull from one of my country hives, not a backyard hive.
    Oh yes that is a much safer plan, from a robbing point of view.

    If you still have fall drones, there is a chance she will mate. Even if she mates poorly, long as she has enough semen to enable her to mother the hive through the winter, the bees will almost certainly supersede her naturally in spring, and natural supersedures are usually well raised and fed through the larval stage.
    44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    DFW area, TX, USA
    Posts
    1,041

    Default Re: adding bees to mating nuk

    Quote Originally Posted by Oldtimer View Post
    ........ Even if she mates poorly, long as she has enough semen to enable her to mother the hive through the winter, the bees will almost certainly supersede her naturally in spring, and natural supersedures are usually well raised and fed through the larval stage.
    bh, I'm nursing a Nuc in exactly that condition now with a mating in the last week of November. The thing I noticed was that this queen's eggs appeared larger than normal. Have you ever seen that OT?
    LeeB
    I try to learn from my mistakes, and from yours when you give me a heads up :)

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Auckland,Auckland,New Zealand
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    Default Re: adding bees to mating nuk

    Not that I remember.
    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
    Apr 2011
    Location
    lee county, fl, usa
    Posts
    822

    Default Re: adding bees to mating nuk

    I went into the nuk on Sunday and I saw a queen--what a thrill that was! Plus, she was very dark, almost black. I think she was mated but I don't know that for sure. My figuring is that last week Tues would be the time frame for her mating flights, but we had a lot of bad weather last week.

    On Monday I went out to the country hives and stole 2 more brood frames, one for the trapout hive and one for the new queen nuk. I had my sweetie ready with the camera when I went to put the brood frame in with the mating nuk (for a boost of bees) and went through the 2 full frames and the partial frame looking for her so we could take a picture of her. Couldn't find her. We went through them twice and couldn't find her. Bummed!

    Another question:
    The hive I took them from had plenty of drone cells at all stages. If we are getting a nectar run starting around mid/later February--citrus in the country--I can start rearing some queens now for requeening the older queens by that time, is that correct? Or do I begin during the nectar flow?
    "Rule Three of beekeeping...Never cease to feel wonder" Laurie R. King--
    March 2010; +/- 30 hives, TF

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