Hi , I have just transfered 2x 4frame nucs into my flow hive brood boxes and was wondering if I should feed them for a bit to help build them up ? I am in Maryborough and we have just had good rain which has triggered a lot of flowers. Should I just leave the hives to feed on natural feed?
Two Nucs? That’s a lot of bees, what did you do with the extra queen? Do you have much in flower in your area? For me, I never feed at this time of year. Lots of flowering trees and gardens about. Bees are very industrious and have a knack of finding food.
If conditions are good a nuc should not need feeding as they should have some honey frames. On the other hand, packages need feeding.
I would leave them and keep an eye on their stores. Did you set up two hives? One point, shut your entrance down so they can guard it properly, they are really small hives.
Thanks , they are two seperate hives and have some honey stored along with new uncapped brood. I have closed off the entrances to about 1/3 the width of the normal entrance. How often should i pull the frames to check on the brood? I dont want to keep disturbing them too much but as a new bee keeper i am keen to see their development.
For new nuclei, I would think once every two weeks would be fine for a month. They can probably take a once weekly inspection, if you can’t contain your curiosity. Once they are a strong hive, you probably should inspect once a week or so, if you are going to control swarming.
Every time you inspect, you need to have a specific list of questions you are going to address. I would suggest for a new nucleus:
- How much comb is fully drawn - how many frames are completely drawn out? Then you will know whether they have enough, or too much space.
- How much food is stored? How much is honey and how much is pollen? That will help you decide whether to feed.
- What is the brood pattern like? Can you see brood in all stages (eggs, larvae, capped pupae), or only one or two stages? Is the brood tightly organized in semicircles or ovals, or is it scattered? If you see eggs, how many per cell and where are they?
- Is everything healthy? Any funny smells, dead or deformed bees?
Don’t worry about spotting the queen every time. She can be elusive, and as long as the hive is healthy, you will be fine.
If you don’t have a question, don’t inspect.
I agree with Rob and Dawn, keep an eye on honey storage and inspect at the warmest part of the day a minimum of once every two weeks…
Just remember that “yes” you may not like to disturb them but you have livestock now and with that comes the responsibility to ensure their wellbeing. These regular inspections are about disease control and the general health of the colony i.e. picking issues before they become irretrievable. You made a good choice to start with 2 hives, this gives you a fighting chance to rectify a queenless hive and boost a failing colony should the need arise.
They can be fickle little creatures and one queen sometimes out performs another even though they may have the same mother. Hope you enjoy your new hobby as much as the rest of us here.
Brilliant advice Dawn!
Pretty much the same as yours, Rob.
Thanks Dawn, i was wondering when i should be adding the flow super on my strong hive? They have brood and honey in 5.5 frames of the 8 frame brood box. They havent drawn comb on the outside frames yet and they dont seem to want to. The frames are new undrawn wax on wire .
Each established brood frame should have an arch of honey at the top/sides of the frame. If not, they are most likely hungry and will usually start cannibalizing brood.
Here’s a decent frame that my lovely wife is holding
Only add a super when your existing brood box has:
- Fully drawn comb covering most of every frame, and
- The comb is 80% full of brood, pollen or honey, and
- Every frame is well-covered with bees
I would suggest smearing some burr comb from an inspection over the Flow frames too. This will greatly speed up the bees’ interest in the new box.