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?
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.
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.
Originally Posted by tecumseh
>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
Feeder In Place
Frame And Feeder
Bag Inner Cover
4 And 8 Frame Configuration
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.
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.