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Discussion Starter #1
I have a small nuc started from a couple of frames, one with a swarm cell. It has done well and has a laying queen. I've promised this nuc to a friend. The population is quite small though and I'd like to add more bees so it will be a nice full nuc. I have several booming hives to get bees. Any suggestions for a safe (for the new queen) way to add bees? Easy would be great. :) Thanks in advance!
 

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I just noticed that we are in the same town. I would simply swap 1-2 frames of capped brood from the strong hives with 1-2 frames from the nuc. shake or brush bees off before exchanging. I did this with a weak swarm I caught a 3 weeks ago and now I need to add a super to the to them this weekend. Once the queen starts laying things can pick up quick. Good luck.
 

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No need to shake or brush off the bees, unless you think the queen might be on them. The added bees with the brood frames will not cause any fighting or commotion.

You could also shake or brush in bees off of open larva frames in the early morning, those will mostly bee younger bees and won't cause any problems to adding in the nuc.
 

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No need to shake or brush off the bees, unless you think the queen might be on them. The added bees with the brood frames will not cause any fighting or commotion.

You could also shake or brush in bees off of open larva frames in the early morning, those will mostly bee younger bees and won't cause any problems to adding in the nuc.
Well I just did that a couple of days ago and my laying queen is gone :(. I should have done a newspaper combine but I didn't have one at that time and I used onion. I've heard other using it with success in my country. In my case it didn't work. So for the future I'll buy some newspapers. The main reason for this disaster could be the smell of the onion itself. I'll never use it again.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks for the ideas. Will try a frame of capped brood plus some brushed young bees. Might put them in a box alone for a while till they realize they are queenless then add to the nuc with a bit if smoke. Will see!

Want to bulk this one up before it goes to a new home.

Have never heard of an onion combine and won't try it!
 

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I also lost a small nuc earlier this year by adding capped brood and bees. nuc was full of dead bees by next morning. may have been the small size of nuc not sure, but would only add capped brood next time. I only going only on my experience which is very little so take it for what it's worth. Good luck.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
It's interesting how often I've heard (in past) that it's ok to add frames with bees still on...yet in other cases there is fighting. I have added capped brood today (no clinging bees). Wish I could have found some emerging brood frames. Hope these don't get chilled on the cool nights with such a small nuc. Interesting info.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Bee Hunter: Howdy neighbor! I'm actually over in Yancey County now but couldn't figure out how to change my location on beesource. ;-) Hope things are going great with your bees. Mine are going crazy on poplar flow - love that dark honey!
 

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Not sure it is the best way, but i have added a frame of cap brood with bees to two different nucs this year and within a week they bounced back and queen is laying up a storm. I did take the frame out and set it next to the five for a minute to make sure any feild bees left the frames and placed the frame to the outside.

Good luck
 

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Nuc should be fine. I captured was only 1.25 frames of bees a month ago and now are in a 10 frame ready to add this super Sat. morning. Mine are loving the popular flow also. Noah may have the answer to why mine fought to the end. Since I only inspected for queen and placed in nuc. Oh well I'm learning.

I can't change the location from Mitchell to Bakersville either. Good luck with the nuc and the rest of the bees.
 

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cristianNiculae and bee hunter

Sorry to hear of your bad experiences. I will contend that it was not from adding combs with bees on them, per say, the bad experience may very well have happened even with newspaper. If there is no queen on it, and there is no laying worker conditions, when added to a nuc or weaker hive, there has never been a problem with doing this for me in all the years I've been doing it when needed. However, perhaps I've just been very lucky with it, so I'll not be recommending it in the future to anyone.
 

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I find that when I pull the frame out and give it a couple short shakes (not hard) over their hive, the flying bees launch themselves and the nurse bees hang on. Then I put it next to the outer edge of the brood in the weak nuc. Works for me.,,,,,,,,,,Pete
 

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I started a thread earlier about the queen in a nuc being balled by the bees clinging to two donated brood frames, and got no responses. Regardless, I too had a queen in a small nuc ( the population was actually less than the amount of bees I added) get balled and killed by the new bees. I had not brushed or shaken the bees off the two frames, and I'm sure many of them were foragers. Unfortunately, the first virgin raised by the bees from larvae on the donated frames failed, leaving the nuc queenless.
 

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Every time I transfer the two frames from my mating nucs to a five frame I add a frame of capped brood. I've only had a problem once.

There was a queen in the nuc that hadn't started laying yet. All her sisters had. I felt they were low on bees so I added two frames of brood. I added more bees than what was originally there. When I checked a few days later I had no queen but I had some capped queen cells.

Since then I only add one frame at a time. If they need more I wait a few days.
 

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I'm sorry that some have had problems transfering frames with bees, I really have not had problems doing it so have recommended it more than once to others. Now that I know, I'll be more careful about mentioning it from now on. I hope everyone has great bee year this year with little or no problems.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Found this excellent tip over on another thread. Perhaps the nurse bees without the comb (and possible foragers on comb too) makes adding bees safer to the new queen. I am going to try this sometime.

"It's tempting to make mating nucs too weak - I do it myself sometimes - but it's false economy for sure. You can strengthen weak ones without disturbing them too much by shaking bees in front of the hive - the foragers will all just fly home, the nurse bees will find their way in. However if there is a strong hive next door most of them usually go there instead. You can also swap locations with a stronger hive, but not while the queen might be mating.

Shaking nurse bees Into a plastic tub or trash can so that the foragers fly leaving only nurse bees is a good way to stock nucs. Just keep jarring them back to the bottom as they try to crawl out until you have collected all you need then ladel them out where you need them.
Last edited by David LaFerney; 06-05-2014 at 11:09 AM."

From: http://www.beesource.com/forums/showthread.php?299184-Chilled-brood-in-mating-nucs-advice-needed
 

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Since then I only add one frame at a time. If they need more I wait a few days.
Added bees always need to be well outnumbered by the residents. Subjectively I believe mixing from different hives makes them behave.

When adding to a weak nuc pick an outer frame, small patch of capped brood on one side and stores on the other gives them what they need. Follow that up with a 2nd a few days later. Avoids chilled brood.
 

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cristianNiculae and bee hunter

Sorry to hear of your bad experiences. I will contend that it was not from adding combs with bees on them, per say, the bad experience may very well have happened even with newspaper. If there is no queen on it, and there is no laying worker conditions, when added to a nuc or weaker hive, there has never been a problem with doing this for me in all the years I've been doing it when needed. However, perhaps I've just been very lucky with it, so I'll not be recommending it in the future to anyone.
Ray
I've done this many times with only one problem. No matter what there's always a chance something could go wrong.
In my opinion this is still very good advice.
Woody Roberts
 

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Part of my swarm control is to take capped brood and bees and give it to weak overwintered hives. So as I remove frames from strong hives, I put them in an empty box. After I have my frames selected from various hives in the box I'll add the to one or more weak hives. Sometimes I add all of the frames to one hive. I think that letting them sit for a while allows older bees to leave. If I'm concerned about adding so many bees to a small hive, I give the weak hive a good smoking, insert the frames and when the smoke clears, all of the bees see that they have a queen and all is well. I have added 8 frames of bees to a hive with a cup of bees before and (I have all marked queens) she took off to make one of my strongest honey producers of the year. 8 frames of capped brood make a huge difference in a couple of weeks. Mostly I don't worry about smoke, but I'll do it sometimes.
 

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Ray, keep doing what you do, no apologies needed. I've always respected your advice on the 2 plus years I've been on here. :) Like many things in beekeeping, sometimes things go a little sideways. In my case, putting in more bees than already actually in the nuc may have been an issue. Additionally, the hives that donated the frames are my two most aggressive/defensive, and probably more than a little miffed and being pulled out of their colonies and enduring an half hour road trip before introduction, and so on.
 
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