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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi Everyone,

My wife and I are brand new beekeepers as of today, and I think we are already having problems. So I picked up two Nucs this morning and we put them in the hive boxes this afternoon. The hives are maybe 2- 2 1/2 feet a part from each other due to backyard space constraints. One of the hives is doing great. Lots of activity, bees coming with pollen and going. The other hive not so much. Literally no bees are leaving the hive and none are coming. No traffic. I'm worried. I'm concerned something happened to the queen because when we rehomed the second Nuc, after observing for a bit I believe I saw another bee dragging the queen out the front and was trying to kill her. It happened fast so I'm not 100% it was the queen given my inexperience and the rapid event. I'm thinking maybe it was a bee from the 1st Nuc colony? Or perhaps a weak Queen to start with in Nuc #2. Anyways I tapped the attacking bee off her and placed her back up top and she did scitter back down into the hive, but she looked banged up. I've lifted off the outer and inner cover a few times to try and see if there was a clearance issue or something, but nothing seen.The bees are just moving around very slowly like they are confused and don't know what to do. I just keep hoping to see them flying tomorrow and maybe they are just disoriented from the move? (Wishful thinking probably.) My plan is to take a closer inspection of this hive in the next day or two, try and find the queen, and assess the brood nest more thoroughly than I was able to today given the anxiety of handling bees for the first time and rehoming them. I'm thinking maybe the Queen is dead or messed up and the hive isn't Queenright. I know I have some options to replace the Queen which I can do if that is needed. Or another thought I had was to just add the brood and honey frames from the 2nd nuc to the first one and make a really strong colony out the gate, then scramble to maybe get my hands on another Nuc or package/queen.

Anyone have thoughts on this? Have you seen this sort of behavior or lack of behavior? Good options to troubleshoot? Should we not have rehomed the Nucs back-to-back in such close proximity to each other? Any and all advice welcome. Thanks in advance.

-AMc
 

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Difference in flight in/out can simply be how the nuc was made up. One may have more foragers, while the second is primarily nurse bees. I'd call the person you purchased from, explain the queen sighting you think you saw, then after a week, open it up and check for eggs. Any eggs should indicate a laying queen, and the queen you saw being attacked could've been something else.

Reason to speak with you're supplier, is to notify them in a reasonable time that there might be an issue. They may prefer to take a more active route than wait a week. If this is your first experience with bees, I wouldn't start swapping frames just yet. You could likely end up with 2 troubled hives if you don't know exactly what you're doing.
 

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Aylett, VA 10-frame double deep Langstroth
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The first thing you need to do is NOTHING. You are a new beekeeper, the chances of you inadvertantly making what may not even be a problem into something serious is high. I agree with Bdfarmer, you probably have way fewer foragers in the second hive. That will change as the bees mature. Wait a week before going back into the hive. Finding the queen is not important. Finding eggs is. If you have eggs or very young larvae after a week, you still have a laying queen. Do let your supplier know there might be a problem, but don't go all hyper. Calmly explain what you think you saw and let him draw the conclusions.

My hives are almost touching each other. Proximity is not your issue, however, after a few days you can swap the hive locations and the returning foragers from the stronger hive will go into the weaker hive. Breathe.

Also, go back and edit your profile to include location. Makes it much easier for us to provide appropriate responses. All beekeeping is local.
 

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I agree, most likely you do not have a problem, but can easily create a problem by poking around early. Are your queens marked?

Since this is a nuc, they will likely have the wherewithall to make themselves a new queen, and in a week the queen cells will be really obvious, even to a new beekeeper. They will not be going laying worker in that time, either.

Sit tight. One of the reasons (even if you did not realize it at the time) of starting with two nucs, rather than one is that all bee colonies are not alike. Your second colony gives additional options for fixing things up, if needed. But it is not needed at this time.

Where are you located? Adding that info will help us give locally-appropriate advice about whether, or not, to move on to a mated queen or let them re-queen themselves, which is efficient, fascinating, economical, and often brings local survivor genetics into your yard.

All will be well. Are you having fun in your first five minutes of keeping bees? Hope so!

Nancy
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Hey Everybody,

Thanks for the quick replies and the words of encouragement. We are having a great time. I literally keep going outside just to watch the little ladies come and go. It's surprisingly therapeutic and I nice change of pace from my current occupation as an RN which is full of stress. I did talk to the supplier and we was so helpful. He thinks that the Queen was possibly balled by the colony due to stresses on the colony. He told me to reassess the hive come Wednesday or Thursday and to take pictures if I think that will be helpful He also told me if we need to he will swap out that nuc for a new one. Really solid guy. He also thought the theory about a young nuc with no foragers and many nursery bees was possible. Most importantly he told me I didn't do anything wrong and sometimes things like a balled queen happen. I am breathing easy. I was just very stressed in the moment about maybe losing a colony so quickly. Fingers crossed the queens ok or that the nuc raises a new one. That would be exciting to see and a good learning experience right out the gate. Thanks for welcoming me to the forums and for all the great advice already. Very helpful. I'm in Shoreline, Wa by the way just north of Seattle. Nancy I don't think the queens are marked. I will ask next time I talk to my supplier. I updated my location like a couple of you recommended.

Alex
 

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Aylett, VA 10-frame double deep Langstroth
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Alex, bees are facinating. Nancy and I have both remarked on other threads how much we enjoy just watching the bees, sometimes for hours. If you do end up letting the bees make a new queen, you will have a blast watching the process, but be patient. It takes about 35 days to go from egg to egg layer.

BTW, my son's RN pinning ceremony is this Tuesday. We are giving him a deck of cards.:)
 
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