i guess i dont understand using nucs.do i use them for making splits or what?what are advantages?can someone please explain in lamens terms.so i can understand better.
Basically it's just a smaller version of a hive. Usually 5 frames. MDA sells cardboard and plastic ones and here's a quote from their web site:
Take two frames of brood with bees and one frame with a little honey and place in the Splitter. Shake one more frame of bees, add the caged queen, two side frames and move to a new location. Check the queen and transfer the frames to the hive in a week.
2. Sell Splits
Same as above, but for income should be worth a 3 pound package plus $2.50 a frame.
3. Swarm Control
Same as above but you have the option to reunite the split after the swarming season and during the honey flow. Place the old queen in the split and requeen the parent hive (artificial swarming).
4. Pollination Unit
Same as above but price according to strength. After pollination you have the first three options.
5. Harvesting Queen Cells
When you see queen cells in the parent hive place that frame with bees in the Splitter add extra bees and move to a new location. Harvest the $10-$12 dollar queen in two weeks.
6. Mating Queen Cells
Same as above, but place a queen cell in the unit.
7. Extra Nucs For ReQueening
Same as above as it is wise to keep 10% of your production count in available nucs. Requeen with newspaper method when production queen fails.
8. Rearing Queen Cells
Place sealed brood in the 2&4 position and place the graft in the number 3 position. You should have 4 or 5 pounds of nurse bees with feed and pollen.
9. Queen Bank
Same as above but place queen bank frame in 3 position.
10. Breeder Queen
Place breeder queen with one brood frame in 3 position. Shake 3 pounds of nurse bees and place empty comb in 2&4 position. Feed and remove the comb with eggs every 24 hours. Place this comb in strong colony above an excluder for care. All larvae will be the right age for grafting in 3 days (no hunting for larvae). You can do this continually every day. The center brood comb keeps the breeder queen and unit happy.
11. Drawing Comb
Same as above but place foundation in the 1,2,4 and 5 position. Feed and it is possible to remove frames 2 and 4 everyday. You can brush off the bees and place the drawn comb frame with or without eggs in the support colony. Keep 3 or 4 pounds of bees in the unit. Queen will want to expand the brood nest so you force them to draw out comb. Should be able to harvest 10 combs a week. If you make $1.00 a comb you can make $40.00 a month per unit.
12. Catching Swarms
Keep several in the truck KD with extra drawn combs so you will always be ready.
13. Bait Hives
Place at least one empty comb in unit and place around country side.
14. Transporting Bees
Cut rectangular opeining in box to match the slot in the frame support. Place 1/8 inch hardware cloth or screen between the frame support and the front and back of unit for cross ventilation. Shake bees into the unit and move where desired.
15. Transporting Brood
Same as above only you fill the Splitter with brood and bees and use as needed in other yards.
16. Selling Brood
Same as above but sell the brood and bees per frame.
17. Transporting Honey
Collect frames of honey as you work through the apiary. Brush off the bees and place honey in splitter to prevent robbing.
Do you know of anyone who makes Medium Nucs? Since I am going to change everything over to mediums this year it would be stupid to use full nucs.
If you mean wooden ones, Brushy Mt Bee Farm has a complete 6 5/8" nuc with two five frame boxes without frames with an inner cover, a telescopic cover and a bottom board for $37.95. They have a 5 frame nuc hive top feeder for $12.95. I have the feeder and I converted it with a piece of hardware cloth so you can fill it without the bees coming out of it. It's intended for use with a float.
Just 5 frame nuc hive bodies without covers and bottoms etc. in 6 5/8" are 7.25 each.
The nucs have a rabbeted corner joint, not box joint but it's a nicely done joint. I think they look nice.
I'm thinking a 10 frame medium box isn't so bad of a nuc anyway. If you want it smaller you could put a two frame division board feeder on one or both ends. You could also cut a piece of 1/8" masonite, or Laun plywood to make a follower board that goes all the way to the bottom board and still have 5 frames on each side and use it as a double nuc, or use the follower to make it whatever size you want. I'm not sure what size will work well with mediums. I've only done deeps in the past. It takes 7 1/2 frames of medium to equal five frames of deep.
Brushy Mt. is selling the 6 5/8" nuc as a double high one, which is 10 frames anyway. Maybe it would work better with 10 frames that way, or maybe it would work as well in one regular 10 frame box. What do you think?
I was thinking of cutting one piece of cardboard a folding it in an upside down "U" shape to fill the gap at the bottom of the MDA splitters. You could also cut some "slats" in the back 3/4 of that false bottom so the bees could cluster on the bottom and still cut down on drafts in the brood nest.
Another option for medium nucs is the 8 frame medium boxes from Brushy Mt. They have all the accessories available for them and 8 frames of medium is roughly equal to 5 frames of deep.
They have them listed as an English Garden Hive.
Let's here some opinions of what is better, nuc's or packages...
Having been down both roads, I prefer Nucs over packages as they come "ready to roll".
We seem to be farther ahead by going with nucs, as the initial wait for that first round of brood isn't there. In fact last year we were able to make nucs off from the nucs that we got in early april that had built out a first box of brood, about the same time everyone around me was just getting their packages.
There is a better chance that you will get a honey crop if you use nuc's. A package on a dry year may only fill the second brood if you are lucky.
I like nucs. Have queens that are ping ponging away and farther developed.
The only advantage I can see to a package would be if you are going to regress, the bees are already shook down for you (off their combs) and more willing to start over.
Even if you are regressing, with the nuc, the bees have a 60 to 90 day head start on building a hive. I would still be tempted to get the nuc, let them get a good start and then shake down.
With a package, even if you feed them, (and you should) it is several days before there is any comb for the queen to lay in. From then, by the time that brood hatches, goes from being nurse bees to house bees to field bees is 60 days.
With a nuc you already have field bees, house bees, nurse bees, emerging brood, new brood, and comb for the queen to be laying in.
A nuc is much better by about 60 to 90 days.
[This message has been edited by Michael Bush (edited January 31, 2003).]
Lifecycle of the honeybee during summer
Day 1 + 2 = cell cleaning and brood warming
Day 3 + 5 = feeding the older brood
Day 6 +11 = feeding the youngest brood
Day 12+13 = producing wax, building combs
Day 14+17 = food production (honey), removing water from nectar
Day 18+21 = hive guard, protecting the enter etc.
Day 22 +++ = visiting flowers, pollinate, collecting pollen, propolis, nectar,
Day 35+45 = end of life.