How long for five frames to become a cohesive unified colony?
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2017
    Location
    Brevard County, Florida, USA
    Posts
    68

    Default How long for five frames to become a cohesive unified colony?

    I did a walk by inspection of my hives four days ago, and found a fist sized ball of bees hanging off the top of one of my deeps. I looked at it for a second and said to myself "there's a queen under that ball of bees." Sure enough there was an unmarked, mated queen. So I put her in a cage and then went through the deep, and found my marked queen. So this must have been a two queen colony.
    I marked her, and decided to make up a new nuc with her. I have five relatively strong Nucs, so I pulled a frame from each one and made a new nuc. I put her back in the cage and plugged the hole with queen candy, closed it up and walked away. Fast forward a couple days and I see way more activity at the entrance than I should've. This hive is obviously now getting robbed out. In retrospect I see that this was almost a guaranteed outcome. I put a bunch of foragers from five different colonies into a box and walked away from it. So they filled their bellies, flew back to their colonies, told their sisters, and the party began.
    Once I realized what was going on I sealed up the box. For the last two nights, I have opened it just before sunset when the bees from the other colonies nearby had quit flying and then closed it back up after dark.
    The colony is not completely robbed out. The open nectar is gone, but there still some capped honey. There's plenty of pollen too. And I put a jar feeder on the top. I know that you're not supposed to feed a colony that's being robbed, but since they had all their nectar cleaned out, and the hive is sealed I thought this would be a help to them. There is open brood, and therefore mouths to feed.
    So now that you've got the backstory, I've finally arrived at the question in the title of this thread. How long should I expect that it will take for this to become a cohesive hive that can defend itself, and what advice would you give me going forward? I do not have an out yard that I can take this nuc to, to get it away from my other colonies.
    Also, what advice would you give for starting a new colony like this in a way that would prevent the rob out to begin with? If I had just sealed it up for three days to start with , with ventilation of course, would I have had a better chance at success?

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2018
    Location
    Decatur / Cullman, also. 35603
    Posts
    740

    Default Re: How long for five frames to become a cohesive unified colony?

    Reduce hive entrance size. Put robber screens on, . Yes feed in a top box, them till a flow starts, and maybe pollen sub.in a top box. Can't keep em closed up for long, they have to forage. How many bees in the box? Can you add some frames mid day to add . the nurse bees should stay..., and you got a frame of brood coming to help pop get up. hope this may help. Others with more experience can maybe help more. But give some of this a try. Hope you get this worked out.
    Last edited by Richinbama; 02-08-2018 at 10:02 PM.

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2016
    Location
    killeen Tx
    Posts
    59

    Default Re: How long for five frames to become a cohesive unified colony?

    Can I ask a question, do you have any AHB's in your area? Because that sounds a lot like a usurpation swarm.


    Joe

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2017
    Location
    Brevard County, Florida, USA
    Posts
    68

    Default Re: How long for five frames to become a cohesive unified colony?

    Quote Originally Posted by sr4440 View Post
    Can I ask a question, do you have any AHB's in your area? Because that sounds a lot like a usurpation swarm.


    Joe
    We do have some AHB, but this queen came out of the hive she was hanging on. The reason she was there is that I covered this hive with a moving blanket when we had temperatures dip into the 30s. I had this box supered, with a queen excluder, and was worried that they would cluster and move up leaving the queen below the QE. I didn't uncover the box for another day, and when I pulled the blanket back I found that quite a few bees had moved out and occupied the space between the box and the blanket. I just left them, and the next day most of them had gone back in, but this tight little ball remained.

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