Sunday, 4 May 2014

Bees - 24 hrs after removing the queen

The bees are doing really well.Phew!
I am relieved! I am inclined to experiment sometimes a little to freely. 
I checked the bees on Friday, 24 hrs after removing the queen into a nuc box.

This is a frame of stores of capped honey and pollen. There is one queen cell on this frame, up on the right corner.

This hive is very strong. Every frame is thick with bees, taking the nuc doesn't seem to have effected its strength. There are three queen cells up in the left hand corner but they are hard to see with all the bees.

I had put in several foundation-less frames and they had started to draw comb, all within 24 hrs. This will allow them to draw their own cell size and produce cleaner wax that I can harvest whenever comb needs replacing.

This is the nuc that I started from hive 1. They had removed some of the grass at the entrance to make a small bee space. I was worried when I opened the crown board that there seemed to be very few bees in the nuc box. I have lost about half of the bees that I put in, but I put in a lot of bees knowing that many will fly home. When I took out the frames, there was about two frames worth of bees. I was pleased about this, it is plenty, especially as brood is hatching every day. I started to look for the queen when I received a surprised sting in my neck!
One bee had found a gap in my suit and made contact with my skin. It was time to call it a day, in case more bees found a route in. It is very unpleasant having a bee flying around the inside of your veil. I was grateful that she didn't sting my face.

Hive 2 was still very weak, just not enough bees to rear brood or forage in a meaningful way. This was my strongest hive last year.
I decided to swap the location of hive 1 with hive 2. So now all the strong foraging bees of hive 1 are flying into hive 2 and stocking up the larder.
While a small amount of bees from hive 2 fly into the strong hive 1. I hope that this evens out the hives and gives hive 2 a chance to build up early.
Again, this is experimental, the next time I check it might be disastrous!

I wasn't at home today but Hubby tells me that the busiest hive today was the nuc! Who would have thought, I hope she is not being robbed!
I will check them again tomorrow. I don't like to open the hives this much but I am eager to build back up to four strong hives coming into winter. I should be able to start another two nuc boxes using the extra queen cells. I will make these up once the cells are sealed and move them away for several weeks to establish.


  1. After reading this I decided to do something similar last week, not sure if it is going to work or not, I moved some frames of brood and stores into an empty hive from a strong hive that was fit for bursting, one of the frames has a queen cell after checking the other day, there are still bees in there although not many and I could see brood hatching, the queen cell has now been capped off, today I have moved that hive on top of the strong hive in the hope some of the foraging bees will go in and help them out, in the process I got stung my own fault I wasnt wearing a veil.

  2. Hi Dawn,
    I tried that several times in the last couple of years and it was never successful unfortunately.I never understood why, but I now realise that it takes a large amount of energy for a hive to produce capped queen cells.
    A weak hive will produce queen cells but will not have the resources to produce many and of good quality and to capped stage. Many will get chilled before then due to a lack of bees.
    You should let the strong hive make the queen cells for you by removing the queen into the nuc. Or move a capped queen cell into a nuc. The hard work for the bees is to getting the queen cell to capped stage and very few nucs are able for this.
    I hope it works out for you


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