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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hi, I'm new to beekeeping as of this year, and I need help with saving my Caucasian Nuc. Colony. This is Old Sol lines out of Oregon. Edit: not directly from Old Sol Apiaries, but rather bred by a 3rd party from their stock they purchased from Old Sol.

Edit: I'm in gardening zone 6b

5/3/19 I picked up this nuc. I was told they were treated with Formic this spring. I drove 5 hours one way to get them. I was the last to arrive that day, and the one remaining nuc was not robust. The guy who helped me load my nuc told me it was pathetic compared to the others he had sold that day. It looked like about half the bees I was shown in pictures of what I was buying. However, my pre-payment was nonrefundable, and he said he had customers waitlisted & willing to pay the full price if I didn't want to take them home. What was I to do? I didn't want to lose my $230, plus the $80 in gas I was spending. I felt I wasn't being dealt with fairly, but my request for a refund was denied. My trip home was 7 hours because I was advised I'd have to pull over every 30 minutes to mist the vent holes to prevent the cluster from 'cooking the queen' in this plastic nuc. The seller was worried there wasn't adequate ventilation.

On installation, I found a hatched queen swarm cell on the bottom of one frame. I believe what I picked up is the remains of a swarmed out nuc. There was only a tiny cluster of capped brood on one of the frames, but there was open larvae & the queen was alive & marked.

Last weekend, I observed a bee with deformed wings exiting the hive. She attempted to groom herself on the landing board for quite some time. I had done a brood box inspection the day before, and there wasn't too much improvement in the brood count.
The queens was alive, but I don't seem to be able to spot eggs yet. Maybe it's just my inexperienced eyes.

What steps should I take to possibly save this poor colony? I'm willing to do whatever it takes. Is there any hope for my Caucasians?
 

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Aylett, VA 10-frame double deep Langstroth
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BB, post pictures of all the frames You definitely have a problem but it may not be too late. I had a nuc that swarmed the day the customer came to pick it up, so that happens. I am surprised the seller did not come up with another plan. In my case, I made a nuc from one of my resource hives and then went and caught the swarm, which was about 10-15' up in a pine tree. The customer even helped hold the box while I shook em down.
 

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call john at old sol and talk to him, I know him, and he's really a good guy.
just don't take an attitude, and ask his advice. work from there.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Hi Apis Natural, I didn't actually buy my nuc from Old Sol, but a vendor in the west side of WA who says their lines are from that apiary, so I don't know if it would be appropriate to trouble John with my issues...I don't want to burden him. Do you think it's still appropriate for me to call him?
 

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I might be able to stop by and see your colony on Saturday. Not a promise (yet) as I need to work, but I expect to be done early, and I believe yuo are on my way home from work.

LMK via text or email if you are interested.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
BB, post pictures of all the frames You definitely have a problem but it may not be too late.
sorry about picture quality, but here we go. Frame 1, both sides, I can see the Queen and open larvae & capped brood.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Frame 4, do all these hatched out drone cells down in the corner indicate a prior swarm? During my 1st hive inspection I scraped the hatched out swarm cell off the bottom of the frame I found it on. I wish I had taken a picture. Not sure now which frame it was on
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Frame 6 - yay! It took them forever to start building new comb. I have a ceracell hive top feeder with 1:1 sugar water & Honey B Healthy which I still haven’t seen the Caucasians gathering when I check the levels & replace with a clean feeder. I just keep some in their feeder just in case. The Saskatraz go bonkers over it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Not anything to look at on frames 8, 9, & 10. Here you go just in case it helps
 

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That is a mighty weak colony. If they didn't have a queen that you are hoping to save, I am not sure I would try. But give it a go, it is early season.

I cannot tell much from the photos, but since you have no brood to add, I would cut them back to a nuc. I'd put frame 1 in the middle, frame 5 next to it, the two best remaining drawn combs surrounding them, and frame 6 for them to work on.

Feed them continuously, and put them in full sun.

You may get better advice from more experienced keepers.

Edit: Are they foraging? I can't tell if there is any fresh pollen there. If not, then consider adding a pollen substitute as well.
 

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nix on calling John, I was under the wrong impression, I see by your edited first post.
The nuc seller sounds real shady, forcing you into buying weak nuc. not cool.

If you found a marked queen, I doubt the nuc swarmed.

Mite control is up to you however you do it, mites carry allot of viruses, and disease.

Maybe join a local beeclub, find local knowledge on beekeeping in the Spokane area.

I see shiny nectar and it looks like there is pollen.
Keep the brood to the center of the hive, the pollen nectar on one side of the cluster, the partial drawnon the other side, then surround by undrawn frames.
Do not split the cluster up with a undrawn frame or empty comb frame, the cluster of bees is very small they need the energy focused on warming the brood.

You mention saskatraz bees do you have another hive to pull a frame of brood and add it to this weak nuc?
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
I cannot tell much from the photos, but since you have no brood to add, I would cut them back to a nuc. I'd put frame 1 in the middle, frame 5 next to it, the two best remaining drawn combs surrounding them, and frame 6 for them to work on.

Feed them continuously, and put them in full sun.

Edit: Are they foraging? I can't tell if there is any fresh pollen there. If not, then consider adding a pollen substitute as well.
I have been wondering if this 10 frame brood box is just too big for this colony. I have plans to get a nuc built this weekend, so if that’s the best course of action I will have one ready. The entrance has been reduced to the smallest opening of that reducer I got from you, but I still haven’t seen any guard bees on the landing board.

During last weekend’s inspection and last night when I took these pictures, I did see a few with pollen packs on their legs, and I also observed a waggle dance on a frame last night. I don’t know how to tell the difference between fresh & old pollen, though.

I do keep the 1:1 sugar syrup always available & fresh, the feeder is cleaned out weekly in their hive top feeder. Do you think I should switch to Brood Booster instead of the Honey B Healthy? I have had a Mann Lake Ultra Bee Patty on top of the empty frames since installation.

I have asked our local Bee Store if they would sell me a frame of capped brood, but they said they don’t have any available to sell.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
nix on calling John, I was under the wrong impression, I see by your edited first post.

If you found a marked queen, I doubt the nuc swarmed.

Mite control is up to you however you do it, mites carry allot of viruses, and disease.

Maybe join a local beeclub, find local knowledge on beekeeping in the Spokane area.

I see shiny nectar and it looks like there is pollen.
Keep the brood to the center of the hive, the pollen nectar on one side of the cluster, the partial drawnon the other side, then surround by undrawn frames.
Do not split the cluster up with a undrawn frame or empty comb frame, the cluster of bees is very small they need the energy focused on warming the brood.

You mention saskatraz bees do you have another hive to pull a frame of brood and add it to this weak nuc?
I edited my original post to clarify that my seller wasn’t Old Sol because I didn’t want people to think they’re the ones who sold me a weak nuc. After you told me to call John I could see how I worded it would lead to that conclusion.

I was thinking the seller knew the original Queen swarmed and marked the replacement the nuc raised once she started laying successfully. That’s speculation, because I haven’t really wanted to talk to him anymore to find out. I’m just done with him at this point.

What is your opinion on my idea to switch to Brood Booster rather than Honey B Healthy in the sugar syrup I keep in their hive top feeder?

Do you think it would be better to move this colony to a Nuc until their numbers are better?

I will be attending my 1st bee club meeting next month, and bushpilot is in my area. I bought my hive setup from him, and he’s just generously offered to be my mentor. My next purchase is an Oxalic Acid Vaporizer. I have plans to treat with this method, as our local Bee Store is a good one and that’s their preferred method. I got my Saskatraz there and the care level they showed was excellent.

My Saskatraz colony is currently queenless due to my own derpiness. They have emergency Queen cells they’re rearing, but to better their chances, I have a replacement mated Queen ordered from their same Apiary. She’s arriving next week. I tried checker boarding their frames far too early in their new queen’s life (they’re a package I installed 4/27, and the Queen had only been loose 9 days when I got this bright idea). I wanted to get them to draw out comb faster so I could use them for donor frames to save the Caucasians... they rejected the Queen as a result and now I feel just so guilty and dumb. I know now that I was micromanaging that package far too much...So, yeah, the learning curve has been steep! The sticky on Queen introduction on this site has set me straight.
 

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Do not add anything to the sugar water. Sugar and water is all they need. There was a link to a study posted somewhere on this forum a few months ago that showed the bees actually preferred plain sugar water over sugar water with HBH added to it. I hate to be the bearer of bad news but my personal opinion is that this hive is a goner. There are not enough bees to make it a viable colony. There are no signs of eggs or larvae that I can see but that may just be the picture quality. I do have one question for you however. When you moved the frames from the nuc to the 10 frame hive, how many frames from the nuc were covered with bees?
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Do not add anything to the sugar water. Sugar and water is all they need. There was a link to a study posted somewhere on this forum a few months ago that showed the bees actually preferred plain sugar water over sugar water with HBH added to it. I hate to be the bearer of bad news but my personal opinion is that this hive is a goner. There are not enough bees to make it a viable colony. There are no signs of eggs or larvae that I can see but that may just be the picture quality. I do have one question for you however. When you moved the frames from the nuc to the 10 frame hive, how many frames from the nuc were covered with bees?
Hi, thanks for your input. I had 2 frames with bees (I wouldn't call it covered, just center top cluster on each) when I transferred the nuc to the hive. The next 2 had all this old, drawn comb, but the bees were really clustered to those 2 center frames. The 5th frame was that scratched honey & pollen frame the seller donated to the nuc. There was a frame feeder in there, but he had let it go empty for pickup day & he didn't want liquid sloshing around on my drive home, so he gave me that honey frame instead.

I can't see eggs, but I think that just may be my inexperience. However, I noticed the pics are a lot blurrier in these thumbnails. On my phone, where they'r not blurry, Frame 1 with the queen, I can count 77 open larvae of differing sizes on the other side as the queen, and I didn't want to cause the cluster with the queen to move for the picture on her side, but I can count 18 open larvae the cluster isn't covering.
 
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