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  1. #1
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    Jan 2011
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    St paul, Minnesota, United States
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    Default How long can a colony survive in a nuc during the summer?

    I have a close friend in an urban area that would like to keep bees. However, they don't have a ton of space. Is it possible to keep a hive in nuc or mating boxes? Then, use additional nuc/mating boxes as supers?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
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    moravia,ny
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    Default Re: How long can a colony survive in a nuc during the summer?

    yes you can keep adding boxes to the nuc but would be very high. I can't see much difference space wise between 8 inches wide and 16. If there is that little room, how could you work the bees?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
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    Danbury, CT
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    2,887

    Default Re: How long can a colony survive in a nuc during the summer?

    The will survive indefinitely in a nuc box, they will just swarm continually throughout the summer.
    Always question Conventional Wisdom.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2011
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    Marietta, GA
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    6

    Default Re: How long can a colony survive in a nuc during the summer?

    Basic question from a beginner about nucs: If I want to start a second hive, why not just use another 10 frame brood box with a few frames of brood and honey & queen,instead of a nuc? One thread said after only a week in the nuc to transfer to a hive , so why use a nuc? Thanks.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
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    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    Default Re: How long can a colony survive in a nuc during the summer?

    If you limit space you guarantee they will swarm and you guarantee you will get no honey and you pretty much guarantee they won't make it through the winter. The population of a hive needs to grow and shrink throughout the year.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2011
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    Marietta, GA
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    Default Re: How long can a colony survive in a nuc during the summer?

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Bush View Post
    If you limit space you guarantee they will swarm and you guarantee you will get no honey and you pretty much guarantee they won't make it through the winter. The population of a hive needs to grow and shrink throughout the year.
    Thanks for the response, but I'm not sure I made myself clear. Why not use a full size hive body instead of a nuc ?

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
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    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
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    Default Re: How long can a colony survive in a nuc during the summer?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim in Georgia View Post
    Basic question from a beginner about nucs: If I want to start a second hive, why not just use another 10 frame brood box with a few frames of brood and honey & queen,instead of a nuc? One thread said after only a week in the nuc to transfer to a hive , so why use a nuc? Thanks.
    You can do that. Go ahead.

    Transfer a week after making the nuc up? THere must be some awful good nectar flows where you are and an over built nuc too. I have nucs made up weeks ago that aren't ready to trandsfer. Made them w/ a frame of honey, a frame of open brood and a frame of capped brood, w/ plenty of bees, two empty combs and either a cell or a queen.
    Mark Berninghausen #youmatter

  8. #8
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    Dec 2005
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    Default Re: How long can a colony survive in a nuc during the summer?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim in Georgia View Post
    Thanks for the response, but I'm not sure I made myself clear. Why not use a full size hive body instead of a nuc ?
    I think MB was responding to the op.
    Mark Berninghausen #youmatter

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2011
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    Marietta, GA
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    Default Re: How long can a colony survive in a nuc during the summer?

    I got the 'one week' from a earlier post. Can't find it again. Even with my 'vast' experience in observing hives (3 weeks) even I thought 1 week was fast. This is my first year with bees and there is a lot to learn, and I hope I never stop learning . Great hobby. Appreciate your reply.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
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    Edwards, MS
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    68

    Default Re: How long can a colony survive in a nuc during the summer?

    I would be potentially concerned with the height that I stack 5 frame boxes. That's a good bit of weight compared to the footprint of the hive once you go over 2 boxes worth. It might be advisable to consider a windbreak. Or this could be a good reason for a top bar hive.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
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    Camas, WA
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    Default Re: How long can a colony survive in a nuc during the summer?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim in Georgia View Post
    Basic question from a beginner about nucs: If I want to start a second hive, why not just use another 10 frame brood box with a few frames of brood and honey & queen,instead of a nuc? One thread said after only a week in the nuc to transfer to a hive , so why use a nuc? Thanks.
    I don't think that you normally do, but if you got a 5 frame nuc with 5 frames of capped brood (and I have made up nucs like this, taking 2-3 frames of capped brood from a couple of hives and dumping in a couple of frames of extra bees) you will double your population very quickly and probably need to put them in a full sized box quickly.

    Normally you will have more time before they need to be moved depending on the temperature, time of year, make up of the nuc and flow going on.

  12. #12
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    Default Re: How long can a colony survive in a nuc during the summer?

    http://www.bushfarms.com/beesnucs.htm
    What Nucs are Good For:

    Splits You can put a frame of brood with eggs a frame of emerging brood a couple of frames of honey and pollen and put them in a nuc and shake another couple of frame of bees from some brood in and the bees will raise a queen and you will have a new hive. When they fill the nuc, move them to a standard box.

    Artificial swarm. If the bees are trying to swarm, do as above except add the old queen to the nuc and take out all but one or two of the swarm cells in the hive.

    Making queens from swarm cells. As above you can do a split to get them to make a queen, but also when they are trying to swarm you can as in the first (splits) and put a queen cell in each nuc with the brood and honey and bees and they will hatch the queen and you can use them for requeening or selling or whatever you like. Of course you can also do queen rearing to get the cells to put in. If you have multiple queen cells you can cut some off and put them in nucs.

    Keeping a backup queen. When you requeen take some of those old queens and put them in nucs with a frame of brood and honey and if the new queen gets rejected you still have a spare. Also, if you just keep a nuc with a queen in it for a spare, you can requeen a hive with that queen. To keep it weak, keep taking sealed brood out and giving to other hives.

    Foolproof requeening. If you do as in the first (splits) and put a caged queen in the nurse bees will quickly accept the queen. After she is laying you can kill the queen in the hive to be requeened and do a newspaper combine. Bees readily accept a laying queen.

    Queen bank. I built a shim that is the size of a nuc but ¾" thick and put queen cages with the wire down to keep them for several days or weeks before introducing them.

    Comb building. This is especially nice with regressed bees. Since the problem with 4.9mm foundation isn't getting the bees to use the cells, it's getting unnatural large bees to BUILD the cells. If you start a nuc with small bees as in the first (splits) and after it's established, put frames with 4.9mm foundation in the 1,2,4 and 5 position. Feed it well and remove some drawn frames everyday. If there are eggs, put it in another colony to let them emerge and then steal the frame. Keep 3 or 4 pounds of bees in the nuc.

    Swarm catching. Nucs are nice for hiving small swarms.

    Bait Hives. Nucs are nice for bait hives for swarms. You could use a 10 frame box and that is a nice size too, but is harder to attach in a tree and for best results they need to be 10 feet or so up a tree.

    Shaken swarms. You can put a screen bottom on the nuc and shake bees from brood frames from several hives (being careful NOT to get a queen) and you have a bunch of homeless queenless bees. These can be put in hive with some brood so they can raise one or added to a nuc with a caged queen.

    Transporting honey. Nucs are nice and light even with five frames of honey, compared to a ten frame box. Nice for putting frames in as you brush off the bees to harvest and nice to carry around.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
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    Littlerock, California, USA
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    Default Re: How long can a colony survive in a nuc during the summer?

    I have a question based on inexperience:
    I read about making splits in the middle of summer with brood and stores only, allowing the nuc to make a queen and then overwinter. How is this done if the nuc needs to be moved to a full size hive within weeks of making it up? I am planning on using this process in order to have more bees overwinter and to get queens/hives that are naturalized to my area.
    Could someone please help me to understand?
    “Everything will be all right in the end... if it's not all right then it's not yet the end”

  14. #14
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    Nov 2004
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    Camas, WA
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    Default Re: How long can a colony survive in a nuc during the summer?

    Well, if they have to make their own queen they will grow in size until the existing brood is hatched and then shrink until the new queen's brood starts hatching. It might be 4 weeks until she starts laying and then another three weeks for them to start hatching. Most nucs are not made up of 4-5 frames of capped brood (which hatches near the same time and quickly after the nuc is made).

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
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    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    Default Re: How long can a colony survive in a nuc during the summer?

    There are many factors including whether you give them a queen, the current weather, the time of year etc. In the fall most bees are not building up, they are winding down. Growth is much faster in the spring.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

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