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Jim S
08-21-2010, 03:40 PM
So I live in MN, am setting up nucs to overwinter, Michael Palmer example, nucs over production colonies. I have 8 nucs started in July, they have 3 frames brood, some nectar in the 4th frame, so my question is, is it better to go to a single brood box and feed to get as much stores as possible, or do I remove a brood frame from the nucs and replace with comb and feed, or do I leave as is. I am a little concerned being in northern Minnesota that nucs may have a tough time. I have read about mountain camp feeding and will look into that in Feb, March if they need help. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Before I divide the brood boxes and make bottom boards I would like to have an idea of which is better. Thanks.

Michael Palmer
08-21-2010, 04:21 PM
Your nucs made in July are right on schedule. Are you having a Godenrod flow? With three frames of brood and just starting the fourth frame you may have to remove a frame of brood and add an empty comb at the divider. I just finished checking the nucs made in the second half of July and are they building up! Great Goldenrod flow here. I've removed brood and added combs. I'll check back in 10 days or so.

The nucs made in late June and the first half of July are now in two story nuc boxes. I couldn't hardly get them to draw foundation last year, but this...I almost wish I could get them to stop!

Jim S
08-21-2010, 06:43 PM
Thanks Michael. I really appreciate your response. We have goldenrod everywhere. I assume the flow is on. What a year! Bees look great.

Michael Palmer
08-21-2010, 06:52 PM
I assume the flow is on. What a year! Bees look great.

So don't let them swarm. Feed them later in September.

Adrian Quiney WI
08-21-2010, 07:38 PM
Jim, I am south of you. The bees just started bringing in Goldenrod for me yesterday. I can tell because it has a distinct smell, kind of like sweaty socks - but then again I did work for years in an adhesive factory so my sense of smell is a little different.
I am also experimenting overwintering a two story divided brood box set up with a nuc on each side. They are bringing in Goldenrod and taking down syrup.
It is going to be interesting. Hats off to Mike sharing. :thumbsup: Adrian.

valleyman
08-21-2010, 09:12 PM
I have a little differient slant on the nuc making. So I need to know if I'm messing up. 7-23 I made 2 new nucs from splits, using drawn comb. One took of and within 10 days I transfered them to a full size deep. With 5 new pierco plastic foundations. By 8-15 they had drawn out and was filling 3 of these frames. So I added another deep with same foundation. Today I found 4 frames partly drawn, and many eggs in a good circular pattern.
The other nuc didn't take off quite as well. It didn't get as much brood as the first did, and more bees went back home. However, around 8-10 they had about filled the 5 frames in the nuc. So I transfered them to a full deep. Today I found 3+ frames of brood 3+ frames of honey and pollen. So I'm thinking in about a week I need to add a second deep. I have fed these with 2-1 every since I started them. They were started with pure mated Russian queens, with brood and nurse bees from my stronger hives. I am farther South than you'll are so I've got a lot of pollen coming in and some nectar. Will I be allright?

timgoodin
08-22-2010, 04:09 AM
Sounds like you guys are on track. Late swarming can be a problem if they get too crowded and the brood area fills up with pollen and honey or syrup. Although I can only speak of my area which is about the same as valleyman except further west. We probably have until about the middle of October to buildup unless we get early frost/freeze in our area. We might get one or two more brood cycles in. I'm trying to decide on several nucs made in June and July also whether to combine and go with a single deep 8 or 10 frame or just give them a second nuc box and let them expand upward into it. I've been stealing brood from them for several weeks to keep their size manageable in the five frame nucs and sharing it with some weaker colonies. Last year my experience was if I transfered them to a 10 frame deep this late in the season, they only used the five frames of the 10 available. Of course the extra five were only foundation and without a flow comning in they can't draw foundation this late in the season without a lot of feeding. Building the nucs has never been a problem for me, what to do at this stage seems to be an issue since it seems like there is a problem wintering them. Tim

Michael Palmer
08-22-2010, 05:56 AM
I am also experimenting overwintering a two story divided brood box set up with a nuc on each side. They are bringing in Goldenrod and taking down syrup.

Careful Adrian. Feeding with the Goldenrod flow on is asking for trouble.

Michael Palmer
08-22-2010, 06:08 AM
Building the nucs has never been a problem for me, what to do at this stage seems to be an issue since it seems like there is a problem wintering them. Tim

I agree. Building them up is easy. Managing them is a bit more intense...especially in my case with 250 2 story nucs and 200+ one story.

Hard for me to know what to do in KY. I think I would first attempt to keep my nucs in 2 story, 4 or 5 frame boxes. Double nuc boxes if you have them. I think Tim has it right that they won't always build up to 10 frame size. Keeping them in nuc boxes and removing frames of brood as necessary is probably the way to go. I look at these nucs at this time of the year as brood rearing factories. I remove frames of brood and replace with foundation if the season is early enough to draw, or comb if it isn't. Place the frame at the divider and they'll really jump on it. The divider is actually the center of the broodnest...the 2 nucs in a double box actually hace one broodnest...with the divider being the center. They don't form 2 small circular broodnests in the center of each chamber, but one large one with the divider as the center...half moon shaped clusters.

For my area, swarming stops when the nights start getting cold.

Jim S
08-22-2010, 07:12 AM
Thanks all. I have not read before that the bees cluster in the middle of the two nuc box set up. It makes perfect sense. The nucs together can winter as well as or better than one queen brood box. So like Michael said, it becomes an issue of management. Having the right amount of stores with the right amount of bees raised for winter. THANK YOU. I am convinced that overwintering nucs is the way to go and excited about giving it a try!

valleyman
08-22-2010, 07:55 AM
Careful Adrian. Feeding with the Goldenrod flow on is asking for trouble.

Why? aren't they only getting pollen from goldenrod, and other wild flowers in my area. My neighbor has about 40 acres of pasture that this year was, about a week ago, in full bloom with black eyed susan.

Michael Palmer
08-22-2010, 08:25 AM
THANK YOU. I am convinced that overwintering nucs is the way to go and excited about giving it a try!

Yippeee!

Michael Palmer
08-22-2010, 08:28 AM
Why? aren't they only getting pollen from goldenrod, and other wild flowers in my area.

I can't say what Goldenrod does in KY. In Vermont/New York where I keep bees, Goldenrod can be a major flow, with the production colonies making 50 pounds or more. Not every year to be sure, but many.

timgoodin
08-22-2010, 04:28 PM
Why? aren't they only getting pollen from goldenrod, and other wild flowers in my area. My neighbor has about 40 acres of pasture that this year was, about a week ago, in full bloom with black eyed susan.

We had a great goldenrod flow last year in West KY, all my boxes were smelling that weird but nice goldenrod flavor when just walking throught the apiary. My hives came out of August empty last year and went into October full of goldenrod and wildflower nectar. It all depends on rainfall in KY on whether we get the fall flow. Up until yesterday I doubted we were going to have much this year but we got some much needed rainfall yesterday and things are looking up. My nucs are packing in pollen from horseweed and wildflowers today, judging from the activity at the entrances they are probably getting some nectar also. I'm hoping the plants were just waiting for rain to do their thing for fall, looks like that may be the situation.

I was not aware of the great advantage of using the split box for two nucs. I have seen pictures of these and may try it this fall, it would not be hard to throw a couple together.

What do you seperate them with when you sit them on top of another colony?

Last year I tried used the mountain camp method for the second year. I didn't have good luck last year but I think I know what the problem was. I put the sugar on top of pollen patties and newspapers in November, as the moisture builtup in the hives the pollen patties molded and allowed condensation to rain down on the bees. The year before I only used sugar and didn't place pollen until January on a warm day and then put it to the side of the sugar pile. I'm just going to try sugar only in December this year and follow with pollen patties sometime in January again, that worked well year before last.

Tim

Adrian Quiney WI
08-22-2010, 05:34 PM
Thanks for the warning about feeding and Goldenrod. I'll check in on them tomorrow. Adrian.

Michael Palmer
08-22-2010, 06:50 PM
What do you seperate them with when you sit them on top of another colony?

Last year I tried used the mountain camp method for the second year. I didn't have good luck last year but I think I know what the problem was. I'm just going to try sugar only in December...

They have a solid bottom board that sits on the lower colony's inner cover. I wonder if you even need to place them on another colony in KY. I do because of our snow depth. Heat from below doesn't seem to matter much.

Rather than trying to make them process sugar during the winter, something I think isn't so great for wintering bees, why don't you feed enough 2:1 at the correct time so they store, ripen, and cap it? Wouldn't it make sense to allow the bees to place their feed where they would, naturally?

Bodhi
08-23-2010, 12:27 PM
They have a solid bottom board that sits on the lower colony's inner cover.

Michael- are these bottom boards store-bought or home-made?

I would think that store bought bottoms on an inner cover would leave excessive openings both in front and back. Also, you mention that heat from below was not what mattered. All along that's what I thought the point was :o

Michael Palmer
08-23-2010, 06:23 PM
>>Michael- are these bottom boards store-bought or home-made?<<

Yep, home made. Plywood with a pine rim for 3/8 bee space above and below.

>>I would think that store bought bottoms on an inner cover would leave excessive openings both in front and back. Also, you mention that heat from below was not what mattered. All along that's what I thought the point was <<

Each nuc has a 3/8 x 3" opening and a 3/4" auger hole upper entrance. Not a lot of openings. I'm not in a robbing prone area.

I thought the same about the heat transfer. But what do you say when both nucs survive the winter well above a dead colony? For me here in Vermont, I think it's more about being up and out of the snow. If winter cleansing flight conditions occur, I want my nucs to be able to take advantage of them. Where there isn't a winter long snow pack covering the nuc boxes, I wonder about the need to winter on top of colonies.

winevines
08-23-2010, 09:34 PM
Thanks for the warning about feeding and Goldenrod. I'll check in on them tomorrow. Adrian.

This is just my 3rd year now trying the overwintered nucs, but I have had a lot of luck with them. I make them up in early July- some in mid July. This year, over 4th of July in nearly 105 degree heat. That was fun.... Anyway, I digress.

We do not have much of a goldenrod flow here at all... nothing like I hear New Englanders talk about. But we did get rain weekly the last month so we have late summer blooms and goldenrod this year again. Grass is green like June which is unusual for us. Enough nectar out there i guess so that single story and even my double story nucs do not need seem to need food after feeding 1 quart a week for several weeks straight. One already has swarm cells I saw today so I think I may have overfed. I will take up feeding again -and this time 2 to 1, in about 2-3 weeks.

It is all a dance. I found that making them up was the easy part... figuring out how to manage them is the art, much like a full hive. Mike is a great teacher.

Bud Dingler
08-23-2010, 10:18 PM
kept bees in Wisco and Mn my whole life and getting more then a 1/2 a medium super on goldenrod is a rarity.

Mike is speaking from the NE region where Goldenrod is a whole nother story.

its been a lame nectar season in western Wiso and most of Mn with no real flow thats filling a box since basswood. most of my friends agree the large amount of sweet clover seen this year never delivered.

one of the worst mid july to late aug seasons I've ever seen.

i've fed my nucs combs of honey if light and will syrup feed starting sept 1st with production hive feeding starting around the 20th.

timgoodin
08-30-2010, 08:40 PM
Rather than trying to make them process sugar during the winter, something I think isn't so great for wintering bees, why don't you feed enough 2:1 at the correct time so they store, ripen, and cap it? Wouldn't it make sense to allow the bees to place their feed where they would, naturally?

Grand idea, that is my objective each year but sometimes, things come up and seems like I don't get around or get enough syrup in the nucs, thus the sugar as an extra insurance policy (not the primary food source). Several of my nucs are taking a quart a day now. I had hoped that our Goldenrod would be good this year but it is starting to bloom and doesn't seem like the bees are working it yet. I'm not smelling that telltale smell so perhaps the drought took it's toll. The next week will tell.

Are you able to winter your five frame nucs on just the five frames of honey/or syrup? How late in the fall are you able to feed?

Tim

Michael Palmer
08-31-2010, 04:47 AM
Are you able to winter your five frame nucs on just the five frames of honey/or syrup? How late in the fall are you able to feed?

Tim

They winter easily on the honey/syrup. My 4 frame nucs need about 3-3.5 frames of feed. The extra space is their clustering space. Remember, while they don't have huge amount of winter stores, they also have a small population and don't really use much until brood rearing starts in the spring...especially when pollen starts coming in.

I start feeding the second half of September. Finish before the middle of October. The nucs usually take about 2 gallons of 2:1. Some less as they have some honey stores. I look at each nuc by pulling frames and estimating how much more feed they need to get to 3.5 combs of feed.

One thing I fell in important. Feed as fast as they will take it, so they will store it away and not use it for brood rearing. Giving a quart every few days isn't really fast enough. I give a gallon at a time and they suck it down. Same applies to production colonies. Feed all they need at once and they'll ripen, store, and cap the feed.

TWall
08-31-2010, 11:19 AM
This thread is very timely!

I have a nuc I made about 5 weeks ago. It is doing pretty good. Our bee inspector checked it over the weekend while I was at work and told my wife it looked real good.

I was planning on the nuc getting big enough to put in a 8-frame deep. I'm now thinking about putting a medium super on the nuc box. I have drawn medium comb. If I put a deep on it will have to be foundation only.

They haven't filled up the nuc box yet. So, I'm thinking it will be better to overwinter them in the nuc. Winters in northcentral Ohio are not too bad, typically. Last winter we had deep, 18+ inches, snow for over a month. That was the first time in 12 years I remember that. Damp and dreary is more typical with some snow and one or two short cold, below 10 degrees, spells.

Is a deep and medium, 5-frame, enough space to overwinter a nuc? Since there is possibly, 6-8 weeks of good weather should I try giving them a deep super with just foundation?

This winter I will be building some 8-frame double nuc boxes!

Thanks,

Tom

giant pumpkin peep
08-31-2010, 02:41 PM
They haven't filled up the nuc box yet. So, I'm thinking it will be better to overwinter them in the nuc. Winters in northcentral Ohio are not too bad, typically. Last winter we had deep, 18+ inches, snow for over a month. That was the first time in 12 years I remember that. Damp and dreary is more typical with some snow and one or two short cold, below 10 degrees, spells.



The almanacs so far are saying where gonna have another real winter. Just saying.

Michael Palmer
08-31-2010, 06:56 PM
They haven't filled up the nuc box yet. So, I'm thinking it will be better to overwinter them in the nuc.

Is a deep and medium, 5-frame, enough space to overwinter a nuc? Since there is possibly, 6-8 weeks of good weather should I try giving them a deep super with just foundation?

Well, 6-8 weeks of good weather doesn't mean 6-8 weeks of a flow. Doesn't mean there will be any flow at all. Foundation option is out at this time of year. I've pulled any that wasn't fully drawn and replaced it with comb.

If it's not filled up yet, I wonder if you have to add anything. Is there usually a strong Fall flow in your area? Is there one now?

I winter hundreds on 4 combs, so certainly you could winter on 5 combs with a 5 comb medium on top...if the medium were full of stores. So if you feel you need to add the medium, and your flow doesn't materialize, then you'll have to feed a bunch like maybe 3 gallons of 2:1. Finishing before mid-October.

winevines
08-31-2010, 07:17 PM
My 4 frame nucs need about 3-3.5 frames of feed.

One thing I fell in important. Feed as fast as they will take it, so they will store it away and not use it for brood rearing. Giving a quart every few days isn't really fast enough. I give a gallon at a time and they suck it down. Same applies to production colonies. Feed all they need at once and they'll ripen, store, and cap the feed.

This is one part of your method that I struggle with. With 3- 3.5 frames of feed, then you are talking about only 1/2 -1 frame of brood going into winter- or maybe no brood at all... and you are saying it is all hatched out by winter. Is that what your OW nucs are looking like come November? Or is it too cold to check by then in the North Country? Forget about that down here (unless of course your 2nd point about feeding, if I did it right means less brood rearing). Last year, I had frames of brood at Thanksgiving! Pictures to prove it. That still is weird to me.

Second, I understand your logic re feeding, but if can imagine not having a Fall flow, or a very small flow (in August and Sept) then it seems like you do have to feed that 1 quart per week method until about early October- then pour on the gallon of 2 to 1 for them to store. Or are you saying do not feed until mid to late Sept. and then do it all at once. Do you think that would work if there is virtually no nectar in September?

Michael Palmer
08-31-2010, 07:36 PM
This is one part of your method that I struggle with. With 3- 3.5 frames of feed, then you are talking about only 1/2 -1 frame of brood going into winter- or maybe no brood at all... and you are saying it is all hatched out by winter. Is that what your OW nucs are looking like come November? Or is it too cold to check by then in the North Country? Forget about that down here (unless of course your 2nd point about feeding, if I did it right means less brood rearing). Last year, I had frames of brood at Thanksgiving! Pictures to prove it. That still is weird to me.

Second, I understand your logic re feeding, but if can imagine not having a Fall flow, or a very small flow (in August and Sept) then it seems like you do have to feed that 1 quart per week method until about early October- then pour on the gallon of 2 to 1 for them to store. Or are you saying do not feed until mid to late Sept. and then do it all at once. Do you think that would work if there is virtually no nectar in September?

Karla, our queens shut down by the middle of October. Most of the winter bees are raised in September. I start feed before the end of September, and as the brood emerges, the bees pack those cells with feed. In mid-August, I'm removing frames of honey or brood depending on what i find. So, I'm allowing them to raise as much brood as they can...only restricted by whatever Loosestrife and or Goldenrod they store. In november, the bees are shut down and in tight cluster. Sure, I've taken them apart to look. Sealed stores and a small area of open comb where the last of the brood emerged. No brood to be seen.

Yes, the brood is all hatched out...by some time in October. So different than Virginia. So you handle things differently as you discover the best management plan for your area. Whatever you did last year...it worked. Your success proves that.

I have a tough time imagining a time without nectar, such as your bees experience. If I have it right, many years you have no flow from some time in June until...Do they get anything after June? Gosh, I'm spoiled rotten. Our flows are pretty dependable and continuous most years from Late April until late September.

Are you feeding that quart to keep the bees alive? To stimulate brood rearing? When do your queens usually shut down? Nucs seem to go a bit longer than production colonies. Mid-November? Then I'm guessing that would be the time to feed...or maybe a few weeks before. Anyway, that's when you would feed what they need for winter.

sqkcrk
08-31-2010, 07:59 PM
The almanacs so far are saying where gonna have another real winter. Just saying.

Do you mean a real winter like last year? When, in April it was 80 degrees in NY and 40 degrees in SC? Last winter was a pussy cat in northen NY. I only used the wood stove a cpl of time instead of every day.

winevines
08-31-2010, 08:19 PM
In mid-August, I'm removing frames of honey or brood depending on what i find. So, I'm allowing them to raise as much brood as they can...



So depending on what you find? What are you looking for, a balance of honey and brood and space for more brood?

Thanks, but I feel like my success has been more luck than anything else- getting regional or Northern queens, and/or having a good teacher :-) Right about now I am having a I have no idea what I am doing moment.

This might be a stupid question, but why would our queens shut down later? aren't the bees oriented towards light not temperature? I think they shut down by late October (and that would still account for me seeing brood on Nov 22 last year). Remember mid November here last year- it was very very warm (unseasonably warm) so maybe that made a difference in terms of late brood rearing, not sure. Then we had your winter, so the queens felt right at home, and the nucs did just fine.

I feed the nucs when I make them up in early July, and then off and on depending on what I see. If there is a lot of empty comb, then I feed, if they are storing a lot already or back filling and there is a lot of brood rearing going on, then I back off a week or two or more if need be. There is a minor flow this year, so less feed now.

I am only at this 5 years, so I am limited by that. 1st year I had no idea what I was doing or what I saw. 2nd year in, bad bad drought... and no food at all after July 1. The last 2 years, we have a fall flow- but not a big one, but something for sure. Also it very much depends where your bees live. In the Shenandoah Valley, it is filled with fields of thistle and goldenrod or are they in the suburbs where they eradicate goldenrod. Do backyard asters, mums, sedums and Crepe Myrtle provide enough nectar? Seriously the State budget cuts have helped our bees. Lot less mowing of the median strips and the side of the road and exit ramps, etc. provides nice bee forage- both tall clover and later goldenrod.

As for being spoiled rotten, I guess that is all in your perspective, but yeah, yeah, yeah- we all know that Vermont rocks. I ended up in Virginia for love.

brendantm130
09-14-2010, 04:37 AM
What do you do if you don't have any drawn comb to use if you still have undrawn in the hive? Just leave it, maybe move it to the edge for winter? I may be able to contract one double hight 5 frame nuc, and give the drawn frames to the other one I have. But I'm worried that then they would have to big a population and too few stores. Thanks, I feel like the ignorant leading the blind.

BeePuncher
09-14-2010, 10:43 AM
>>Michael- are these bottom boards store-bought or home-made?<<

Yep, home made. Plywood with a pine rim for 3/8 bee space above and below.

>>I would think that store bought bottoms on an inner cover would leave excessive openings both in front and back. Also, you mention that heat from below was not what mattered. All along that's what I thought the point was <<

Each nuc has a 3/8 x 3" opening and a 3/4" auger hole upper entrance. Not a lot of openings. I'm not in a robbing prone area.

I thought the same about the heat transfer. But what do you say when both nucs survive the winter well above a dead colony? For me here in Vermont, I think it's more about being up and out of the snow. If winter cleansing flight conditions occur, I want my nucs to be able to take advantage of them. Where there isn't a winter long snow pack covering the nuc boxes, I wonder about the need to winter on top of colonies.

Interesting discussion. If I understand what you are saying correctly, why have a separate bottom board for the nucs to sit on the inner cover of the large colonies - why not modify the existing inner cover by notching out a three inch wide opening on the top side; the bottom will have the regular opening. and cover the hole in the middle of course if you have one. this way you could place the nuc directly on this inner cover, sounds like less equipment? Does this seem screwy or have I missed the point? Your advice would be appreciated as I have a dozen July nucs to see through the winter!

Michael Palmer
09-15-2010, 04:49 AM
this way you could place the nuc directly on this inner cover, sounds like less equipment? Does this seem screwy or have I missed the point? Your advice would be appreciated as I have a dozen July nucs to see through the winter!

The nucs spend most of the time in a yard by themselves....not on top of a colony. So they need that bottom. There would be no benefit, as far as I can see, in removing the nuc's bottom.

Michael Palmer
09-15-2010, 04:52 AM
If they haven't drawn out the foundation in the top nuc box, I would remove it. Are you talking about all the frames, or only some of the foundation? How much is drawn out and what have they placed in the new comb?

brendantm130
09-16-2010, 05:05 AM
I haven't looked in a couple of weeks, but I'd say that two of the five in the upper where fully drawn getting filled with syrup feed, and the others were getting drawn. The bottom deep was all drawn, and full. I've stopped feeding because the neighbors field is filled with Goldenrod. I need to get into the hives to see what is going on.

Rob Renneker
09-26-2010, 08:13 AM
Michael,

I noticed that you winter some of your nucs as single story double nucs and some with a divided super as a second story. Have you been more successful with 2 story double nucs? Do you allow them to expand the brood nest into the second story?

Michael Palmer
09-27-2010, 05:10 AM
It's all about timing.

Early made nucs...end of June and first half of July...keeping them in small cavities is difficult. They want to expand. So, you can remove brood and bees and make more nucs. Easy enough. The plan is to get them with large clusters for winter. Trouble is they are trying to store winter feed and raise brood in the same 4 or 5 comb cavity. If you have the time it's no big deal to manage them. In the fall, with little winter stores and large clusters, 2 gallons of feed is needed. Again no big deal...unless you have hundreds to feed.

I decided to try adding a 4 frame super above my 4 frame nuce...those made early enough to be able to use it. Also a good way to get foundation drawn out. So yes, I let them expand up into that super. I move up a couple brood frames. 2 frames of foundation above and below. They do beautifully. You still have to manage them in late main flow...Loosestrife and beginning of Goldenrod. They will store winter feed in the top and move brood nest down...same as big hives.

One thing i've found and maybe important for you in Iowa...in extended periods of hot humid weather, some nucs will abscond. Swarming out without leaving queen cells behind. I had quite a few do this this August...all single story nucs in double 4 frame boxes. Not one 2 story nuc did this. This is with about 250 nucs of each style.

So if you're in the South or where summer temps reach well into the 90s and high humidity chokes the bees...add a little super above.

TWall
09-27-2010, 09:34 AM
One thing i've found and maybe important for you in Iowa...in extended periods of hot humid weather, some nucs will abscond. Swarming out without leaving queen cells behind. I had quite a few do this this August...all single story nucs in double 4 frame boxes. Not one 2 story nuc did this. This is with about 250 nucs of each style.

So if you're in the South or where summer temps reach well into the 90s and high humidity chokes the bees...add a little super above.

Michael,

Do you have a screened bottom in your nucs? I plan on building some nuc boxes along the lines you use but 8-frame boxes. In Ohio our typical hottest weather is August. I was planning on putting them on screened bottom boards with a side entrance.

Tom

Rob Renneker
09-27-2010, 10:10 PM
Thanks for the advice, Michael. I'm planning on overwintering some nucs next year if I can get the details worked out. It seems like a great way to make increase and be somewhat self sufficient.

Michael Palmer
09-28-2010, 05:08 AM
Michael,

Do you have a screened bottom in your nucs?

No, I don't use them. I suppose it might help in hot weather.

DonShackelford
02-26-2012, 04:45 AM
I see this is an old thread, but haven't seen this question addressed;

In a two story double nuc, it seems that in order to check the bottom story that the bees will mix heavily.
Is this an issue?

Michael Palmer
02-26-2012, 06:28 AM
No, because I use individual 4 frame nuc boxes as supers on each nuc. They meet over the divider in the bottom box.

DonShackelford
02-26-2012, 07:06 AM
Thanks for the reply Michael,
My setup is all 8 frame deeps because I'm getting old & weak ;-)
Given I have the same 8 frames as a 2 story nuc, do you think it's worth the effort and expense to build mini supers, or just go with one 8 frame deep for wintering nucs?

Michael Palmer
02-26-2012, 07:41 AM
I would go with what's working for you. The idea is to have your own replacement bees in the spring...however you do it.

I find here in Vermont, the bees move onto new honey combs emore easily vertically than horizontally. I imagine your winter is easier than mine. Bringing in skunk cabbage already?

DonShackelford
02-26-2012, 07:58 AM
I'm embarrassed to say I have no bees right now. I'm re-entering beekeeping after a long time out and picking up 25 nucs in early March. Although I have 15 years experience, these were the "good old days" when keeping all hives strong through the winter was the norm. The concept of wintering nucs is new to me, but since my goal is to build up to a couple hundred hives in the next few years, it is requirement I'm eager to jump into. If making special second story boxes will make a meaningful difference then it seems worth the cost and effort. If it only increases survival by 10% then I'd rather stay with one box.
I know many will say try both and see how it goes, but I'm trying to cut my learning curve and choose a standardized method.

DonShackelford
02-28-2012, 05:11 AM
I'm partially answering my own question, but I thought I would post my resolution here so others might utilize or criticize the info.
Michael has many double story nucs, and since it requires time and material to make the half supers it must be worth the effort. It makes perfect sense that bees like to build up rather than out. My issue with it was that it takes 2 more boards to make 2 halves rather than one whole box, and that cost more. Since I've been building parts all winter, cost efficiency is becoming an issue!

What I've come up with is to cut a hive body in half longways, and glue/nail a piece of 1/8" corrugated plastic on each half. That adds a total cost of about $1.50 over building a standard box, and the plastic is thin enough that little frame space is lost, even in my 8 frame deeps.