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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Union Co, NC
    Posts
    18

    Default Overwintered Nucs - Split questions

    Hey all! First, this site rocks! I have learned so much, thank you!!

    I had a couple of hives last year and really enjoy beekeeping! So much I wanted to grow by about 5 hives. Well I had such a hard time finding bees this year that when I found some I bought 15 nucs! I pick them up on March 22nd.

    With a craigslist ad I already have 10 nucs sold at $100 each, thing is that I would really like to keep 15 hives myself.

    My thoughts are to take 5 nucs and let them go on their own. The other I was thinking of trying to put 1 or 2 deep nuc boxes on top and split 3 ways, or in half.

    Question is how should I manager these nucs? I have an exception location to keep the bees, an organic nursery with well over a thousand holly and tons of other plants and flowers on 35 acres.

    Am I silly to do that many splits? Should I see how much building up I should do and go for honey? Split some and let some be?

    My goal is to have the nucs pay for themselves and end up with 15 new hives this year.

    Thanks all for your help!
    Bryan Maddex, Monroe, NC - 2 hives Since April 2009
    2 hives & 15 Nucs Since March 22 2010

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Lindley, NY,USA
    Posts
    194

    Default Re: Overwintered Nucs - Split questions

    Splitting a five frame nuc seems like a bit much in my opinion. Maybe split the overwintered hives into four hives and set up the five nucs. All nine colonies would be similar sized. Run those nine hives for a while to see how they grow. Order some mailorder packages in a couple months if you want to increase to 15. A late May package with a donation of a frame of brood or two should overwinter next year nicely and you'd stand good odds of honey producion from the first nine.
    Fred

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Union Co, NC
    Posts
    18

    Default Re: Overwintered Nucs - Split questions

    Sorry if I wasnt clear, was typing on my blackberry

    I have 15 nucs coming in, they are overwintered and treatment free. My thought is to grow them to 10 or 15 frames (2 or 3 nuc bodies deep) and then split them... i hear that overwintered nucs can do very well!
    Bryan Maddex, Monroe, NC - 2 hives Since April 2009
    2 hives & 15 Nucs Since March 22 2010

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Belews Creek NC
    Posts
    252

    Default Re: Overwintered Nucs - Split questions

    Good to see you on . There is a site. Check it out. Just google mda splitter. We had a discussion a while back ago and here is the link to it. Im going to try quite splits this year,four or five,just as an experiment. Good luck and Peace
    http://www.beesource.com/forums/showthread.php?t=238340

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    New Cumberland, PA
    Posts
    1,380

    Default Re: Overwintered Nucs - Split questions

    Tagged,

    Are you trying to get 15 splits from your nucs. When are you selling your nucs. Do they have the time to strengthen their numbers for when your customers are expecting their nucs.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Union Co, NC
    Posts
    18

    Default Re: Overwintered Nucs - Split questions

    @tct1w - Reading away! Thanks for the link

    @CentralPAguy - Yes. Trying to see if it is possible to get splits from them. I figure with the location they will be in, if the weather plays nice at all, if I can split before April 15 I should be able to get new queens laying before the middle of May. I hear June 1 is about the deadline in my area. But per the MDA method I am reading about looks like maybe I could go later. Maybe I will try it on a hive or two, assuming they are over 8 frames.

    Main Goal: Have 15 nice hives at the end of this year.
    2nd Goal: Sell 15 to 30 nucs to pay for my 15 hives while still giving the bees a great chance.

    Just trying to see if that is all possible.
    Last edited by Tagged; 03-14-2010 at 09:50 PM.
    Bryan Maddex, Monroe, NC - 2 hives Since April 2009
    2 hives & 15 Nucs Since March 22 2010

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Snowmass, Colorado, USA
    Posts
    2,497

    Default Re: Overwintered Nucs - Split questions

    You can split your nucs once they build up a little but your hives won't be up to strength by winter. If you want 15 hives why are you selling the nucs you are buying? The money you would make reselling wouldn't make up for the new queens and equipment you are going to have to buy to make your own nucs up and your hives will not get strong...especially on a 3 way split I would be surprised if any lived at all through the next winter. Seems kinda a crazy way to go.

    I think it would make more sense to get your nucs up and running this year and next year it would be easy to split them if you are looking to make money off the splits.
    Life is tough, but it's tougher when you're stupid. John Wayne

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    New Cumberland, PA
    Posts
    1,380

    Default Re: Overwintered Nucs - Split questions

    Quote Originally Posted by Tagged View Post
    Main Goal: Have 15 nice hives at the end of this year.
    2nd Goal: Sell 15 to 30 nucs to pay for my 15 hives while still giving the bees a great change.

    Just trying to see if that is all possible.
    When is your nectar flow over? You are in South Carolina and may not need to put as much food on as we do in the North as your winter is both milder and shorter. You probably can get create your own queens, but you would lose 20-25 days of egg laying capability in order for the Queen to hatch and mate and then another 21 days for your first workers to come on board. Meanwhile, your adult bees that you split the nuc with will start dying out as their lifespan is 30 to 45 days.

    My understanding is about 2/3 of all queens make it back to the nuc/hive. I don't know if that is true, but if so, you would only have 10 out of 15 queens that you need.

    The other thing, is there really a market for Nucs once the nectar flow is almost over. Up here, an individual was going to keep his overwintered queens and sell nucs at the end of May. That doesn't really do me any good as a beek as I lost 2 months of Nectar flow and only have 1 month of nectar to go with a small amount of bees to do it. I would be forced to feed.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,069

    Default Re: Overwintered Nucs - Split questions

    In my experience if you want nucs that will build up enough to winter and build up quickly, you want to have strong splits. While it is true you can even make splits as small as two medium frames (I do it all the time for mating nucs) these will not have the critical mass it takes to really take off. I try to have at least two eight frame mediums or one deep box full of bees and brood and stores in a split whose purpose is to get another hive. If I don't have that many bees, then it's too early to do a split. Then I usually do a split by the box anymore, but that only works well with mediums and best with eight frame mediums. If I have four boxes full of bees and stores etc. during the spring buildup, then there is brood in at least two and usually three of those boxes. So I can set a two bottoms down and "deal" the boxes like cards, put a couple of empties on top and walk away. In a month I can come back and probably do it again on the one that had the queen. But after that our flow has petered out and doing one when there is no flow is prone to failure as the queen often doesn't get mated. Seems the queens don't like to fly when there is no flow.

    So the concept of making a lot of splits needs to be balanced with the "critical mass" it takes for a hive to really take off. If you weaken it below that, they really struggle for a while and sometimes that "while" is too long to get built up for winter.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

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