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Hi all,

So this is my second attempt at beekeeping (last year was a lot of fun but my girls starved right next to honey stores) and I've just installed two rather disappointing nucs.
I ordered two 5-frame nucs locally ($180cdn for each) and was fully expecting to have 5 fully drawn frames with a mix of stores and brood. [Propolis-Etc in Ottawa, ON, Canada]
Well, much to my disappointment I received 3 partially drawn frames, a frame of brood, and one completely barren, un-drawn frame with plastic foundation.
Much to my shock (and somewhat horror) is that the queens were not caged! I can only be sure that I have 1 queen at the moment!!

I saw the queen on the first nuc on the 3rd frame I installed (mostly full of brood which is reassuring). I was not expecting to find the queen running around the frames loose!!
The girls were quite busy in the air and I am still not 100% comfortable working amidst a cloud of bees, so I tried to quickly inspect the frames of the second nuc as I installed them, this time hoping to see the queen as I did on the first. (I was really expecting the queens to be in cages to be honest)

Well, that kinda sums up my feelings at the moment - I am a bit worried about hive #2 as I did not see a queen; I was not exhaustive in my search - should I do the queen-excluder search trick to confirm the presence of a queen?

Thanks for any help / guidance / comforting words :)

James
 

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nucs don't typically come with caged queens, they are small laying colonies with all parts of a larger hive. Do you see eggs in the second one, if so you should be ok. ALso, What are you doing to get the bees stirred up like that? Typically with a small nuc they are pretty docile and require very little smoke if any, wait till they get big and there is a dearth or something to agitate them, and you will then know what it's like working in a cloud of bees ;)
 

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Honestly, if I saw a caged queen in a nuc, I'd take my business elsewhere.
same here, she needs to be loose doing her thang. I would ask for a discount or refund if you were not able to inspect nuc before purchasing. 5-frames mean 5 drawn out frames with something in it, usually I like to see lots of brood, pollen and very little honey except for whats in the rainbow.
 

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Sometimes it can be disappointing, for that price, I'd expect at least 4 frames of bees and brood. I don't argue with the 5th frame, an undrawn frame will get used quick and it makes for better hive dynamics as they get to draw wax somewhere rather than being supercrowded and wanting to swarm or supercede cuz of no laying space.
 

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same here, she needs to be loose doing her thang. I would ask for a discount or refund if you were not able to inspect nuc before purchasing. 5-frames mean 5 drawn out frames with something in it, usually I like to see lots of brood, pollen and very little honey except for whats in the rainbow.
It's funny I'm some what am getting bashed in my thread speaking out Against a seller that done this . Ended up with 6 cages and three swarm cells and no queens in some . And no brood to speak of .
 

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Hi all,

So this is my second attempt at beekeeping (last year was a lot of fun but my girls starved right next to honey stores) and I've just installed two rather disappointing nucs.
I ordered two 5-frame nucs locally ($180cdn for each) and was fully expecting to have 5 fully drawn frames with a mix of stores and brood. [Propolis-Etc in Ottawa, ON, Canada]
Well, much to my disappointment I received 3 partially drawn frames, a frame of brood, and one completely barren, un-drawn frame with plastic foundation.
Much to my shock (and somewhat horror) is that the queens were not caged! I can only be sure that I have 1 queen at the moment!!

I saw the queen on the first nuc on the 3rd frame I installed (mostly full of brood which is reassuring). I was not expecting to find the queen running around the frames loose!!
The girls were quite busy in the air and I am still not 100% comfortable working amidst a cloud of bees, so I tried to quickly inspect the frames of the second nuc as I installed them, this time hoping to see the queen as I did on the first. (I was really expecting the queens to be in cages to be honest)

Well, that kinda sums up my feelings at the moment - I am a bit worried about hive #2 as I did not see a queen; I was not exhaustive in my search - should I do the queen-excluder search trick to confirm the presence of a queen?

Thanks for any help / guidance / comforting words :)

James
Just another money hungry person it sounds .

But they should be fine my first bees where only 1 brood frame and one honey frame . They pretty much had to draw everything . There 3-5 deeps high right now not bad I think since they only had two frames drawn out . But they where started on a flow . Your flow will Determine how the do in the start .

And bees flying around you just can't be scared of the bees . Use the smoker to smoke your self good and they want mess with ya as much if at all .
 

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You are gonna be alright ... if you ever have to get nucs or packages again.. You will know what to look for... Is it possible to get bees from the US to where you are in Canada. Who knows someone might have to do a road trip if they can be driven over the boarder with out a lot of hassle. To all some rain must fall, ok enough sunshine happy talk .. the greedy low down nuc seller needs to feel the business end of a bee to the eye.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I appreciate the input from everyone - thank you for taking the time to reply.

I honestly thought that nucs generally had caged queens - my first one (last year) had a queen in a JZ/BZ cage and it was really reassuring to know I had a queen. Sounds like it was a package turned into a nuc. then? I did see young larvae on the brood frame of the 2nd hive so I will try not to worry too much at this point. I know that if needed, I can try to encourage the second hive to produce a new queen using a frame of larvae from hive #1 .. I just don't want to have to resort to that. Then again, I could try to buy a queen too if needed ..

I'm not sure why the gals were so flighty - I was a bit chicken-sh** to be honest .. I need to overcome that; by the end of the summer, I was working the gals bare-handed with only a veil. Someday I'd like to get comfortable enough to work them "naked" so to speak. I know it is 99% how you handle them, and so I am trying to learn that art. I'm just not sure what happened today to make things a little less than relaxing.

We don't seem to have much in the way of a flow right now (not much appears to be in bloom) but I imagine it will be a bit better soon. I plan on feeding the bees using 1:1 as I did last year - it gave them a great start. To supplement the hives, I gave them both 2 frames of 1/2 honey and drawn comb and 2 frames of brawn comb. The frames are from last year's dead-out which I hand-picked the starved bees out of back in Feb. and have stored them in a cool dry place since (no mold or rot) so I should be in a good place (provided the queens are good).

I sat and watched the wonderous gals do their thing for a bit - it was really nice to see bees in the yard again. I had a little worker bee on my hand for a bit and just marveled at it, hoping in part to re-establish my comfort with the little things.

Well, thanks all for the input - it is nice to hear the feedback. I was frustrated and worried and you guys have helped to put my mind at ease.

James
 

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Unless I was selling to someone I knew and trusted, I would tend to cage the queen in a nuc before pickup. No squashed queen from frames (loose from just being inspected by the customer) banging around. No question as the seller that there was a queen, and no question from the buyer that there was a queen.
 

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deknow, I agree with you because YOU are right. How many times do we hear about people getting nucs home and NOT being able to find the queen, the queen was find when I bought the nuc, the queen flew away while I was putting in the frames, I checked when I got home and the queen was on the bottom of the nuc. and on and on,,,,,,,,,,
I check every nuc on the day of pick-up, the queen is put in a cage for safety-the people know there is a MARKED queen, alive! The queen is from that nuc. The buyer and I check the hive, no complaints. the mane thing is buy local and INSPECT!! My opinion..
 

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I'm not all that adept at caging queens, so I just kept a few extras available. Replaced one that got squished during first inspection. I offered it free, but the customer insisted on paying for it. Either way, the good will is worth every penny.

I offered the option to inspect, and not one person exercised it - they all preferred to trust me and get all of their foragers screened in the night before pickup.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Update:

Today I installed the hive-top feeders (Miller style with floats) and took the time to do a more thorough inspection of the second hive (the one which I did not have confirmation of a queen being present). On the 3rd frame that in inspected in the brood-area of a typical hive, I saw the queen - what a relief!

All parties were much more relaxed which was nice - it is good to get the confidence back. The gals were quite docile and I used an absolute minimum of smoke - only enough to shoo the ladies down so that I could scrape off some burr comb from the tops of the frames.

All in all, things feel like they are on the right path. Thanks again to all of the respondents.

James
 
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