Author Topic: Very Small Colony Needs Nurse Bees  (Read 214 times)

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Offline Jen

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Very Small Colony Needs Nurse Bees
« on: March 15, 2019, 05:40:59 pm »
I got a very small colony thru the winter, I like this queen. The colony is the size of an orange now.

There are about 10 new eggs. However on the other side of the frame there are some cells that have 2 and 3 eggs in each cell.

I'm thinking that the queen wants to lay but there is not enough nurse bees to take care of more eggs so queen is holding back. So the worker bees are laying eggs now.

I would like to put a couple of frames of bees and eggs into this colony for support. But won't the new bees simply fly back to the original hive?

 
There Is Peace In The Queendom

Offline iddee

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Re: Very Small Colony Needs Nurse Bees
« Reply #1 on: March 15, 2019, 07:21:04 pm »
Put one frame of bees and brood in there. Only the foragers will fly back. The young nurse bees that you need will not know where to fly to, so they will stay there. Wait 3 to 5 days before adding a second frame of bees.
“Listen to the mustn'ts, child. Listen to the don'ts. Listen to the shouldn'ts, the impossibles, the won'ts. Listen to the never haves, then listen close to me... Anything can happen, child. Anything can be.”
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Offline Jen

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Re: Very Small Colony Needs Nurse Bees
« Reply #2 on: March 15, 2019, 07:25:45 pm »
Ooooh Goodie! I was hoping to hear that! Thanks Mr. Wizard  ;D
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Offline Bakersdozen

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Re: Very Small Colony Needs Nurse Bees
« Reply #3 on: March 15, 2019, 07:41:35 pm »
It is true that a queen will only lay the amount of eggs her work force can take care of.  The two or three eggs in one cell concerns me.  I agree with iddee about putting nurse bees in there to bolster that colony.

Offline Jen

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Re: Very Small Colony Needs Nurse Bees
« Reply #4 on: March 15, 2019, 09:15:11 pm »
Me too Baker, stood there and examined and let the bees tell their tale. I surmised that they haven't been laying that long, and maybe it's the queen laying more than one egg.

The single eggs are about 3 days old according to how far over the eggs are tilting. The multiple eggs on the other side of the frame are all laying down but have not turned into larvae yet.

If it's the queen doing all the laying both sides, maybe she had to have a little time to get it right. All of my hives this year have new hybrid queens, overwintered.
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Offline Bakersdozen

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Re: Very Small Colony Needs Nurse Bees
« Reply #5 on: March 16, 2019, 10:22:22 am »
If the queen is fertile and healthy, her pheromones should be suppressing any workers from laying.  So, time will tell.  If those multiple eggs turn out to be drones, you might have a situation on your hands.  A queen and a laying worker?  Anything is possible.

Offline Jen

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Re: Very Small Colony Needs Nurse Bees
« Reply #6 on: March 16, 2019, 12:38:27 pm »
Most Certainly Baker  ;)

Scenario: Believe it or not last summer I had THREE queens in ONE nuc, a two stack, for a full month. I have photo's. Figure That One Out!  :o
I really had no idea which queen was doing the best laying. So I checked the nuc once a week to see if the fight of the season had happened. Finally, one of the queens perished, I don't know how, but still two left. At that point in late summer I didn't have enough resources to build another nuc, or I would have made up a nuc and transferred one of the queens. There did come a day with inspection that there was finally one queen left. That nuc has wintered beautifully with the reigning queen. It was soo interesting to watch nature make the final decision.

Anyway, back on topic, Yes, time will tell. I'm hoping that this hive will take the right turn and queen will go for it with gusto.
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Offline tecumseh

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Re: Very Small Colony Needs Nurse Bees
« Reply #7 on: March 17, 2019, 06:20:01 am »
to somewhat elaborate on Iddee's comments... 1) weather is important in boosting bees (in some situation I call this 'leveling' resources) < if you know how bees tend to cluster you can use cold snaps to your advantage but you also do NOT want to add brood that may be killed by a cold snap, 2) you can add sealed brood, brush off the attached bees and wait for this to hatch or 3) you can add open brood and most of the adult are young enough that they do not know the way back home.  Obviously you want to make certain there is no queen on the frame you are switching from one hive to the other.  If conditions are just right you can add a small number of bulk bees sprayed down with thin syrup and a dab of vanilla but this is something I do not typically recommend for novice or hobby beekeepers simply because they typically do NOT have bulk bees just setting around.