Thanks MP for the information.

Not being as north as MP, I have found that stand alone five frame nucs work very well. I can add a second five frame box in the spring to allow expansion and limit swarming, and at the same time have great comb drawn.

I am overwintering some stand alone five frame nucs, and some double stacked nucs. (5 frame with 5 frames of honey on top.)

I have tried to save all the nucs, late swarms, late splits I could this year. Many are two or three frames of bees in five frame nucs, and I placed 20 pounds of fondant on top of the ones that badly needed it.

So far, I lost 4 out of 124, of the ones I checked so far. It seems that a couple clusters were just too small, even for the mld "winter" we are having.

I have followed Kirk's writings, and wanted to stack my nucs on full size hives, but just ran out of time. (Ok, lets call it lazy.)

I don't wrap. All my nucs have upper entrances. And I limit syrup feeding due to moisture concerns. I do feed from an open platform feeder in one yard, but the bees can only collect what they can process.

The thing about nucs (as MP stated) is how fast bees explode, and how fast they will decide to swarm. You need to stay on top of the nucs frequently, and build them after the main flow.

I believe as Kirk Webster has stated to me, that northern nuc production would not be as successful with standard italians. The odds of success increases with the darker lines such as carni's, and russians. They overwinter with a smaller cluster, and are more frugal with honey stores.

Keep in mind making up nucs. The old saying about gold fish is something like "If you keep one in a small bowl, the gold fish stays small. Put a goldfish in a pond, and the goldfish will grow to what the enviroment allows." The same holds true with nucs. The bees will grow and go into winter with a cluster based on your management and manipulations. They will stay small based on brood comb area. Taking fives frames of bees, brood, a prolific italian queen, and placing them into a nuc and thinking they will make it, usually fails.

Making the nucs at the right time, with the right resources, and knowing what gives you the best shot, greatly increases your success rate.