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Installed my NUC two weeks ago and opened it up today. I have 8 frame deeps and added a second box with feeder when I transferred the NUC frames as it was packed with bees. All frames on the second box have been drawn at some level with the center ones already with capped brood. I saw a few cells with 2 or 3 eggs in time, all at the bottom. However, most had one. I assume this as fine and not out of the ordinary for a queen? I tried to locate her to be sure she was in there and I did not have a laying worker, but no luck. Being brand new to bee keeping, I’m a little paranoid she will drop to the ground or I’ll accidental crush her inspecting frames.

I’m surprised how fast the frames have been drawn. There are bees using the feeder, which is filled with Pro-bee. I assume I should remove it at this time and just add two more frames. Should I add a third box soon? Can I use a queen excluder and reserve the third box for my own honey? Or are two 8 frame deeps not enough for the colony to sustain themselves. Should I let them have three and install the queen excluder before a fortune box?

Sorry for all the questions!

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If you have eggs present you have a queen present. I would just look for her anytime you go into a hive so that you can recognize her if you need to but not make it a priority. She should be marked if you got a nuc.
You see those protruding cells at the bottom of the frame in your second photo? Those are drone brood, if you have a laying worker those drone brood cells will be replacing the regular brood cells all over the frame.
I would let them finish the Pro-Bee, it will be handy to have drawn comb when your big nectar flow comes along. The syrup will allow the bees to make more comb with less effort and store more nectar
Adding another medium box with an excluder will not hurt. You may get some honey with a good flow this summer. If it starts filling up just add more medium boxes.
 

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Picture two has great eggs shots! Beautiful frame pictures.

If you add a super and harvest honey, make sure you feed after nectar flow so they can build up for winter. Our flow stops in July , we start feeding lightly then.
 
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
If you have eggs present you have a queen present. I would just look for her anytime you go into a hive so that you can recognize her if you need to but not make it a priority. She should be marked if you got a nuc.
You see those protruding cells at the bottom of the frame in your second photo? Those are drone brood, if you have a laying worker those drone brood cells will be replacing the regular brood cells all over the frame.
I would let them finish the Pro-Bee, it will be handy to have drawn comb when your big nectar flow comes along. The syrup will allow the bees to make more comb with less effort and store more nectar
Adding another medium box with an excluder will not hurt. You may get some honey with a good flow this summer. If it starts filling up just add more medium boxes.
Thank's for the reply! I noticed the drone brood as well. Good to know about the eggs, I was a little nervous as I could not find her when I transferred the NUC frames to the hive and when I opened it up today. I also only looked in the top brood box. Figured she would be hanging out on the frames with freshly laid eggs. Is it possible she ran down to the first brood box when I used my smoker?

I'll keep the feeder in then...it was FILLED two weeks ago. Looks there was very little left, should I refill?

Picture two has great eggs shots! Beautiful frame pictures.

If you add a super and harvest honey, make sure you feed after nectar flow so they can build up for winter. Our flow stops in July , we start feeding lightly then.
Thank you for the compliments! They were actually pretty docile through the whole ordeal. I'm in northern NJ, I believe the flow stops around July as well. I'll be sure to feed afterward.
 

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Ya that second picture actually helps me out as far as what should look for (baby bees) for my next inspection this saturday (2nd inspection, dont worry bro us newbs are in it to win it) im curious on that 2nd pic, theres a bee with a orange thingy mabob on it i was wondering what it was the bee is closer to the bottom of the frame (in the center) with some other bees around it but definetly not as busy as up top (NYC up north) nothin special but curiousity gets the best of me
 

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Ya that second picture actually helps me out as far as what should look for (baby bees) for my next inspection this saturday (2nd inspection, dont worry bro us newbs are in it to win it) im curious on that 2nd pic, theres a bee with a orange thingy mabob on it i was wondering what it was the bee is closer to the bottom of the frame (in the center) with some other bees around it but definetly not as busy as up top (NYC up north) nothin special but curiousity gets the best of me
And 3rd pic is kinna wat i struggled with...you see when i inspected the first time i didnt shine the cells into the sun (beeswax was new so prolly harder to find eggs since wax isnt dark colored) sun was in the trees already...but there was lot of cells that looked "glossy" that was pitch dark like the ones in pic 3 and i stupidly thought it was nectar cuz of that "gloss/liquid" look but maybe im just off my rocker cuz that was in lot of the frames (heard they just store honey in outside frames) im guessin thats baby bees in the early stages?
 

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...im curious on that 2nd pic, theres a bee with a orange thingy mabob on it i was wondering what it was the bee is closer to the bottom of the frame (in the center) with some other bees around...
It's just pollen on the leg.
 

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Thank's for the reply! I noticed the drone brood as well. Good to know about the eggs, I was a little nervous as I could not find her when I transferred the NUC frames to the hive and when I opened it up today. I also only looked in the top brood box. Figured she would be hanging out on the frames with freshly laid eggs. Is it possible she ran down to the first brood box when I used my smoker?

I'll keep the feeder in then...it was FILLED two weeks ago. Looks there was very little left, should I refill?



Thank you for the compliments! They were actually pretty docile through the whole ordeal. I'm in northern NJ, I believe the flow stops around July as well. I'll be sure to feed afterward.
I'm down in western central Jersey, 40 miles south of you and can tell you that our flow only slows down in mid August, white clover (which is a great source of nectar) doesn't seem to stop until fall and then usually is followed by a strong flow with goldenrod and aster my early September until colds starts. last year it seemed that the flow never stopped all summer and well into November. All of my first year hives, started from nucs produced over a 100 pound of a beautiful light amber honey and had plenty of stores for winter-all five of my hives came through winter very strong. Our over wintered hives need to be split now and will produce plenty of honey this year. If you're not a member, join the State Beekeepers association and a local club-even though I'm south, I still keep a membership with the Essex County club near you. The clubs here have some great mentors and people will help you with our very local issues. I would stop feeding now-we are starting swarm season and too much syrup can encourage a swarm. If you haven't, manipulate some frames from top to bottom and when your at 8 frame of comb up top, get the first super on. Be prepared to add supers (make sure you have extra mediums) and have a plan to extract, then replace or reset extracted frames. The clubs have extractors that you can borrow but there are plenty of people looking to extract at the same time. And don't worry about the queen, if you see eggs and brood, she's there and working-don't over work the hives with inspections, you could kill her. If your nucs were through the club(s) they're probably from Grant and he doesn't mark queens in nucs. His Italian mutts are super bees and explode this time of year. Start checking for mites, do a test prior to supering, treat if necessary and then check once a month through summer. Good luck
 

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Speaking from my limited experience....

She typically isn't going to be on one of the outside frames. She'll tend to be in the center where the brood, especially if you have a frame with fresh eggs, look hard for her there.

One technique I've heard that works to locate her is, don't look directly down at the frame. Tilt it at an angle and look across it, like the perceptive in your first photo.

Look into marking her. The first queen catcher I had looked like a push pop. It worked great for actually marking, but catching her was a pain. The one handed queen catcher works much better in my opinion. Then there are those who say just pick her up by her wings and dot her.

I think a generally good habit is to hold the frame over the hive while you're inspecting it, at least until you have a positive ID on the queen. That will help eliminate your paranoia of dropping her. In one occasion early on, I found the queen and as I was attempting to catch her, my heart dropped as I saw her fly off of the frame. But she flew straight to the entrance so all was well.
 

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Hey Mike in Jersey. Congratulations on the start of a great year. Lovely nuc purchase. They are really getting after it. In a strong flow they can draw very fast. Your job is to stay ahead of them. I have large plastic totes set aside to move frame inventory in and out of. Remember you can move frames back in as needed. I will also move brood frames around my apiary to equalize strength so those never go into temp storage except a very short time in my quiet box (custom nuc box).

The goal of the first year is helping them build their city for winter storage and frankly- not killing them. Be sure you have a strong mite management plan. That's where most go off the rails the first year. I use Randy Oliver's varroa spreadsheet from Scientific Beekeeping. If all you do is master mite management, nutrition and proper over wintering you will likely have a survivor hive. I wish you the best.
 

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PS- on finding the queen. Study pictures of what a queen looks like. Also know that she moves differently. Look for where a queen would be- she is looking for a space to lay- hatched out frame or drawn comb frame. Your eye gets better over time. Get good at identifying workers and drones then move on to a queen. If I see eggs I can be pretty certain I'm queen right.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I'm down in western central Jersey, 40 miles south of you and can tell you that our flow only slows down in mid August, white clover (which is a great source of nectar) doesn't seem to stop until fall and then usually is followed by a strong flow with goldenrod and aster my early September until colds starts. last year it seemed that the flow never stopped all summer and well into November. All of my first year hives, started from nucs produced over a 100 pound of a beautiful light amber honey and had plenty of stores for winter-all five of my hives came through winter very strong. Our over wintered hives need to be split now and will produce plenty of honey this year. If you're not a member, join the State Beekeepers association and a local club-even though I'm south, I still keep a membership with the Essex County club near you. The clubs here have some great mentors and people will help you with our very local issues. I would stop feeding now-we are starting swarm season and too much syrup can encourage a swarm. If you haven't, manipulate some frames from top to bottom and when your at 8 frame of comb up top, get the first super on. Be prepared to add supers (make sure you have extra mediums) and have a plan to extract, then replace or reset extracted frames. The clubs have extractors that you can borrow but there are plenty of people looking to extract at the same time. And don't worry about the queen, if you see eggs and brood, she's there and working-don't over work the hives with inspections, you could kill her. If your nucs were through the club(s) they're probably from Grant and he doesn't mark queens in nucs. His Italian mutts are super bees and explode this time of year. Start checking for mites, do a test prior to supering, treat if necessary and then check once a month through summer. Good luck
Already a member of the northern association and the NUC was from Grant Stiles. Purchased it through the club. Thank you for the suggestions. I'll leave the feeder and let them finish up whatever is left without refilling. I have not manipulated any of the frames from the bottom. The last time they were checked was when I transferred the NUC frames to my hive. At that point, I already saw capped honey on one side of the perimeter frames. I placed everything in my hive box in the exact orientation it was in the NUC and added extra frames with waxed foundation on the sides. Since the NUC was loaded with bees and every frame was drawn out, I placed the second box on with 6 frames and my feeder. That was two weeks ago. Oh I also left the apivar strips in the first box too, figured I would take them out before I put my honey super on. One of my biggest questions is how many boxes should I expect for brood and honey? Will I be okay with two brood boxes for the whole season or will they need a third? At the pace they are growing, it seems a third is inevitable. Or will they just refill the combs in the first box with brood after they all hatch, hence why you mentioned manipulating them to the top?

I was planning on using deeps for the honey supers, just so all the boxes are the same size. I thought I read to wait until the end of the season to extract all the honey. At which point I would not need to add them back on as they have their honey store for the winter within their brood boxes. They would then overwinter in those two original brood boxes. So during the summer, I can remove frames of capped honey and replace them with freshly waxed frames? Sorry again for all the questions. The class I took was pretty basic. I just ordered a ton of bee-keeping books on amazon...lol.

Hey Mike in Jersey. Congratulations on the start of a great year. Lovely nuc purchase. They are really getting after it. In a strong flow they can draw very fast. Your job is to stay ahead of them. I have large plastic totes set aside to move frame inventory in and out of. Remember you can move frames back in as needed. I will also move brood frames around my apiary to equalize strength so those never go into temp storage except a very short time in my quiet box (custom nuc box).

The goal of the first year is helping them build their city for winter storage and frankly- not killing them. Be sure you have a strong mite management plan. That's where most go off the rails the first year. I use Randy Oliver's varroa spreadsheet from Scientific Beekeeping. If all you do is master mite management, nutrition and proper over wintering you will likely have a survivor hive. I wish you the best.
Thank you, I appreciate it. Entering the hobby has been a few years in the making, took me a while to convince my wife...lol. What frames are you removing, just capped honey in the supers? The bees will reuse brood frames after they hatch for more brood, correct? I don't need to replace those, at least not for a few years anyway. I imagine they don't hold up indefinitely.

Thanks again to all those who replied!
 

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Grant has some of the best nucs I've ever seen and come from his own bees-he was the State Apiarist for several years as I understand it but his operation is so large, it probably was a losing ($) proposition for him. Yes, he does have two Apivar strips in all of his nucs and if you can, when you add the second deep, ad a second set in that deep. Just before you shift to honey supers, make sure you remove all of them. I just finished adding second deeps (last one 1/2 an hour ago) to all of my hive/bee yards that started with this years nucs from Grant. The bottom deeps are three weeks old and were all 8-9+ frame of solid bees-comb started on all 10 of them and while that's a good thing, you can trigger a swarm if you're not ahead of it. The jury is still out on triple deeps and at this time of year, they are unnecessary, you want honey and health non swarming bees, you go to supers. I say that the jury is still out on it because in an effort to build some deep frames of comb, I added a third deep to 5 overwintered hives in early March with a top feeder, and they killed it-I have 30 frames in each hive of solid brood, stores and pollen. Tomorrow it looks like 3 five frame nucs and a 15 frame (plus 5 new frames) from each one- I getting very sore and tired, it's real work LOL!

Don't use deeps for honey supers unless you have a real strong back, it's one thing to have a 30 pound medium of honey (I had 5 on one hive at one point last summer) and i can't imagine the joy of having a full deep of honey. Besides, should we get a dearth or a drought midsummer (and it can happen), you'll have a bunch of un capped honey that could be subject to robbing or other hive maladies.
 

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What frames are you removing, just capped honey in the supers? The bees will reuse brood frames after they hatch for more brood, correct? I don't need to replace those, at least not for a few years anyway. I imagine they don't hold up indefinitely.

Thanks again to all those who replied!
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I’m moving excess honey frames out of the brood box as well as supers as needed. After you get a few more hives you can also move brood around to trim an overly strong hive down to boost a smaller one. Thats called equalizing.

Ideally you want a honey frame on the outside and brood frames towards the center. If you have a flow they will start filling every cavity after the comb is drawn out. Too much and they start backfilling where the queen should lay and thats the prep stage as they prepare to swarm. If you start to see shiny nectar moving into the center where brood is, thats backfilling. Just remember frames can be put in storage and put back in before winter or during a dearth.
 

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I’m moving excess honey frames out of the brood box as well as supers as needed. After you get a few more hives you can also move brood around to trim an overly strong hive down to boost a smaller one. Thats called equalizing.

Ideally you want a honey frame on the outside and brood frames towards the center. If you have a flow they will start filling every cavity after the comb is drawn out. Too much and they start backfilling where the queen should lay and thats the prep stage as they prepare to swarm. If you start to see shiny nectar moving into the center where brood is, thats backfilling. Just remember frames can be put in storage and put back in before winter or during a dearth.
How many frames of brood do you want verses how many frames of capped honey during your flows? Is there a specific ratio of say 8 brood and 2 honey? (I know in reality its not that cut and dry) As the brood box(es) build out and you got to supering for honey harvesting, don't you want to have some winter stores in the broods even during the summer?
 

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How many frames of brood do you want verses how many frames of capped honey during your flows? Is there a specific ratio of say 8 brood and 2 honey? (I know in reality its not that cut and dry) As the brood box(es) build out and you got to supering for honey harvesting, don't you want to have some winter stores in the broods even during the summer?
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A great brood frame has bands of honey overhead so yes, they want honey also stored within the frame itself for easy moving. In a dearth you want to look for that to be sure they are not in a nutrition deficit. However, you don’t want nectar in the center otherwise it signals an intention. In swarm season workers do that on purpose to give the queen less room to lay to thin her down prior to swarming otherwise she can’t fly.

In my world and climate I want a box of bees. So 8 frames of brood in my 10 frame is ideal. My two monster hives just taken down a bit though to avoid overcrowding and swarming. Since I had two undersized ones that was a great match. Easier to work a yard when every hive is equal strength.

As far as honey. In the supers I will start checkerboarding fuller frames with drawn comb to create space and give them a job. Otherwise they plug the whole thing up and will be off in the trees which is their natural tendency.
 

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Don't use deeps for honey supers unless you have a real strong back, it's one thing to have a 30 pound medium of honey (I had 5 on one hive at one point last summer) and i can't imagine the joy of having a full deep of honey.
Deeps full of honey can weigh 60+lbs. Definitely don't want to be hefting them very high.
 
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