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Author Topic: Nuc idea gone bad  (Read 1218 times)
jgarzasr
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« on: August 24, 2005, 12:37:28 PM »

I decided a few weeks ago to start a NUC.  I had the box - so why not.  I took a few frames out of one of my two hives and then placed the NUC about a 100 yrds away from my current hives.  Well I beleived the bees got robbed out of their stores.  There was a lot of wax build up on the entrance and a lot of activity.  I tried to reduce the entrance but this did not help.  anyway I checked the nuc and there is only a small cluster of bees - and I don't see a queen.  It also doesn't look as thought they made a queen.  I guess I need some advice as what to do.  Should I give up on the bees or should I order a queen and possibly use this as a observation hive.  I know it is too late for them to build up for winter.  Thanks for any info.
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #1 on: August 24, 2005, 12:57:12 PM »

>Well I beleived the bees got robbed out of their stores. There was a lot of wax build up on the entrance and a lot of activity.

It's difficult to start a nuc in a dearth.   If you don't feed they have no resources.  If you do feed they tend to always get robbed.  Even if you DON'T feed they are likley to get robbed.  It works well if there is any kind of flow on.

> I tried to reduce the entrance but this did not help.

Block it with some grass for now and decide what to do after the robbing frrenzy dies down.

>anyway I checked the nuc and there is only a small cluster of bees - and I don't see a queen. It also doesn't look as thought they made a queen. I guess I need some advice as what to do.

Judging by the size, and the lack of sucess maybe the best thing to do is combine them back with the other hive.

> Should I give up on the bees or should I order a queen and possibly use this as a observation hive.

If you HAVE an observation hive you could put them in it along with a frame of emerging and open brood.
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Michael Bush
My website:  bushfarms.com/bees.htm
My book:  ThePracticalBeekeeper.com
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"Everything works if you let it."--Rick Nielsen
bassman1977
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« Reply #2 on: August 24, 2005, 01:04:35 PM »

Maybe someone can confirm this, but those bees may have robbed the hive themselves.  The nuc was only 100 yards away from the original hives.  They probably went back to the original hive and took their honey with them.  What should have been done is take that nuc over 3 miles away for a few days then return it to the location you wanted to keep in permanently.

Another thing, you're taking bees from multiple colonies.  It sounds as if you just put them in together.  I would think you would have to do combine them in a way that they get "used" to each other.  

Not sure if any of this is correct or not.
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BaldyLocks
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« Reply #3 on: August 29, 2005, 04:56:07 PM »

I make nucs like you suggested all the time.  I just grab a few frames of bees and brood from a couple of hives and stick them in my new box.  Sometimes I put the new box beside the ones I took the frames from.  It always works but you must feed and make sure you have enough bees, brood etc.  The way I understand it is that the field bees will return to the original hives but that the nurse bees will stay with the new brood.  In that way, there is no need to take them miles away.  They apparently realize quickly that none of them are at home so they get used to each other pretty quickly in their new home.  Hard to say what happened to your bees but if there wasn't enough food, if there weren't enough bees/brood, etc you may have had a problem.  Of course, remember the "bees are sometimes random" axiom also.  Anyhow, what you did works for me and many pals all the time so you may be more successful the next time you try it.
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bassman1977
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« Reply #4 on: August 29, 2005, 06:12:08 PM »

Great information.  That will save me some work next year when I do some splits.
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #5 on: August 30, 2005, 07:21:36 AM »

I probably make 50 to 100 mating nucs most of which build up into nuc by the end of the year.  I've never moved a nuc 3 miles away to get it started.  I never had a PLACE three miles a way to get it started.  Smiley

I just shake in another frame of bees from oepn brood and figure half of them will go back home.  I've never noticed that it set off robbing.

A DEARTH will set off robbing.  Feeding the nucs will set off robbing especially in a dearth and especially if you don't feed the strong hive as well.  I try to give the nuc enough stores to last a while.  In a medium two frame mating nuc I give them a frame of honey and a frame of brood.
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Michael Bush
My website:  bushfarms.com/bees.htm
My book:  ThePracticalBeekeeper.com
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"Everything works if you let it."--Rick Nielsen
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