First week after nuc install, honey bound?

I just did my first inspection today after getting a 4-frame nuc into 8 frame box last week. As recommended by the seller, I’ve been feeding 1.5 kg/L syrup and 2.75 L have been lapped up in 1 week. He said I should keep doing so for at least 3 weeks.

Anyway, I didn’t find the queen nor any uncapped brood. I did find a small patch of eggs in the corner of a frame. The rest was jam packed with syrup.

The other 4 frames to fill the box were new foundation. The seller said to put those frames on the outside and don’t split up the nuc frames. Only two sides had been partially drawn out. Even the little amount of new comb was already filled to the brim. With the couple of rainy days this week, I was hoping they spent the time making wax. All of the newly emerged brood cells were filled with syrup/nectar. I say some nectar since the activity has been high at a neighbor’s bush.

The hive population had jumped from 3 frames of bees to 4 frames.

The hive looks honey bound, well syrup, but the term applies to the condition. The hive does not have enough bees to justify throwing on the next super.

Should I stop feeding even though the seller said to keep feeding?

I’m also thinking about checkering in a few frames. Keep two old frames in the middle then alternate new and old. Is this right?

I went back in today. I found the queen. She even laid an egg for me. Still no open brood, just lots and lots of eggs.

I decided to move the outer nuc frames out by one. Hopefully, the bees will become more aware of the extra space available.

Definitely stop feeding syrup as it’s sacrificing laying space and based on your numbers there’s 4kg of sugar in the hive. Without laying space the colony won’t be able to get a critical mass. Also, this time of year shouldn’t require feeding (I would have expected some stored nectar on the Nuc frames, enough to establish the hive in its new location). How many frames were in the Nuc? There should of been frames containing capped brood which should now be hatching.

The risk with overfeeding is that the decrease in laying space results in the colony numbers dropping, and eventually the hive becomes attractive to robbers as you have a combination of low bee numbers, and a large amount of stored sugar.

Be careful also moving the frames out if they contain eggs, if the cluster isn’t of adequate size, the eggs/brood can chill (especially over the last couple of days) with the severe temperature drop.

How many frames are in the brood box? Are you using foundation? Have the frames (not from the Nuc) been drawn fully? Do these frames (not from the Nuc) contain eggs/brood? Is there any pollen in the hive?

One frame was fairly full with uncapped nectar.

4 frames

There was one frame of capped brood. It was almost completely hatched at 1 week inspection. The vacated cells were full of syrup.

The frames I moved did not have any eggs, just heavy with syrup.

8 frames

Yes, pure wax with horizontal wiring. I wanted to give the bees a head start.

No, this is my first hive so I didn’t have any drawn comb or stickies. If I did, I don’t believe I’d be in this pickle.

Only two of the 8 new sides (2 sides per frame) had any drawn comb on them. The total amount wouldn’t make a full side and those tiny little wells were already full of syrup. I was expecting a lot more in a week.

No. I think they were way too shallow for the queen to consider them viable.

Not much. I see the bees bringing in pollen, but I’m guessing they are using it about as fast as they bringing it in. One of the nuc frames was supposed to be a pollen frame, but it was a poor frame, not even fully drawn. It was cleared out at 1 week and full of syrup.

Stop feeding… is my immediate advice.

The original Nuc also sounds interesting, it was 4 frames, but one of the frames didn’t contain brood and was meant to be a pollen frame… but wasn’t fully drawn? Is my understanding correct there?

So in summary, there were 3 frames with brood in the Nuc + one pollen frame in the Nuc. This has been combined with 4 frames of foundation in an 8 frame hive.

  1. The foundation frames have only been partially drawn since being added, and in the areas where they are drawn, they are back filled with sugar syrup (no eggs or brood on the new frames)
  2. The brood that was in the original Nuc frames has hatched, and been back filled with syrup
  3. There isn’t any pollen visibly stored on any of the frames
  4. Queen has been sighted, and confirmed is laying (there are some eggs… where are they?)

So I guess if all that is correct, my follow up questions are going to be around brood.

  • How much of each frame contains brood? What is the pattern like? (eg, round/central?, just around the edges/corners?)
  • What stages are these brood cells in (egg/wet brood/capped)?
  • Is there any capped/recently hatched brood that hasn’t been back filled with syrup?

Perhaps to make it easier… are you able to upload photos of the frames at all? :slight_smile:

The original nuc was 4 frames: sealed brood, unsealed brood/eggs, nectar, and pollen/nectar.

Your list 1-4 is correct.

The eggs were along the bottoms of the nuc frames and in the corners. I also found a few dotted around in the filled syrup cells.

I caught your post just before I opened the hive for week 2 inspection. Following a report, I’ll post photos. Photos will be in order from one side of the hive to the other.

Week 2 report

The bees were very, very busy compared to last week. The two frames that I moved were almost fully drawn and full of eggs. They did some major moves of the content of the frames; they emptied out the syrup they stored in the nuc frames. They have tons of brood. The population of the hive increased to 6 frames of bees.

I’m not worried like I was a week ago. The amount of new comb over one week is 10 times the amount produced the previous week. The syrup volume decreased greatly.

I kept feeding them over this past week. They drank another 3 L of 1.5 kg/L syrup.

The hive no longer looks honey bound and I think I need to get busy finishing the second brood box.

Week 2

Frame 1
Nothing much here. Frame 2 and 3 looked like this last week except the comb was full of syrup.

Week 2

Nuc 1
This was the nectar frame. The surprise was the middle patch they took out. The capping looks dark, but I see a bunch of unsealed brood. The wood in the frame is not good—looks like woodworm holes bored in it. I’d like to rotate this frame out.

Week 2

Frame 2
Tons of eggs and syrup along the top.

Week 2

Nuc 2
This was the unsealed frame of brood and eggs. Last week, it had sealed brood mostly on the top, a band of syrup in the middle and eggs along the bottom. I see lots of unsealed brood in the top. The spotty brood pattern on side B has cells of syrup. This is one solid frame of brood.

Week 2

Nuc 3
This was the frame of sealed brood. Last week, it was busting full of syrup. The bottom corner on side B is where I found the eggs and the queen. Looks like some of the syrup was capped, but most has been moved out. Uncapped brood, capped brood and syrup are all mixed up.

Week 2

Frame 3
Queen was found here. The syrup filled cells were cleaned up in the middle and syrup lines the top. Eggs are everywhere.

Week 2

Nuc 4
This was the “pollen” frame. They left this full of syrup from last week. This was the most unchanged frame, just some new capping. With no eggs, i’m moving this frame out again so it will be an outer frame.

Week 2

Frame 4
A little drawn comb, but no stored syrup.

Brood pattern looks good, you don’t want them to back fill the NUC 2/3 frames with sugar syrup when they hatch out. Is NUC 1 on plastic foundation? or just an older frame? hard to tell from photo.

Frame 2/3 both look great, and progressing well.

Older frame. This is the one with holes in the wood. He said the wax was newer.