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Need advice on starting a couple of small nucs to hold queen cells

1137 Views 9 Replies 7 Participants Last post by  jonsl
One of my colonies has produced a number of emergency cells (not swarm cells, for sure.) They're capped. It's day 10 in the life cycle if I assume fresh eggs were used, but could be day 11-14, I guess.

I left the colony two frames, each with a cell or two. And I removed two frames that each have a cell or two.

I made up two four frame nucs, with some brood and a frame of pollen and of honey in each. I'm concerned about keeping the nuc box (double box) next to the original hive. It could get robbed. But those cells may be in the sensitive day 11-13 period where the pupal queen's wings can be damaged if I drive them to my house. It's a bumpy road.

Is it safe to leave them close to other normal size hives? Will the bees find them regardless, if there's any intent to rob? How do you keep tiny nucs safe? Also, since they're all house bees, should I put a small feeder in each? They need water to dilute honey, right? Easier to put on a pint jar of 1:1, above the inner cover.

I've not done this before and want to use these to resupply the original colony in case they don't end up queen right. Any advice helpful.
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All good concerns. Best option is to make robbing screens. They don't have to be fancy. Just make something from hardware cloth, wire etc. As a last resort, make entrance one bee wide with anything. Yes,feed sugar water carefully so as not to invite robbing. Are you in a dearth? If so,the honey frame will do until you get a good robber screen. J
Mine have never been robbed. I make up mating nucs near full size hives. Reduce the entrance, feed sparingly .

I have one I set up a few days ago. Old queen with 3 frames right next to her booming former hive that has a new queen. No problems.
Fivej , would you think moving the nuc box 50 feet away would make any difference?
Good to know Arnie! Thanks , that's encouraging. Probably with a flow still going, that helps.
Move the original hive to a new location and put the nucs where it was. The field bees will return and go in the nucs, provide them with nectar and pollen, and protect them.
Move the original hive to a new location and put the nucs where it was. The field bees will return and go in the nucs, provide them with nectar and pollen, and protect them.
No need to be moving thousands of the forages into a couple of small holding/mating nucs.
This is not the purpose of the project.
Meanwhile those forages are needed in the main hive - so they can do their direct job, working the flow.

These nucs should be fine and I would not be worried now (June 5 is today).
One bee entrance size, of course.
Haha. that's not going to happen, because the nuc is too small, as GregV points out. TMoore, the original hive is three medium brood nest and five medium supers high.
Karen, I run all my nucs in the same apiary as the parent hives. The nucs all have robbing screens and I usually do not have a problem. I say usually because a nuc that is accustomed to a robbing screen has no problem negotiating the robbing screen of another nuc and helping themselves. Next door or fifty feet away won't make any difference at all. Do what is easiest for you.

I had not seen this post when I posted on the errant queen thread to make nucs. Glad to see you are making lemonade with the lemons you were dealt.
Karen - here's a picture of my bee yard. You can see the 2 nucs in the middle which I made up this year. No robbing and I don't even have robbing screens on. This time of year with all of the forage there are no issues. Maybe later in the summer but not now. Good luck!


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