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This is a story about my miracle Nuc. In early/mid-April I took my strongest hive and split it into 4 nucs, well sort of. I used full depth standard brood boxes. I was really testing the boundaries here as I should have only split into 2, not 4, I did not have spare frames to fill the box, or smaller Nuc boxes. And lastly, I was going overseas. But keen for a challenge, I reduced the entrance sizes & disappeared.

So nearly the end of April I get back from overseas and check on the hives and one of the nucs is all but dead. Open it up and virtually no bees left, no honey stores, about 10 wasps were buzzing inside and the comb had that fine breadcrumb look that is characteristic of robbing.

Left with no choice but to break this hive down, I started to do this. Removed frames, tried to chase the wasps away and then suddenly I noticed the queen walking on one of the frames that I left outside of the hive. So can we debunk that myth: wasps DO NOT enter a hive and specifically target the queen and kill her!

So I quickly put the frames back in, went to the strongest other Nuc I could find, stole 1 frame that had some brood, went back to the "dead" one, smoked the gajieebies out of it and slapped in the new frame. Because there were zero food reserves, I mixed up sugar water and fed all of the hives at this site (9 of them). Then fitted HiveGates to all of the hives (we had just got our first production through). 

The robbing effect from the bees on every hive was frantic for the next week. Zillions of bees on the outside of every hive. And this is what I observed on the nearly dead hive. There was still some entry of wasps and robber bees into the hive. But as I was not filming what was happening inside the hive, I could not see if, or how many actually entered. This hive still had very few bees, so it was really difficult for them to defend their hives from intruders. A week later I cleared out a good cupful of dead bees inside. Most were older and I suspect robbers. This I interpret as the hive been incredibly weak, and with very few young bees to do their cleaning house duties.

This photo shows what I took yesterday. The hive is rebuilding itself and virtually no dead bees or wasps on the floor. This is crazy, it really should not have survived. As I opened the hive, a bee flew up carrying a dead wasp. You cannot see it clearly in the photo but it is on the left wall and then later on top of the frame. There are still zillions of wasps around here, so good to see that if they do enter, they are dying inside the hive, and that the bees are clearing them out.

 

Sean

1May-Nuc1.jpg

1May-3.jpg

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55 minutes ago, SeanMonica said:

There are still zillions of wasps around here, 

In that case why don't you do everyone a favour and get your Vespex licence ?

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@yesbutnot sure what you mean by doing everyone favour. Vespex is great product and yes, one day maybe I will use it. My experience with this Nuc was both wasps and other bee robbing ....

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I am interested in hearing how they get on over winter and spring.

Hope you let us know.

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@mischiefme to. I will post back into this section. So far winter has not appeared, but that is surely going to change soon.

 

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54 minutes ago, SeanMonica said:

@yesbutnot sure what you mean by doing everyone favour. Vespex is great product and yes, one day maybe I will use it. My experience with this Nuc was both wasps and other bee robbing ....

If the wasps are plaguing you then they will be a nuisance to many more properties.

i had a similar problem at home last year. Initially I tried following the wasps to their nest location through neighboring properties and upon talking to our neighbors they too were being affected by the wasps. I couldn’t find the nest to used vespex. Two days after setting out the bait there were no more wasps

Bees and Beekeeper happy, surrounding neighbourhood happy.

 

No mucking around with wasp guards and knowing the problem won’t go away.

1 minute ago, SeanMonica said:

@mischiefme to. I will post back into this section. So far winter has not appeared, but that is surely going to change soon.

 

I built up a few 2 frame nucs over winter to be full 10 frame colonies by spring. 

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15 hours ago, dansar said:

built up a few 2 frame nucs over winter to be full 10 frame colonies by spring

 

Hey @dansar, I followed your blog and was intrigued. I have stopped using my Qcastles for the season and am going to try to get some small nucs through the winter in chch... yes, I know... good luck! What I don’t recall is what mix of syrup you fed?

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4 hours ago, CHCHPaul said:

 

Hey @dansar, I followed your blog and was intrigued. I have stopped using my Qcastles for the season and am going to try to get some small nucs through the winter in chch... yes, I know... good luck! What I don’t recall is what mix of syrup you fed?

About 500ml of 2:1 every week. I also started with about a 8th of a Mega Pattie and added a new one as and when it was fully consumed. Patty size increased as the colony got bigger.

 

Do a internet search for Manley Solution. I used that at the higher dosage rate in the syrup.

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4 hours ago, dansar said:

Manley Solution

 

Yes, I have been making thymolised syrup for a couple of seasons now and rate it. I kept a jar of 1:1 all of last season and over winter. It survived, albeit with a translucent scobie growing in the middle. 

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On 5/05/2019 at 3:27 PM, yesbut said:

In that case why don't you do everyone a favour and get your Vespex licence ? 

I have my vespex licence. I have wasp nests 100 -200m from my hive in the bush. However, they don't touch Vespex. They love the dead bees in front of the hives. I can imagine Vespex works in the South Island forest where there is almost no food but Vespex. If you have one or 2 wasp nest in the area and want to kill them, I don't see it happen with Vespex on my property.

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4 minutes ago, ctm said:

can imagine Vespex works in the South Island forest where there is almost no food but Vespex.

There's heaps & heaps of wasp fodder here....

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Posted (edited)
54 minutes ago, ctm said:

I have my vespex licence. I have wasp nests 100 -200m from my hive in the bush. However, they don't touch Vespex. They love the dead bees in front of the hives. I can imagine Vespex works in the South Island forest where there is almost no food but Vespex. If you have one or 2 wasp nest in the area and want to kill them, I don't see it happen with Vespex on my property.

It’s unlikely to work this time of year as the wasps are not actively looking for protein. 

Have you tried using it earlier in the season?

Edited by dansar

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16 hours ago, dansar said:

It’s unlikely to work this time of year as the wasps are not actively looking for protein. 

Have you tried using it earlier in the season?

I used it mid January until the end of March when they are geared up for protein in our area.  I am glad our neighbor made me aware of the existence of two nests. So we were able to kill them. That made a difference.  I also removed all dead bees in the morning so they had less food. Cost 135 dollars (500g) incl postage + getting your license 65 dollars. They can't deliver Rural so be aware.

 

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On 8/05/2019 at 12:28 PM, ctm said:

I used it mid January until the end of March when they are geared up for protein in our area.  I am glad our neighbor made me aware of the existence of two nests. So we were able to kill them. That made a difference.  I also removed all dead bees in the morning so they had less food. Cost 135 dollars (500g) incl postage + getting your license 65 dollars. They can't deliver Rural so be aware. 

 

To explain why Vespex is not working in area’s where there is more than  enough other "life prey" for wasps and therefor  wasps won’t touch vespex. I found this article:

 

In non beech forest where there are no high popuation of wasps, wasps preferred preying on inver-tebrates to scavenging on sardine cat-food. When scaveng-ing on sardine cat-food bait increased it may indicate that the supply of invertebrates was insufficient to meet the demands of the wasp population at that time, and may explain why poisoning operations using sardinecat-food for bait are most successful from January to April, when wasp density is highest .”

 

https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/pdf/10.1080/03014223.1995.9518043

 

 

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Interesting to hear about your miracle nuc. but, you didn't tell us how the other three went.  Did you have queen cells in all when divided into 4?(maybe original queen in one)

or did they bring on larvae to produce queens?

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Hey @buzzybees that nuc is doing well. If the weather improves this weekend I will take some pics. The miracle nuc had an old queen in that I need to replace in spring. The other nucs all had introduced grafted queen cells that I got from the local club. All hives have eggs in, although not a lot considering the time of year. I have fed all of them sugar water about a month ago now, I need to check this weekend on reserves. Still plenty of wasps around but they are mostly scavenging off the odd dead bee that I see on the ground. If any are getting into the hive then I am not seeing it.

 

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