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Can I still salvage this Nuc?

2042 Views 9 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  Ravenseye
2 days ago I pulled 1 frame of eggs/larvae with pollen and honey on it, 1 frame of capped honey, and I frame of capped brood and placed them in a 5 frame nuc with 2 frames of foundation. I placed this nuc about 150 ft. away from my 2 other strong hives. Yesterday at approx. 5pm I placed a quart of 1:1 on them. At 7:30 this am I went out to check on them and the entire quart of 1:1 was empty and there was major robbing going on. I pulled the top and they have taken about half of the capped honey. There is 1 queen cell being pulled. I couldn't tell but it looks like some of the eggs were destroyed. There was a hand size cluster that were obviously robbing on the frame of honey.

I have closed the hive entrance off completely to stop the robbing. My questions are, how long do I need to keep it closed? What will happen to the robbers that are in the hive when I open it back up? Will they go back to the other hives and tell there friends and start another robbing session? Do I need to pull another frame of eggs/nurse bees from one of the strong hives? and if so how long should I wait to do it?

I'm only a second year beek. I was worried about robbing but I thought by only feeding them late in the day would prevent that. Lessoned learned I guess :(
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Couple of thoughts. It won't hurt to put some more eggs/brood into the nuc. You can probably spare it and the future population will help get the nuc up and running. Keeping the nurse bees on the frame and even shaking a few more in wouldn't hurt either. I wouldn't worry about the penned up robbers. Yes, they might go back but foraging bees from any other colonies will quickly find your nuc anyway. Personally, I would stop feeding and make sure the entrance to the nuc is small enough to defend. Keep an eye on them (I kind of hope for a day or two of rain when this happens) and keep an eye on the queen in the nuc for sure. I think you can salvage this colony.
Thanks for the advice Ravensye.

The entrance is only 2 bees wide on this nuc. Obviously they couldn't defend it. I will put a robbing screen on it when I open it up again. It stormed last night and it will probably rain again today. I would be surprised if the robbing started last night with the storms. Those robbers must go by the motto "The early bird gets the honey" and started this morning. With all the rain we have had the clover is still blooming here so its not like the dearth has started yet.

So how would one go about feeding a nuc that is started this time of year to prevent robbing? Or do I even need to feed them?
I'm not sure they couldn't defend it, they did not know they should defend it. At less than 2 days the robbers are still sisters. They still smell the same. Subjectively, a frame from 2 different hives works a little better. At least half the bees are not from the same hive as the robbers.
You might have been better off to move a strong hive and leave the nuc at the old location, fill it full of tough old field bees.
Well that would make sense. I didn't see any signs of them fighting and there were no dead bees. How long should I leave it closed off? There are screened vent holes in the bottom so airflow shouldn't be a problem. Also there had to be several hundred robbers in the nuc when I closed it off. Any chance they will just become part of the hive if I leave it closed for 2-3 days?
It can be difficult to stop robbing once it starts on new splits. The key is don't let it start. The robbers will smell syrup and open honey cells. Don't spill any syrup in the beeyard. Feed them only as much as they will take in a night, and feed them in the evening just before sunset. Install a robbing screen and move the split to a different yard .

Usually once they are established for a week or two they get it together and defend. Keep the robbing screens in place. You can boost it with a frame of brood and bees before moving.
Well I did a quick look tonight after dark and they have completely emptied the frame of capped honey. This frame was over half full when I closed off the entrance, so I believe that the honey must be in the bellies of the trapped robbers. There were a lot more bees in the hive than it started with so I'm sure the robbers are still trapped. Tomorrow I will check and see what is left of the eggs, brood and the queen cell they were building. I will need to at least add another frame of honey to this nuc. If I find the eggs and capped brood damaged, I'm just going to start again.

The question then becomes, if I start over do I need to feed the nuc or will the frame of pollen/Honey be enough to keep them alive?
I had the same problem last year with my nucs. What I did was close up the entrance to this point

I then turned the nuc around so the entrance was in the back it stopped the robbing and now I keep most my nuc entrances real small.

Robbing is the worst good luck.:eek:
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I think there is a difference in the game plan for making "A" nuc and making multiple nucs. I would be suspicious of queen cells started during robbing even if they look good. You only have a few days into them. Shake them off, remove any starts, and put them back in the donor.
Depending on equipment; Most hives have a favorite side where most of the traffic is, close off that entrance and move the nuc and a new frame with bees hard against the favorite side. Make a new entrance as far away from the old as you can, open the nuc wide. Your nuc will fill with bees, nucs full of field bees do not get robbed much. Many will find their way back but many will stay. Start moving it slowly after a few days, just enough that the bees find it quickly, you can speed up the moves later. As soon as the bees lock onto the new nuc close it up.
If you have a full sized hive just put it under the donor and separate with a screened inner cover or excluder or sheet of ply.
Good advice right above me. Personally, I probably wouldn't feed either.
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