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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Location
    Fayetteville, WV
    Posts
    59

    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
    178

    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
    2,899

    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
    477

    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!
    100 hives in Western Wa State

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Marietta, OH
    Posts
    154

    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
    102

    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
    46,341

    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
    116

    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
    972

    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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