Slow buildup from Nuc
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2014
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    Nova Scotia, Canada
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    15

    Default Slow buildup from Nuc

    Hi all,

    I couple of questions from you experienced beekeepers.

    The summer and bloom here in Nova Scotia started rather late, consequently I received my Nucs the first week of June only. At present they have been really slow at drawing out comb. In fact the better of the two hives has only drawn out half a frame in the single deep I have them in.

    I have been feeding continuously since I got them, these are Pierco waxed.

    I recently came into some year old already drawn frames and thought maybe adding one of these each to my nucs would speed up the process? There isn't currently much space for the queen to lay. Good idea?

    I was also wondering if I should do my fall treatment later this year (Thymol) and hope to get more buildup, or should I stick to mid August treatment?

    thanks!

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
    Location
    Allen County, Indiana, USA
    Posts
    138

    Default Re: Slow buildup from Nuc

    Quote Originally Posted by carefree View Post
    Hi all,

    I couple of questions from you experienced beekeepers.

    The summer and bloom here in Nova Scotia started rather late, consequently I received my Nucs the first week of June only. At present they have been really slow at drawing out comb. In fact the better of the two hives has only drawn out half a frame in the single deep I have them in.

    I have been feeding continuously since I got them, these are Pierco waxed.

    I recently came into some year old already drawn frames and thought maybe adding one of these each to my nucs would speed up the process? There isn't currently much space for the queen to lay. Good idea?

    I was also wondering if I should do my fall treatment later this year (Thymol) and hope to get more buildup, or should I stick to mid August treatment?

    thanks!
    I've got a similar situation, my nucs are building up REAL slow. If I knew the source of the frames and was sure that they weren't infected with AFB or EFB then I personally would use them. For mine I also plan to give a frame of brood with nurse bees to help boost the population. My other current working theory is that with the crappy summer we've had so far in my area that the population just can't get over the hump for them to start building up.

    My plan for treatment is to first see whether they actually need treatment or not. If they do then I plan to treat towards the end of August, obviously my area is further south than you.

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    Rensselaer County, NY, USA
    Posts
    5,536

    Default Re: Slow buildup from Nuc

    Is the nuc already stressed by mites? Have you done a sugar roll the check the levels?

    Enj.

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Great Falls Montana
    Posts
    7,866

    Default Re: Slow buildup from Nuc

    I am a fanatic on keeping my bees warm. Wax drawing and comb building and how much comb the bees can keep brood in are all determined by how large an area the bees can keep warm. Reduce entrances to about two bees wide and if you have fallen for the Screened bottom board mythology, remove them until you get those 100 degree days in Nova Scotia. The drawn comb will indeed help the bees expand. Continue feeding 1:1 syrup and a good pollen patties will help.

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2014
    Location
    Nova Scotia, Canada
    Posts
    15

    Default Re: Slow buildup from Nuc

    Quote Originally Posted by enjambres View Post
    Is the nuc already stressed by mites? Have you done a sugar roll the check the levels?

    Enj.
    No mites at all at the moment actually.

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
    Location
    Derry, New Hampshire
    Posts
    2,295

    Default Re: Slow buildup from Nuc

    carefree......something is wrong. you are one plant zone away from me. I got mine a week or so before you and mine have drawn out 20 deep frames and working on 10 shallow........on both of my hives. you sure they are actually getting the sugarwater?

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2014
    Location
    Nova Scotia, Canada
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    15

    Default Re: Slow buildup from Nuc

    I can't imagine what could be wrong aside from the slow drawing of comb. They took the syrup fine but slowly. 12 pound pail a week approx

  9. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
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    Derry, New Hampshire
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    2,295

    Default Re: Slow buildup from Nuc

    Quote Originally Posted by carefree View Post
    I can't imagine what could be wrong aside from the slow drawing of comb. They took the syrup fine but slowly. 12 pound pail a week approx
    12 pounds? is that a gallon? have you see larvae in the cells uncapped? kind of curled up at the bottom? are there foragers going out? how many frames did you get in your nuc? have you seen your queen?

  10. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2014
    Location
    Nova Scotia, Canada
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    15

    Default Re: Slow buildup from Nuc

    I think it's about a gallon. It's inside a medium super. There are eggs and larva in both hives though less than there are capped brood. One nuc was four frames the other 5. The 5 frame one is especially behind as I had to requeen the first week and then it had chalk brood. I've see the Queen in both of them and seen eggs.

  11. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    Location
    Wolcott ct USA
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    29

    Default Re: Slow buildup from Nuc

    Quote Originally Posted by carefree View Post
    I think it's about a gallon. It's inside a medium super. There are eggs and larva in both hives though less than there are capped brood. One nuc was four frames the other 5. The 5 frame one is especially behind as I had to requeen the first week and then it had chalk brood. I've see the Queen in both of them and seen eggs.
    One thing I'm learning is that bees wont raise brood they cant cover. It sounds likes the nucs you got may not have had enough capped brood or nurse bees or both on the frames. Now the older bees that should be foraging are forced to take on hive dutys, and they do it grudgingly, it seems. If you had frames of drawn comb there was enough for the Queen to lay on. Buildup is all this coordinated dance of comb building, egg laying and brood cycles, and it has to be firing on all cylinders for it to happen fast. Makes you wonder how swarms survive at all.

  12. #11
    Join Date
    Sep 2014
    Location
    Nova Scotia, Canada
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    15

    Default Re: Slow buildup from Nuc

    Thanks, WetWilly. I am starting to believe this is the exact problem, combined with a late season here. I decided to add 1 frame of drawn comb and it seems activity is increasing!

  13. #12
    Join Date
    Sep 2014
    Location
    Nova Scotia, Canada
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    15

    Default Re: Slow buildup from Nuc

    Just an update on this. I added 1 drawn frame to the hive and activity did pick up. I added the second super a week later with 2 drawn frames seperated by an undrawn one. Wow, what a difference, in 2 weeks the hive has 5 full frames of brood, lots of honey pollen and eggs. Much stronger.
    I also stopped feeding, I think this was part of the problem for some reason.

    All the reading I have done has suggested to feed till the first box is drawn out. I think I had a honey bound hive.

    Is this a likely theory, is there such a thing as feeding too much? I'd like to learn for next year.

  14. #13
    Join Date
    Jul 2015
    Location
    Ponca City, Oklahoma,USA
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    56

    Default Re: Slow buildup from Nuc

    Got a swarm in mid june put them in a 7 frame nuc with only 5 frames in it (was going to put a inside feeder but did not get it in), checked july 4th, burr comb in the empty space with eggs and uncapped brood other frames not drawn,feeding with a boardman entrance feeder 1-1, 20 days later still not drawing out the other 5 and does not seem like the nuc has many bees, A friend has a bee tree that he wants cleared out of bees so started a trap out and put the nuc at the end of the cone it has been there 5 days today and it looks to have a lot of bees in it now, I really want this hive to make it through the winter and that is why I did the trapout so they would have enough bees to help the build up before summer is over. this is my only hive, 25 years ago I had 15 then gave it up. I will deal with the 2 frame space of burr comb next spring, But if they get to strong do you think I should transfer them to a ten frame deep or should I make another 7 frame deep and put it under the original 7 frame nuc, I cannot put it on top as the burr comb is attached to the top cover.

  15. #14
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
    Location
    New Haven, CT
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    441

    Default Re: Slow buildup from Nuc

    Some thoughts on this situation--you won't be able to transfer to a 10 frame deep, I suspect, without disrupting the burr comb that was started from the inner cover (and is likely also attached to the inside of the nuc box. By this time, are the other 5 frames all drawn out? You can tip up the box and look from underneath.

    I think that your best bet is to add another 7 frame nuc box and use an inside feeder to feed through the fall to get them to draw out the frames in that and the any as-yet undrawn frames in the original box.

  16. #15
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
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    Squaw Valley, CA, USA
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    1,019

    Default Re: Slow buildup from Nuc

    We had the same problem in Colorado. Unusually wet and cool. It seems the early season splits and nucs just made it over the hurdle and are really starting to build up. As Vance said 1:1 and pollen patties helps along with a brood frame for weaker ones. Also have your robbing screens ready. Good luck.

  17. #16
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    Jul 2015
    Location
    Ponca City, Oklahoma,USA
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    Default Re: Slow buildup from Nuc

    Thanks for your input Knisely I also think adding another 7 frame nuc under mine is the best way to go but I think I will keep using the boardman feeder as I don't like not knowing when an inside feeder runs out of feed, our area usually does not have freezes until around November so I can use the Boardman until then and by then they should be strong enough to survive the winter I do have a screened bottom board under them and can see somewhat, but I don't want to disturb them to much until I am sure they have drawn out all the comb in the nuc

  18. #17
    Join Date
    Jul 2015
    Location
    Raiford, Florida
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    172

    Default Re: Slow buildup from Nuc

    Feed weak hives 1:1 for more brood.
    feed .50:1 to draw combs
    Feed 2:1 to feed over winter if not too cold.
    I will bless (Praise) the Lord at all times: his praise shall continually be in my mouth.

  19. #18
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    Mar 2015
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    Williamsburg, Virginia
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    Default Re: Slow buildup from Nuc

    my2cents, I was under the impression that for comb building you increased the sugar content, say 1.5:1.

  20. #19
    Join Date
    Jul 2015
    Location
    Raiford, Florida
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    172

    Default Re: Slow buildup from Nuc

    Michael Bush has an opinion on this, as do many others. I found 1:1 was working. But, it was causing them to store a lot of it. So, my state inspector told me to cut back to about a 35% blend of sugar to water. Well, that comes out to be about 3 Lbs per gallon. And I did not care to weigh the sugar, so I opted for the 4 Lbs. Per gallon option and have gotten a lot of drawn comb and little stores. So, by my observation, it works for drawing comb. On another thread, Michael bush and some others were discussing a bee makes wax when it has a full belly.
    My2Cents is, it works and is cheaper. Cost me $1.77 per gallon of syrup.
    My2Cents

    https://www.beesource.com/forums/show...ighlight=syrup
    I will bless (Praise) the Lord at all times: his praise shall continually be in my mouth.

  21. #20
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
    Location
    Williamsburg, Virginia
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    273

    Default Re: Slow buildup from Nuc

    from one of Michael's post
    Bees use whatever they have. Nectar varies greatly in sugar content. This does not cause them to behave differently other than the effort they have to go through to remove the extra water in the thinner syrup. I feed 5:3 for any purpose that I would feed for. I would feed 2:1 but I have trouble getting it to dissolve. It spoils a lot less at 5:3 than it does at 1:1 and even less at 1:1 than it will at 1:2. But the bees will take any of it and use it to build comb, feed themselves, feed the brood, store it as honey... with stronger syrup you are just saving them work and saving you wasting spoiled syrup...

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