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Author Topic: Lost Nuc, why?  (Read 1668 times)

Offline SB-Russ

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Lost Nuc, why?
« on: November 12, 2017, 11:00:51 pm »
Hi all,

I got a late nuc this year (April). It seemed strong when I picked it up from the seller and he said not to disturb it during winter. The cold days went on late this year, to early September, then we had a sudden heatwave for2 weeks, then rain for 2 weeks.

I didn?t do any internal inspections, but when looking externally during the heatwave, I saw zero activity at the entrance and figured the hive was dead. 4 week slater when I opened the box, there was a wax moth infestation, although they had only invaded two of the frames, with lots of cocoons on the bottom of the frames, but only saw about 5 moths and no larvae.

The rest of the frames were like newly placed comb. There wasn?t a single bee, larvae, eggs or honey, just empty comb.

Any idea what the cause would be? Did the Queen die maybe, so all the bees hatched, took all the honey and left? I?m thinking the  wax moth only moved in after the bees vacated, but I?m just guessing. My fault for not inspecting so long probably.

Online sawdstmakr

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Re: Lost Nuc, why?
« Reply #1 on: November 13, 2017, 04:33:11 am »
Did you inspect the hive at all before winter?  Did the seller show you all of the frames?
Sounds like you only had 2 frames of bees in a five frame Nuc. The chances of surviving the winter are slim. I can keep 2 frames of bees alive in an inside observation hive but not in a outside Nuc.
Did you take some pictures? If so, please post so that we can give you a better answer.
Jim
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Offline SB-Russ

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Re: Lost Nuc, why?
« Reply #2 on: November 13, 2017, 05:11:28 am »
No, I didn?t look inside, but I trust the seller.

I?ve been wanting to get some pictures, just never seem to have the camera on me at the right time. Will try and get some pictures up tomorrow.

Online sawdstmakr

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Re: Lost Nuc, why?
« Reply #3 on: November 13, 2017, 07:44:09 am »
Thanks.
"If you don't read the newspaper you are uninformed.  If you do read the newspaper you are misinformed."--Mark Twain

Offline SB-Russ

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Re: Lost Nuc, why?
« Reply #4 on: November 13, 2017, 04:34:46 pm »
Well my first reaction may have been incorrect. Looking more clinically now I've taken some photo's, there is evidence of old bees on several of the frames. Didn't have time to look at individual cells, but here's a pic of one side of the frames.

Online sawdstmakr

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Re: Lost Nuc, why?
« Reply #5 on: November 13, 2017, 06:24:00 pm »
SB,
Hard to see in this picture but it looks like a lot of dead bees on the frame and lots of capped honey. I could not tell if there are dead bees head first in the comb. I suspect there were not enough bees to keep this hive warm and they froze to death.
Never accept a Nuc without having the seller show you the frames and preferably the queen. All five frames should be covered with bees if you are buying a five frame Nuc.
Jim
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Offline SB-Russ

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Re: Lost Nuc, why?
« Reply #6 on: November 13, 2017, 10:40:04 pm »
Hmmm.

So do you think the wax moth would have only
Moved in after the bees left? They wouldn?t have been the cause, would they?

Moving on from here, should I just melt down the wax and scrub everything out to kill any moth eggs?

Online sawdstmakr

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Re: Lost Nuc, why?
« Reply #7 on: November 13, 2017, 10:47:17 pm »
Hmmm.

So do you think the wax moth would have only
Moved in after the bees left? They wouldn?t have been the cause, would they?

Moving on from here, should I just melt down the wax and scrub everything out to kill any moth eggs?
Wax moths are the cleanup crew.
Take the frames and put them in the frame for 3 days. Then pull off the cacoons and reuse the frames.  The bees will clean out the rest of the  trash.
Jim
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Offline SB-Russ

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Re: Lost Nuc, why?
« Reply #8 on: November 13, 2017, 10:53:00 pm »
OK. I?m assuming you mean put them in the freezer :) just have to try and make room somehow. Maybe time to consider a small freezer for the shed...

PS - what about the box? Is a physical clean OK, or do the eggs hibernate in the wood somehow? (Sorry I know this info is out there for searching) will research when I can get off my phone I to a real screen)

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Re: Lost Nuc, why?
« Reply #9 on: November 13, 2017, 11:08:25 pm »
Wax moths are easy to clean up. Just use your hive tool to scrape the cocoons off.
Jim
Auto correct got me on the freezer.
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Offline Acebird

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Re: Lost Nuc, why?
« Reply #10 on: November 14, 2017, 09:26:22 am »
Judging from where you are (below the equator) your seasons are reversed to ours so April would be fall.  Buying a nuc in the fall would be a coin toss and getting through the winter would be another coin toss so the odds are against you.  Regardless of what killed your hive you have very few options that will improve your success.  If you don't have a mountain of experience don't even think about getting bees in the fall unless they are gifted.
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Offline Anybrew2

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Re: Lost Nuc, why?
« Reply #11 on: November 14, 2017, 04:05:38 pm »
Mmmmmm looks a little like AFB just a thought....
See if there's any brown stringy yuck in the cells.

Cheers
Steve

Online sawdstmakr

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Re: Lost Nuc, why?
« Reply #12 on: November 14, 2017, 10:23:35 pm »
Andrew,
What makes
You think AFB?
"If you don't read the newspaper you are uninformed.  If you do read the newspaper you are misinformed."--Mark Twain

Offline SB-Russ

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Re: Lost Nuc, why?
« Reply #13 on: November 14, 2017, 10:47:48 pm »
Hope it?s not AFB  :sad: I had some closer pictures, but had trouble converting from my phone to something the forum would accept. Hard during the week to get time to poke around in the shed. Will dig out some of the capped cells as soon as I can.

Offline Anybrew2

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Re: Lost Nuc, why?
« Reply #14 on: November 15, 2017, 01:05:59 am »
Um because I had a similar experience when I first started with Bee's with a colony failing,  I later learnt that it was AFB which caused the colony to reduce in numbers and ultimately fail. and also  I dont  like the colour of the frames my AFB frames had that dirty look to them.

just a thought.

Online yantabulla

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Re: Lost Nuc, why?
« Reply #15 on: November 15, 2017, 01:27:09 am »
Regardless of what killed them the advice to reuse the old frames is irresponsible.  Burn them & start again.

Offline SB-Russ

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Re: Lost Nuc, why?
« Reply #16 on: November 15, 2017, 04:37:19 am »
So ai just went poking around in 3 of the frames. The cells with caps on them have nothing inside, they?re just empty cells, unless there?s a dead egg at the bottom, and they?re dry. I came across a couple of cells half filled with pollen, but otherwise no sign of brood, honey or dead bees.

Some of the cells have what looks like wax crumbs around the rim, where I assume the bees uncapped stores to get to them. The colour of the comb is simply because they are old well used combs I believe.

Offline little john

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Re: Lost Nuc, why?
« Reply #17 on: November 15, 2017, 05:56:32 am »
Regardless of what killed them the advice to reuse the old frames is irresponsible.  Burn them & start again.

What ?  If a colony should die because of loss of queen/ drone-laying/ starvation/ drifting-off/ CCD - or any other reason (short of foul brood) - then you're going to burn perfectly good comb and the frames as well ?  That's crazy talk.
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Re: Lost Nuc, why?
« Reply #18 on: November 15, 2017, 06:30:08 am »
SB,
Take the frames and look in the cells. Hold the cells so that the son is over your shoulder and angle the frame so that light goes in the cell. Look for little tongues sticking up from the bottom in empty cells in the brood area. Does the hive smell bad? If there are none and it does not smell bad, it is probably not AFB. Don't burn them.
Also look for white specks in the bottom of the frames. That would bee mite crap. If it is in most of the cells, mites are what did in your hive. Don't burn the hives. Mites do not survive long without the bees. If you really think it is AFB, call someone who knows what to look for. Our inspectors can walk through an apiary and smell a hive that has AFB without even opening any hives. 
Jim
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Offline Acebird

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Re: Lost Nuc, why?
« Reply #19 on: November 15, 2017, 09:07:51 am »
What ?  If a colony should die because of loss of queen/ drone-laying/ starvation/ drifting-off/ CCD - or any other reason (short of foul brood) - then you're going to burn perfectly good comb and the frames as well ?  That's crazy talk.
LJ

I couldn't agree more.  Two of the frames look much older than the other three.  I assume most people treat bees and the old timers used antibiotics regularly.  For that reason I would strip the comb in those two.  It is hard to tell the structural integrity of the frames with these photos so if I could see them better they might go also.
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Offline Michael Bush

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Re: Lost Nuc, why?
« Reply #20 on: November 15, 2017, 10:15:59 am »
>Regardless of what killed them the advice to reuse the old frames is irresponsible.  Burn them & start again.

The ONLY reason to burn a hive is AFB.   It is far to expensive to burn a hive that died from anything else and serves NO purpose.
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Offline Russ

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Re: Lost Nuc, why?
« Reply #21 on: November 15, 2017, 07:09:48 pm »
I have learnt that burning is only nessasary if AFB proven, and even then there are alternatives to burning. Some just boil the whole hive in water and pressure clean, then send to radiation treatment or visa versa.

To confirm the presence of AFB the HOLST MILK TEST is costless and reliable, if done on three seperate samples of cell contents for accuracy.

I have been using the following method in batches on all used hives I have reconditioned. I use a bath tub with a strong gas burner under.  Takes 2 whole boxes and frames at a time. Total time is one day for 5 triple hives reconditioned and repainted ready to use.

1. Boil in water to remove wax.
2. Boil for 5 min in strong sodium hydroxide solution and preasure clean. This will remove paint from boxes and clean frames and Kill Most AFB spores if present, according to the literature.
3. Then scrape and scrub to remove all debris and remaining propolis. Boil for 5 min in strong sodium hydroxide solution and preasure clean again.
4. Let totally dry for a week during hot days, then Soak for 30+ min in COLD 0.5% sodium hypochlorite solution to totally sterilize all componants, including frames for all disease and pathogens.
5. Repaint and add new foundation to be ready for reuse.

Test a honey sample ANNUALLY for the presence of AFB spores. If count is worrying, recondition all hives and use THE SHOOK SWARM METHOD to reduce spore counts.

Just my two cents worth. Cheers, Russ.

Offline Acebird

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Re: Lost Nuc, why?
« Reply #22 on: November 16, 2017, 09:01:57 am »
Value of old equipment vs. cost of reconditioning?  How much are you saving?  How reliable is testing honey if you have top entrance?  Cost of testing honey for spores?
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Online yantabulla

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Re: Lost Nuc, why?
« Reply #23 on: November 17, 2017, 12:48:42 am »
Five crappy old frames.  None of you can be sure that AFB is not present.  Advice like this is the reason AFB is widespread in Australia.  Oh & i'm not crazy.
« Last Edit: November 17, 2017, 01:22:52 am by yantabulla »

Offline little john

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Re: Lost Nuc, why?
« Reply #24 on: November 17, 2017, 06:29:29 am »
Five crappy old frames.  None of you can be sure that AFB is not present.  Advice like this is the reason AFB is widespread in Australia.  Oh & i'm not crazy.

Just to clarify - I didn't say you were crazy (I'm not that rude) - I said that was crazy talk: i.e. the advice was crazy.

If AFB is indeed widespread in your country, then your beekeepers really do need to focus more on identifying the disease and taking appropriate action.  Although in the UK we're required by law to alert the authorities of our suspicions in order to obtain a confirmed diagnosis, personally I wouldn't wait for that - I'd take a comb sample for the authorities, then - come evening - it would be a cup of petrol (gasoline), before making a bonfire of the hive.  I wouldn't mess about waiting - even for one day.  But - imo, you really do need some persuasive evidence of Foul Brood before resorting to such drastic measures.

By far the most common causes of colony loss are starvation and Varroa infestation - with both of these being easy enough to identify, either by the absence of stores with bums of dead bees sticking out of combs, or the presence of small white crystals on the brood cell walls, respectively.
Destroying your equipment in either of these cases, or just because you had a Drone Laying Queen, Laying Workers, or some other equally identifiable reason for a colony loss - would be stupid beyond description.

If you should identify the presence of Foul Brood - then by all means burn (other measures being too long-winded and not cost-effective for the hobbyist, imo) - but not unless you have some fairly convincing evidence for the disease's presence.
 
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Offline Acebird

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Re: Lost Nuc, why?
« Reply #25 on: November 17, 2017, 09:58:38 am »
I wouldn't mess about waiting - even for one day.  But - imo, you really do need some persuasive evidence of Foul Brood before resorting to such drastic measures.

Maybe the person lacks the ability to find the persuasive evidence.  Just bagging the hive should be a safe enough measure until you get confirmation that indeed the hive has foul brood.  Once confirmed then the burning process can start but for gods sake do not use gasoline use kero.
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Online sawdstmakr

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Re: Lost Nuc, why?
« Reply #26 on: November 17, 2017, 02:52:28 pm »
Five crappy old frames.  None of you can be sure that AFB is not present.  Advice like this is the reason AFB is widespread in Australia.  Oh & i'm not crazy.
Yanta,
Here in the USA, AFB, is rather rare, especially in states with inspectors checking for it. In FL, it is found in 1% of the hives inspected. A lot of that probably is brought in. That is why we don't tell our newbees to burn until verified. Almost every newbee here thinks they have it within the first 2 years. I did and all of my mentories have.
Jim
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Offline SB-Russ

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Re: Lost Nuc, why?
« Reply #27 on: November 18, 2017, 09:26:10 pm »
Well I went through cutting out the wax moth damage yesterday, and inspecting cells as I went. I cut cells down the the base so I could have a good look. No sign of anything in any of the cells I went through, they?re all just empty apart from a bit of pollen in some, as far as my limited experience can tell.

So I?m going to just freeze the frames to kill any moth eggs, and start again.

Offline eltalia

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Re: Lost Nuc, why?
« Reply #28 on: November 19, 2017, 06:15:05 pm »
Five crappy old frames.  None of you can be sure that AFB is not present. 
Advice like this is the reason AFB is widespread in Australia.  Oh & i'm not crazy.

[cough]
"crazy" and "stupid" in text both lack the inflection used in those
expressions of judgement... so really the words could be quantitive
opinion of "sweet fanny adam" . But you *are* 'different', and that is
enough on these 'international' forums. Let it slide, means nothing
anyway in your own backyard, like ;-)

ahemm...

I am thinking - like yourself, hopefully - the general condition of those
frames are the story - along with the patchy (spotted) hatchings amongst
dead pupae - an indication this colony may have been doomed from
the start. I note nobody has commented on the dead pupae nor the scorch
markings on some of the frames. Looking at two of the three frames the
evidence suggests this is a typical "frame of brood plus frame of stores and
three of foundation" type nucleus build, so typical of nucleus retailers.

As it has been read some advocate scorching as a disease control it certainly
is worth discussion as to from where those two frames originated.
For the OP I cannot say resetting the woodware in any form is a way
forward as initial work in frame inspections would have made the situation clearer now.
So now all that is left is speculation, and going forward on that is indeed irresponsible
for any Queensland beekeeper and as you(YB) put, NSW also.

Bill

Offline Acebird

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Re: Lost Nuc, why?
« Reply #29 on: November 19, 2017, 08:14:10 pm »
Bill, I thought about scorching but it is so hard to tell in a photo so I did not jump to that conclusion.
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Offline eltalia

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Re: Lost Nuc, why?
« Reply #30 on: November 19, 2017, 10:05:40 pm »
Bill, I thought about scorching but it is so hard to tell in a photo
so I did not jump to that conclusion.

And so there is the why I suggested discussion... meaning the OP with
the nucleus supplier. Only that person would know.
My leap to the conclusion posted is based on the general condition... dead
brood placement on all frames included. Notably those drone cells on the seed
frame and the drawn frame, unusual for a nucleus going into "winter"
anywhere. As Sgt. Schultz would say... "verrrry innahrestink".

Around here a developed nucleus as that described goes for around $250, no
reurn for credit after 7 days. Despite the slack performance by the OP
in managing the investment I am sure a supplier would answer the questions
raised here in the thread, if asked.

Bill

Online yantabulla

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Re: Lost Nuc, why?
« Reply #31 on: November 20, 2017, 05:20:37 pm »
Thanks Bill,  I don't have many yellow squares on my profile so I know very little however my advice is to not reuse those frames.

Offline eltalia

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Re: Lost Nuc, why?
« Reply #32 on: November 21, 2017, 01:45:50 am »
Thanks Bill,  I don't have many yellow squares on my profile so I know
very little however my advice is to not reuse those frames.

Assuming Russ posted initially to gather information I trust enough
has been aired for an approach to the supplier seeking an onsite
explanation and prescribed way forward.
Should be a no-brainer option as Russ trusts the seller.

Them yella tickets?
Look at it this way... you/we lose little walkin' into 40 knots of breeze, eh? ;-D

Bill

Offline Michael Bush

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Re: Lost Nuc, why?
« Reply #33 on: November 27, 2017, 10:23:17 am »
> None of you can be sure that AFB is not present.

If you have any evidence whatsoever (scale, dead larvae etc.) you can do a holst milk test and answer the question definitively.

http://www.bushfarms.com/beespests.htm#afb

Short version of the holst milk test.  Mix some nonfat dry milk to the directions on the package.  Put it in a small jar under your arm to get it close to body temperature.  Add the scale, goo or larvae to the milk.  The white will precipitate out of the milk if it is AFB.  It will not if it is not AFB.
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Offline gww

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Re: Lost Nuc, why?
« Reply #34 on: November 27, 2017, 02:11:34 pm »
Michael
Do you know how some test honey for AFB?
Thanks
gww

Offline Michael Bush

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Re: Lost Nuc, why?
« Reply #35 on: November 27, 2017, 04:04:42 pm »
>Do you know how some test honey for AFB?

I don't.  I would guess they examine it under a microscope for AFB spores.
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Offline Acebird

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Re: Lost Nuc, why?
« Reply #36 on: November 27, 2017, 05:37:40 pm »
They might put it in a dish and grow the spores.
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Offline gww

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Re: Lost Nuc, why?
« Reply #37 on: November 27, 2017, 05:48:35 pm »
Thanks for the answer.  I will look it up some day.  I had seen some that said they spot check thier honey and should have ask but wasn't thinking.  I was just wondering it the little test kits or milk test would work.  It was just curiosity.
Thanks
gww

Offline Michael Bush

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Re: Lost Nuc, why?
« Reply #38 on: November 28, 2017, 09:38:19 am »
>I was just wondering it the little test kits or milk test would work.

I don't know.  I doubt it.  In the case of larvae or scale you are testing for an enzyme produced by the bacteria in its active state.  In the case of honey I think you are testing for spores.
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Offline UrbisAgricola

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Re: Lost Nuc, why?
« Reply #39 on: November 28, 2017, 12:27:43 pm »
My two cents:  I agree with everybody on reusing old equipment. Generally speaking I would heartily agree. In this context, considering the location and the amount of equipment we are talking here (and old stuff at that), like yantabulla, I would burn without delay.  We most got rid of AFB based on zero tolerance.  Also, there is something to be said for getting rid of old black comb anyway.  When you buy a nuc from someone, what did he use to make it?  Chances are some old crap on it's way out. 

Again, just my two cents and what I would do. 
We all do better when we all do better.

Offline eltalia

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Re: Lost Nuc, why?
« Reply #40 on: November 28, 2017, 04:33:11 pm »
@UrbisAgricola

Which brings us back to Russ's question;

"Any idea what the cause would be? "

Now we have poorly presented product coupled with poor advice
as two solid reasons the nucleus failed. Russ failing to inspect
becoming secondary as even if Russ was able to determine any
anomaly there remains the catch of just what was his trusted supplier
going to do about it?
We in Aussie are going to see much more of this in this and the next summer
 as a whole new wave of "nucleus for sale" hits the social media.
Poorly built colonies from sources the actual knowledge base is less than
a year old. But hey, they are trustworthy..?.. go figure.
Fine by me as I get to turn some Xmas cash over in fixing the woes
of those who won't go back to the supplier 'cos, "he's a mate and the
agro just isn't worth it".

Bill