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Is this a reasonable approach?

1124 Views 5 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  WBVC
I have few nucs. A few weeks ago one was doing quite well...all I needed was another box. My plan was to move a couple of frames up to encourage them to use both boxes.

Well the best made plans of mice and men went astray. I had ordered a Queen and was told she was on her way. I used the newly assembled nuc to make up a nuc for her. She arrived with her attendants...all dead! I was to receive another about a week later.

So...I put an excluder and a piece of newspaper over the strong nuc and put the nuc awaiting the Queen on top. They chewed through the paper in a couple of days. All seemed well.

Today the Queen arrived...alive:)

I moved the nuc prepared for the Queen to its new spot and settled her in in her cage.

I then turned my attention to the nuc they had been removed from. Fewer bees than in the brood at all, no eggs, lots of nectar with capped honey in a halo above. No Queen sited!

I don't know what happened...hopefully the list will have some ideas:)

So...change of plans..I put the excluder back on with a new sheet of newspaper and put the nuc with the caged Queen above them. My plan is to look for any sign of a Queen in the lower half. If not I will leave them as a 5 over 5 nuc, if I was simply blind today and see one I will once again separate the nuc...but I really think the lower half is Queenless.

Suggestions as to what may have happened would be appreciated. Also comments on my newbie approach to the situation.

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You can put the caged queen on the top bars of the suspect nuc. In about 10 minutes, it should be obvious if that nuc believes itself to be queen-right. If bees raise their abdomens and fan while facing the cage like prayers to Mecca, they are accepting the queen. If they bite the cage and attempt to sting it, they are rejecting. No need to troll through the frames looking for a queen, if you learn to watch the bee behavior.
Ahhh...that I can do tomorrow evening. Is it true that if bees are accepting a Queen you can move them off the cage with your fingers and if they don't want they stick like glue to the cage?

What do you think happened to the original nuc. I think there were about half a dozen drones scattered about but no eggs in the open comb.
If there is any kind of a flow going it would be rare for the queen to shut down completely. so the fact there are no eggs or brood would seem to indicate the absence of a queen. Certainly you would have been able to find her in a nuc. I would bet you do not have her. if the queen is in the nuc atop the other even with a sheet of paper between you will probably not get the same response from the bees as her pheromones will have entered the hive even with the news paper.
I have several queens that will squeeze thru a queen excluder. Are you sure she isn't in the top box that you moved off?
Update...more confused than ever.

As previously mentioned I put a caged Queen in the top portion of a 5 over 5 nuc. I put paper and a Queen excluder between the nucs as the bottom half had had a Queen that seemed to have vanished...along with most of the bees with no brood or qc left behind.

I checked the nuc and the caged Queen had been released...but no sign of the Queen either above or below the excluder! ...and not a lot of bees either. I took off the paper and the excluder and will watch for eggs.

Meanwhile the made up nuc that had originally the top portion of that 5 over 5 above an excluder had not released the caged Queen I put in on Wed. I pocked the candy open then for some reason thought I should check the frames....eggs! Then I saw a big fat dark Queen that was not marked!!!

I am now sooo confused...but glad I looked.

To recap.

I originally made up 4 nucs awaiting Queen arrival. 3 live and nucs made. One dead and put their nuc over another nuc...that had been Queenright with an unmarked Queen. A week later the Queen arrived and I put that top nuc on a stand and added the caged Queen.

I Aldo ended up with another caged Queen that needed a home. The lower nuc that I had thought had a Queen seemed to be Queenless and very light on bees. So I made up a nuc and put the 2nd caged Queen ..marked a different colour...above an excluder over the thin, apparently Queenless nuc to combine. When I went back both of the 5 over 5 nuc boxes were light on bees and I could see no Queen in either half.

So...either I have had 2 queens disappear and have moved a Queen from a good hive by mistake yo a nuc or the unmarked Queen from the original bottom box of the 5 over 5 has wiggled through the excluder to move up to where their were more bees and brood above the excluder.

Bees should know that such antics confuse new beeks!!

Suggestions on how best forward with this will appreciated. I moved frames from 5 production hives to make up these nucs. I checked the frames carefully for queens and my don in law did as well...still we may have missed one. If so I hope the hive can reQueen at this time of year.
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