Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Now That's A Nuc! And Eggs At Church of the Pilgrims

I stopped by the church this morning to check on the Italian hive, the hive that swarmed a few weeks back.  When I inspected the hive a week or so following the swarm I failed to detect any eggs or brood, and thus assumed that the hive was queenless.  To remedy, I took a frame of open brood from the other hive and added it to the Italian hive, giving the colony an opportunity to create a new queen. 

In case the colony failed to create a queen cell or queen with that brood frame, I took along a 5-frame nuc, the nuc created with the swarm, and added one more frame of open brood to the hive.  Upon inspection, however, I was pleased to see lots of eggs and larva, indicating that the queen had emerged and the colony is on its way to recovery.  No harm, however, in giving it that extra frame of brood to bump it even faster!

As I mentioned, the 5-frame nuc was created from the swarm captured at the Church.  Take a look at this healthy nuc:
The IPhone does not do it justice, but this is a box FULL of bees.  There are only four frames in it as the fifth went into the Italian hive, but it is still outstanding.
This nuc was driven out to PG County CC and installed in the left hand hive.  Hopefully this will cure that out-yard of its past troubles and the hives with thrive.  One can hope.

Making a Nucleus Colony

I get asked regularly how I make a nuc that I then install in a new hive.  Generally, here is how I do it:
  • I buy a queen online;
  • When she arrives, I grab my handy cardboard nuc box, go to a hive or hives (you can mix frames from different hives), and pull three frames of brood and bees and put them in the box;
  • I transport the box to my rooftop nuc stand and put those frames in the box and add two empty frames (with foundation) checker-boarded between brood frames;
  • Add the queen in her cage between frames;
  • Feed feed feed for two weeks.

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