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2388 Views 8 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  MichaelPaul
Hello All,

Yesterday, I noticed a bunch of my bees from my stronger hive out in front on a cement brick about a foot from the hive entrance. I have been feeding both my hives sugar syrup, and this hive normally has taken less than my other hive, but for some reason they finished a quart faster then normal. I had a spare 3 frame nuc with empty frames so I gathered as many bees as I could and put them in the empty nuc. I had to go to work so I left them like this for the day. When I got home, nuc box was empty and no bees were outside the hive. The next morning, the bees were outside the hive again, but underneath this time. I had a little more time so I went through the hive and found some queen cells. This time, I grabbed one frame with a two nice queen cells and brood, and another with some honey and brood. I also added an empty frame to the 3 frame nuc box. I gathered the bees and put them in the nuc box and taped the entrance so they cannot escape.

My question is what next? This is my first year bee keeping. How long should I keep them in the nuc box before I open it back up? How long does a queen take to hatch after being capped (both cells were capped)? I also left a couple queen cells in the original hive just in case something happened to the original queen (she was marked, but I didn't find her).

Thank you in advance for the help!
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What's next is to take the tape off immediately. Unless of course you like a nuc full of dead bees.
No need to feed your hives. Have you checked to see of there is ample room for the queen to lay in your hives?
Find out where your Queen is or if you still have one--If you don't have a queen you did OK-If you SEE the Queen put HER in the nuc with out the queen cells-split the queen cells in two hives.= if you saw the Queen, you may have 3 hives now. If you DON'T see the Queen you may have 2 hives.
My opinion!! It works for me..
In order to manage your hive you first need to know what is going on. What you have done may be a good thing, then it may also be bad. depending on the state of your hive.
You should always base decisions on situation, and information. First you need to confirm weather or not the main hive has a queen. If so them the bees are planning a swarm, or supercedure. If a queen is present cell location can offer a clue as to their intent. If on the bottom of the frame in a crowded hive with a queen with ample eggs and good pattern. Then it is most likely swarming they are thinking of. If the cells are in the frame and the queen is missing, or the pattern is spotty and or poor then I would suspect supercedure, either emergency, or regular. The reason for needing to know the difference is because the action I would choose is different.

In the case of supercedure if the hive has a lot of bees what you did may work out for you and you could end up with an additional hive. However if the numbers are below average then during the queen rearing process you could wind up with two week hives, Combining them later is always an option. However, small number of bees build much slower then do large number hives.

If swarming is their intention, then you did nothing to prevent it. you have a hive with reduced numbers, that will likely swarm anyway. The split will work through, but the main hive will swarm. You should have left the cells in the main hive and taken the brood, stores, plenty of bees and the queen and placed her in the split. this would make the main hive think it had already swarmed. you would still have a risk of after swarming but it will be reduced.
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The nuc box has three ventilation holes and honey... I took the tape off in the morning and the bees seemed fine. I did not check to see if the queen cells have hatched.

The main hive had room for the queen to lay. Both hive bodies have bees on all the frames, but they have not started drawing comb on the first super. I removed the queen excluder to see if more bees will move up and start drawing comb.

Regarding feeding, I was under the impression that bees will only feed when needed.

Thanks for the feedback!
I need to get more hive boxes :) My original queen was marked and did an amazing job. I was hard for me to find her because there were so many bees. I will try to go through again on Sunday or Monday.
The queen cells were in the bottom hive body. A couple were in the middle of the frames and a couple were at the bottom. The hive has a lot of bees and I couldn't find the queen. I will try to go through again on my next off day. Could she have been in the swarm I put in the nuc box? When should I go through the nuc box again without bothering the bees?

Thank you all for the input and feedback!

Much Appreciated!
Old wives tale about feeding the bees and only taking it when they need it IMO. They will store whatever they can get until it's gone. Swarms I leave alone for at least a week, two if I can stand the wait.
It is very possible the old queen is in the swarm. That's what usually happens.
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