Honeyflow.com | FAQ's | Community |

Kill queen or start a new nuc?


Apologies for long story but wanting to give the full picture and desperately need opinions…
Got a swarm call last Tues, got the bees into the box when I noticed they’d actually built comb (small amount, maybe 5cm by 5cm) in the fork of the tree. Left bees there for the day & the guy called me that afternoon to tell me the bees were clustered under the landing board. Went back again with a frame of brood. Box was empty, and as he’d said, they were all under the landing board (only a small swarm). Placed the frame of brood in front and most climbed onto it, and it was placed in the box. The rest eventually followed. Closed it up, took it to my apiary site, gave a reduced entrance and left. Next morning I went to check them, and they’d abandoned the brood and left. Found them on an accessible branch nearby. Got them into the box again, this time a double box with a queen excluder to keep them there. Gave them some honey on top of the frames which they lapped up. Checked them again on Fri and they’d done nothing, and seemed to be clustering on the walls, not on the frames. Back again today with some sugar syrup which they are loving, but they’re looking a lot smaller (about a handful of bees) and are obviously dying out. No comb built etc.
So, I gather my options are - kill the queen and merge with another swarm I have (who are going well) OR take a few brood frames with nurse bees from my mega strong hive and try to introduce the queen there.
I don’t think adding frames of brood to this swarm is viable, as I doubt there is enough to cover a frame. I thought maybe the queen was a virgin but she’s a good size so doubting that.
What would you do?
Any advice is appreciated!


Hey Mrsmcnic
Given you are on the Sunshine Coast and the time of year it is, id probably add a few frames to it and pop it in a nuc. If that didn’t work I’d probably cut my losses and merge.
All depends if you want more hives or not I guess.
Granted my advice might not be worth much as I recently split a hive that had recently swarmed (I didn’t realise until later that night). They both survived though so all’s well that ends well.


Thanks for replying!
I’ve ended up putting them in the position of another swarm I caught a month ago that are going really well. So all the foragers are going into the struggling hive. I’ve given them some brood and it’s looking OK, but obviously very early days. I’ll observe them daily and open them in a week. Fingers crossed!
Glad your splits are going well!


Hey Nat, You have done what I would advise and keep the entrance down in size. A good move putting them in the location of the stronger hive and that will also weaken the strong hive for a short time and that isn’t a bad thing in the Spring.
Pick a warm day with little wind for the inspection and you will add another building hive to your apiary.


Thanks Pete, it was a suggestion from our friend Jeff. I’m lucky to get such good advice and the benefit of everyone’s experience in these situations! You guys rock.


Hi Nat, I got around to where you got the advise from Jeff, we look at beekeeping on the same wave length and I enjoy catching up with Jeff when I can. A gentleman of the top order is Jeff.
I have been too busy making hive lids at the Men’s Shed and should have the last of them done by next week. Also been extracting honey and done the last of my splits for the Spring. I have lashed out and bought an electric 2 frame extractor, it is a big time saver to have it working while I de-cap the next pair of frames.
Off to the Tweed Coast this weekend to help a lass out that is having a bout of nerves with her bees, a newbie. I have tried to talk her through but I think it will be easier for her to see how things are done with her doing it. I sense it is a lack of confidence.
Hi to Katarina when you talk to her. Thanks for the compliment.