Monday, March 17, 2008

Building Up an Overwintered Nuc, Part 2

It had been a month since I last vivited the nuc that I am building up into a nice production unit for my daughter. I figured that after a month the queen would bee on the bigger frames in the deep nuc box and laying brood. After taking the outer and inner cover off of the nuc I then removed the empty deep nuc box which surrounded the feeders. The feeders were then taken off for my first look between the top bars to see if the bees had moved up as I had hoped.

Here's a good look down into the nuc. Please keep in mind that you can click on these pictures if you wish to enlarge them for a better view.

I know that just because there are bees near the top bars that it does not indicate that the cluster has mooved near there. So it was time to pull out a frame to inspect it for bees and brood. As I moved my hand over the nuc I could feel the heat rising from the small colony. The smaller sized small nuc boxes greatly benefit a colony's ability to thermoregulate itself. The first frame I pulled out was on the outer edge of the box.

Here's a slightly closer view of the same frame. Around the patch of capped brood is all stages of larvae, and eggs are on the very outer rings of the brood patch.

Since this was the first frame I pulled out I knew the next few frames would have brood as well. This is the next frame I took out of the nuc for inspection. If you look closely enough you can see the queen. You can see here near the open cells surrounded by capped brood on the left center of the frame. She was in the process of laying eggs back in the cells from which some new bees had just emerged.

Here are two more pictures of the queen, if you can find her.

After pulling a few of the frames I looked down into the nucs that the colony overwintered in that I put the pollen patty on when I added the first deep nuc box with frames. The small colony had eaten all of their pollen patty excepet a piece that was about one fourth of the original quantity I gave them. I didn't feel the need to pry into the lower two boxes to look for additional brood but I am confident there is some there. The pollen patties and syrup has really helped to build up this little nuc so far. You can see a piece of what was left of the pollen patty below.

After putting the frames back into place it was time to do what I had planned to do to this colony a month ago, and that was to add some more space. First I put the empty deep nuc box into place.

Then I began to insert deep frames of drawn comb into the empty box.

Then I inserted the rest of the frames. The deep frames of comb contain potions of honey, pollen, and some empty cells. I put the frames which were most empty to the center and the frames which had more honey and pollen to the outside. I believe the queen will be moving up to lay some eggs in those empty cells as it looked as if she was almost running out of space below.

Then the inner lid was put into place.

Finally, the outer cover was put into place.

The next time I go to this nuc it will be to put it into some full size equipment. I'm almost positive that I will be using eight frame equipment for this colony. The inside feeders are now at the entrance in an entrance feeder and the next time I visit the colony another pollen patty will be added. With as much early growth as this small nuc has already shown it is likely that I will be able to harvest a few supers of honey from it. I'll be sure to keep you posted.Thanks.

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