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I've been keeping this blog for all of my beekeeping years and I am beginning my 19th year of beekeeping in April 2024. Now there are more than 1300 posts on this blog. Please use the search bar below to search the blog for other posts on a subject in which you are interested. You can also click on the "label" at the end of a post and all posts with that label will show up. At the very bottom of this page is a list of all the labels I've used.

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I began this blog to chronicle my beekeeping experiences. I have read lots of beekeeping books, but nothing takes the place of either hands-on experience with an experienced beekeeper or good pictures of the process. I want people to have a clearer picture of what to expect in their beekeeping so I post pictures and write about my beekeeping saga here.Master Beekeeper Enjoy with me as I learn and grow as a beekeeper.

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Friday, April 12, 2013

Nuc to Replace Drone Layer Hive at Chastain

On Thursday morning I checked on my backyard hives and was particularly interested in the nuc we are thinking of moving to Chastain as a teaching hive.  Julia gave me a queen cell on a frame for this nuc back on March 18.

As Billy Davis would say, the queen cell looked "medium biscuit" in color which means it was about midway through its development.  So I expected the queen to emerge within a week.  But I left the hive alone, except for giving it honey to eat in a Boardman feeder inside the hive.

On Thursday I opened the nuc to look at the work of the queen for the first time.  Notice the make-shift entrance reducer!  Jeff is making us some better ones.  I have had no confidence in my ability to make a nuc - have never done it successfully - but this year every one I have made is a success.

The queen was laying and so eager, that she was laying in barely drawn comb.  If you click to enlarge either photo below, you'll see an egg in every cell:

The nuc had eaten all of the honey I had provided in the Boardman Feeder, so when I was confident that the queen was there and doing well, I went inside to fill a jar from some honey I had crushed from a deadout.

I filled the jar and then, to my horror, dropped the jar and broke it to smithereens on the rug in my basement honey harvest area.  I took the broken jar and honey out to put it where the bees in my apiary could clean it up:

How I left it was how it looked above.  This afternoon (one day later) when I arrived home, this is what the rug looked like:

All the bees left was the glass!

Since on Thursday when the jar broke, I was leaving for Rabun County before I could crush any more of last year's honey, I gave the bees a jar of local, but commercial honey.  

I'm embarrassed to be feeding them commercial honey, but I wanted you to see what it looks like to use the Boardman as an interior feeder in a nuc.

Depending on the weather, I'll either take this hive to Chastain on Monday or Tuesday morning.  I'll also take a frame of brood and eggs to put into the drone layer hive now over there to help the bees begin to address their ineffective queen problem.  


  1. Linda, I use a feeder in an empty box all the time, and in my top bar hive, only a boardman feeder like that would fit (the RapidFeeder unit I prefer to use was too wide). I drilled a bee sized hole in the follower board so the bees had access to the feeder. I like running feeders in top empty boxes over the ventilation hole in the inner cover. On rainy cold days I can peek in without disrupting the bees to see if they are active at the feeder. That is reassuring.

    Sorry to hear of your supplier issues. I cannot understand it! As you say, short sighted customer service. Nucs are chancy things...you cannot see that queen in her queen cage as you do with a package. This year I have enough hives to swap out frames if I lose queens, and plan to make up some nucs for overwintering to make up for potential losses. My goal is not to have to buy bees again, but make my own.

  2. Hi Western Wilson, I bought a package from him. The nuc I plan to replace it with is a split I made myself. My hope also is never to buy bees again - I'm making splits this year successfully for the first time....just made another one today, cross my fingers!


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