Nuc check

Two weeks have passed since the last check on my summer nucs. I had planned to look at them early this morning but my plans were changed late yesterday evening. Today was the perfect summer day not too hot and very low humidity. A perfect late afternoon beekeeping day. My summer nucs are medium frames in two 5 frame boxes with a two frame Boardman style feeder for a total of 8 frames.

Bees were flying from all the hives so I didn’t expect to find any issues. The first nucs I checked were excellent with solid brood in eggs, larval and capped stages. Good bee cover, lots of pollen stored and both uncapped nectar and capped honey in text book layout. I’m always in awe of how the bees work this out.

My wow feeling was short lived. One nuc had good bee cover and a good amount of pollen and nectar. To my disappointment, there was no brood although I saw the queen walking around. Interestingly, she had what looked to be any egg hanging from the end of her abdomen. I don’t know if I just disturbed her in “mid egg deposit” or if she was not able to lay. I’ve never seen this condition.

There was what I would consider a good bit of drone brood on one frame so I would guess the queen has failed. The bees didn’t seem happy. So what to do?

I have a swam hive capture earlier this spring that has dark (almost black) bees and a beautiful matching queen. This queen is an egg laying monster and I have borrowed a number of frames from her for nucs and boosting hives. The down side to this swarm hive is that there is not much capped honey so getting through the winter might be the challenge. I grabbed two frames of brood from her hive being sure there were eggs and a queen cup or two and swapped frames with the nuc.

I live for the beekeeping experiments and I put my faith in the bee’s ability to correct hive issues. I am not sure they can correct this one as it is getting late for a bee hive miracle. If it doesn’t work I’ll combine the nuc into a strong one.