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  1. #1
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    Jun 2007
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    Default Volume of mini mating nucs

    For those of you raise queens, what do you think is the optimum size for a mini mating nuc? I have enough material to produce about 100, but I don't want to make them too big or small and have to start over. I've made a sketch after trying to do some research but a lot of what I have read varies. If they are too big, resources might become a problem. If they are too small, queen nutrition could suffer and might cause an impulse to swarm. The volume I'm figuring on is 189.75 cubic inches. This is a box with an interior dimension of 5 7/8" wide, 6" tall, and 5 1/2" deep. I also have sketched a built in feeder with a 1/4" division board under a 2" tall piece of qx for a baggie feeder or fondant with the option to remove the barrier to add two extra frames. So my main question is, what size mini mating nuc do you get your best results with?

  2. #2
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    Apr 2005
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    College Station, Texas
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    Default

    not sure about the volume? I have two sizes of mini nums: the smaller one hold three frames and the larger one 5. if I desire to hold a new queen a bit longer I move a 3 framer to a 5 framer. once a 5 frame mini nuc has accumulated brood and new bees it is a pretty good size for catching the 'new queen' and then allowing the unit to requeen itself by rearing a natural queen... the 3 frame size is not so desireable in this regards. a significant problem of both is that feeding one of these little jewel in relation to it's size can be a bit of a problem. I do notice that 'those queen rearing folks' just down the road from me use 3 or 4 frame double mini nucs with feeder that splits the unit.

    the real downside of mini nucs (vs some standard size frame mating nuc) is that you need to have plans drawn out way in advance in getting the wax pulled on these smaller frames. other folks experience will likely differ... but I have had NO success in starting mini nucs from foundation.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
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    Boone County, West Virginia, USA
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by tecumseh View Post
    the real downside of mini nucs (vs some standard size frame mating nuc) is that you need to have plans drawn out way in advance in getting the wax pulled on these smaller frames. other folks experience will likely differ... but I have had NO success in starting mini nucs from foundation.
    I've been thinking of that too. I'm thinking of slightly changing the overall dimension so I can fit four mini nucs into a medium super so i can put this on a colony to draw out some comb. The extra space from the feeder will allow 6 frames per nuc to be drawn at once, then I can redistribute the extra frames with a little comb to other nucs. The width is alright, at 7 1/4" two will fit side by side with 1/4" to spare. I'm already at 9" long, so I might need to add about an 1/8" or 1/4". I'd like to know what volume most people use and have the best results from so I can adjust the height to make them deeper or more shallow if I need to.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
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    St. Albans, Vermont
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    Default

    >For those of you raise queens, what do you think is the optimum size for a mini mating nuc?<


    I've used a few different styles of mating nuc, but I like this one the best. It uses a standard size body, divided in half by a 5/4" divider with 3/8" x 5/8" frame rest on each side. Frames are made by re-milling standard frames' top and bottom bars, and adding two extra end bars. The feeder further divides each half in half again. This provides 4 mating nucs in the one box.

    If one mating nuc fails, the feeder can be moved over to the side wall, creating an 8 frame mini-nuc. Once the new queen hass put brood in this, it can be re-divided into two four frame nucs.

    For winter, one queen is harvested in August, and each nuc is expanded to 8 frames. The nuc box in wintered on top of a production colony.


    Mating Nuc Yard
    http://i241.photobucket.com/albums/f...scan0001-1.jpg

    Bottom Board
    http://i241.photobucket.com/albums/f...l/scan0002.jpg

    Feeder In Place
    http://i241.photobucket.com/albums/f...scan0003-1.jpg

    Frame And Feeder
    http://i241.photobucket.com/albums/f...l/scan0004.jpg

    Bag Inner Cover
    http://i241.photobucket.com/albums/f...l/scan0005.jpg

    4 And 8 Frame Configuration
    http://i241.photobucket.com/albums/f...l/scan0006.jpg

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    FRASER VALLEY, BRITISH COLUMBIA
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    1,307

    Default feeder

    Michael:

    I must admit that I like the feeder idea. I've got the same sort of thing except with dadant boxes. I can divide them further with a piece of plywood. I've got a slot in the box for that purpose. But i can see how the feeder would do a better job.

    Jean-Marc

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Ft. Collins, Colorado
    Posts
    520

    Default

    The same frames that MP uses that fit a standard deep can also be used with an insert dividing a 5 frame deep nuc. I've used those when I've run out. The biggest problem for me has been getting all the frames added back to a standard 8 frame nuc that I winter with above the production hives. What I need to invent is a hanger that allows those 2, 1/2 sized frames to hang and get hatched out and cleaned out.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
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    St. Albans, Vermont
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    Default

    >What I need to invent is a hanger that allows those 2, 1/2 sized frames to hang and get hatched out and cleaned out.<

    I think I know what you want. You want to place the two half length mating nuc frames into a full length box.

    Look at the photo woth the center divider exposed. It is 5/4" stock, with a frame rest on each side. My frame rest is 3/8" x 5/8"

    Now imagind a slice of this divider that is as wide as a frame, and about 10" long...depending on the measurements of your box.

    Use the slice to hold up the two half length frames where they meet in the middle of the box. The slice holds up the frames, and preserves bee space.

    You can also use the slice for adding mating nuc frames to strong colonies....so the queen will lay in them.

    Is this what you mean?

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    45,881

    Default

    >For those of you raise queens, what do you think is the optimum size for a mini mating nuc?

    But it's a trick question. I think the optimum size is two standard medium frames. But that's not a mini mating nuc.

    I divided ten frame boxes into four two frame mating nucs:

    http://www.bushfarms.com/images/TwoByFourMatingNucs.JPG
    http://www.bushfarms.com/images/TwoByFourNuc2.jpg

    If I were doing it over I'd divide eight frame boxes into three two frame mating nucs.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
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    Troupsburg, NY
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    Default

    In MHO the best mating nucs are the ones using standard size frames. Getting foundation drawn is a real hassle for mini's, and sometimes it isn't worth the effort.
    "I reject your reality, and substitute my own." Adam Savage

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    45,881

    Default

    It goes quickly setting up mating nucs with standard mediums for all my hives and for my mating nucs. I can either bust up the cell finisher or take a couple of frames out of each hive. But I just put a frame of brood and a frame of honey in each nuc with a cell and I'm done.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Location
    Seattle, Washington State
    Posts
    4,398

    Default

    I tried the mini mating nucs this year. The trick for getting the foundation drawn is to put a good amount of bees in there and close them up for a night with feed. It does work.

    Now, they are doing great. I am overwintering them as 8 frame mini nucs. They are doing very good.

    I like those mini nucs casue they are smaller and use less resources. I tried the two frames and had not so good success but that was early in the season. I should give it naother try. I do like the fact that the frames are all standered size.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Boone County, West Virginia, USA
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    Default

    Michael P, nice pics. It took me a few seconds to figure that feeder out. Pretty neat. Michael B, how many frames of brood can you get out of your cell finisher colony? Is there enough from one colony for about 15 queens or do you have to get some brood elsewhere? I have 9 empty mediums that will be put into use next year. Maybe if I got a few more I could just use them like you do. Did any of you happen to watch that German video about queen rearing? When the lady was putting bees into the mini nucs that got sent to the island for breeding, they showed the mini nucs with too many, too little, and the right amount amount of bees. The nucs they showed had the glass on the side so you could see what they were talking about. They said that for the bees to properly festoon that they had to fill half the volume of the mini nuc. They said they could get enough bees for 15-20 mini nucs out of the hive they used as a cell starter, but their mini nucs were quite small. This is what I was planning on and why I want to use the smaller nucs. After I get a good laying queen the I can put her into a larger nuc without taking the risk of losing her during mating and will I will know exactly how many regular nucs to make up for the queens available. I could use the full size frames, but I have no mediums in use right now and I don't want to weaken my colonies by taking resources from them for mating and chance losing a queen with the extra resources used. Having less than twenty hives, the mini nucs are more favorable to me because of the lack of resources I have. If I can, I would rather dissolve three starter colonies into minis for 50 queens instead of taking 100 full size frames from the 16 hives I have. But first I need to know what size the mini nucs should be in order to do this. Hopefully you can see why I'd rather use the minis.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Location
    Seattle, Washington State
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    Default

    WV:

    You should consider using a smoke up box to get the resources (in bees) to be able to stock the mating nucs and cell builders.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Ft. Collins, Colorado
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    520

    Default

    MP that's exactly correct and I have used those bars when I would fill a nuc with all 1/2 frames or in adding a swarm to draw out the frames to start. But sometimes I will only put 2 or 4 of the 1/2 frames in to strengthen some of the nucs. So, I've just basically bent some alluminum with enough of a frame rest to hold the two frames on either side of the nuc's with full frames in between. Just need to find some heavier alluminum that doesn't sag.

  15. #15
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    Jun 2007
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    Boone County, West Virginia, USA
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    Default

    chef, would you please elaborate? i tried to do a search and could not come up with anything.

  16. #16
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    Jul 2004
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    Seattle, Washington State
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    a smoke up box is a deep (or western) that has nine wood slits inside. Then it is covered with window screen on one top side. You go to the hive, open the outter and inner cover. Place a queen excluder on top then the place the smoke up box on top of that. Fire up the smoke and smoke the entrance. Or you can use bee go. I used a combination of smoke and melted thymol crystals... not the best method but I had no other choice at the time. I plan on getting an old smoke and using it just for bee go.

    Anyway, the bees will start to collect on the smoke up box. Take it off and attache a bottom board on top. Racket it down and move the bees.

    To me, this is the fastest way to get bees to stock mating nucs and cell builders.

    If you need picks, let me know.

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
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    Boone County, West Virginia, USA
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    Default

    that sounds like how that fella in australia makes up his packages. are the slats at the bottom, middle, or top of the box? maybe a picture would help me out some. if it's easier i'd be in favor for doing it that way.

  18. #18
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    Apr 2005
    Location
    College Station, Texas
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    Default

    w va beeker ask:
    maybe a picture would help me out some

    tecumseh replies:
    think of a super seperated into ten mini nucs with thin wood dividers between the seperate compartments. I believe keith jarret had a picture of a smoke up box in one tread... the smoke up box was NOT the topic of the discussion but was setting along side a very large bulk bee container.

    I have never use a smoke up box myself... this spring I definitely will.

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
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    Troupsburg, NY
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    Default

    Pic of Keith Jerret's smoke up box:

    http://s148.photobucket.com/albums/s...t=100_0805.jpg

    "I reject your reality, and substitute my own." Adam Savage

  20. #20
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    Jul 2004
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    Seattle, Washington State
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    Default

    That would be it. It works GREAT. No more skaking bees off frames.

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