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  Friday, 15 September 2017
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Several weeks ago I was called for a small swarm of bees. I picked them up set them in a five frame nuc box. To help them out I gave them a frame of brood from another hive. They have been quite industrious gathering pollen and honey. I have been waiting to see some wet brood to confirm their queen. Today I did a detailed inspection using my grafting lenses. I was hopeful when I saw eggs but close inspection revealed two and three eggs per cell. We know what that means. It is unlikely that I could find a queen anywhere at this late date and if I did would they accept her since they think they have a "queen"? Could I combine them with another small colony? Would the laying worker create a problem or would the new colony's queen pheromones shut her down? Should I let them just go on their way and gradually fade away with attrition and then give their gathered suppliers to another colony in need? There isn't enough time to start with eggs and let them build a queen and I don't think they would anyway because they think they already have one. Curious to see what anyone thinks might be the best way to proceed.
Good advice ,and yes it's very hard to admit defeat but it happens to the best at times.
4 years ago
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#2476
Sometimes it's best to admit defeat. Shake out the bees at the edge of the apiary, and put the combs away for winter. Protect from mice and moths.
4 years ago
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#2475
Don,
First, confirm there is no queen present. Given your description. it is doubtful so at this time of year it is best to combine them with an existing hive. Place a wide board from the ground to the recipient hive landing board at a slope. Shake each frame of bees from that Nuc right on the ground in front of the board. They will all just walk right up and enter the hive with little fanfare. They will be happy with an established queen and start right in helping the colony.
Trying to save that Nuc with a new queen or letting them raise their own would not work at this time of year. They need plenty of resources and young bees going into the winter and would not have the time to accomplish that now. Hope this helps. John
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