Qeen cell in nuc
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2016
    Location
    Columbia City, Indiana, USA
    Posts
    217

    Default Queen cell in nuc

    I made a 5-frame nuc that I split off a strong overwintered colony on 5/5/19. I used a locally purchased queen for the nuc. The nuc has been doing well and expanding nicely, so I am planning on moving it to 10-frame boxes (my regular size). The nuc now consists of two 5-frame boxes, the top box was added 6/1 with undrawn frames. I checked them today with just a quick look at the top box and currently they have drawn out four of the five frames and have 2 frames worth of capped brood in that top box along with larva and eggs. One frame of capped brood was a solid pattern covering almost edge to edge and looked beautiful. The other frame have a fair amount of drone brood on the lower portion of the frame. HOWEVER, in the middle of the face of the frame was a large fully finished and enclosed queen cell. I saw a few small queen cups also, but only 1 queen cell (mind you I didn't pull frames in the lower box so there may be more). So I am debating some options before I fully go through it this weekend:

    1) I was thinking about still going ahead and putting the nuc into a 10-frame hive as planned and then as long as I saw the queen, I would put her in the 10 frame box and leave the frame with the completed queen cell behind and create another nuc from that frame along with some bees shook in with it plus honey/pollen.

    2) Based on the placement of that cell am I likely to have a failing queen or a missing/dead queen? As I understand it, building queen cups in quite normal for a colony, but a completed queen cell is telling you about a supercedure (weak/dead/old queen) or swarming (which would be more likely to be on the bottom/outer edges of the frame I think). Maybe they are trying to tell me to get them more room because the nuc is getting too small for them. Should I just go ahead and move everything into the 10-frame hive and let the bees continue as they were with a possible supercedure?

    Maybe I won't see any queen in there and they could have swarmed, but I doubt that because the numbers of bees looks to be only growing each time I check and I would think it wouldn't be common for a 5 frame nuc to swarm this quickly.
    Not sure what I am going to find this weekend so I wanted to figure a gameplan for whatever I might encounter.

    Thanks for your opinions and help!
    Last edited by BeeHoosier; 07-05-2019 at 09:23 AM.

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Keene, New Hampshire, USA
    Posts
    200

    Default Re: Qeen cell in nuc

    Well, you have outlined all the options. The next step is go in and find the queen. Once that's done, you can make a decision.

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    West Bath, Maine, United States
    Posts
    2,284

    Default Re: Qeen cell in nuc

    1) I was thinking about still going ahead and putting the nuc into a 10-frame hive as planned and then as long as I saw the queen, I would put her in the 10 frame box and leave the frame with the completed queen cell behind and create another nuc from that frame along with some bees shook in with it plus honey/pollen.

    If you move the nine frames and leave the frame with the cell you really do not need to find the old queen or add more bees until after mating. The nurse work is done.

    Probably is superceder but she still has a good laying pattern so you and they have time. Worse case is you have a new mated queen in the nuc and you have to combine later.
    It is not true that you cannot teach an old dog new tricks.
    They can learn them, they just can't do them.

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2018
    Location
    Northern Lower Michigan, USA
    Posts
    469

    Default Re: Qeen cell in nuc

    your plan sounds solid.

    I would "find" the queen, then you know if the cell should be split out.
    Do not shake the frame with a cell, it can damage the unborn queen.

    As you state you purchased the queen , it could be a supercedure.
    If you cannot find the queen then a split cannot be done.

    If Me I would split the hive more equal, maybe 3 frames with the cell and 7 with the old queen,

    Do you "want" another NUC? if not then leave the whole thing be.
    If you like the "genetics" one can pull the cell if the old queen is still there, they likely will make another Cell, so you could if you want get 2 or 3 cells before she fails.

    go in slow and be ready to change your mind, if 9 of 10 frames are build they could also be getting ready to swarm.

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2016
    Location
    Columbia City, Indiana, USA
    Posts
    217

    Default Re: Queen cell in nuc

    Today was a nice day so I completed the move! I did not see any queen, but I could have missed her among the frames covered in bees. I put 8 of the nuc frames in a 10-frame deep (plus 2 empty frames to fill the box). These eight frames had about 2 frames worth of capped brood and a large queen cell in the center of a brood frame. I didn't see much in the way of larvae. Fair amount of capped honey and some pollen. I reduced the entrance and put the top on and we will see how they are in about 1 week.

    I left 2 frames behind in the nuc. These 2 frames were covered with bees and had a large queen cell near the bottom of one frame. I added some empty frames to complete the five frame box and feed 1:1 sugar syrup with a hive top feeder since there wasn't a lot of honey/nectar on those two frames. I figured I would try this and see what happens since there was a nice looking queen cell. I saw some bees fanning at the entrance this evening so we will see what happens!

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2016
    Location
    Columbia City, Indiana, USA
    Posts
    217

    Default Re: Queen cell in nuc

    I have left the colonies alone but was happy to see bees coming and going from both of them. Oddly enough the smaller one (the one left in the 5-frame nuc box) had lots of bees calmly coming and going with fanning at the entrance and no signs of robbing, while the colony that was put in the 10-frame box with more frames and more bees seemed to have much lighter entrance activity. The large one seemed to have more bees standing around on the landing board with a lot more time between bees arriving as compared to the 5-frame hive. I will give them a few more days before I open them and check to see if I see a queen.

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