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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Location
    Fayetteville, WV
    Posts
    62

    Default Over wintering nucs.

    I want to graft a batch of queens and get some nucs built up to over winter until spring. I have never kept nucs over the winter though. Anybody have any advice to ensure their survival? Whats the survival rate generally? I am in WV. Also I saw a video on youtube where a guy kept nucs in his basement
    with syrup feeders on each and a tube for cleansing flights leading outside, anybody ever tried this?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    Lewistown,Pa,USA
    Posts
    177

    Default Re: Over wintering nucs.

    I use good Styrofoam nuc boxes make them in Aug some as late as Sept let them start to fill thing up on Goldenrod and aster or feed if needed. I figure 65 to 70 % survival is good factoring in that I don't treat for Mites at all other than making nucs and braking the breeding cycle.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Grosse Ile, Michigan, USA
    Posts
    2,905

    Default Re: Over wintering nucs.

    I've tried keeping them indoors and outdoors, and I have come to the conclusion that they're better off outside, but protected. If you can get 65 to 70% survival without treating, that's great, I have been treatment free until now, but I am going to begin treating because my winter survival rate on nucs has been disastrous because of the mites. John

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Marysville, WA
    Posts
    488

    Default Re: Over wintering nucs.

    I've wintered nucs the last 2 years in WA state. The first year 3 out of 4 made it through the winter. Last year 7 out of 11 made it. This year I'm prepping for 25-30. I winter in single deep 5 frames. I make sure they are heavy going into winter and have a frame of honey stored in the freezer for each. They get the frame of honey in early Feb. The big thing with nucs is late winter/early spring they can starve out pretty fast so you do have to keep an eye on them.

    Mike
    Beekeeper? Shoot, my bees keep me!
    Western Wa State

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Marietta, OH
    Posts
    160

    Default Re: Over wintering nucs.

    Great thread. This is something I can't get a straight answer on. So some of you do overwinter as single 5 frame nuc boxes.? I am in zone 6b here in Ohio. I have 5 nucs that just really started out as spare queens from swarm cells made via 1 frame splits. They are all turning into nice little nucs. I didn't really want to add a second 5 frame deep or put them into 10 frame deeps, but would like to try to overwinter in their 5 frame boxes. Can't I just lay a pancake of fondant on top of the frames as insurance and make sure there's always some there? Thanks

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    Windham, Maine
    Posts
    103

    Default Re: Over wintering nucs.

    We make a lot of nucs to over winter usually we plan for 2 5 frame deeps each but have overwintered single 5 frame nucs with good results. We do feed very well in Sept to be sure they have enough stores. Our winters are certainly colder and longer than WV or OH. 5 frame single deeps might work well if they are well stocked with bees and honey. We do add a candy board on each in Dec just for insurance. About 20% end up needing them, 50% eat at least some and the rest never touch the candy boards.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, USA
    Posts
    81

    Default Re: Over wintering nucs.

    I over wintered two nucs last winter. One was kept in two stacked five frame medium boxes, the other was in a 15" top bar box. They both survived the winter outdoors in a somewhat exposed location with no wrapping or insulation. I did provide each with a sugar brick just in case they used up all of their honey stores. This winter I plan to do more top bar nucs and one of the divided deep style boxes that Michael Palmer recommends which can house two nucleus colonies. I think the tricky part is timing and managing the build up so that you have a nice population of bees to go through the winter but not so many that they throw off a late swarm during the preceeding summer or fall.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    48,591

    Default Re: Over wintering nucs.

    >Anybody have any advice to ensure their survival?

    You can't.

    > Whats the survival rate generally?

    It varies for me by how bad the winter was. A long hard cold spell will kill most of them. A medium cold spell will kill some of them. A winter with no hard cold spells most of them will survive.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    helenwood,tn.usa
    Posts
    202

    Default Re: Over wintering nucs.

    here are a couple of links to videos that cover wintering nucs by Prince William Regional Beekeepers Association guest speaker mike palmer. he winters bees in vermont
    part 1 http://vimeo.com/23178333
    part 2 http://vimeo.com/album/1537312/video/23234196

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Ojai, California
    Posts
    1,204

    Default Re: Over wintering nucs.

    If you did not get the video links, here's a summary.

    Those exposed to harsh wintering conditions might do well to make use of Michael Palmer's setup. Standard boxes with a hive partition to make a double-nuc box (he uses 8-frame medium boxes, I use 10-frame mediums). This is placed over a strong colony and separated by a double screen board. The advantage is shared heat using less honey stores, lowering the chance of winter kill.

    Other cold country nuc suggestions include a 2" styrofoam insulated inner cover / fondant board (hard candy feeder for temperatures too cold for liquid feed), wrapping 4 hives onto a pallet with roofing felt to insulate and further share heat - at least 3 colonies should be very strong, and IPM treatment for mites by about August 15, unless you're doing treatment-free beekeeping.

    A shed roof over the hives keeps snow and moisture off the hives, increasing chances of survival, and making hive equipment last longer.

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