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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Hudson, WI USA
    Posts
    2,240

    Default Did those northern nuc's overwinter?

    I figure it is officially spring, and so it's OK to ask if those folks who attempted to overwinter nuc's above other colonies, or in another manner, this past winter were successful? There were a couple of interesting threads last year, and I would like to know if anyone in my region, or further north, was successful. Thanks, Adrian.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Iowa
    Posts
    94

    Default success!!

    These hives were headed by untreated survivor stock grafted in July. I overwintered 9 hives in a single deep hive body with emergency dry sugar on top thanks mt camp! The hives are in central iowa. Even more suprising was 2 nucs that my uncle had in south east Iowa that never covered more than 3 frames in the fall. They are now building up!?!? All of these nucs were fed syrup with HBH and fed pollen sub through the fall.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    Kiel WI, USA
    Posts
    2,368

    Default

    0 for 2 here, my fault. The swarm I caught late August and overwintered in a single deep is going great guns right now.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,567

    Default

    Some did. Some didn't. We had some -16 F weather that took it's toll.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Peterborough, Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    14

    Default

    i made up 5 frame nucs in june and got them up to 15 frame(3 nuc boxes high) by the fall. Pushed them together into pairs and tarpapered them and they are going great guns now (maples just flowering now). On the other hand the small swarm i got in july, stumbled along and never grew out of a 5 frame nuc. It made it until the very last cold snap and died due to moisture. It was the first time i tried to overwinter a five frame and it did way better than i expected.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Granby, CT
    Posts
    547

    Default

    We overwintered plenty of 5 frame nucs. They are getting ready to be transferred in 10 frame deeps. Like everything else some are really strong, most are normal and some small.
    Survival rate this year is 80%. I do a lot of selection of those nucs before entering the winter which includes requeening if needed and unification.
    None of these nucs have received any kind of chemical treatment.
    They are kept on proven yard with strong honey flows and don't need any feeding in the fall.
    early April I fed the some syrup and gave them a frame of honey saved from last year.
    I did overwinter some half frame matting nucs with much higher survival rate.

    There are some pictures in my photo album.

    Gilman

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    berkshire county MA
    Posts
    1,472

    Default

    Gilman, Nice pictures. Looks like you're doing all the right things.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    St. Albans, Vermont
    Posts
    5,541

    Default

    We had great wintering in Vermont this year. Still unwrapping production colonies, but loss is less than 10%. I've seen all the nucs, and fed those in need. Went into winter with 310
    4 and 8 frame nucs. 282 survived, with many strong and meduim plus. The mating nucs are amazing this year. They are 8 mini-frames. More than 170 alive, with most thriving. In fact, the mating nucs are too strong this year. Usually I have some losses. The dead ones go on top of the live, and they expand upwards...giving me lots of brood for this summers mini-nucs and helps prevent swarming. Not many empty boxes. Hoping to get those wintered queens into my production colonies...they're the best.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    MA
    Posts
    19

    Default

    this is is my 2nd year overwintering nucs i use the 5 frame double nuc last year i lost about 30% this year a little less but the big difference is the strength of the colonies this year they are much stronger i will soon give them more frames. I contribute it to learning more about queen rearing and how heavy they really need to be. This year i plan on doing the 4 way mating nucs as well this way when i make up the 5 frame nucs with cells if i have any poor mating then i can replace with queen from mating nuc or combine.
    I would encourage everyone to try overwintering nucs a few years ago i attended the sneba meeting were micheal gave a talk about raising your own queens and overwintering nucs and since then my beekeeping has totally changed, i use no chemicals and i found queen rearing to be a very enjoyable and satisfying part of beekeeping not to mention my bees have never been stronger Tim

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    St. Albans, Vermont
    Posts
    5,541

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Timothy View Post
    I would encourage everyone to try overwintering nucs a few years ago i attended the sneba meeting were micheal gave a talk about raising your own queens and overwintering nucs and since then my beekeeping has totally changed, i use no chemicals and i found queen rearing to be a very enjoyable and satisfying part of beekeeping not to mention my bees have never been stronger Tim
    You know...That's exactly how I felt when I got going raising nucs to over winter. Changed my beekeeping forever...for the better. Not to mention...my bees have never been stronger!

    Why do I travel all over presenting the plan to beekeepers? It's all about Tim and Erin and Karla, and many others. It's easy, fun, and it works!!

    Good for you, Tim

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Northern Virginia
    Posts
    767

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Palmer View Post
    Hoping to get those wintered queens into my production colonies...they're the best.

    Do you merge some of your OW nucs with your production colonies or just take the queen?
    karla

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Northern Virginia
    Posts
    767

    Default

    I was just going to post here, even though I am really a "southerner" (beekeeper that is- not my birthright) but now since I have been named, I am jumping right in.

    We are totally on board with this OW (overwintering nuc) program. We have been blessed with incredible success in our first year. Our sample is humbly small (especially compared to Mike's hundreds) but our success rate high! Out of our group of 5 who did this (2 nucs each), we only had one nuc loss. And for VA, we actually did have a cold winter. The nucs that went into winter with new queens are rockin and rollin and the dandelions are blooming.
    karla

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    St. Albans, Vermont
    Posts
    5,541

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by winevines View Post
    Do you merge some of your OW nucs with your production colonies or just take the queen?
    I use my nucs for 4 purposes...

    1. Replacing winterkill
    2. Requeening weak colonies in the spring...kill old queen, give nuc.
    3. Making increase
    4. Starting this year's round of nucs in mid-summer. These are the weakest of the nucs that made the winter. They are allowed to build up in 2 boxes, and divided into nucs in July. This way, you have a supply of brood and bees without going into your production colonies.

    There are 3 groups of nucs...by strength and performance.

    The best go into my breeding program...the best of the best are selected for breeders or drone mothers.

    The average...still good...are for general use or sale.

    The worst are used for making more nucs in mid-summer.

    In this way, your apiary becomes self sufficient.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Madison County, Alabama
    Posts
    487

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Palmer View Post
    I use my nucs for 4 purposes...

    2. Requeening weak colonies in the spring...kill old queen, give nuc.
    Mike, can you explain further how you requeen with a nuc? Is it as simple as taking the 5-frame nuc and placing those 5 frames into a queenless hive?

    Do the queenless bees readily accept their "sisters" on those 5 frames?

    Also, I may have mentioned before, but winevines is my mentor. Through her efforts, I was able to overwinter two nucs which we are passing on to this spring's students. Overwintering has made a disciple of me too. And, well I'm sure you know how brutal our Virginia winters are.
    "...the most populous colonies ...are provided by queens ...in the year following their birth." Brother Adam

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Lk Stevens, WA
    Posts
    166

    Default not so good results

    I tried o overwinter 35 five frame nucs. Four are still alive. These were set 12 inches off the ground in a 3/4 of the day sunshine. I had pushed them together in three 10 nuc groupings. I did not do any protective wrappings. The tops were the migratory style. The vast majority died from moisture problems. THey were not on top of another hive.

    I'm looking for a better plan. Ideas include using Homasote as a vapor collector. Then maybe putting 2 inch insulation board on top of that then wrapping it up using tar paper. Cold is really not a problem where I live. But when it can rain 60-90 days straight in the winter, moisture is the problem to overcome. Scott

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Northern Virginia
    Posts
    767

    Default

    [QUOTE=fatscher;414777]can you explain further how you requeen with a nuc? Is it as simple as taking the 5-frame nuc and placing those 5 frames into a queenless hive?

    Yeah, we are a little clueless. Can you just put the nuc frames inside the hive to requeen?

    I was envisioning using a transition board and putting the nuc on top of the new hive and newspaper in between. Also assumes the hive to be requeened is queenless or we take out the old queen.
    If we use the nuc on top method, will all of the bees move downstairs? What about those frames of brood in the nuc? That will certainly keep some nurse bees up top in the nuc. Guess we could integrate those frames into another hive.
    Last edited by winevines; 04-13-2009 at 05:55 PM.
    karla

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    St. Albans, Vermont
    Posts
    5,541

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by fatscher View Post
    Mike, can you explain further how you requeen with a nuc? Is it as simple as taking the 5-frame nuc and placing those 5 frames into a queenless hive?

    Do the queenless bees readily accept their "sisters" on those 5 frames?

    Also, I may have mentioned before, but winevines is my mentor. Through her efforts, I was able to overwinter two nucs which we are passing on to this spring's students. Overwintering has made a disciple of me too. And, well I'm sure you know how brutal our Virginia winters are.
    Yeah, your winters are brutal! Shoot, up here in the tropics, we still have some snow banks...15F tonight again.

    I usually transfer my nucs to 10 frame boxes before I do any requeening. About the end of April, many nucs are filling their box with bees and brood. In a 10 frame box they can expand to their hearts delight...until they fill that box, too.

    So, after transferring, when I find a weak hive, I kill the old queen, and reduce what's left of her colony to 1 box. Then, unite the box with the nuc and young queen on top of the ols weak hive. You can do the newspaper method, or spray scented syrup on them. The old hive will readily accept the nuc...especially if you let them build up some in their new box before uniting. Remember, your new queen in the nuc is a laying queen, not a shrunk up caged queen shipped in from who knows where.

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    St. Albans, Vermont
    Posts
    5,541

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Scott J. View Post
    I'm looking for a better plan. Ideas include using Homasote as a vapor collector. Then maybe putting 2 inch insulation board on top of that then wrapping it up using tar paper. Cold is really not a problem where I live. But when it can rain 60-90 days straight in the winter, moisture is the problem to overcome. Scott
    I added an upper entrance by drilling a 3/4 auger hole on the opposite end of the nuc box from the entrance. Took care of my moisture problem. I expect you have more moisture than I do. Chef Isaac has wintered nucs in your climate. I wonder what he does about the moisture problem.

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    St. Albans, Vermont
    Posts
    5,541

    Default

    [QUOTE=winevines;414896]
    Quote Originally Posted by fatscher View Post
    Yeah, we are a little clueless. Can you just put the nuc frames inside the hive to requeen?

    I was envisioning using a transition board and putting the nuc on top of the new hive and newspaper in between. Also assumes the hive to be requeened is queenless or we take out the old queen.
    If we use the nuc on top method, will all of the bees move downstairs? What about those frames of brood in the nuc? That will certainly keep some nurse bees up top in the nuc. Guess we could integrate those frames into another hive.
    Either way. You can remove 5 frames from the hive to be requeened...after making it queenless. Then add the nuc with the laying queen. They will usually accept the nuc if they have been queenless for awhile. You could drizzle them with syrup when uniting...that helps, too.

    Never used a transition board. It would work, but bees will stay above with the nuc and care for the brood. Queen will likely go down...and up...and down, etc. You'll still have to remove 5 frames from below and put the nuc's frames below...after the queen has been accepted.

    This moving 5 frames up and down and out and in is why I just install my nucs in a 10 frame box, and use that to requeen a colony. No extra frames to deal with.

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Northern Virginia
    Posts
    767

    Smile

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Palmer View Post
    Yeah, your winters are brutal! Shoot, up here in the tropics, we still have some snow banks...15F tonight again.
    You were down this way a year ago today. Dandelions were blooming at the airport. But I think we might be even cuz in August/September it is like the Sarahara desert down here (for a bee) and we are buying sugar by the truckload to feed our bees who are absolutely thankless and nastier than can be, you are all taking in the goldenrod flow more often than not!
    karla

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