Can you put brood frame with nurse bees from two different hives into one nuc? Spoiler, I did a silly…
Southern Tasmania, Australia. Two overwintered ‘ideal’ langstroth hives. Both with two brood boxes, queen excluder and one full super going into winter. Crap weather, so first spring inspection was only three weeks ago.
One hive was looking strong, the other appearing queenless (different sound/agitated, no young or capped brood whatsoever, but heaps of drones and lots of pollen and honey). I was worried about collapse, so removed the queen excluder which was blocked by dead drones and aimed to make a nuc from the neighbouring healthy hive and stick it on top of the failing one, with some newspaper and a queen excluder in between.
Cut to yesterday, preparing the nuc. Excited when I found brood with 2 queen cells, so prepared an 8 frame ideal box nuc with capped brood, pollen, honey and plenty of nurse bees. I spotted the queen so knew I’d not accidentally taken her, feeling a bit smug at this point.
A quick look in the top super of the ‘failing’ hive to check stores before adding the nuc box, to find healthy brood pattern with eggs and young larvae. Not what I was expecting! Kept looking and the whole box was looking great.
I was so muddled by this that I thought “I’ll just grab one more frame of brood for my nuc so it’s got a strong start and set it up independently!”
So, now I have a nuc in the same apiary with mixed brood and mixed nurse bees, 2 queen cells and no doubt a few confused flying bees that I didn’t quite shake off. What a mess!
Have I just made an accidental bee ‘fight club’ in this nuc? When should I check it?
And, any ideas about my not-so-failing hive? I saw empty queen cups in my healthy hive, maybe a swarm moved in?