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  1. #21
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
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    Medford,WI,USA
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    33

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    Does anyone have a good resource/book/site that would give indepth processes and details of this 'overwintering nuc's' idea? This thread is very facinating and interesting but I'm obviously missing all the details/theory/particulars of the process; would like to learn much more. I'm (just beginning) from the COLD north and have had concerns about the process. Thanks!

  2. #22
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Northern Virginia
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    733

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    Quote Originally Posted by REWERT View Post
    Does anyone have a good resource/book/site that would give indepth processes and details of this 'overwintering nuc's' idea?
    We're waiting for Mike to write it! Serioulsy, there is a lot here on beesource about it.
    karla

  3. #23
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    SNOHOMISH, WA, USA
    Posts
    267

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    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Palmer View Post
    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.

    Not sure that Chef has the moisture thing down pat just yet.

    http://www.beesource.com/forums/show...319#post382319

  4. #24
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Lk Stevens, WA
    Posts
    150

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    I said I had a moisture problem... not a RIVER problem! Ha!

    Does anyone have experiance using the homasote board to absorb moisture?

  5. #25
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    SNOHOMISH, WA, USA
    Posts
    267

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    Quote Originally Posted by Scott J. View Post
    I said I had a moisture problem... not a RIVER problem! Ha!

    Does anyone have experiance using the homasote board to absorb moisture?
    Would it be better to have air flow to help dry out rather than something that will hold moisture in the area ?
    I just made some temporary covers from one inch thick polystyrene insulation, it has a silver foil bonded to one side, I have that side up.

  6. #26
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Kalamazoo, Michigan, USA
    Posts
    4

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    Moisture is bad. I keep hearing over an over from the northern folks that it isn't the cold that kills bees. It's the moisture.

  7. #27
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    MA
    Posts
    19

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    here is what i found with my limited 2 year experience
    1 make sure there heavy!!
    2 i use the feed bag as inner cover with a 1'' insulation board on top and underneath
    3 3/4 or 1" hole oppiste end of entrance for ventilation
    4 i wrap them loose , i put 4 boxes 8 nucs on a pallet and with a telescoping covers i butt them up together so it leaves an 1 1/2 " air space between boxes then wrap the sides and top with tar paper has worked for me so far. Larry conner`s book increase essentials covers overwintering nucs
    5 Have a good young queen tim

  8. #28
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    St. Albans, Vermont
    Posts
    5,243

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    Quote Originally Posted by winevines View Post
    You were down this way a year ago today. Dandelions were blooming at the airport.
    I remember, and what a difference a year makes. Flying into the airport from a thousand feet I could see Yellow!! Still 6" of snow on my front lawn, and I fly into spring...Dandelions, Redbud, green grass, and the smell...WOW! Got home that Sunday...still 6" of snow.

    This year was different...no snow. It melted in March...mostly. Bees were flying at 60F. Will finish unwrapping today...all 33 yards done my the middle of April. Last year I didn't even get started until I got home from VA.

  9. #29
    Join Date
    Feb 2001
    Location
    Enfield,Ct.
    Posts
    469

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    Quote Originally Posted by Scott J. View Post
    I said I had a moisture problem... not a RIVER problem! Ha!

    Does anyone have experiance using the homasote board to absorb moisture?
    Tony Jadczak,ME St Apiarist, has advocated homasote as a winter insulation for a while.

    Cut a piece of homasote to fit between the inner and outer cover.

    Make a 3/4" wide by 1/4"deep dado in the homasote to match up with the center hole and the notch in the inner cover.

    I use a 3/8 strip of wood to secure 15# felt and to hold the outer cover away from the notch to provide ventilation/upper entance in the winter.

    All winter the bees can be seen sucking/chewing the absorbed moisture in the homasote over the center hole.

    Jack

  10. #30
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Northern Virginia
    Posts
    733

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    Also Erin Forbes, Mainebeekeeper uses homosote.

    We used sugar to absorb moisture.
    karla

  11. #31
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Northern Virginia
    Posts
    733

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    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Palmer View Post
    I usually transfer my nucs to 10 frame boxes before I do any requeening.

    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.
    Do you wait at all after killing the old queen before the newspaper combine with the nuc (now in a 10 frame box)?
    karla

  12. #32
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Granby, CT
    Posts
    547

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    Quote Originally Posted by winevines View Post
    Also Erin Forbes, Mainebeekeeper uses homosote.

    We used sugar to absorb moisture.

    After the sugar absorbs the moisture where does the moisture goes, stays on top of the bees right?

    Gilman

  13. #33
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Northern Virginia
    Posts
    733

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    Quote Originally Posted by bleta12 View Post
    After the sugar absorbs the moisture where does the moisture goes, stays on top of the bees right?
    You are probably right, and much more experienced than us. we are brand new at this, and found it challenging to manage the nucs to have enough honey going into winter as they kept making more brood. We felt that we needed this extra feed of sugar so we started it in january and they inhaled it- so not much worry about wet sugar staying around. we were fortunate in january and feb to have a few 60 degree days so we could put it in there.

    what we really did for moisture was to make shim with a notch, so that there was some ventilation. seemed to work well.

    also we used SBB's, but with mite trays in, so the moisture could have passed through the screren I guess,and the mite tray is easily removed and cleaned off which i did several times. never saw any moisture on the trays. maybe the SBB also provided some small ventilation as well.
    karla

  14. #34
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Granby, CT
    Posts
    547

  15. #35
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Granby, CT
    Posts
    547

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    Quote Originally Posted by winevines View Post
    You are probably right, and much more experienced than us. we are brand new at this, and found it challenging to manage the nucs to have enough honey going into winter as they kept making more brood. We felt that we needed this extra feed of sugar so we started it in january and they inhaled it- so not much worry about wet sugar staying around. we were fortunate in january and feb to have a few 60 degree days so we could put it in there.

    what we really did for moisture was to make shim with a notch, so that there was some ventilation. seemed to work well.

    also we used SBB's, but with mite trays in, so the moisture could have passed through the screren I guess,and the mite tray is easily removed and cleaned off which i did several times. never saw any moisture on the trays. maybe the SBB also provided some small ventilation as well.
    We all are students of Nature so we all are learning.
    My advice is to put the nucs in the best yard with the best fall flow so they can get heavy. If not, try to feed some heavy syrup early so they can process it like mid September.
    Upper entrance like a hole in the nuc box may help.
    Enlarge the lower entrance, but screen it against mouse.
    Some protection from the wind.
    There is a fine line between lots of moisture and not enough humidity, when the bees start rearing brood. We should let the bees regulate that humidity and if we interfere with it in the wrong part of the year, in the form of dry sugar, when they are rearing brood, we are not doing any good.
    In a brood rearing colony the humidity is very high.
    It is a learning process for all of us.
    I am just not able to accept the use of dry sugar on top of the colony as a regular management but only as an emergency intervention which should be avoided with the right steps in the previous fall.

    Gilman

  16. #36
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Claremont, NH, USA
    Posts
    783

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    I'm late to the party, but I tried overwintering nucs this year for the first time (well, it was the first time I tried nucs, period). I had 2 of 6 survive. They were late summer splits with new, MH queens using two frames each donated from my six hives. I am using the 5-frame polystyrene hives. The 4 that died, starved, a stupid mistake on my part, underestimating their needs. The first time I could get into them after November was mid-February, when we had a brief thaw. By then the four were gone, but I was able to save the other 2 by feeding dry sugar and pollen pattties. They did great with no moisture problems and are booming now. Will be transferring them to deeps as soon as the boxes arrive from Rossman.

    I really like these polystyrene hives (although I am sure they are too expensive for anything more than a hobbyist) and just had 4 more delivered. I wish they had shims, like regular hives to make it easier to add sugar and patties (you have to be careful to make sure the lids are not too high after supplementing). Thought I had the answer, when I saw ps nuc shims advertised in the BetterBee catalog. I even called them to make sure they were shims to raise the lids on the ps hives and was assured they were. But, they arrived yesterday and are the wooden front boards for the revolving entrance. Duh. Dumb name to give something that doesn't lift an object from another object, as other shims do.

    Having had a small taste of success, I am addicted. As I have posted elsewhere, this year I am going to take a stab at raising my own queens using two methods - 1) the Nicot system, and 2) just putting frames with swarm cells in 2-frame nucs. I'll be using a Cloake board on my hive of choice to get things rolling . Will report on my success or failure with each method.

    The way I am doing things is not cheap, since I buy pretty much everything (don't have the skills to make my own, nor the time to learn the skills, nor the time to use the skills I took the time to learn). BUT, it is definitely cheaper than buying new bees and/or queens each year. Last spring I spent~$600 on six packages, plus another $60 when I had to get two new queens to replace two that failed in the packages, plus another $150 for the six MH queens for the nucs. This year I spend ZERO on bees. The satisfaction of success is much more important than saving a few bucks, and I'm spending plenty on new woodenware, etc., anyway. But, I'd much rather buy equipment to add hives, than bees to replace losses. May not be so lucky again, but it is encouraging.

    Following the advise of MP, MB and others, I want to raise my own queens, because 1) it gives me better quality control over what I am putting into my hives, 2) I think it makes me a better beekeeper, and 3) it is just, plain cool.

    Thanks, everyone for all the great advice and thanks for reading.

    Bill
    “If you want to gather honey, don't kick over the beehive.” - Dale Carnegie

  17. #37
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Whatcom Co., WA
    Posts
    39

    Default lots of small clusters

    Had decent survival in 5 frm divided westerns (60-70%)
    and not so great in a few divided deeps.

    took all the losses in the spring, most/all were alive a month and a half ago. tough spring (temps up and down) some tried to start raising brood too early, others just had too small of a cluster and starved with plenty of honey in the box when the temps dropped.

    Although I thought we had good frugal bees, there is a big difference between a small cluster coming out of winter in single deep/ 2 westerns and these double nucs.

    Many/ most of the surviving nucs still have really small clusters- only a few are booming. How to best manage these/ nurse them along, any advice?. Yes, go ahead and say this is just because we are using westerns. I know this is true.

    I do not think moisture was our biggest problem, although? We used an entrance (5/8-3/4") near the bottom of the box and a screened vent 3/4" -1" near the top on the same side of the box. black "shade cloth" inner cover stapled to divider. flat wood lid, small notch for some limited ventilation. a few with migratory tops with better top ventilation. frame rests cut for top beespace. piece of 1" or 2" foam on top of wood lid overlapping at least 3" in all directions. we did not wrap.

  18. #38
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    St. Albans, Vermont
    Posts
    5,243

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    Quote Originally Posted by abeeco View Post
    Many/ most of the surviving nucs still have really small clusters- only a few are booming. How to best manage these/ nurse them along, any advice?. Yes, go ahead and say this is just because we are using westerns. I know this is true.
    What are westerns? 6 5/8 Mediums?

    At this point, you let them expand as they will...or give some emerging brood.

    Most of the wintered nucs in my apiaries, that have really small clusters, swarmed on the Loosetrife or Goldenrod flows. Any chance that happened?

  19. #39
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Whatcom Co., WA
    Posts
    39

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    6 5/8" boxes

    We don't have much of a fall flow but it is possible that there were just too many bees in some of them fall... i didn't see any sign of late swarms

    Many of my full size colonies are looking really small this year as well, I think with the rainy spring they just haven't been able to get out and collect any pollen.

  20. #40
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Northern Virginia
    Posts
    733

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    Quote Originally Posted by bleta12 View Post
    I am just not able to accept the use of dry sugar on top of the colony as a regular management but only as an emergency intervention which should be avoided with the right steps in the previous fall.

    Gilman
    I agree, and none of my full hives needed emergency sugar. I will have to learn with practice how to get the OW nucs enough honey in teh Fall to go in to winter. Fall flow does not exist where I am- it is more like Fall drought in most years. The lack of stores was not from a lack of feeding them 2 to 1 (which I did), I think it was more due to our missing how to balance the number of brood frames and the number of honey stores going into winter. I did not wanting to take out brood frames but I may find that doing this, and giving room for more honey stores is the better approach. Management is clearly the art!
    Thanks for your input!
    karla

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