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When making nucs with queen cells, how long to feed?

3210 Views 10 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  Michael Bush
I guess the title says it all. How long do you feed a nuc that you give a queen cell? I put 2/3 a quart of pH adjusted sugar water on my 5 nuc splits last Monday. The feeders are empty now. Should I keep them going? We are in the beginning stages of our main flow. Clover is popping everywhere now.
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Depending on how much emerging brood you put in the nucs. This will be the first work force. Until the queen starts laying the bees don't seem to have a purpose. Their always busy but not much gets done.
If you over feed they'll backfill the broodnest and when the queen gets back she'll have no place to lay.
I will feed them until they backfill the nest. Then once the new queen started laying I will put in an
extra frame of comb for her to lay. The excess syrup will be use to feed the new larvae in development.
Once they are raising broods they will use all the resources rather quickly.
This way the new queen is feed healthily in her first week and will go out on her mating flight faster. A
well fed queen is a prolific queen than a starving hive that are lack in resources to barely keep every bee
happy. It is very important to keep her well fed in her first week too.
After I make the nuc, I don't feed it for 3 days. Main reason, as learned to let them organize themselves. Then I start to feed, but if I have great flow like black locust here, I don't feed. With first rainy day I give them feed. For nucs if I have I preffer fondant better than sirup, less chances to provoke robbing. But when I feed with sirup I pour it in the evening so also have no problem. Also sometimes if I want to speed a little I give them later additional frame full of pollen from other colony, which for my opinion give huge boost.
Since they develope nicelly in one lang deep, I treat them as other colonies.
Are you feeding them to get them to draw foundation into comb? Why feed them when you are going into the main honey flow? When the flow gets good they will ignore the syrup anyway, won't they? Then it will go bad.

I don't feed nucs. I usually make nucs w/ one frame of capped brood (usually has honey around the edges and pollen too), one frame w/ eggs and larvae, one frame of honey, and two frames of foundation. Plenty of bees and a queen cell and they have everything they need. Mother Nature provides the rest.

I do that in SC in March and April after pollen has been coming in a while and before the nectar flows. By the time it's time to go north, back to NY, nectar has been flowing and the nucs are fat and happy and boiling w/ bees. Usually.
The only reason I fed them was because we had an usually cold, cold snap after I made the nucs. I was going to remove the feeders yesterday because I didn't see a need to feed them any longer, but I thought I'd ask the pro's before I took them off. I don't like feeding bees, but I don't want to do anything stupid and mess up the splits.

I'm afraid all may be for naught anyway. A friend and fellow beekeeper and myself made splits on the same day. We used capped queen cells from one of his hives. Yesterday was 8 days after making the nucs and he checked his. No cells had hatched. Unless they were capped the morning he pulled them (last Friday) then they should have hatched Friday. Today is 9 days post capping if they were capped the morning he pulled them. We had one night of upper 20's for a low. If they don't hatch today are they still viable?
On a nuc split usually there isn't enough field bees as they all went back to the old colony.
That is why I feed them. Doesn't matter right away or 3 days later because they don't know that
they got moved so will eat when you feed them right away. Yes, they will make new comb too from the feeding on the foundation less frame I put in just so that they have something to do in the mean time. I only give them enough syrup for a day so that it will not go bad. On a main flow the syrup will be mixed in with other natural sources of nectar as well and will not be spoil. As long as they have space to store they will fill up the comb. That is o.k. too for later brood feeding when the new queen start laying. You will see the nurse bees are well fed and will be 3x bigger than other bee's size. This will ensure that the new queen is well fed also.
In a cold snap if you have a weak nuc then there is not enough heat to keep everybody warm. When a hive is full of bees it is warmer than the weaker nuc with less bees. So your queen cell will be delay in hatching usually for 2-3 days than the normal 7 days after it got capped. In the summer it will hatch sooner compare to the Spring time in cooler weather. It is all temerature related. I would sayto wait another 2 more days to see. I had situation that I thought it would hatch but they took about 4 more days. But I still have good queens from that batch I grafted. Be prepare to have a back up in case they failed this time.
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If there is a flow, I don't feed them. If there is not a flow, I feed them until there is...
We've got a pretty decent start on our flow here. I don't think there's a need to feed, so I don't guess I will.
If your nuc is very strong with enough field bees on a flow then you don't have to feed. I
would assume that the field bees are bringing in enough pollen and nectar to keep the hive going strong
until the new queen is laying again. I usually check for stores and if they are short on either pollen or nectar
I will feed them. This is because they are not having enough to keep them well feed. So check your
nuc to see if they need any feeding or not. Because my split nuc is not very strong I feed them anyway just
for insurance purpose. A half pint jar will do every week.
I find in a dearth, even if they have enough food, the queen often won't fly unless I feed them. I bought a bunch of those paper Dixie cups that look like an upside down tipi and squash it gently so it fits between the frames. It only takes a tablespoon of syrup to get the queen to fly...
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