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Thread: Wintering Nucs

  1. #41
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    Default Re: Wintering Nucs

    Thank for sharing MP, I've over wintered nucs before too but still gleened some valuable info.
    Will Gruenwald Chilliwack BC

  2. #42
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    Default Re: Wintering Nucs

    Quote Originally Posted by fafrd View Post
    Someone sent me an article which implied that a fall queen will lay and brood up much more rapidly than a spring queen which is split in the fall (kind of the opposite of what you are implying above) - do you believe there is any truth to that?
    Not really sure what you mean. A queen raised in the fall as opposed to one raised in the spring?

    All my queens are mated between early June and early August. I see no difference in how they lay or how fast they build up. One difference I do see...

    My over wintered nucs with queens raised the summer before build up faster and seem more productive than splits made in the spring with bought queens...even though the spring splits are made with equal amounts of brood and bees as in the wintered nucs have.

    Brother Adam said that queens are better the year following their mating. So, he wintered over all his new queens in nucleus colonies, and used them the following year.

    Dee Lusby goes even further. She says a queen in her first year is a juvenile, one in her second year is a teenager, and only queens in their third are fully mature. I don't know.

  3. #43
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    Default Re: Wintering Nucs

    Quote Originally Posted by fafrd View Post
    In general, do your fall nucs have a shorter broodless period than your full-sized production hives?
    From my observations, nucs made in mid-summer and wintered in nuc boxes lay longer in the fall than production colonies. Production colonies start brood rearing a bit sooner in the spring.

  4. #44
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    Default Re: Wintering Nucs

    Thanks, Michael. So basically it sounds like from what you have seen, the broodless period for a nuc is to too different in length from the broodless period for a production hive, but is shifter forward by a few weeks, right? Later stop to brood rearing and later starting back up...

    Have you ever tried stimulating your nucs to start laying brood at the same time as your production hives by feeding light sugar syrup or pollen patties or both?

    -fafrd

  5. #45
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    Default Re: Wintering Nucs

    Quote Originally Posted by fafrd View Post
    Have you ever tried stimulating your nucs to start laying brood at the same time as your production hives by feeding light sugar syrup or pollen patties or both?

    -fafrd
    Yes, and under certain circumstances you can get brood rearing started in the nucs earlier by feeding protien patty. It depends on how much pollen is stored in the nuc's broodnest in the fall. one way to manage the nucs so they won't swarm is to place an excluder on the nuc box and a super on top. This gives the bees a place to store nectar up and out of the broodnest. This allows the queen to fill every comb with brood...corner to corner. All their stores will be above the excluder. If you remove the super after the flows have ended, the brood emerges and there is almest nothing in the broodnest but empty comb. No honey, no pollen. The nucs use pollen stored in the broodnest for spring brood rearing...same as their big sisters in production colonies. With no pollen, spring brood rearing is delayed until pollen becomes available. Under these conditions, protien patty will start brood rearing.

  6. #46

    Default Re: Wintering Nucs

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Palmer View Post
    Unless you make them up with PMessed up brood, they do handle a varroa load better than full sized production colonies. Gives yo live bees in the spring to restock your dead-outs.

    Michael, do you think your overwintering late season made nucs somehow enables you to be varroa treatment free or does it simply produce enough new colonies to replace your varroa losses or is it some combination of both? Or have I missed something entirely (always a strong possibility)?
    Last edited by beemandan; 01-17-2011 at 06:09 AM.
    Dan www.boogerhillbee.com
    Experience is a hard teacher because she gives the test first, the lesson afterwards

  7. #47
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    Default Re: Wintering Nucs

    Quote Originally Posted by beemandan View Post
    Michael, do you think your overwintering late season made nucs somehow enables you to be varroa treatment free or does it simply produce enough new colonies to replace your varroa losses or is it some combination of both?
    Gives me enough new colonies to replace my varroa losses while I build up the vsh in my bees. My production colonies are still treated in the fall but the nucs don't have to be until the following fall. I think the bees are getting more tolerant of varroa, but not there yet.

  8. #48
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    Default Re: Wintering Nucs

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Palmer View Post

    Under certain circumstances you can get brood rearing started in the nucs earlier by feeding protien patty. The nucs use pollen stored in the broodnest for spring brood rearing...same as their big sisters in production colonies. With no pollen, spring brood rearing is delayed until pollen becomes available. Under these conditions, protien patty will start brood rearing.
    Thanks Michael. So with either a couple frames of pollen stores close to the broodnest OR with the addition of a pollen patty, the nucs will start brood as early as the production colonies, right?

    Once the foragers are bringing in pollen from foraging, is there any value to continueing to feed pollen patty? Does feeding pollen patty and sugar syrup into the spring extend the lifespan of the foragers and allow the colony to build up a bigger cluster more quickly?


    -fafrd

  9. #49
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    Default Re: Wintering Nucs

    >>So with either a couple frames of pollen stores close to the broodnest OR with the addition of a pollen patty, the nucs will start brood as early as the production colonies, right?<<

    I never really compared nucs and production colonies. I don't look in big colonies much early to find out just when they start. I'm more likely to look at nucs. I do know, they'll start earlier if they have stored pollen. A couple frames of pollen seems much. It's more like pollen scattered through the broodnest and covered with honey or feed.

    >Once the foragers are bringing in pollen from foraging, is there any value to continueing to feed pollen patty?<

    No, not here anyway. They'll stop taking protien patty when there's natural pollen.

    >Does feeding pollen patty and sugar syrup into the spring extend the lifespan of the foragers and allow the colony to build up a bigger cluster more quickly?<

    Don't know about worker longevity, but the increase in cluster size would be from increased brood rearing due to availability of protien.

  10. #50
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    Default Re: Wintering Nucs

    Thanks for the response, Michael. Here in the Bay Area, my bees are already bringing in a TON of pollen, but they also continue to avidly consume the pollen patty I have given them. Even when inspecting the hive in the middle of a warm day when the foragers are busy bringing in pollen, there are bees all over the pollen patty feeding on it.

    When this latest patty is consumed, I have to decide if I am going to feed another or call it quits. I read somewhere that feeding of pollen pattys and sugar syrup preserves the wings of the foragers and allows them to live longer than the three weeks they last when they have to fly to forage. Living longer ought to translate into a bigger cluster size and more brood more quickly and accelerated growth to production size, but it sounds like that is not an option in your area where they ignore the pollen patty as soon as fresh pollen is available. Any opinions on what to do in my situation appreciated.

    -fafrd

  11. #51
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    Default Re: Wintering Nucs

    Quote Originally Posted by fafrd View Post
    When this latest patty is consumed, I have to decide if I am going to feed another or call it quits. Any opinions on what to do in my situation appreciated.

    -fafrd
    If you are seeing pollen coming in, I guess the question is...is there enough?

    Why not look in the broodnest? Examine combs...the comb next to a frame of open brood for instance. There is where you will find the fresh pollen...right next to the brood that needs it. Clever those bees.

    If you feel there is enough natural pollen in close proximity to the unsealed brood, and you're seeing the pollen flow continuing, I would say you can stop with the patties.

  12. #52
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    Default Re: Wintering Nucs

    Thanks for the suggestion, Michael - I'll have a look after the current patty is consumed...

    -fafrd

  13. #53
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    Default Re: Wintering Nucs

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Palmer View Post
    If you are seeing pollen coming in, I guess the question is...is there enough?

    Why not look in the broodnest? Examine combs...the comb next to a frame of open brood for instance. There is where you will find the fresh pollen...right next to the brood that needs it. Clever those bees.

    If you feel there is enough natural pollen in close proximity to the unsealed brood, and you're seeing the pollen flow continuing, I would say you can stop with the patties.
    The patties, (pollenpatties, proteinpatties).... do they always eat the protein or pollen in them, or can they store it? If so, is it possible to see any difference?

  14. #54
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    Default Re: Wintering Nucs

    Great thread, very informative. How critical is it to overwinter the nucs over a strong hive? I have invested my time and limited carpentry skills making up 2 story nucs. Maybe I should have been converting old hive bodies to side by side nucs. In New England, can a 5 frame nuc survive as a stand alone, or will they need the heat from a stronger hive below?

  15. #55
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    Default Re: Wintering Nucs

    When using a deep hive body to overwinter 2 nucs, do most people in the north use a screened bottom board with the tray in all winter or a solid bottom? Also, how critical is it to overwinter the nucs over a strong hive? I have invested my time and limited carpentry skills making up 2 story nucs.

  16. #56
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    Default Re: Wintering Nucs

    [QUOTE=Mosherd1;649580 How critical is it to overwinter the nucs over a strong hive?

    In New England, can a 5 frame nuc survive as a stand alone, or will they need the heat from a stronger hive below?[/QUOTE]

    I'm not so sure the nucs need any heat from below. I've seen times when the production colony died in the winter and both nucs survived. For my area, I think it's more important to get them up and out of the snow. If they're buried in snow they can't take a mid-winter cleansing flight if the opportunity arises.

    I haven't wintered a five frame single story, but many expanded to two story...doubles. They winter well and don't need to be elevated.

  17. #57
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    Default Re: Wintering Nucs

    I have reread this thread twice in the last couple of months but there is one question I keep coming back to. If I make up these nucs in July when the flow has seriously slowed down here in CT, will I need to feed the nuc or will the frame of honey be enough to get them to the fall flow?

  18. #58
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    Default Re: Wintering Nucs

    Should be enough.

  19. #59
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    Default Re: Wintering Nucs

    I have read and reread this thread a half dozen times. Really is interesting. Here is a thought but please correct me if I am wrong. Someone takes 3 of their production colonies (to keep the math easy). If 2 out of 3 colonies make it to spring statistically, why don't we just break up every production colony (strong and weak) in mid July (of course this would mean skipping the fall flow) into 5 nucs each giving us 15 nucs and if 33% do not make it to Spring then we have 10 hives instead of 2 (66% of 15 instead of 66% of 3). This logic might get blown out to the water if these nucs have a worse failure rate than 1 out of 3. Does this make sense? I 100% agree with the idea of breaking up the non productive colonies, but if we can increase the colony survival this dramatically it might be something to consider for all colonies, strong included.

  20. #60
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    Default Re: Wintering Nucs

    Mosherd, your logic seems correct. Is the answer in economics? If you break up those strong colonies - would the income lost from the fall flow not gathered by those colonies be outweighed by the potential sale of overwintered nucs and replacement bee costs not incurred in the spring? Since this thread was started in 2007 I understand that Mike has been selling more bees. I wonder if he is at the stage of sacrificing honey-making potential for nuc making potential.
    I have re-read this thread. Last winter was brutal here in the mid-west. As an experiment I made up two 5 frame nucs in a divided box from swarm cells. I added another divided box with honey on top. One side died out early. The other side survived and thrived. For such a low investment of time and materials it was worth it. This winter I plan to overwinter 10 and see what happens. One thing I learned was that I don't like the management of the divided box, so I made a bunch of 5 frame boxes and plan to push them close together as soon as the weather gets really cold.

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