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Author Topic: Swarm in nuc w/brood but no stores  (Read 759 times)

Offline tjc1

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Swarm in nuc w/brood but no stores
« on: July 21, 2013, 11:44:46 PM »
I almost hate to post this, because it's close to already-asked questions here but not quite (from what I can find on the site) -

I have a small swarm caught July 2 in a 5-frame nuc (two drawn frames on foundation, three foundationless). Looked today and this is the situation:

-  Queen is laying well, with three frames mostly full of capped brood/larvae/eggs

- they have stopped drawing comb on the foundationless frames, with only one 3/4 complete (so, total drawn frames is less than three complete)

- they have almost zero stores - a tiny bit of nectar in spots, no honey. I had given them a frame of brood with a nice honey crown 2 weeks ago, but it is all gone (I have been home to watch them daily and they have not been robbed

- bees are in and out with pollen certainly, but I imagine the flow must be tapering off - they seem to be living hand to mouth.

- a few days ago, they were busy kicking out drones: too many mouths to feed and not enough stores?

Questions: can they manage brood feeding and comb drawing if I just leave them alone, or (aarrgh, here is that cursed question again!) should I feed them? I am afraid that they truly don't have enough food resources and worried that feeding will get them robbed.

Offline sawdstmakr

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Re: Swarm in nuc w/brood but no stores
« Reply #1 on: July 22, 2013, 12:09:00 AM »
I am a firm believer in not feeding bees unless absolutely necessary but this sounds like one case that I would. If you have good comb honey, I would give them that first. Honey that the bees collect is much better for them than sugar water. It has trace minerals and more antibiotics than honey made from pure sugar water.
Jim
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Offline tjc1

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Re: Swarm in nuc w/brood but no stores
« Reply #2 on: July 22, 2013, 12:25:58 AM »
I have some from a neighboring hive that I could give them - but I think that I've heard that honey from another source than themselves can be dangerous (afb spores)?

Offline sc-bee

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Re: Swarm in nuc w/brood but no stores
« Reply #3 on: July 22, 2013, 01:03:25 AM »
I have some from a neighboring hive that I could give them - but I think that I've heard that honey from another source than themselves can be dangerous (afb spores)?

Not if it is your yard and you know the health or your hves. Don't feed others honey to your bees.
John 3:16

Offline BlueBee

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Re: Swarm in nuc w/brood but no stores
« Reply #4 on: July 22, 2013, 02:08:47 AM »
Sounds like this may be a good time for that Finnish delicacy called “honey balls”.  X:X

Mix some low cost sugar in with your good honey, roll into a ball, or patty until it's in a putty like state and feed to the bees.  A lot less robbing than feeding sugar water and cheaper than feeding pure honey.

Like the other beeks, in general, I don't recommend feeding in the summer unless the situation is dire.  

Offline sawdstmakr

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Re: Swarm in nuc w/brood but no stores
« Reply #5 on: July 22, 2013, 12:25:01 PM »
Just be sure to never use store bought honey. It is mixed with honey from a very large number of hives, many of which are being constantly treated to control AFB. Notice I said control, not kill.
Jim
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Offline Finski

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Re: Swarm in nuc w/brood but no stores
« Reply #6 on: July 22, 2013, 12:30:49 PM »
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If you have other hives, take from these a frame of emerging brood, And give a  food frame too.

When queen has layed frames full, add again a frame of emerging brood. Soon you have one box full of bees and brood.
- It takes 2-3 weeks. Then the new colony starts to get its own bees from layed eggs.
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Offline WarPonyFarms

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Re: Swarm in nuc w/brood but no stores
« Reply #7 on: July 22, 2013, 01:07:52 PM »
When I have a nuc in this situation I pull a frame of unsealed nectar from another hive and add a frame of sealed brood to give the queen a kick start. 

The nectar is better than sugar and doesn't cost me much.  The brood helps them transition until the queen's own brood starts to emerge.


Good luck,

Dale

Offline tjc1

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Re: Swarm in nuc w/brood but no stores
« Reply #8 on: July 22, 2013, 03:34:48 PM »
Thanks everyone! I did give this nuc a frame of brood with a good crown of honey a couple of days after I got it. I only have one other hive, which is building up good now after having requeened itself in May, which slowed them down. Would it stress this hive too much to take another frame of brood from it to give to the nuc?

I did take a super frame of unsealed nectar and gave it to them today, and there is more where that came from.

Bluebee, thanks for the honeyball suggestion - I've often seen mention of them but didn't know the recipe... ;)

Offline Finski

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Re: Swarm in nuc w/brood but no stores
« Reply #9 on: July 22, 2013, 04:44:14 PM »
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Feeding a nuc may easily start robbing.
Small colony cannot protect itself.

A week ago I profounded 10 mating nucs. Bees were from same swarm. They were 3 frame nucs.
It was a big flow going, but one nuc was short of food. I poured half litre syryp into combs. I looked next day and again, combs were empty.

It was surely robbing and I moved the nuc to another bee yard 2 miles away.

And if you really really want to start robbing, use honey balls. You turn your back and it is robbed.
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Offline sterling

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Re: Swarm in nuc w/brood but no stores
« Reply #10 on: July 22, 2013, 09:04:43 PM »

 :-D :-D :evil:
And if you really really want to start robbing, use honey balls. You turn your back and it is robbed.


 

 
 
 

Offline tjc1

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Re: Swarm in nuc w/brood but no stores
« Reply #11 on: July 22, 2013, 11:04:15 PM »
.
Feeding a nuc may easily start robbing.
Small colony cannot protect itself.

A week ago I profounded 10 mating nucs. Bees were from same swarm. They were 3 frame nucs.
It was a big flow going, but one nuc was short of food. I poured half litre syryp into combs. I looked next day and again, combs were empty.

It was surely robbing and I moved the nuc to another bee yard 2 miles away.

And if you really really want to start robbing, use honey balls. You turn your back and it is robbed.

Finski, how does moving the nuc to another beeyard help the robbing situation?

Offline Finski

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Re: Swarm in nuc w/brood but no stores
« Reply #12 on: July 23, 2013, 07:44:08 AM »


Finski, how does moving the nuc to another beeyard help the robbing situation?

Bees remember, what hive they have robbed and they rememb it several days.
In a new yard neighbour hives do not know that one can be robbed and one is helpless, unless you arise their attention.

Sometimes robbers just go in and robbed hive does not smell that they are from another hive.

It is amazing that 3 frame mating nucs survive between 7 box hives. But if you give a good reason to the big hive to attack into small hive, it takes couple of hours when it is gone.

Actully quarding of robbing happens on combs. When strange odor bee comes onto combs, young bees attack on it. When there are too much foreign bees, own bees will be confused. That is the way I join hives without paper.

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Offline Michael Bush

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Re: Swarm in nuc w/brood but no stores
« Reply #13 on: July 23, 2013, 09:12:46 AM »
If they are losing weight and your other hives are also losing weight then you are in a dearth.  Feeding in a dearth tends to set off robbing.  If the nuc is too small to make it through the winter, though, you may need to help.  I would feed all your hives or only the strong.  Steal some capped honey from the strong hives for the weak one.  Always take precautions if feeding in a dearth.  Reduce all the entrances (with screen wire) including the strong hives.  Keep a close eye.
Michael Bush
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My book:  ThePracticalBeekeeper.com
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