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Hello, I have two hives with 3 year old queens. Both were slow to start up this year compared to the hives with younger queens. I pulled those queens and set them up in a nuc. They have finally filled the nuc up with bees and I added a 2nd 5 frame deep. One hive is pulling out the second box of foundation, one hasn't touched it. I really liked both of these queens but am afraid they won't make it through another winter. One of their original hives I pulled them from requeened sucesfully and the other made some type of inter-caste queen that looked just like a worker but laid worker brood. I never saw anything like her. I got rid of her and gave them some new brood and they are requeening again.

I had always heard you shouldn't let a nuc raise its own queen. But does that only apply when you make a split? I'd like to get some more daughter queens from these 3 yo queens. If I pullled a frame with capped brood and set the old queen up in a retirement apartment with that, can a well populated 4 or 5 frame nuc raise its own queen and have her be quality? thanks
 

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There is a good thread on sustainable nucs. I tried the system last week and got some QC. If all goes well they emerge this weekend and get mated. If not I will try again.
I think Ray Marler wrote the post.
The thread was sustainability in a small yard.
 

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As long as the nuc has eggs and/or larva less than a couple days old, they can raise a quality queen with no problem.
I have split nucs from 8 or 10 frame hives this way many times.

Just don't expect to see new eggs in that bos for three or four weeks, as it takes that long for a new queen to emerge and mate.
 

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Removing the queen from a NUC acts the same as when you remove one from a standard hive. The workers invoke response of emergency cell making. As long as the NUC has enough stores inside, enough bees, and the propper aged larvas, they will make a good queen for you. I've seen it done, and did it myself on several occasions. Much like you I had gotten a good queen, let her make a good run, then as aged decided that it was time to put her to pasture. Let her build up a NUC and used it for brood and drawn frames. After a while though she finally had to retire. So the hive had to requeen on their own. Did so whithout fault, and her doughter is now heading up a full sized production colony for me.

IMO, don't worry, and let them do what's natural for them to do. Just make sure they are ready for it when you pull her out completly..
 

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I had always heard you shouldn't let a nuc raise its own queen. But does that only apply when you make a split? I'd like to get some more daughter queens from these 3 yo queens. If I pullled a frame with capped brood and set the old queen up in a retirement apartment with that, can a well populated 4 or 5 frame nuc raise its own queen and have her be quality? thanks
Who told you that? A queen producer :)

Talking with local beeks here who occasionally buy larger amounts of queens and my own limited experience of buying a half a dozen queens in the mail, I would suggest that raising your own queens (even in five frame nucs) often produces a equally or better quality queen as compared to a bought queen, when done correctly. Of course that means from healthy stock with plenty of (Bees, Pollen, uncapped nectar/honey).
 

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Bees are cannibals. When stressed, they will consume every bit of larvae on a frame in a matter of hours.

You can raise queens off nuc-sized colonies in time of abundance. In periods when flows and pollen are limited, all too often feeding "expensive" frames of open brood into nucs just results in cells that are licked clean by the cannibals. Its possible the well-observed axiom "bees won't brood more than the nurse bees can cover" is a result of the nurse bees protecting their babies from maurauding foragers (as much as keeping the larvae warm).

Like any sort of robbing I think the larvae cannibalism can be induced, this spring I feed brood into nucs for splits --- on some of the foundationless I had substantial drone brood which I raked with a cell uncapping fork. The bees went to work on that smorgasboard even before I got the frame into the nuc. It should have alerted me. On reinspection, the nucs given brood with drone-destroyed cells had extended their cannibalism to the other brood, and were dead-enders. The frames that were not "induced" were moving forward with queen cells.

My success rate with nuc-raised queens is high in the good times of spring (when the Eucalyptus is flowing) and drops off as the summer drought settles in.
 

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Good points JWchestnut - where I am we never really have a dearth, just a slow down. So as they say, bee keeping is local.

I do still put my nucs on sugar feed in addition to plenty of resources though. Since they don't have a large field force I do this to get them started and going (I make my starts from medium frames), then once they raise a queen, they are off the juice, or recombined when they don't raise one.
 

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>I had always heard you shouldn't let a nuc raise its own queen.

The quality of a queen is related to the density of bees and the abundance of food and drones. This CAN be done in a crowded nuc. It cannot be done in a sparsely populated nuc. It seems easier to get well fed queens, using a strong hive to raise a lot of queens and then put the queens in the nuc.
 
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