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Thread: Wintering Nucs

  1. #161
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
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    Northern Virginia
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    769

    Default Re: Wintering Nucs

    [QUOTE=Adam Foster Collins;863813]
    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.
    /QUOTE]
    you have 16 days for the new queen to emerge- so looking every 2 weeks in theory should be enough. I say looking every 7 days because I am not always adept at seeing that egg or larvae housed in the queen cup until that cup is bigger and more clearly a queen cell- so that is potentially 3 days right there I miss at a minimum... and the cell is capped at 9, and they swarm early, so I came up with 7 days being the schedule I need to aim for if I can.
    I figure we are about 1 month ahead of you more or less. April 1st is generally when swarming starts. Later April more average. We seldom have strong Fall flow so I don't worry much about later swarms, although they do happen.
    karla

  2. #162
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
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    Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
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    Default Re: Wintering Nucs

    You're even more than that ahead. We don't really begin swarming until Mid May to June 1.

    You say you don't get the Fall flow, so if your 7 day inspection schedule begins on April 1, when does it end, or switch to wider intervals?

    Adam

  3. #163
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
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    Greensboro, North Carolina
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    2,851

    Default Re: Wintering Nucs

    Quote Originally Posted by Adam Foster Collins View Post
    so if your 7 day inspection schedule begins on April 1, when does it end, or switch to wider intervals?
    Bees are much more likely to swarm right before, or in the beginning of, a big flow.

    I don't know what your flows are, so I can't tell you how long you should continue to look.

    For me, swarm season can start in early to the middle of March, but most issue around April 1. That's because Tulip poplar (are large, and sometimes only flow) blooms from April 1 to April 30 (on average). So for me, I continue to check through out March and April on one week intervals. May I usually keep checking at one week intervals. Clovers are usually going well now, and some overstocked hives don't always get the "memo" that swarm season is over. But almost all of them are done by June 1. From there I usually check about once every two weeks, or once a month, until July 1. Then the dearth hits and you better not open that hive up unless you want to lose it. Then recheck in middle of August.

  4. #164
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    May 2010
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    Knox Co, Ohio, USA
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    Default Re: Wintering Nucs

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Palmer View Post
    "When life looks like easy street, there's danger at your door". Jerry Garcia
    I heard Garcia sing it a number of times. I believe Robert Hunter gets the credit for it.

    Tom

  5. #165
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    Default Re: Wintering Nucs

    Quote Originally Posted by TWall View Post
    I heard Garcia sing it a number of times. I believe Robert Hunter gets the credit for it.

    Tom
    I knew someone would set me straight.

  6. #166
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    Default Re: Wintering Nucs

    Quote Originally Posted by Adam Foster Collins View Post
    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?
    The nuc's first year, you can draw out several frames of foundation. You start with the original 4 frames used to start the nuc. As soon as they are strong enough, You add the 4 frame super on top. Move up one comb from the nuc and replace it with a foundation in the bottom box against the divider. They'll draw it out and fill it with brood...yes, even in the bottom box. The comb moved up is at the divide between nucs and the 3 remaining are foundation. As the bees draw the foundation, replace it with more foundation. Most of the foundation will have honey/nectar. Leave brood in the nuc when possible...this allows the nuc to gain in strength, and draw foundation even faster. Obviously, the strength of the flow and the strength of the nuc, will determine how much work they'll do for you.

    The nuc's second year, you can expand it up into 3 or 4 nuc boxes, and they'll raise brood below that can be harvested, and draw foundation. Or you can put the 8 combs of the nuc in a 10 frame, and add a deep of foundation above. Now when they draw that out, they have 14 new combs out of 19.

    Growing your stock of good comb takes time. Nucs help the process along. Thje tend to draw mostly worker comb, and you invest very little in the process, when comparing full sized hives to nuc boxes.

    I look at my nucs at 2-3 weeks, depending what time of year it is, the flow, and the strength of the nucs. This continues from the beginning of May until the weather changes in the fall. This happens when the nights start cooling off, and we get 40s. I've found that it's not the fact that there's been a killing frost, but that the nights cool off.

  7. #167
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
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    Indianapolis IN 46227
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    Default Re: Wintering Nucs

    Quote Originally Posted by winevines View Post
    you have 16 days for the new queen to emerge- so looking every 2 weeks in theory should be enough.
    2 weeks is a little too long Karla, 16 days is from a laid egg. 13 days from a new larva.

    I know, always a critic

  8. #168
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    Jan 2011
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    Default Re: Wintering Nucs

    Michael, it has to be ‘shop time’ for you as well as the rest of us above the 45th parallel. It sounds like you have a lot of double’s in your plan that you stack on top of each other for 8 frame hives, are you in construction? Do you have some pictures or links to previously posted pictures? I am plaining wood and cutting to length it would be a good time for me to make up some 2/2 MP deeps (trying to get a name to stick can you tell).
    “Why do we fall, sir? So that we might learn to pick ourselves up” Alfred Pennyworth Batman Begins (2005)

  9. #169
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    Default Re: Wintering Nucs

    I wish. All the production hives are ready for wrappers. Waiting for the rain to stop. Most nucs are ready for wrappers, too, but some will need frames of honey added to the top box, as they didn't finish the ones I gave them in early August. Nice populations but with an empty frame or two in the top box.

    I can't hardly wait to be finished with my bee work so I can work in the shop. Have lots of plans for the winter. I'll be re-doing my shop...right now my wood shop is the back corner of my honey house...surrounded by plastic sheeting to keep the dust out of the rest of the shop.I plan on making the plastic walls permanent by constructing walls and...oh my gosh...a door! Shelving all around. A long table with chop saw to cross-cut long boards. Did I say shelving to hold nails, tools, glue, etc, etc. And a door! GeeHaw.

    So, once I get working in the shop, I can take you some pictures and post them here. You'll have to remind me. I'm so forgetful. How forgetful am I...I got up at 5 am this morning because I forgot to turn my clock back. God gave me a neck so I wouldn't forget my head somewhere.

    First project...a wooden case for my microscope. That's after my shelving and door are finished.

  10. #170
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
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    Starkville, MS, USA
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    Default Re: Wintering Nucs

    Mike,
    Loved the 2 part video on overwintering the nucs! I probably missed it while reading the thread but could you clarify some size confusion for me. Are you using 8 frame or 10 frame boxes with a divider when you make your two nuc, 4 frame each side boxes?

    I will be preparing equipment this winter for medium frame nucs on order from a local VHS treatment free supplier (Broke-T). My daughter is very interested in raising queens (she is spectacularly good at genetics). Because of the box weight issue, I am strongly considering 8 frame mediums. I am also considering building plywood nucs based on the plans by D. Coats from the "Build it Yourself" section here but reduced to medium depth. If I were to "shrink" the width to be able to stack two side by side on an 13-3/4" wide 8 frame box, then the inside dimensions are 5-5/8". If one used standard with 1-3/8" frames, they would require 5-1/2". Is this too tight to fit 4 standard frames? If I used 1-1/4" "narrow" frames, then this only requires 5". Being located in Mississippi, should I build them with the width per the drawings (7-1/2" inside width), make a bunch of stackable supers, and forget the idea of stacking them on the 8 frame equipment?

    Thanks, and when is you book going to be done?
    Tim H

  11. #171
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    Nov 2009
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    Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
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    1,996

    Default Re: Wintering Nucs

    Tim,

    I'm using 8 frame gear, and just making a divider board, rather than the separate small boxes. Less gear; less material.

    Adam

  12. #172
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    May 2012
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    Calgary, Alberta, CA
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    55

    Default Re: Wintering Nucs

    Mike, great thread.
    In reference to the brood factory, I get that you let her fill out the bottom box, move a frame of brood up to bait the second box and put a third box of drawn frame for gathering. My question is, do you reverse the first and second boxes to get her back down to supply her with accessible empty comb?
    Thanks,
    Mark

  13. #173
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
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    Clackamas Oregon
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    781

    Default Re: Wintering Nucs

    The big question is: did Mike ever get his door?
    If he is still subscribed this is the reminder to post the pictures of the shop (walls and doors) and microscope case (that is on my list as well). Here is a shot of my divided deeps with shallows (posted it in another thread).
    With base (painted base gray)
    http://i1141.photobucket.com/albums/...psa21269cf.jpg
    Just a pile (funny cause of the color of a pile):
    http://i1141.photobucket.com/albums/...psf2950e48.jpg
    “Why do we fall, sir? So that we might learn to pick ourselves up” Alfred Pennyworth Batman Begins (2005)

  14. #174
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    Default Re: Wintering Nucs

    Quote Originally Posted by allincuddy View Post
    My question is, do you reverse the first and second boxes to get her back down to supply her with accessible empty comb?
    Thanks,
    Mark
    I don't reverse, but do rearrange the combs. I find them raising brood in both boxes by the end of April, sometimes with a couple frames of honey left above. I leave the bottom box alone. Two combs of brood go in the second story against the divider and two empty combs fill the box. The top box gets two empty brood combs against the divider and the two frames of honey at the outside.

    I consider the divider where the two 8 1/8 super meet.

  15. #175
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    Sep 2007
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    Hudson, WI USA
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    2,268

    Default Re: Wintering Nucs

    Here's a little to add to the discourse. I was just going over my notes from this past winter on my un-miticide treated nucs. I had a group of 5 who (like the others) provided some brood, but didn't get an observed broodbreak from 2011/12. Of those I lost 2. The other 13 all had a beekeeper induced/observed broodbreak - of those I lost one. The overall survival rate so far (still have snow on the ground) is 15 out of 18 which is pretty good considering the winter we have had. I plan to ensure that everyone gets a brood break.
    I am also contemplating the wisdom of cutting off some honey production August 1, and then if I can get my timing right, adding cells and splitting some 10 frame hives back to nucs; The number of these I try will depend on the drawn comb and combs of feed I have at the time.
    The season is short, and the winter is long; Rather than leaving the supers out to catch the dregs of the summer flows and the Goldenrod my apiary might be better served making more nucs. I wish there were more local beekeepers who raised cells; I think there is real opportunity at a local level for some synergistic cooperation.

  16. #176
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    jackson county, alabama, usa
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    Default Re: Wintering Nucs

    >I think there is real opportunity at a local level for some synergistic cooperation.

    good point adrian. i have been talking with a few of my local beeks about swapping some queens this year.

    i have changed my plans a little bit, from rearing queens and making nucs during the main flow to waiting until after the spring honey harvest.

    the drawback is i will miss out on the best forage for making nice cells, won't be taking advantage of the swarm impluse, and drone availability will be less than is associated with the main flow. i'll have to make sure my cell builder is properly fed, and i will likely have to provide supplemental feed for the nucs through our summer dearth.

    the advantages are that i can concentrate on swarm prevention and honey production this spring, plus i can gauge vigor, production, and get a meaningful mite count at the start of summer in order to select which queens to graft from.

    last year's dead outs are now swarm traps that will hopefully give me plenty of bees to make up the nucs with.

    i try to maintain twelve production hives, and will try to keep at least that many nucs on hand to overwinter.
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  17. #177
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Nashville, TN
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    320

    Default Re: Wintering Nucs

    With all the mentions of how fast overwintered nucs build up in the Spring, I'm wondering if it is worth overwintering my 3-4 full size hives or simply overwintering nucs made from them. We have the April swarm season and flow is May/June followed by July/August dearth and iffy fall Goldenrod flow. So having to provide honey or feed to the production colonies most of the summer and fall takes a lot of resources vs. nucs.

    Will overwintered nucs build up quickly enough in the Spring to take advantage of the flow here? Or overwintering twice as many nucs and combining them into production hives in early Spring?

  18. #178
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
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    Denver, Colorado
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    5,113

    Default Re: Wintering Nucs

    Perhaps if they have drawn comb to build on. One way to find out.
    Solomon Parker, Parker Farms, ParkerFarms.biz
    11 Years Treatment-Free, ~25 Colony Baseline

  19. #179
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    Jersey City, NJ
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    22

    Default Re: Wintering Nucs

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Palmer View Post
    Growing your stock of good comb takes time. Nucs help the process along. Thje tend to draw mostly worker comb, and you invest very little in the process, when comparing full sized hives to nuc boxes.
    How do you store your surplus comb in the summer and then in the winter?

  20. #180
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
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    St. Albans, Vermont
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    5,585

    Default Re: Wintering Nucs

    On bees in the summer and in a cold shed in winter. Actually my storage barn remains cold enough in the summer so I have little problem with Greater wax moths. All my combs are on bees by mid-summer.

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