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Discussion Starter #1
How long before a newly installed Nuc will start drawing comb? I think I understand that you need two things to draw comb, Bees and nectar / pollen. Here in Northern Vermont, I think I also understand that we are in between flows.

So could it just be that the girls are waiting for the summer flow to start shortly?

On another note, I FINALLY saw my queens yesterday. First time ever to find them :applause:
 

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Actually you need bees that are older than 12 days and have not started flying regularly, the glands that produce wax do not develop until a bee is 12 days old, once the bee starts flying the glands atrophy and cease to produce. also nectar is not necessary. they can produce wax by consuming honey. The thing is they do not build much comb unless they feel they need it. during times of low or no flow they are emptying cells of stores so there is no need to build more.
The trick is to make the bees think a flow is on and they need to make more comb to store the excess for the lean times. If you want to draw comb, feed them 1 to 1 syrup. Why 1 to 1 you ask? you can do it with 2 to 1 but they will use twice as much sugar, which you have to Buy to fill a frame. I have had bees draw comb during July at a time when we have a dearth by feeding them heavily.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks. Your answer tenbears is consistent with what I have read, but I did not know about the age thing. I dont know how to tell if the flow is on or not yet, so I will assume it is not due to low/no comb building. I have researched the summer flow timing in my area and apparently it is about 10 to 14 days away.

I am feeding them 1:1.

I have a follow up question: Do queens lay in the dark, black open brood on older frames? Is this why some say it is difficult to see the eggs? I can clearly see eggs in my brand new comb.
 

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I Find quite the opposite The tiny white egg sitting in the middle of the bottom of the black comb stands out like a beacon for my old eyes, when looking at new nearly white comb I have to have the sun over my shoulder to see the small jewels, But yes established queen seem to like the darker comb, queens in general like dark places better. If you can clearly see the eggs in new comb. it is clear to me you are well under 50. :)
 

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I dont know how to tell if the flow is on or not yet, so I will assume it is not due to low/no comb building. I have researched the summer flow timing in my area and apparently it is about 10 to 14 days away.

I am feeding them 1:1.
When the flow is on it will appear that the bees need an air traffic controller. ;) Busy, busy, busy.

What is the make-up of your hive...I'm taking it that you had two or three frames of brood, a couple of frames of pollen and honey, or maybe an empty drawn-out frame in the place of one of the above? To this you added three or five frames of foundation or foundationless frames?
Something like... FFHBBBHCF (F=foundation(less), H=honey, B=brood, C=empty comb).

How well are they taking the 1:1? Be careful that the bees don't backfill the available comb before they build new comb...the queen has to have somewhere to lay or you run into problems.

Another good encouragement for the bees is a really good queen that is laying. The bees will feel a need to stay ahead of her in building her comb to lay in.

Btw, I probably missed it somewhere, but how long has it been since you hived this nuc? It takes them a little time to settle in and start up sometimes. A swarm, on the other hand, will normally get to business quickly. FWIW. So, how long since hiving them? :)

Ed
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Ok so, started with two packages installed in two mediums on May 8, one left almost immediately taking every bee with her. I didn't have any brood or drawn comb at that time. I am brand new to this. The second package hive started well drawing comb right away, she was laying before she swarmed or was killed. Queen cells almost immediately appeared.

I purchased two Nucs May 29, 1 week ago. At the same time I purchased two frames of brood for the original package hive and placed them in a deep above my medium, with a feeder on top of that. The Nucs were 5 frame deeps which I put a feeder box on top.

Status as of last night:

So then original for which I put the frames of brood on top: the queen cell emerged, and she is now laying and feeding well :applause:

Nuc 1 appears to have swarmed. Why do I say that? NO NEW COMB, it is behaving very much like the package did before it swarmed; calm inside, about half the bees it had just the day before. No queen cells yet but I believe if it swarmed, it did so earlier yesterday AM, because I did see the queen on Wed, not yesterday during a subsequent inspection. I don't usually inspect so often, but this hive looked weak. It is not taking 1:1 syrup either. So now I will take a look on Sunday to see if there are queen cells and if there are consider re-queening.

Also, I have read that there will be a nasty angry sound coming from a hive if two queens a fighting. I may have heard that in the hive last night in this hive, but could not isolate it. Could I have bought a nuc with two queens?

Nuc 2 is taking syrup nicely. Queen is there, I've seen her, she is laying nicely, JUST NO NEW COMB

They certainly are not acting like an Air port, but I have seen times where it is exciting to just hang out and watch them come and go!!!!!!!!
 

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If Nuc 1 swarmed then there should have been swarm cells present *before* they swarmed. They may have absconded, but then their wouldn't be hardly any bees there...it would be similar to what happened to the package that disappeared. If something happened to the queen the nuc could be building some emergency cells, they should be visible most anytime now as the bees sense an "emergency" and don't waste any time building them...they know they have a limited time to start the queen cells. Emergency cells will be found most of the time on the face of the comb (away from the edges) rather than along the edges where swarm cells are often found.

Could you have bought a nuc with 2 queens...sure, anything is possible.

Ed
 

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Discussion Starter #10
So what is the difference between Absconding and swarming?

I wasn't sure when they build the queen cells; before or after the swarm but now that you say that I recall that fact.

I looked specifically for queen cells in the middle. I had experience with that with my package hive, so I knew what to do, and there were none.

So what I gather from your response is that the queen may still be there, just hiding. I found the queen in the other hive rather easily with twice the bees in the hive.

What other reasons could there be that the activity in the hive was about half the population?
 

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Swarms are reproduction for honeybee colonies. It usually happens in the spring when resources are very abundant and the colony decides to try and reproduce it itself. In essence, the end result of a swarm is hopefully a less densely populated original colony with a new, young queen and a brand new colony headed up by an older overwintered queen.
Absconding is simply the bees deciding something is wrong with their current home. It could any combination of myriad things to cause it, but the end result is that they don't have confidence that it's a safe place anymore and decide to try and make a go of it somewhere else.

GH
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Swarms are reproduction for honeybee colonies. It usually happens in the spring when resources are very abundant and the colony decides to try and reproduce it itself. In essence, the end result of a swarm is hopefully a less densely populated original colony with a new, young queen and a brand new colony headed up by an older overwintered queen.
Absconding is simply the bees deciding something is wrong with their current home. It could any combination of myriad things to cause it, but the end result is that they don't have confidence that it's a safe place anymore and decide to try and make a go of it somewhere else.

GH
So, swarming ends in two hives one in the original location, absconding ends in the same hive in another location?

This means that the fact that there are still bees means they did not abscond. Fine! So why was the population low? Could foregers from this hive have been out, while in the hive right next to it, they were in the hive?

Wouldn't each hive look similar most of the time?
 

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Discussion Starter #13
All is good, just went o the hive, did a queen cage test, they ignore it, I pulled the middle frame and there she was waving at me

:cool:
 

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Glad you found Her Majesty. ;)

Foragers *could* have been out, but it sounds more like you do have a low population in that hive. Have you seen any eggs or larvae? Some of the bees could have actually joined one of the other hives, especially if they positioned in close proximity to each other. I actually had a *very* interesting occurrence happen earlier this year where a small swarm issued out of one hive, swirled around the beehives a few minutes and entered the hive right beside it. Very interesting...as the colony that the bees joined was my strongest and biggest honey maker while the one that swarmed is one that doesn't make honey but makes consistently makes large populations of bees. So your bees could've joined another colony, some could've died off, or...? Give the queen a while and keep a check on the brood. If you can get a brood cycle or two through the nuc it should recover.

Ed
 

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Discussion Starter #15
AHHHHH, thanks Ed. I have three hives all on the same bee table that is 8 feet long, so they are about 2-1/2 feet apart.

I was wondering why my weak package hive that I had placed two new frames of brood on top of was now SOOOO populated. It is looking much like the Busy Nuc!

Tell me something since this is my first season. I read that Northern Vermont has a spring, summer and fall flow. I have obviously missed the spring one and for what I can read, the summer one is around the corner starting about June 15 and going to anywhere from beg July to end July, Beg Aug.

1 Does this make sense and
2 I liken my hives to being on cruise control right now. How quickly will they ramp up when the flow starts and how much comb would they build if the flow is strong and weak?

I just want to make sure I give them room in the hive and a chance for them to make ME some honey for winter. Not to worry, I am not expecting any, just hoping for a little gift!
 

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Well, I can't really say that the bees left the nuc and joined the big colony. What happened in my yard where the swarm went to it's neighbor was apparently a very unusual thing, I was just thankful I was standing there to see it. But, if it looks like your population exploded over night in that hive it very well could have...or you had a lot of new bees to emerge from their cells. :)

I wish I could tell you about your flows, but I don't know your local situation. We have a spring flow, a summer dearth, and a fall flow. Our main honey flow is the spring one where it is possible for a good colony to draw out 4-5 supers and fill them and the normal colony draw out at least two supers and fill them. Summer is a perilous time, as it is usually hot and dry with nothing blooming...robbing can be a problem. Then fall comes around with the goldenrod and asters and the bees go back to work and can put enough goldenrod and aster pollen and honey up to overwinter on. But, your area is entirely different from mine. Hopefully, someone local to you will help you out on this. As for you getting some honey for yourself....a medium frame will basically hold a quart of honey...I'll let you fantasize and plot and plan from there . :D

The bees will put the pedal to the metal when the flow starts, I have never seen anything work as hard as honey bees....they will be zinging back and forth, just don't get in there beeline. :) Just watch how full your frames start getting. When 80-90 percent of the combs are drawn out add another box of foundation. There are frame manipulations that you can do to encourage the bees to move up into the next box but I want go into that as I'm still learning about it and will probably give you some bad advice. Do a search in the forums and you should find several things to do....hopefully someone with more experience than I will chime in on that. Remember for the future, though, that it can be impossible to get bees to move through a queen excluder into a box of foundation...they need either drawn comb, honey, or brood (the best) in a box above an excluder to get them to move thorugh it and drawn out comb in the upper box. I wouldn't worry about having an excluder on right now. I personally don't use them, but conversely my mentor does.

I would say that it's a possibility of you harvesting some honey. It might not be too much, but maybe a quart or two, eh? :) ...or three. ;)

Ed
 
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