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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I attempted three queens using three nucs. Two failed apparently at stage queens took mating flights. Behavior of failed nucs markedly different from queenright neighbor. Queenless nucs more agitated as I worked them with lots of wing flapping while in comb. Workers also had abdomens up as is releasing pheromone. Behavior in some ways almost as if queenless colonies have a fever. They still bring in a little pollen but much less than queen right nuc.
 

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good observations. it is normal for something like 1/4 of queens to be lost during mating. losing 2 out of 3 in a small random sample is totally normal.
 

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I agree that queenless nucs act differently. but take this as evidence with a lot of pessimism. I have found nucs acting in every way like they are queenless only to spot the queen. So at this time I am not certain just what all contributes to this frantic look of a nuc. Possibly a small vulnerable colony in general. Agitation of a colony struggling to survive at all. And the ever present. Who knows.
 

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I have heard that others thought that queenless mating nucs acted more active/mean/loud. But I haven't seen any of that. To me they are weak (bees went to nucs with queens) and quiet in a defeated kind of way. I use 5 frame nucs and deeps divided into three sections. The way my "queen castles" are made up is a deep box with dividers. Each section has three frames. Each section has a piece of 1/2" plywood for a cover with an opening made with a hole saw for a quart feeding jar. Then I put a deep box over the jars and then a lid. With 100% certainty (so far) I can tell you which sections are queenless 5 days after emergence by just lifting the top box that covers the jars. The full or almost full jars will be queenless. There will be less bees than the other nucs around, less flying and very quiet bees.
 

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They can look somewhat confused or nervous until the queen has been laying eggs for a day or two (or more) and her pheromone production comes up. They may think they are queenless until she does.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
The nucs are located near about two dozen aquaculture ponds. Devils Darning Needles are very abundant sometimes in the low hundreds where the drones seem to congregate. The dragon flies are going after queen ants mostly as they are currently very abundant in the same area. The mating swarm of honey bees are simply big eats in same location. I will move nucs shortly to another location with fewer aerial predators.
 
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