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Small Group of bees didn't go into hive


Brand new beekeeper wannaBEEs. We have only one hive.

We live in Northern Alberta. Just got a nuc yesterday. We left the bees overnight in the nuc near the permanent hive as instructed by the nuc vendor. Today, Jim transferred the nuc frames to the new hive. Some bees were reluctant to leave the nuc, but by days end the nuc was empty, however, a small group of bees has settled in a cell of our hollow pallets. We are worried that possibly this group is protecting the queen? Is it possible that the queen was not transferred to the new hive with the frame. Jim looked at each frame as he transferred them but did not see a queen. Will this group move into the hive? Is it likely that the queen is with this small group? What would be our best move at this point? Thank you for any information you can give us.

Jim and Grace


Hi Grace, that is a possibility. What I normally do in this situation is first with your gloves on, use a finger to gently sift through the bees and look for the queen. Bees will cluster together if lost regardless of whether there is a queen or not. If you see the queen it is safe to gently pick her up and place either at the entrance to the hive or on top of the frames (hive lid will need to be lifted). Bees in this situation are not defensive and will not sting unless squashed.
Otherwise, gently scoop up the bees with your hands (gloves on) and place on the top of the frames or at the entrance, the smell from the colony is enough to lead them into the hive.