Hadn’t opened up the hive to take a look since adding the nuc since they seemed to be doing fine and I don’t want to disturb them if unnecessary, but after seeing multiple ants crawling around the top of the box, it was time to take a look.
Turns out there were a big pile of ants making themselves at home there, but no pictures as I was too quick to eliminate them and didn’t think to take a shot. There were a few more problems though!
Wax moths! I spotted a bit of the wispy fibers that indicate their presence. They can overrun a hive and destroy it if left unchecked in a colony not strong enough to take care the problem themselves.
Opening up the fiber ball reveals those tiny white dots, or wax moth eggs. Like the ants, they too met a swift demise.
Both of these problems were likely due to a single cause: I added the top smaller box (called a medium) on far too early rather than letting them fill out the bottom larger (a deep) box first. My experience was with package bees in the past, which are literally just a package of bees you dump into your hive, so I had hoped the nuc, which is basically an already going small colony, would be able to expand quickly.
Give the bees too much space and they can’t keep it secure, giving parasites and opportunists a chance to set up.
The other minor thing was I forgot to reinforce all the frames in the medium with nails. These frames were from my previous colony and had only been glued together, which I found wasn’t quite enough when the bees really begin to start building their home. Bees love to seal everything up with a substance called propolis, and if the frames aren’t solidly built, pulling them out (especially when heavy due to a full load of honey) can cause them to break apart. So I grabbed the frames I could and did just that, although as of writing I’m still waiting for the ladies to finish cleaning up the bit of nectar they’ve got on this frame they started to build on.