Page 8 of 11 FirstFirst ... 678910 ... LastLast
Results 141 to 160 of 212

Thread: Wintering Nucs

  1. #141
    Lauri Guest

    Default Re: Wintering Nucs

    Thanks. Right after I cut the dividers I remembered I needed to make my channel deeper and cut them tight enough to close that gap. You can see in my post above how I fixed that Oops.
    I will have to figure out how to cover up those groves on the interior, that is a good point. I have a whole unit of beautiful Cedar decking I plan to use. This is just how it came-with the groves to prevent warping. I generally make my woodenware out of stuff I get from my friend at the cedar mill. Frequently he will give me or sell me shorts which work great for hives. My patterns usually are made from the least waste of this wood. Maybe fill them with dry pollen substitute in the fall.

  2. #142
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Milwaukee, WI
    Posts
    378

    Default Re: Wintering Nucs

    My unscientific report on my overwintered nucs.

    I had two unproductive hives that I decided to break down into nucs last Summer. I wound up with a total of 5 nucs. I requeened three of them and decided to keep the other two queens. As my apiary developed symptoms of nosema, I treated all of the colonies there with FUMAGILIN-B. One of the nucs superceded multiple times and was eventually combined with a production hive late in the season.

    So, I took four nucs into the Winter. Unfortunately, I had a higher mite load than I originally thought and it was too late to treat. Two of the nukes survived and are doing well. Both of the production hives died out, also from a high mite load.

    I'm not going to draw any conclusions from this small sample, but the math worked out well. From two colonies almost certain to fail, I made five nucs, two of which survived despite a high mite count. Two stronger full-sized colonies in the same apiary both died. I intend to follow the same management strategy this year and see if I can improve my results (although I will monitor my mite load more scientifically this year).

  3. #143
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    East Windsor, CT
    Posts
    276

    Default Re: Wintering Nucs

    I overwintered 5 nucs. 4 were side by side 5 framers and one was a 5 over 5 nuc. 2 of the side by sides (same box) did not make it through winter. The other 2 side by sides made it but are still growing to try and fill out the original 5 frames. The 5 over 5 is already in 2 deeps and I put a super on a few days ago. Very small sample but I think I will be increasing my equipment to 5 over 5's. Anyone else compare the two? Obviously the extra 5 frames has alot to do with the increased expansion.

  4. #144
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    Greene County, NY, USA
    Posts
    53

    Default Re: Wintering Nucs

    I overwintered a 5 frame nuc and a Michael Palmer double 4 frame 2 story nuc. One of those was a swarm I caught in a trap at the beginning of August. All 3 made it through. I just moved the double and one side had 4 frames of brood and the other had an unbelievable 8 frames of brood. Thank you Mike Palmer for all the info on overwintering Nucs. Also if you read this any hints on the best way to get Nucs into new separate homes.

  5. #145
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Northern Virginia
    Posts
    758

    Default Re: Wintering Nucs

    Quote Originally Posted by Mosherd1 View Post
    Very small sample but I think I will be increasing my equipment to 5 over 5's. Anyone else compare the two?
    I can hear MP right now saying, it's not the box, but what is in the box that matters. I believe that many different methods work with similar results unless there is some design issue in your equipment causing a problem like lack of ventilation or excessive wind, etc. I have found no difference with single boxes vs. shared boxes in my area.

    As to the other poster re mites. I too lost a bunch of OW nucs last year to PMS/mites. It could have been that the hives I drew the frames from had high mite count in the brood and I was unaware, but I have seen high mite counts in nucs. Last year I treated very selectively in 8-10 frame nucs.
    karla

  6. #146
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Birmingham, Alabama, USA
    Posts
    101

    Default Re: Wintering Nucs

    In a mild climate such as Alabama, what is the latest date that I can start nuc's for overwintering?

    I'm a first year beekeeper and started with two strong nuc's this spring. I know that my #1 goal is to get these colonies strong enough to survive until next year, but if it is possible to also grow my apiary with a couple nuc's this fall, I'd really like to do that too.

    Also, as I am interested in moving towards using all medium size boxes, how many frames are necessary to create a strong nuc in a medium size box?

  7. #147
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    jackson county, alabama, usa
    Posts
    4,579

    Default Re: Wintering Nucs

    the latest i started one last year was mid august. i introduced a mated queen to three deep frames of bees and two drawn frames of comb along with five frames of deep foundation all into a 10 frame box.

    i had to feed a little at first, but we had a strong fall flow here. none of the foundation got drawn, so i removed it and put a divider board in to close off the box to five frames.

    they overwintered fine, were given at patty or two in the early spring, and are now in one deep and three mediums with one medium of honey already harvested.
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  8. #148
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Hudson, WI USA
    Posts
    2,206

    Default Re: Wintering Nucs

    I went through my nucs today, with a mind to the build up to winter. I have nucs started at three different times. I have them all in two storeys (except for three) but noticed that the latest ones hadn't had time to draw out 5 frames of foundation. I went through the other nucs and exchanged empty undrawn frames with frames of honey, and added a couple of empty drawn brood combs to the weak ones. Goldenrod is starting soon, and I wanted to make sure they were able to take advantage of it. I have around 18, 3 of which I have put in 3 storeys of 5 as an experiment.
    I think the best thing I can do for them now (having verified that everyone has space and stores) is leave them alone.

  9. #149
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Winhall, VT
    Posts
    1,066

    Default Re: Wintering Nucs

    Adrian,
    Sounds like a good plan. Tomorrow I am going through the nucs that I queened with my last graft. They were all laying three weeks ago and I have left them alone. I am basically going to see how each queen is performing and mark any hives that seem to have a poor queen as a possible combine with others at the end of the fall flow. One of the traits I want to select for is a rapid build up of a solid broodnest so I see no need to nurse lagging queens through the winter.
    Raising Vermont Bees one mistake at a time.
    USDA Zone 5A

  10. #150
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Strafford, MO
    Posts
    30

    Default Re: Wintering Nucs

    I am trying to winter NUCs for the first time this year, I made up 4 in the Palmer fashion culling frames of brood and stores to make up the colonies and then adding mated queens.

    I constructed the NUCs using the split deep box style with a center dividing wall and using 4 frames per colony. Two are going gang busters and are packed, 1 is pretty full and looks to be very active and one has already bit the dust. I went to inspect one day a while back and there was furious buzzing and lots of bees tying to pack into the reduced opening of one of the boxes. I also noticed what looked like chewed up cappings under that side having fallen through the screen on the bottom board. It was being robbed out by other bees and one of the frames had wax moths & larvae present. It looked like they absconded when the moths got too much of a foot hold.

    That brings me to my question should I move the surviving colony from that split deep into an actual separate NUC or just stuff the empty side with something to act as insulation and leave them alone. The surviving colony in that box is one of the really strong ones by the way and I had considered giving them an additional drawn frame and letting them pack it by feeding them 2:1 if I moved them to a bigger box.

  11. #151
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    St. Albans, Vermont
    Posts
    5,393

    Default Re: Wintering Nucs

    First, it seems the robbing is still going on, and there are wax worms present? I think the nuc probably failed, wax worms got started, and then the robbing started. As far as absconding...why do you think they absconded? Did you see emergency cells? I've seen many absconds, and they always have brood, sealed brood, and emergency cells. Maybe the nuc just failed.

    I would leave the strong nucleus colony in the box they're in. Last year, I set up several nucs in double nuc boxes...but with only one side populated with one nuc. They wintered just fine.



    Quote Originally Posted by MissouriMule View Post
    I also noticed what looked like chewed up cappings under that side having fallen through the screen on the bottom board. It was being robbed out by other bees and one of the frames had wax moths & larvae present. It looked like they absconded when the moths got too much of a foot hold.

    That brings me to my question should I move the surviving colony from that split deep into an actual separate NUC or just stuff the empty side with something to act as insulation and leave them alone. The surviving colony in that box is one of the really strong ones by the way and I had considered giving them an additional drawn frame and letting them pack it by feeding them 2:1 if I moved them to a bigger box.

  12. #152
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    jackson county, alabama, usa
    Posts
    4,579

    Default Re: Wintering Nucs

    mm, i had a few like that last winter. i used crumpled up newspaper in the empty space for insulation and to absorb excess moisture. it seemed to work pretty good.
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  13. #153
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Strafford, MO
    Posts
    30

    Default Re: Wintering Nucs

    Maybe I was the wrong terminology in saying absconding, the previous week or so they appeared to be fine with good population and some stores and brood.

    It probably was as you suspect the moths moved in after the bees bailed out of the box.

  14. #154
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
    Posts
    1,974

    Default Re: Wintering Nucs

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Palmer View Post
    ...
    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...
    Mike, can you talk more about this specific aspect of nuc management? How does using a nuc allow a 10:1 expansion? Can you talk us through the process?

    I'm gearing up to focus on nucs, based on what I've learned from you online. I'm building 8 frame deeps with divider boards, and planning to move toward an operation which is maybe 75% nucleus colonies, and 25% production. I'm going to do 8 frame 4 over 4's in split double deeps.

    You said in another thread that in order for a person to become self-sufficient and sustainable, you recommended maintaining 100 colonies. I want to work toward that, and I feel like nuc management is the key. I want to raise my own queens, in my own region, and to get away from buying bees from Hawaii.

    Adam

  15. #155
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    St. Albans, Vermont
    Posts
    5,393

    Default Re: Wintering Nucs

    You start the season with over-wintered nucleus colonies. I use 4 over 4 deeps. In late April or early May, I add another story of 4 combs. The queen moves up onto these combs, expanding the broodnest. At this point, they will swarm unless you do one of two things. Add another story, or remove full combs and replace with empty combs. I do the later.

    Once the bees have expanded up into the third box, and you have queens available, Remove frames of brood and bees from the nucs. Take enough to keep swarm preparations under control, but not so much the nuc is severely weakened. Early in the season, this might mean only one or two frames of brood and bees per nuc. As the season progresses, and the little colonies get stronger, two or three combs of brood and bees can be robbed at each visit. At the height of the nuc making season, say July 1, you begin knocking the 3 story nucs down as you remove brood and bees. First to two stories, then to one, and then to nuc strength, so by the last brood harvest, the original nucleus colony is taken all the way down to a new nuc in strength.

    For your 10:1 goal, you need to harvest 20 combs of brood and bees, 10 frames of honey, and have access to 10 empty combs. The three story wintered nuc has 12 or 15 combs already by the beginning of May. So harvesting those combs isn't a stretch. It does require a prolific queen and a good flow. The honey combs might be difficult to come up with from the nucs alone, but I get all I need as a by-product of my cell building apiary.

    Quote Originally Posted by Adam Foster Collins View Post
    Mike, can you talk more about this specific aspect of nuc management? How does using a nuc allow a 10:1 expansion? Can you talk us through the process?

    I'm gearing up to focus on nucs, based on what I've learned from you online. I'm building 8 frame deeps with divider boards, and planning to move toward an operation which is maybe 75% nucleus colonies, and 25% production. I'm going to do 8 frame 4 over 4's in split double deeps.

    You said in another thread that in order for a person to become self-sufficient and sustainable, you recommended maintaining 100 colonies. I want to work toward that, and I feel like nuc management is the key. I want to raise my own queens, in my own region, and to get away from buying bees from Hawaii.

    Adam

  16. #156
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
    Posts
    1,974

    Default Re: Wintering Nucs

    Mike, thanks for the response. Okay, so if 10:1 is a stretch without other resources, or a bumper year, then 4:1 or 5:1 should be pretty easy to do using that approach.

    What's interesting, is that it keeps the nuc-making with the nucs. You don't touch the production colonies, unless one of those turns out to be weak and you want to break it down into resources.

    I think the thing stuck in my mind at the moment is that it's going to be a challenge to know when the bees are getting too tight later in the season. If you're making nucs in July, it seems like a fine line between a nice, strong nuc, and too many bees/pssible swarming. Any advice specific to finding that line? - knowing when to remove resources from a nuc to keep it from swarming?

    Adam


    Adam

  17. #157
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Hudson, WI USA
    Posts
    2,206

    Default Re: Wintering Nucs

    Adam, I was doing this last year and my experience is that a nuc made up with two or three frames of brood in July, and then given a second box with only one drawn comb doesn't want to swarm; It is as though they know that job number one is to set up for winter. When I made up 9 nucs the year before this was also true.
    The real issue for me was not splitting them up early or far enough. The population in those overwintered nucs took off faster than I could have imagined. I was dealing with excessive swarming Mid-May.
    I have bought some plastic queen excluders, and what I am contemplating doing is cutting them in half, confining the queen in one box for a week and then taking the queenless box away and replacing that box with a box of empty combs. I realize that I would be better off splitting them harder and dealing with fewer swarms; Swarms suck up your time.
    I am not trying to expand my numbers any further, given my other commitments 15-20 production hives is enough for me. I just want to run enough nucs to replace worn out production colonies every year without buying packages.
    I can't emphasize enough how easy it is to get behind with wooden ware and frames. I am moving to as simple a system as possible. FBIC's and 2 inch styrofoam on the top and simple boards on the bottom if I run out of regular bottom boards. This winter I am going to make about 20 more 5 frame nucs and buy some more frames.

  18. #158
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    St. Albans, Vermont
    Posts
    5,393

    Default Re: Wintering Nucs

    You misunderstand me. 10:1 isn't a stretch. It's nothing for a good queen to produce 20 frames of brood between the middle of May and the middle of July...as long as you have comb to use for replacements. With a decent flow, you can get a feed comb when you harvest brood. I get most of my extra feed combs from my cell builders, as they get too strong and the cell builder body is full of honey when I harvest the cells. You could also get frames of honey from production hives, but I don't. You can also feed them at the start. In 2011, a poor honey year, flood followed by drought, I harvested more than 900 combs of brood and bees from 50 overwintered nucs.

    You prevent the bees from getting too tight, as you say, by keeping them loose...adding enough empty comb, in the right place, to give the brood rearing bees a place to rear brood, and the nectar gatherers a place to store their nectar. Your strong, three story nuc will behave as a large hive in miniature. Honey up top, and brood below. So, you might take a couple feed frames from the top box and replace with comb or foundation if the flow is strong. The middle and bottom box have much brood. You take a frame or two from each, and replace with worker comb. I try to replace the combs taken at the separator between the two nucs...as that's the real center of their broodnest and where they are likely to raise the most brood. This gives the queen empty brood comb right where she wants it, and she'll go to town filling it up for the next harvest.

    A strong nuc and good queen on a flow, will fill those added combs in less than 2 weeks. And that's the big thing. Realizing just how prolific one of these units really is, and looking often enough to prevent swarm preparations from beginning. Also, don't bank on thinking strong nucs will wait until they have sealed cells before they swarm. I've seen them go with cups with eggs or day old larvae. So, staying well ahead of them with empty comb is essential. If you see them elongating queen cups, and adding bits of white wax to their sides, you're behind, and I would bet that if you looked closely enough, you would find a cup with an egg. And if you leave with the colony, away they go.

    Never think that you've got it made for another week without at least tipping up the boxes and looking for cups and crowded conditions and frames of brood.

    "When life looks like easy street, there's danger at your door". Jerry Garcia


    Quote Originally Posted by Adam Foster Collins View Post
    Mike, thanks for the response. Okay, so if 10:1 is a stretch without other resources, or a bumper year, then 4:1 or 5:1 should be pretty easy to do using that approach.

    What's interesting, is that it keeps the nuc-making with the nucs. You don't touch the production colonies, unless one of those turns out to be weak and you want to break it down into resources.

    I think the thing stuck in my mind at the moment is that it's going to be a challenge to know when the bees are getting too tight later in the season. If you're making nucs in July, it seems like a fine line between a nice, strong nuc, and too many bees/pssible swarming. Any advice specific to finding that line? - knowing when to remove resources from a nuc to keep it from swarming?

    Adam


    Adam

  19. #159
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Northern Virginia
    Posts
    758

    Default Re: Wintering Nucs

    Note his reference to comb- that is drawn comb. This plan works with foundation, but probably not as well. Monitoring for queen cells and acting upon them is super critical- as it is in all colonies, but more so it seems in these brood building OW nucs expanding upwards. I should have paid more heed to Garcia myself and even resorted to taking out the queen (artificial swarm) in a few as breaking down queen cells was not enough - booming populations, cells everywhere, on frames, bottom, and hidden on sides. Plus I didn't even consider that I should be shaking bees off frames to find cells, and even if I did, surely I would have missed some cells. I lost many good queens to swarms- even with ow nucs expanding to 12- 15 frames (3 boxes high). On the bright side, I also raised several great queens from swarm cells by taking frames with cells out and putting in mating nucs. They were packing away plenty of honey so took that out as well. And definitely I harvested much brood, honey, etc. for more nucs, mating nucs, etc. But if I had comb, and/or really paid attention every 7 days, I can see that expanding exponentially is definitively within reach with this plan. Next year adding shaker box into the routine when needed, brushing off comb, and training my other half to look for QCs should improve the odds.
    karla

  20. #160
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
    Posts
    1,974

    Default Re: Wintering Nucs

    Adrian Quiney WI says: "The population in those overwintered nucs took off faster than I could have imagined. I was dealing with excessive swarming Mid-May...I can't emphasize enough how easy it is to get behind with wooden ware and frames. I am moving to as simple a system as possible."

    I am only overwintering 7 nucs and 4 full colonies at the moment, but I'm building gear to house 30 nucs and 10 full colonies. But given the talk here, maybe that's not enough... I guess it depends on how much I want to expand next summer.

    Mike Palmer says: "So, staying well ahead of them with empty comb is essential."

    Mike, that's why I thought 10:1 might be a stretch - for me. I don't have the drawn comb. How do you advise management in a situation where you only have foundation? Also, how often do you see having to check on your nucs?

    Winevines says: " This plan works with foundation, but probably not as well. Monitoring for queen cells and acting upon them is super critical...if I had comb, and/or really paid attention every 7 days, I can see that expanding exponentially is definitively within reach with this plan. "

    Karla, you're saying every 7 days. So when is the range of dates you would be on that schedule? When would you begin to worry in the spring, and when would you begin to worry less about them swarming? Just trying to get a sense of what kind of work a full yard of nucs could be.

    Each of you suggests the imperative of keeping ahead of these nucs to prevent swarming, so I'm trying to get a handle on what kind of schedule that would present, as well as how much gear I need to produce to be able to handle it. Also, at this point, I don't have the drawn comb to work with, so that has to alter the approach somewhat. How does that change the picture?

    Thanks

    Adam

Page 8 of 11 FirstFirst ... 678910 ... LastLast

Tags for this Thread

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
Ads