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Nuc Check – Queen Cup and Cranky

Berkeley Hive
Found larvae, eggs & capped brood
Did not find queen
The bottom deep was wall to wall capped brood (the outside frames were nectar/honey)
Bees had finished Tom Fifer’s 4th frame and were working on two of my frames, effectively on 6 frames now.
Found 1 queen cup. Hive was a bit crankier then I am used to when it comes to a Nuc.
Pests: Spotted and squashed one large small hive beetle.

Since my last, multi-hour adventure with all of the hives, I have decided to break my inspections of the hives up a bit, giving me less hives to check per adventure. Today was the first in the rotation and I chose the Berkeley Hive, one of my new Nuc’s.

This hive has been showing good, eating a nice bit of syrup and having good activity at the entrance all week. Since I have them next to the cantankerous Westover Hive, I keep a close eye on them to make sure that no robbing is going on. Interestingly enough (or, I should say sadly enough), I did witness evidence of a bit of fighting right after I hived them, but that was not due to robbing. I have 3 top hive feeders (4 more were ordered a week ago, so more are on the way) and I had lent one to Pop for his Nuc. That left me with two for my Nuc’s but I was using one on the Westover Hive. I had let it go dry, but when I moved it from one hive to the other, about 8 bees from the Westover Hive were still in it. I went ahead and plopped it on top of the hive and hoped they would join the workforce of the Nuc. Well, instead (at least one of them) they went on a commando mission (or maybe my bees attacked them.) Regardless, the reason I know this is that I saw one bee leave the hive and jump around on the landing area with another bee attached to him. As I watched, I realized the other bee was a black bee from the Westover Hive, but it was attached to the Berkeley Hive bee (believe it or not, but it appeared to have its mouth securely fastened to the Nuc bee’s wing!) As the poor battle-worn veteran tried to deal with this nuissance, I used my hive tool to cut the dead bee in half (it was attached to her wing, remember?) Unfortunately, having the head of one’s enemy attached to your wing is not a good feeling, as she jumped to the ground and began hopping around, rolling over and doing all sorts of other things to get it off. I couldn’t help any further without damaging her, so I left her be. I hope she worked it out!

Regardless, the inspection was good. The bees had done a good job of finishing out the 4 frames they came in and were working on two more. One was really getting a good draw. I never saw that rascal of a queen, but found both larvae and eggs. The eggs were dead centered and solo, so no laying worker nonsense. I also found one queen cup and one worker was really doing something in there, sticking her head down a good way. There was nothing for it, at this stage, so I did not really investigate. I’ll be sure to locate that frame (second to last of the originals from Tom) a week from now to see what we have going. I have heard that supercedure is a common practice for packages and it happens with Nuc’s too. I have no idea what I’ll do if that cup becomes a cell…

Now that the investigation was over, I put a gallon of syrup in the feeder and let them be. I must say that they were flying about in an angry manner, although I saw none actually land and try to sting me. There was a lot of posturing, but I have learned to ignore that. A storm is brewing to the NW, so maybe that had them on edge.

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