I have one of these Styrofoam mating nucs and I am wondering if I can use it as a cell builder as well (i.e put one brown cell in it and let the bees finish it).
Thanks in advance,
From my meager experience at queen rearing, I'd say you want a stronger colony than that to raise very many queens. A couple of queen cells in a nuc box with plenty of young bees would work though. In order for the queens to be fed well it takes a lot of bees. Preferably a lot of nurse bees with not a lot of brood to care for.
You can do about 30 queens that way but only once. You would have to replace all the bee's with new nurse bees. If you do it that way you will have 1 frame of foundation, 1 frame of pollen, 1 cellbuilding frame, 1 frame of honey then a feeder with 1-1 surgar syrup. When you shake your bees into the box you should do it when they are activly foraging so you get the most nurse bees. you should try to shake in about 4-5 pounds. good luck
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If you're talking about one of those small cube-shaped mating nucs, I would think they aren't large enough to act as a cell building colony. I've got a half dozen of them (from England, as I recall) and I don't think I would ever try to use them as a cell builder (they only hold a cup or two of bees). And as Michael pointed out, you need lots and lots of nurse-aged bees to act as a proper cell builder.
The larger, the colony the better for cell building. It helps to keep the cell builder hive crouded and make sure to have lots of youngens. The reason is that it is the young that do most all of the feeding and wax making.
I know an old beekeeper, 90 years and still going, who cant physicaly beekeep for honey, but tinkers around making bees and queens. Talked my leg off, but I learnt lots. He uses cell builders and mating nucs, naturally. He selects the best of the colonies for grafting and uses it as a cell builder aswell. After the cell builder is done, he breaks down the colony and divides the bees into his mating nucs, which is moved to another yard. The brood is recombned to recover from the work it has done. He gets his mating nucs going this way. He will get a hand full of mated queens a season, or more. After the mating nucs are brooded up he sometimes let them self queen themselves. Can only do thtat once though
Thanks so much for all the replies so far,
So my questions now, why should I use a matting nucs in the first place? Can I just place a few cell plugs in a cell builder (about 3-4 standard frames in a mini box) when the new queens will emerge the strongest queen will survive and will go to her matting flight and meet with the strongest drone out there.
Is this a good plan?
Thanks in advanced,
Yes, you can do as you say.
However, within your own question lies the answer to why mating nucs are used. They are used to keep queens from "fighting it out". Usually only ONE queen cell is put in a mating nuc and multiple mating nucs are used to raise many queens. The objective of most people raising queens is to raise several queens and having the queen cells in separate mating nucs accomplishes this.
The whole concept of a mating nuc is to use only a cup full of bees to get a queen mated. It's not enough bees to raise a queen very effectively, but enough to care for her long enough to mate.
Some english bee and web enthusiast had plans for 1/3 and 1/2 frames, and a mini-nuc that could hold five 1/3rd frames crosswise, or three 1/2 frames lengthwise, which he finds more useful. http://website.lineone.net/~dave.cushman/bifoldfr.html
One sketch described a frame that folded in thirds to fit into this mini-nuc, as I remember, with pivoting hooks that held it straight when folded out, for use in full-size frames hives.:
Maintaining beespace about a folding frame would challenge...
I wondered if c-channel aluminum, as for shower door tracks, could slide over special 1/2 and 1/3rd frame tops to form full frames to start nuc or hives with.(The channel would need more than just three sides - it would need to turn the corners and start to cover the fourth side, but have a slotted middle.)
I guess propolis could make all this impossible to work twice.
Or a dowel or metal rod could pass through a central hole lengthways through the top of the 1/3rd and 1/2 frames, linking them. That might dodge propolis, etc.
I guess I'm looking for winter projects.
[This message has been edited by briancady413 (edited December 08, 2003).]
The concept is to be able to put the frame in a hive after harvesting the queen, and let the brood hatch. What if you just took a Lanstroth medium or shallow and put a rabbet on the sides and divided it down the middle lengthways and made little top bars that go from one side to the middle. They would be about 7 3/4" long. You could make some little top bar nuc boxes for them and when you harvested your queens, put all the brood in the Lanstroth box back on top of a hive to emerge.
I've thought about all this and have decided to just make three frame medium depth nucs, put a frame feeder on one side so I have two frames and call it good. It's simple and it works. Maybe it takes a slight amount more bees, but not much.
[This message has been edited by Michael Bush (edited December 09, 2003).]