Sunday, April 3, 2011

Heiress Presumptive

On Saturday I noticed what appeared to be too much activity at the entrance of Nuc #1.  I would have checked the Nuc then but the air temp was too cool for opening up a queenless and brood poor nuc.  It was also VERY windy. The forecast called for today to be warmer and calm so I waited 'till today to go into it.

When I got out there today I saw much more activity at the entrance.  It's open only enough for a single bee at a time; yet was covered in bees.  I figured the Nuc had died out and was being robed.  The weather here has been terrible since the nuc was made.  We've had snow and lots of cold windy days.  Overall, bad conditions for a few frames of bees trying to cluster around what little brood they have.  It's a nuc so I wasn't upset, but i wasn't happy either.

Fortunately the nuc was better off than it seemed.  Once opened I could see lots of bees.  I checked the frames looking for shredded comb, a sign of robing, and found none.  The comb was in good condition with some capped brood still waiting to hatch out.  There were also 4 Queen Cells.  2 were not yet capped but the other 2 were.  If the nuc was made 12 days ago the capped cells might be 11 days old.  So in 5 more days I should have a Virgin Queen.  The first Queen intentionally made in this apiary.  Woohoo!

All the Queen cells were high or in the middle of the frames.  The 2 capped ones were next to each other.  So they could feasibly emerge at the same time.  That would cause a fight between the 2 queens which could lead to the surviving Queen becoming injured.  I could mash one of the 2 but will not.  It would leave only a single good cell for the nuc.  There's a risk either way but let's see what nature has in store.

The Nuc was being robed though.  Not for the honey but the syrup in the Boardman feeder.  So I took it off.  The nuc still has a good bit of honey and pollen left.  With the field bees it has it should bee OK for starters once the New Queen begins laying.  There are some reserve frames still left over in the frezer in case they run low on stores.  All in all I think this Nuc might make it. 

I have a Slatted Rack for this nuc but until the population begins to increase I'll leave it off.  The Rack is not a lot of extra space but these bees can't yet defend their little nuc.  If all goes well I'll add the second nuc box with 5 frames of honey on drawn frames.

Myrina's Nuc will be next in a week or so.  

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immwia said...

Good luck letting mother nature pick your next queen. :-)

Hemlock said...

Thank you. I hope she's a good one. Haven't decided what I'll do with her yet. I could use her to requeen one of the colonies or the new package or leave her be. We'll see.

Jones said...

Have you had robbing occur this time of the year in the past? I only ask because I have not had it happen, so I do not take many precautions against it (until late June or a dry spell.)

Also, what are the slatted racks for?