Massive, colossal nuc failure. What are our options now?
Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 20 of 25
  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2015
    Location
    Sacramento County, CA
    Posts
    867

    Default Massive, colossal nuc failure. What are our options now?

    Hi again!

    We recently made up a batch of nearly 50 nucs. I followed instructions to the tee...and experienced a colossal failure. So obviously I did something terribly wrong.

    We are trying to salvage what is left. Not sure what our options are...

    Came here looking for help again.

    Here is what I did and here is what we have left:

    What we did:

    1. Raised 50+ queens and had all in sealed queen cells.
    2. Made up 50 or so nucs: in each nuc we installed 2 frames of honey, one frame of sealed brood and some eggs, installed queen cells [my thinking was if the queen cell failed, the bees would raise their own queen].
    3. Left all nucs for two weeks. Opened each one today and experienced super disappointment. Out of 50 nucs, less than 5 laying queens.

    What we have left:

    1. 45 nucs with lots of bees but no queens, no eggs, no larvae.
    2. Two hearts that are deeply broken.
    3. Much less confidence.
    4. A dash of hopeless and despair.
    5. A fresh new level of humility.

    Ok, please give us some hope if it is at all possible. I know there are various options...just not sure which way to go...just don't want 45 nucs with all the bees dying.

    We do have about 60 strong colonies that are available for assistance.

    Thanks,

    Soar

  2. Remove Advertisements
    BeeSource.com
    Advertisements
     

  3. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2015
    Location
    Parthenon, Ar,USA
    Posts
    263

    Default Re: Massive, colossal nuc failure. What are our options now?

    Two weeks may not have been long enough for virgins to emerge, mate and start laying. Don't give up yet.
    Neill
    Herbhome Farm USDA zone 7a

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Location
    Dickson TN
    Posts
    1,943

    Default Re: Massive, colossal nuc failure. What are our options now?

    Quote Originally Posted by herbhome View Post
    Two weeks may not have been long enough for virgins to emerge, mate and start laying. Don't give up yet.
    Give them another week.

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Bunker Hill, IL
    Posts
    891

    Default Re: Massive, colossal nuc failure. What are our options now?

    Your post would seem to indicate you don't understand the queen timeline. http://beespoke.info/2014/06/25/queen-rearing-timeline/



    Depending on how fresh your capped queen cells were you may just now be at a time when you could expect them to start laying. As others have said, another week - 10 days before you should get concerned.

    What kind of yard did you have 50 nucs in? Unless your in a fairly good size apiary you may be short on drones to mate the queens. Good queens should have a min of 10 mating's with drones.

  6. #5
    Join Date
    May 2015
    Location
    Sacramento County, CA
    Posts
    867

    Default Re: Massive, colossal nuc failure. What are our options now?

    Thank you for your replies and words of encouragement.

    It sure would be nice if this was only a matter of inspecting too early!

    We installed the sealed queen cells on Memorial Day. Most queen cells at that time had been sealed 2-5 days.

    We will inspect again next weekend and hopefully find more laying queens.

    If some of the nucs do not have a laying queen, what are our options?

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2015
    Location
    tell city, in.
    Posts
    95

    Default Re: Massive, colossal nuc failure. What are our options now?

    If they don't have laying queens in 10 days give them a frame of young larva an eggs they will make a queen.

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Location
    Powhatan, Virginia, USA
    Posts
    352

    Default Re: Massive, colossal nuc failure. What are our options now?

    I agree with schmism. Queen cells sealed 2-3 days are in the fragile period. Better option is 2 days before emerging. They are tougher then. When you installed them they were still 5-6 days from emerging. 8 days to finish maturing mate and start laying is really quick. Review your queen math, you have another week at least. Personally, I prefer a stronger nuc, 1 frame honey and at least 2 frames brood, we have SHB and they wreak havoc with a weak nuc

  9. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    West Bath, Maine, United States
    Posts
    2,278

    Default Re: Massive, colossal nuc failure. What are our options now?

    Doubles and triples, reload.
    Here ( spring does not really come until mid July and that is also the end of summer.) you would get more total bees faster than with singles and few bees. Curious with other views.
    It is not true that you cannot teach an old dog new tricks.
    They can learn them, they just can't do them.

  10. #9
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Grand Rapids MI USA
    Posts
    1,425

    Default Re: Massive, colossal nuc failure. What are our options now?

    Generally speaking after 34 days (if the Q was raised from a egg) is the time to pull the panic button. If you have a Q failure just shake the bees out and the bees will beg their way into the other nucs or newspaper combine.
    Rod

  11. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2015
    Location
    Bergen County, NJ
    Posts
    904

    Default Re: Massive, colossal nuc failure. What are our options now?

    I did not do 50 Nucs but only 15 Nucs this year , but here is what worked for me so far.

    Use queen calendar http://www.thebeeyard.org/queen-rearing-calendar/

    1. Did trial run of queen grafting, with a home made incubator (two medium boxes, bunch of insulation boards, light bulb, good temperature controller and some #8 screen).
    2. This trial run is to make sure every step works through the end of emerging queens.
    3. The trial run (and incubator) helps candle the queen cells so one is not wasting preparing queenless Nucs.
    4. On first trial, queen emergence was 50%. I am glad we didnt prep all Nucs.
    5. Once I saw queens moving inside cells on candling, went ahead and prep'd the Nucs
    6. Put candled queen cells in Nucs. Dont wait to too long or they start emerging in the incubator

    Using queen calendar, plan to do second graft such that second batch of queen cells will be ready to place about 2 days after first batch emergence.

    Following queen calendar, go into first batch of Nucs three (or 4 days) days after expected emergence and check cells to make sure they actually emerged. Mark the nucs where cells did not emerge or were duds.

    In a day or two after this inspection, you should have second batch of cells ready to place. Rinse and repeat.

    The idea is to stagger then batches so worse case, you will be placing extra cells that bees will tear down. No big deal.

    All of this assumes you don't have mating issue or predators snatching up queens on mating flights.

    Contrary to popular advice, I do check my Nucs often. I rather catch problems early on than waiting 3 weeks and then realizing the cells did not emerge or something happened to virgin queens. The bees in the Nucs are aging rather rapidly during late spring / summer months.

    Next course of action depends on purpose of these 50 Nucs. If they are for sale you got deposits, I would purchase laying queens and be done with it.
    If these are for your own future use, combine (stack them or into double deeps) with laying queens, give them a week or two and try again.
    Last edited by DaisyNJ; 06-10-2018 at 07:58 AM.

  12. #11
    Join Date
    May 2015
    Location
    Sacramento County, CA
    Posts
    867

    Default Re: Massive, colossal nuc failure. What are our options now?

    Quote Originally Posted by schmism View Post
    Your post would seem to indicate you don't understand the queen timeline. http://beespoke.info/2014/06/25/queen-rearing-timeline/



    Depending on how fresh your capped queen cells were you may just now be at a time when you could expect them to start laying. As others have said, another week - 10 days before you should get concerned.

    What kind of yard did you have 50 nucs in? Unless your in a fairly good size apiary you may be short on drones to mate the queens. Good queens should have a min of 10 mating's with drones.
    Schmism,

    Thanks for the great info. We are experimenting with different types of bee yards. Last spring, we had a terrible success rate on our nucs. We had placed the nuc boxes only inches apart and installed robber screens...result: 20% success rate.

    Next, we installed all nucs into trees [believe it or not]...success rate on these nucs were 100%. Placed nucs in trees this spring with walk away splits...again, 100% success rate [see pics please].

    Two weeks ago I made a new nuc yard using scrap metal I won for pennies at an auction [see pics please]. So we decided to experiment placing some nucs with sealed qc's in the trees, some on the racks.

    We have massive drones in this area because I see massive numbers in our hives and I also have seen queens getting mated as they fly around our ranch.

    After reading all the replies here, it appears obvious I did not read our queen calendar correctly. We will check again next weekend.

    For all future grafting, I will print out the calendar DaisyNJ posted and use it diligently.

    Our goal is to create 50 five frame nucs and 100-200 two frame nucs, all with successful sealed cells that then turn into mated queens.

    Quote Originally Posted by Slow Drone View Post
    Give them another week.
    Will do~

    Quote Originally Posted by herbhome View Post
    Two weeks may not have been long enough for virgins to emerge, mate and start laying. Don't give up yet.
    Thanks, and will do!

    Quote Originally Posted by jerrystaxidermyhunter View Post
    If they don't have laying queens in 10 days give them a frame of young larva an eggs they will make a queen.
    Will do!

    Quote Originally Posted by John Davis View Post
    I agree with schmism. Queen cells sealed 2-3 days are in the fragile period. Better option is 2 days before emerging. They are tougher then. When you installed them they were still 5-6 days from emerging. 8 days to finish maturing mate and start laying is really quick. Review your queen math, you have another week at least. Personally, I prefer a stronger nuc, 1 frame honey and at least 2 frames brood, we have SHB and they wreak havoc with a weak nuc
    So you are saying that we should do our best to wait until the last couple of days of emerging? Wow, that is cutting it close! Might need to use queen cages just to play it safe.

    Quote Originally Posted by Saltybee View Post
    Doubles and triples, reload.
    Here ( spring does not really come until mid July and that is also the end of summer.) you would get more total bees faster than with singles and few bees. Curious with other views.
    Salty, are you saying to use colonies that have 2-3 full boxes of bees?

    Quote Originally Posted by rwlaw View Post
    Generally speaking after 34 days (if the Q was raised from a egg) is the time to pull the panic button. If you have a Q failure just shake the bees out and the bees will beg their way into the other nucs or newspaper combine.
    Will do!

    1.jpg1.jpg

  13. #12
    Join Date
    Jan 2018
    Location
    Knoxville, Tennessee
    Posts
    73

    Default Re: Massive, colossal nuc failure. What are our options now?

    Quote Originally Posted by DaisyNJ View Post
    I did not do 50 Nucs but only 15 Nucs this year , but here is what worked for me so far.

    Use queen calendar http://www.thebeeyard.org/queen-rearing-calendar/

    1. Did trial run of queen grafting, with a home made incubator (two medium boxes, bunch of insulation boards, light bulb, good temperature controller and some #8 screen).
    2. This trial run is to make sure every step works through the end of emerging queens.
    3. The trial run (and incubator) helps candle the queen cells so one is not wasting preparing queenless Nucs.
    4. On first trial, queen emergence was 50%. I am glad we didnt prep all Nucs.
    5. Once I saw queens moving inside cells on candling, went ahead and prep'd the Nucs
    6. Put candled queen cells in Nucs. Dont wait to too long or they start emerging in the incubator

    Using queen calendar, plan to do second graft such that second batch of queen cells will be ready to place about 2 days after first batch emergence.

    Following queen calendar, go into first batch of Nucs three (or 4 days) days after expected emergence and check cells to make sure they actually emerged. Mark the nucs where cells did not emerge or were duds.

    In a day or two after this inspection, you should have second batch of cells ready to place. Rinse and repeat.

    The idea is to stagger then batches so worse case, you will be placing extra cells that bees will tear down. No big deal.

    All of this assumes you don't have mating issue or predators snatching up queens on mating flights.

    Contrary to popular advice, I do check my Nucs often. I rather catch problems early on than waiting 3 weeks and then realizing the cells did not emerge or something happened to virgin queens. The bees in the Nucs are aging rather rapidly during late spring / summer months.

    Next course of action depends on purpose of these 50 Nucs. If they are for sale you got deposits, I would purchase laying queens and be done with it.
    If these are for your own future use, combine (stack them or into double deeps) with laying queens, give them a week or two and try again.
    I use the incubator method as well . I will not make any nucs up until I have virgins emerged. I have found direct release is a much safer bet for me. I also mark my virgin queens at this time and have had about 95 percent success..

  14. #13
    Join Date
    Sep 2016
    Location
    Denver Metro Area CO, USA
    Posts
    1,795

    Default Re: Massive, colossal nuc failure. What are our options now?

    So you are saying that we should do our best to wait until the last couple of days of emerging?
    Yes, that would be the "standard" way of doing things
    Quote Originally Posted by Colobee View Post
    Gleaned from Morse - "Rearing Queen Honey Bees":
    "Often even slightly jarring an immature queen cell will kill the developing pupa."
    Otherwise damage to legs, wings and especially antennae may also occur. Cells should be held in the natural vertical position. He refers to days 9-14, leaving only the first, and last two days that the cell is capped as being "safe". Pretty much all of the pupal development stage.
    Last edited by msl; 06-10-2018 at 06:34 PM.

  15. #14
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    West Bath, Maine, United States
    Posts
    2,278

    Default Re: Massive, colossal nuc failure. What are our options now?

    Salty, are you saying to use colonies that have 2-3 full boxes of bees?

    I am saying just stack the failed nucs on top of the queen right to recharge.
    It is not true that you cannot teach an old dog new tricks.
    They can learn them, they just can't do them.

  16. #15
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Roanoke, VA
    Posts
    1,968

    Default Re: Massive, colossal nuc failure. What are our options now?

    I'm certainly no expert, but I have had good luck, particularly this year with queens getting mated. I generally have used cells, but I have also placed virgins in some of the mating nucs. I've only had one laying worker, but I have had a couple others that I had to put in a second cells. I have some strong ones that I thought the queen didn't come back and I gave more brood, only to find the hive laid up full of eggs a few days later. I can't put my finger on how long it takes the queen to start laying. I have a few that I know started laying eggs within 5 days of emerging, but for the most part it seems like it takes at least 10 days before I see eggs. Some of that could be me, since I have a hard time seeing eggs on older comb, but not all of them. It sure is nice having nice new fresh plastic foundation when finding the eggs in the nucs. I'm better off when I can't check, since when I'm not out of town I want to check in the nucs way too often.

    Good luck with your splits!

  17. #16
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    53,582

    Default Re: Massive, colossal nuc failure. What are our options now?

    >We installed the sealed queen cells on Memorial Day. Most queen cells at that time had been sealed 2-5 days.

    Let's call grafting day, day 0 (even though the larvae are four days old from when the egg was laid). Then ten days later (day 10) they should go into the mating nucs. If the weather is unseasonably hot, day 9 will be better as they sometime emerge early. "Sealed 2-5 days" I guess means they were grafted 6 to 9 days ago? 9 works. 6 is kind of pushing it. The mating nuc usually does not do as good of a job of keeping the temperature correct so you want to push the timing towards more mature without crossing the line where one emerges and kills the rest. So day 10 is typical. 9 for hot weather. Then you don't expect a laying queen for a couple of weeks after they emerge (26 days after you grafted or 30 days after the egg was laid). There are a lot of +- of several days.

    Also when setting up mating nucs if you just do frames with bees and the weather is hot, they are usually not very well covered in bees. It may take a couple of more frames of brood shaken into the mating nuc to get the population up enough. Half of the bees will return to the old hive so you have to account for that with extra nurse bees. My typical mating nuc is a frame of honey, a frame of brood and another frame of brood's bees shaken in. That extra shake of bees is really critical if the weather is hot because there are a lot less bees on the combs.


    http://www.bushfarms.com/beesqueenre...beekeepingmath
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 42y 40h 39yTF

  18. #17
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Kirksville, Missouri USA
    Posts
    1,753

    Default Re: Massive, colossal nuc failure. What are our options now?

    So, you surely have more laying queens by now, but maybe not all of them. Also, look for cleaned and polished cells in some of the combs adjacent to each other. That's where the queen is going to start in a few more days. I have had 7 days after emergence, up to 3 almost 3 weeks after emergence before laying queens. You are at 2 weeks past emergence on some of them right now. The queens you found laying did so pretty quick.

  19. #18
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    Pendleton County, Kentucky, USA
    Posts
    108

    Default Re: Massive, colossal nuc failure. What are our options now?

    What was the outcome? Were there more queens on later inspections?

  20. #19
    Join Date
    Apr 2016
    Location
    Southeast Texas
    Posts
    1,792

    Default Re: Massive, colossal nuc failure. What are our options now?

    I have raised several thousand nucs. I get better queens returning to the right boxes by turning the entrances north south east & west. then if you want to put on stands do so after queens are mated.

  21. #20
    Join Date
    May 2015
    Location
    Sacramento County, CA
    Posts
    867

    Default Re: Massive, colossal nuc failure. What are our options now?

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Bush View Post
    >We installed the sealed queen cells on Memorial Day. Most queen cells at that time had been sealed 2-5 days.

    Let's call grafting day, day 0 (even though the larvae are four days old from when the egg was laid). Then ten days later (day 10) they should go into the mating nucs. If the weather is unseasonably hot, day 9 will be better as they sometime emerge early. "Sealed 2-5 days" I guess means they were grafted 6 to 9 days ago? 9 works. 6 is kind of pushing it. The mating nuc usually does not do as good of a job of keeping the temperature correct so you want to push the timing towards more mature without crossing the line where one emerges and kills the rest. So day 10 is typical. 9 for hot weather. Then you don't expect a laying queen for a couple of weeks after they emerge (26 days after you grafted or 30 days after the egg was laid). There are a lot of +- of several days.

    Also when setting up mating nucs if you just do frames with bees and the weather is hot, they are usually not very well covered in bees. It may take a couple of more frames of brood shaken into the mating nuc to get the population up enough. Half of the bees will return to the old hive so you have to account for that with extra nurse bees. My typical mating nuc is a frame of honey, a frame of brood and another frame of brood's bees shaken in. That extra shake of bees is really critical if the weather is hot because there are a lot less bees on the combs.


    http://www.bushfarms.com/beesqueenre...beekeepingmath
    Michael, we are approaching a weekend of 106F weather for Sat and Sun. So we have taken your good advice to heart! Add more bees! Thanks again!

    Quote Originally Posted by Saltybee View Post
    Salty, are you saying to use colonies that have 2-3 full boxes of bees?

    I am saying just stack the failed nucs on top of the queen right to recharge.
    Didn't need to...it was our fault all along...we simply were looking way to early for the queens!

    Quote Originally Posted by DanielD View Post
    So, you surely have more laying queens by now, but maybe not all of them. Also, look for cleaned and polished cells in some of the combs adjacent to each other. That's where the queen is going to start in a few more days. I have had 7 days after emergence, up to 3 almost 3 weeks after emergence before laying queens. You are at 2 weeks past emergence on some of them right now. The queens you found laying did so pretty quick.
    Daniel, you are so right. We found over 90% of the queens along with the nice patterns of eggs and larvae.

    Quote Originally Posted by StacieM View Post
    What was the outcome? Were there more queens on later inspections?
    Hi Stacie!

    1. We found and marked the queens in 90% of the nucs. In 10% of the nucs, we could not find the queen.
    2. All nucs had fresh eggs and larvae.
    3. All nucs are being prepared to be transferred from 5 frame nuc boxes to 10 frame boxes with SSB's.

    Here's some of our exciting discoveries:

    1. We expected laying queens far to early. In the future we will wait the allotted number of days before looking.
    2. A number of our new queens have the colors of the Carniolians and we are finding those queens are much more challenging to find. Not sure why.
    3. Queen rearing is exciting, rewarding, and no longer so stressful as we practice more and more.
    4. Our confidence that we can potentially raise 1,000's of queens is growing daily.

    Quote Originally Posted by shannonswyatt View Post
    I'm certainly no expert, but I have had good luck, particularly this year with queens getting mated. I generally have used cells, but I have also placed virgins in some of the mating nucs. I've only had one laying worker, but I have had a couple others that I had to put in a second cells. I have some strong ones that I thought the queen didn't come back and I gave more brood, only to find the hive laid up full of eggs a few days later. I can't put my finger on how long it takes the queen to start laying. I have a few that I know started laying eggs within 5 days of emerging, but for the most part it seems like it takes at least 10 days before I see eggs. Some of that could be me, since I have a hard time seeing eggs on older comb, but not all of them. It sure is nice having nice new fresh plastic foundation when finding the eggs in the nucs. I'm better off when I can't check, since when I'm not out of town I want to check in the nucs way too often.

    Good luck with your splits!
    Shannon, we just started using Beekeepers of Susquehanna Valley Queen Rearing Calendar. It is interactive and removes all guess work.

    Quote Originally Posted by sakhoney View Post
    I have raised several thousand nucs. I get better queens returning to the right boxes by turning the entrances north south east & west. then if you want to put on stands do so after queens are mated.
    Sak,

    You have raised thousands of nucs? Wow, I hope you do not mind us asking you more questions when the need arises!

    We cannot place any bee boxes on the ground anywhere here due to extreme problems with ants. We do our best to place all colonies on bee hive stands that are ant proof. For us, it is an absolute must. The only other option we have [and we still do it] is we place nucs in trees. But this is proving to be a lot more work and exercise [Ask JRG, he came over and worked our nucs in the trees]. Poor guy, began to eat bananas like a monkey afterwards!

    And yesterday my wife hit her head on a nuc box in the tree and saw stars for a few minutes. We had to apply ice to her forehead afterwards!

    Now we are rapidly moving toward a new ant proof bee hive stand made of metal.

    I will try to post pics later!

    PS JRG, my wife recently purchased some mangos so if you are tired of all the bananas, we have some new fruit!

Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •