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Thread: Wintering Nucs

  1. #101
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    Default Re: Wintering Nucs

    I don't think it matters much. I wouldn't turn the box 180.

  2. #102
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    Brainerd, MN
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    Default Re: Wintering Nucs

    Great thread! A little bit of a grave dig from a few months ago, but this really is amazing. I am going to try my hand at making a nuc or two next year and see how things go. I really like the idea of making nucs from wintered nucs! Brilliant!

  3. #103
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    barry co., Michigan
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    Default Re: Wintering Nucs

    yes great read. i'm trying this up here- some in the unheated garage and others on their own. will report back

  4. #104
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    Billerica, MA
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    Default Re: Wintering Nucs

    Running eight frame mediums, do you think you could split a box with luan into 4 frames on each side with opposing entrances, and stack another medium on top as a vertical? That would give you 8 mediums, or about the same space as a five frame deep. Would you need to or could you go to three tiers if necessary? In spring I assume you would then take the brood nest frames from one side, put them in the lower of a new 8 frame set-up, and drop the brood nest of the remaining nuc, remove the dividers, and be off to the races, assuming they both make it and your goal is increase? I suppose you could nuc them again in July of that year for further increase or let them build up for production, or use them as brood factories for cell builders or starters. Boy, there are a lot of options with this scenario, very cool stuff to think about.

    Good read, thanks to the many contributors.

  5. #105
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    Default Re: Wintering Nucs

    Quote Originally Posted by stripstrike View Post
    Boy, there are a lot of options with this scenario, very cool stuff to think about.
    Yep, lots of options. I don't see why yours wouldn't work.

  6. #106
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    Dec 2009
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    Blacksburg, VA
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    Default Re: Wintering Nucs

    Quote Originally Posted by stripstrike View Post
    Running eight frame mediums, do you think you could split a box with luan into 4 frames on each side with opposing entrances, and stack another medium on top as a vertical? Would you need to or could you go to three tiers if necessary?
    I usually have several nucs that are in three story 5 frame mediums and they do great. The top super generally has a division board feeder, so only 4 frames up there.
    Last edited by rkereid; 11-18-2011 at 07:01 AM. Reason: spelling

  7. #107
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    pomfret, ct,USA
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    Default Re: Wintering Nucs

    Every time I re-read this thread I get fired up thinking about spring and making Nucs!

  8. #108
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    Rome NY USA
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    Default Re: Wintering Nucs

    Hey Mike, if a queen is better the second year, at what age do you coonsider requeening.

  9. #109
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    Default Re: Wintering Nucs

    I don't requeen because of age. I go by performance.

  10. #110
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    Fort Worth, TX, USA
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    Default Re: Wintering Nucs

    That makes sense to me.
    Time to be a gypsy again, 2014 will be my prep year, my bees want a better area with actual rainfall.

  11. #111
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
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    Rome NY USA
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    Default Re: Wintering Nucs

    Mike I made nucs in july before I heard about your system. They grew to a deep and a half going into winter. Do you keep pulling brood out of your july nucs and making more nucs? and if so when is the latest do you make nucs. I don't live all that far from you, we get the same winters as you. Thanks PS you changed my whole thinking on this beekeeping thing.

  12. #112
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    Denton, NC USA
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    Default Re: Wintering Nucs

    Well it is always good to hear from someone who has made it work. I have alot to learn since I am a 2nd year beekeeper. I tried two nucs this year and both were a flop. Probably the biggest problem was that I didn't include enough bees and brood. So you live and learn. Thanks for all who provide knowledge for the less experienced. Jim

  13. #113
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    Default Re: Wintering Nucs

    I run nucleus colonies in two basic configurations, both in double boxes. Single story four frame nucs and double story 4 over 4. They are handled differently.

    For the single story, I usually started them about July 1 to August 1. The first made, build up on the second half of the main flow and are too crowded for hot August and the coming Fall flow. To keep them in a four fram cavity is next to impossible. There are a number of ways to handle the problem. Tou can place an excluder above the double nuc box and super. Both nucs will work in the super, and with a good flow will fill the super. Trouble is that leaves the nucs with zero feed when you remove the super. Another way and one I prefer, is to remove brood/bees and replace with comb or foundation. The brood can be given to colonies needing a boost, or used to make additional nucleus colonies. The earlier you make up the nucs the more brood you can harvest. This is, to me, an acceptable method of swarm control. Problems arrise with managing an increasing number of nucleus colonies. How much time do you have to manage them? Once youy get a few hundred nucs going, and if you have lots of bee work to do in your apiary or you have a day job that takes your time, there's a better way.

    I started experimenting...well my whole beekeeping experience has been a 38 year experiment...with expanding the nucleus colonies up into a second story...a four frame super. The nucleus colonies march right up onto those additional four combs, make a beautiful cluster, and store much of their winter needs without massive feeding of syrup. They will draw out four frames of foundation, increasing your supply of new comb. They won't abscond in the heat if late July and August. All in all, a better plan.

    If you are going to allow them to expand up, the nucleus colonies should be made up early enough to take advantage of the flows so they can draw out their foundation. For my 4 over 4's, I start making them about the middle of June and try to finish by the middle of July. Some of the later made nucs will require comb instead of foundation...depending on the strength of the late flows.

    Making nucs from nucs...you can save back wintered nucs and not place them into ten frame equipment. Expand them up into additional nuc boxes...maybe 12 combs total. Then you can use them as brood factories to make all your nucs for wintering. I would say that you can increase your numbers...maybe 10:1...managing them this way.

    I have a beekeeping friend that works pumping gas. He and his wife have taken off in their beekeeping. Already making and wintering nucleus colonies in their third year of beekeeping. He was whining about his job...six days at 12 hours a day. I'd whine, too. My plan for them?

    First year, make as many nucleus colonies as you can. Winter them. They made ten.
    Second year, expand five of them into brood factories, resulting in fifty going into winter.
    Third year, expand thirty of them into three hundred.


    After the third year...figure losing fifty in the winter which is high for two story nucleus colonies...you should be able to sell a couple hundred in the spring and have thirty-fifty to expand into brood factories, resulting in 250-500 nucleus colonies to winter.

    At $125 for a nucleus colony in late April or early May...depending on where you keep bees...

    Can Bill quit his gas pumping day job yet?

  14. #114
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    Dec 2009
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    Blacksburg, VA
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    Default Re: Wintering Nucs

    Mike- Thanks again for your input. I am into my second year of wintering nucs after good success the first year. Last year I wintered 6 of 7. This year I am going in with 37.

    My main problems are probably regional. In much of the mid Atlantic region, our main flow is in the spring until Tulip Poplar ends in early to late June depending on area. After that, like this past season, we often get a hot dry summer that may end with a small fall flow, if we are lucky. In a good year there is some maintenance flow to keep the bees from using all their stores. So there isn't much flow in the summer after June. Consequently, if I start nucs after the flow, I end up feeding much of the summer to get the nucs built up. I started nucs this year from April through early August and the early ones did the best because they could get established. Like your nuc brood factories, they helped start lots of the later nucs. But those later nucs needed constant feeding.

    Also if I am going to nuc my least productive production colonies, I have a short window in the spring to analyze which ones to use, and then break them up early enough for those nucs to get established while still on a flow.

    All in all it has worked out well, but I really want to find a way to avoid some of the feeding necessary after the flow (3 to 4 months of the season). It seems like I need to compress all my nuc making into the spring and make all of them up into doubles and triples so they can store as much as possible. Any thoughts?

    Thanks, Richard

  15. #115
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    Default Re: Wintering Nucs

    i am wondering what the difference is between a four over four, and just having them in a single deep? is it because they will have better separation of brood and honey? sorry if you have already answered this

  16. #116
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    Default Re: Wintering Nucs

    How much are the later made nucs requiring as far as feed goes? How many gallons of 2:1? Quantity/cost in relation to how much the nucleus colonies are worth?

  17. #117
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    Default Re: Wintering Nucs

    i am wondering what the difference is between a four over four, and just having them in a single deep? is it because they will have better separation of brood and honey? sorry if you have already answered this.

  18. #118
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    Default Re: Wintering Nucs

    SP, the difference is in the winter. Bees don't like to move...or can't move horizontally. Oh, oh, now I've said it.

    In very cold weather that is. In Alabama, it doesn't matter. It won't be cold enough for long enough to matter. Here in Vermont, a cluster can get stuck to one side of the box and not be able to reach out for the honey that's a frame away. If it's above them, no problem., heat rises.

    Also, it's about them feeling they can work overhead...my opinion here. Bees that can move up onto empty comb, or feel they have ample room for overhead nectar storage are less apt to start swarm preparations than colonies that expand sideways...because that sideways expansion is way over there at the other side of the box and upward expansion is right on top of them.

  19. #119
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    Sep 2011
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    loveland, co, usa
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    Default Re: Wintering Nucs

    So quick question about building your nucs, I've seen several posts on how to make nucs out of 1/2 inch plywood. Are any of you over wintering your nucs in these? or do you typically use 3/4 inch for your nucs to overwinter.

  20. #120
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    Default Re: Wintering Nucs

    thanks mp, that makes sense. the bees in the five nucs i made up already show a preference for the 'sunny' sides of the hive. do you use foundation when getting your nucs to build comb?

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