Sunday, June 5, 2011

Backyard Nuc Touch-up

Yesterday I made a nuc with a frame with a couple of uncapped queen cells on it. But I was nagged a little bit in my mind that maybe I didn't put enough nurse bees in the nuc. Last time I made a nuc, I made sure to shake an extra frame of nurse bees in the nuc from another frame (which remained in the main hive). But since this was from the Pink hive which had just swarmed, there weren't really too many extra nurse bees to share. I had a nuc fail the first year because of insufficient nurse bees.

I watched the nuc a lot yesterday, and did not see any activity out front (which may make sense, since the foragers left with the swarm, and the nurse bees stay with the brood). But I would have expected a little something more than a bee peeking out every once in a while.

So I decided to steal some nurse bees from the Brown hive, which had enough to spare. The problem is, to the nuc, those bees would be foreign invaders, and if I just shook them in the hive, some fighting may ensue (people say you can move frames of brood with nurse bees from hive to hive, and they nurse bees won't fight, but I wasn't sure about just shaking random bees into the nuc).

I remember reading that people have been able to shake bees by giving them something to do as a distraction. So this afternoon I made up some sugar water and put it in a sprayer, and sprayed the nurse bees on the frame I was shaking from, to hopefully disguise their foreign-ness for a while. I then shook the bees into the nuc. I would guess I added a couple of cups of bees, and I felt better with that population.

I also got a look at the queen cells. Yesterday they were open, but today they had been capped. Here are two pictures where you can see two queen cells capped.

There may actually be more than one cell on that first picture - I can't tell for sure.

According to bee math, the queen should be born in 8 or 9 days, and she should be laying in around 20 days. So I'll leave that nuc alone for 3 weeks, and check back then.

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