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Mating nuc make up


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Ata marie ,

Iv been into cell builder hive briefly today to check the number of capped queen cells,all the 11 started are capped.

So,couple questions regarding nuc make up.I have had some 3 frame,3/4 nuc boxes made up.My thinking is 1 frame waxed foundation,1 frame nectar/pollen for food and 1 frame brood,ideally an all capped brood frame and add a 10 day cell.

Now ,if i dont have enough fully capped brood frames handy, for all 11 nucs,my only option is to use watever brood frames i have.If thats the case,can i go into nuc a cuple days later to inspect/squash any cells they may start? Or do the bees realise there is a queen cell present and not bother making any?

I plan to make the nucs up 24hrs before adding the cell or if i use open brood,can i add the cell straight after making the nuc up?

Your thoughts and experience appreciated?

 

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Transport the bar of cells in a nuc you want use and leave the last cell for them

It might be safer to put the cells in after you have move the nukes but on the other hand if you open them up after shifting to insert the cells then you will probably have quite a few bees flying awa

Good work on your cells Phil exciting times.. it’s a bit like fishing I recon.. waiting to see that new brood from the queen you have just produced a bit like setting the bait.  My mating nucs I mak

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21 minutes ago, Phil46 said:

Now ,if i dont have enough fully capped brood frames handy, for all 11 nucs,my only option is to use watever brood frames i have.

Absolutely. Most of the hard feeding work is done now, in the creation of the queen cell.  You're just wanting to have a nucleus (so to speak...) of bees to care for the emerging virgin up to the time after mating when you are ready to utilise her.  So a mix of emerging, sealed and unsealed brood doesn't make much real difference - there might be some larvae still to feed, but it shouldn't overwhelm the colony as it establishes into its new role of getting a mated queen into place.  And your cell will be emerging almost right away, long before they'd be raising more cells off any last young larvae you had provided - no need to squash cells.  Just give them time to establish and the virgin to mate...

 

Long way of saying "Once you've put a queen cell in, don't disturb the mating nuc any more than you have to until after expected mating."  Esp. goes for a small nucleus, which I would count yours to be.

 

You did very very well for your first grafting.  Admirable!

Edited by NickWallingford
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a lot of people remove surplus brood and pour some of this into poly mini-mating nucs to repopulate them and they use three or four 4" square top bars and a feeder cavity with a entrance hole underneath. That way you can save your 3/4 gear for more valuable endeavours.

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2 minutes ago, ChrisM said:

a lot of people remove surplus brood and pour some of this into poly mini-mating nucs to repopulate them and they use three or four 4" square top bars and a feeder cavity with a entrance hole underneath. That way you can save your 3/4 gear for more valuable endeavours.

Yeah iv seen that option Chris,i didnt want a whole lot of diff size frames,feeders etc again to either make or buy,this way its standard frames.Iv got plenty of 3/4 gear!

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1 hour ago, NickWallingford said:

Absolutely. Most of the hard feeding work is done now, in the creation of the queen cell.  You're just wanting to have a nucleus (so to speak...) of bees to care for the emerging virgin up to the time after mating when you are ready to utilise her.  So a mix of emerging, sealed and unsealed brood doesn't make much real difference - there might be some larvae still to feed, but it shouldn't overwhelm the colony as it establishes into its new role of getting a mated queen into place.  And your cell will be emerging almost right away, long before they'd be raising more cells off any last young larvae you had provided - no need to squash cells.  Just give them time to establish and the virgin to mate...

 

Long way of saying "Once you've put a queen cell in, don't disturb the mating nuc any more than you have to until after expected mating."  Esp. goes for a small nucleus, which I would count yours to be.

 

You did very very well for your first grafting.  Admirable!

Rawe to korero Nick! Il start prepping n planning my nucs.

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Personally I think there is a benefit from having a mix of ages in your brood when making up a nuc.I find that nucleus hives made up with at least some young brood hold onto their bees better. It pays not to put your nucleus hives too close to strong Queen right hives as a lot of bees can drift into them.

As for cells I put them straight in and the same for cage Queens. There was an old theory that leaving them queenless for  24 hours or so made them more accepting of cells\queens et cetera but that is not the case and a truly queenless hive is generally harder to re-queen than one that has just been made queenless.

I prefer not to go near a new Queen until she has sealed brood as  bees do ball and kill new Queen's when disturbed. It doesn't happen all the time by any means but it does happen often enough that it Is something to avoid.

I wouldn't use foundation unless I had nothing else. Personally I would go two frames of brood and one of honey.

It's a subject that is open to debate but generally I think you get better queens out of stronger nucleus hives. I have messed around with a few mini nukes over the years and they do produce reasonable queens most of the time  but only reasonable and not always even that..

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Kia ora mo tena korero John,thats good to know i can insert cells as i make up the nucs .

And i will be taking nucs out to another apiary once they are all made up,will that disturb the cell too much? They will be inside my vehicle not bounced around on a trailer.

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It might be safer to put the cells in after you have move the nukes but on the other hand if you open them up after shifting to insert the cells then you will probably have quite a few bees flying away. The wing buds on the young Queens are quite delicate and if you damage them by rough handling then they cannot mate so whatever you do be very gentle.

On balance I think I would put the cells in after shifting the hives but either method should work as long as you are really gentle.

 

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1 hour ago, Phil46 said:

Kia ora mo tena korero John,thats good to know i can insert cells as i make up the nucs .

And i will be taking nucs out to another apiary once they are all made up,will that disturb the cell too much? They will be inside my vehicle not bounced around on a trailer.

No, that sounds fine.  Bees are amazingly resilient, really.  More likely to lead to loss would be a too-early-too-often look to see if there are any eggs, leading as @john berry says the 'balling' of the queen.  With a 'reasonable' cluster of bees (more than a mere handful), stores and esp. still emerging bees, the virgin should be well catered for.  

 

Queen cells are funny things - amazingly tolerant of bumps and bounces at some stages, but incredibly delicate at other stages of development.  We put out a bunch of 2 day old cells with one outfit I worked for, but if you were too early or too late, queenless nucs wouldn't accept them (possibly related to the larvae being dislodged from the bed of royal jelly?)

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Good work on your cells Phil exciting times.. it’s a bit like fishing I recon.. waiting to see that new brood from the queen you have just produced a bit like setting the bait. 
My mating nucs I make up as 1honey 2brood , 1 drawn 1 foundy, willow is starting here and I make nucs up in coreflute boxes for transport to mating yard close to the cell builders (1km) then drop them in their double nuc placing cell later or the next day. 

with the weather we’ve had the last few days I’m expecting this Friday and Saturday will be an insect sex fest.. fingers crossed. 

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6 hours ago, Trevor Gillbanks said:

I would not go back in after the cell has emerged as the bees will sometimes kill the new virgin or she will fly off.  The bees will sort it.

 

Yup, as Trevor said. 
If you have a frame with eggs in it you will also know if it is the Queen you grafted or an emergency queen made by the colony when you go in on the date that the grafted Queen should be laying. If she isn’t and there is a virgin queen then it’s good odds (plus probably a queen cell or two on the frame) they raised their own queen.

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Plenty of advice here already but I think your plan sounds good. My ideal set-up for mating nucs (in spring) is a frame of brood, a frame of food and enough bees to keep the brood warm. My nucs are 3-4 frames with a 1 frame width frame feeder. I also like mixed-age brood but prefer to have some close to emerging if possible so that there are new bees coming through all the time. 

I tend to put cells in the next day. I make the nucs and move them to a new site. They get opened up and left to settle in for a day before I put the cells in.

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One other thing. 

I find if I make mating nucs up stronger than what I described above they are too full and the queen from the cell you provide often flies off with many of the bees. You end up with a queen from one of their emergency cells instead.

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Something else has come up re making up the nucs and then transporting,so im asking is it possible to transport the frame of queen cells a 1/2 hr drive to mating nuc apiary without causing any damage? I will wrap in a warm damp towel and have heater running in my truck and be careful az.

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Ripe cells are somewhat resilient.  We used to carry them in a small chilly bin with a warm water bottle underneath a towel.  Another outfit I worked for had a special box of queenless bees to keep the temperature steady throughout the day of distributing ripe cells.  By this stage of development, the almost ready to emerge queens should be able to tolerate some temperature changes, but try to keep them warm - just like the middle of the brood nest...

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 I was once to a little bit of re-queening at home and had a couple of cells left over which I forgot about and left on a hive lid. The next morning they were hatching out quite happily. I think it pays to be as careful as you can be with temperature but there is no doubt you will damage ripe cells a lot quicker with heat then you will with a little bit of cold.

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13 hours ago, Otto said:

One other thing. 

I find if I make mating nucs up stronger than what I described above they are too full and the queen from the cell you provide often flies off with many of the bees. You end up with a queen from one of their emergency cells instead.

Too true. Especially in October.

I once made up 20 strong splits put in cells and it was Swarmville. I was trying to use up surplus brood by making up strong singles. 

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If you put a ripe cell in at the same time as you make the nuke up they are less likely to start raising queens of their own and I believe less likely to swarm. Every area and every hive is different so you can only generalise when it comes to swarming.

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7 hours ago, john berry said:

If you put a ripe cell in at the same time as you make the nuke up they are less likely to start raising queens of their own and I believe less likely to swarm. Every area and every hive is different so you can only generalise when it comes to swarming.

I found with small nucs - polystyrene box type - that putting the cell in as you put the cup of bees in worked well.  It seemed to 'anchor' the bees a bit better, rather than them just drifting off as soon as they could...

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