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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Dudley, Massachusetts, USA
    Posts
    196

    Default Q: Mating nucs, during and after the job?

    Hi All,
    I understand how mating nucs work, and I have some questions about those mating nucs which use the small frames or those who use a small top bar type of setup.

    1) Assuming you want to raise multiple successive queens in the same nuc, what do you do if/when the queen fills up the existing comb with larvae?

    2) What do you do with the comb and bees after you are "done" ? After the queen has mated, and you have sold her / transferred her to a full hive, how do you re-incorporate the nurse bees and mating nuc resources?

    If you use a queen castle with regular size frames I can see how it would be simple to transfer frames to provide more room for laying or do a combine at the end to get those frames back into a regular hive. But those mini frames or small top bars don't fit anywhere. Is there a way to get the bees to leave the mini frames and become part of a hive?

    Just something I've always wondered.

    Thanks,

    Steven

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Palm Bay, FL, USA
    Posts
    2,312

    Default Re: Q: Mating nucs, during and after the job?

    Unless you plan to raise hundreds of queens at a time there's no advantage to setting up the mini mating nucs. Just use regular size 3, 4, or 5 frame nucs; then use them to make new hives when your queen rearing is over for the year. Or combine them with other hives. Or overwinter them so you have fresh queens available in the spring.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    43,467

    Default Re: Q: Mating nucs, during and after the job?

    You just listed all the reasons I don't use mini mating nucs...

    http://www.bushfarms.com/beesqueenre...htm#matingnucs
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Dudley, Massachusetts, USA
    Posts
    196

    Default Re: Q: Mating nucs, during and after the job?

    Yep, you both (Michael and fish_stix) hit on my thoughts as well.

    I was just wondering how those who *do* use the mini mating nucs handle both of the situations I mentioned.

    -- Steven

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Brandon, MS USA
    Posts
    1,589

    Default Re: Q: Mating nucs, during and after the job?

    I can probably answer that one for you. The first two cycles are fed lightly in frame style feeders, thus there are only two frames for the bees during that time...

    when catching the very first queen, one frame is removed and used to restock what didn't take when the nucs were first stocked... a frame of drawn comb is added at that time...

    at the end of the second cycle, the nucs are bursting with bees from the first frame hatching and both frames are now filled with eggs and larvae... when this queen is caged, the feeder is removed and a frame of honey is added...

    During the next cycle the bees move the honey to the top edges of each of the frames, leaving the once honey frame to be filled with eggs, as well as any cells that hatch during the mating flights...

    We store our small frames in medium and deep supers (depending on the style of the box), that we make with a center cross bar so that they hold 20 small frames... the supers are kept on hives that are made up of nothing but these cross bar supers for protection and moved up and down depending on our expected needs (honey, pollen, brood, etc..)

    Each cycle from there on one frame is exchanged with foundation or foundationless at the end of each cycle, so there is room for the new queen to lay, the nuc doesn't get over crowded, and new frames of drawn comb are constantly being produced. The frames that are removed are put into the cross bar supers and added to cross bar hives or supers are combined to create new cross bar hives.

    As fish pointed out, its a very comlplex system and will work against you instead of for you unless you are running many, many of these nucs at once.

    Hope this helps.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    St. Albans, Vermont
    Posts
    5,120

    Default Re: Q: Mating nucs, during and after the job?

    [QUOTE=rrussell6870;655060 We store our small frames in medium and deep supers (depending on the style of the box), that we make with a center cross bar so that they hold 20 small frames... the supers are kept on hives that are made up of nothing but these cross bar supers for protection and moved up and down depending on our expected needs (honey, pollen, brood, etc..) [/QUOTE]

    I have a similar setup with a center cross bar. 8 mini-combs and a feeder on each side. During the queen rearing season, the feeders are in the center position on each side creating 4 nucs. When queen rearing is finished for the year, one queen on each side of the center cross bar is caught, the feeder is moved to the side wall, and two 8 mini-frame nucs are created. These are over wintered and the following spring re-divided into 4 way mating nucs.

    Yesterday, we added dark combs above and queens will move in, incorporate the super into their broodnests, and I can harvest the queens and super as a nuc when I split up the mating nuc combs into this year's mating nucs.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Herrick, SD USA
    Posts
    4,044

    Default Re: Q: Mating nucs, during and after the job?

    Great, now all the good queen raisers are divulging all the classified secrets about how to raise queens. Now all you need is to just get someone to do all that work.... Sorry to hear about the flooding problems RR, flooding has got to be the single biggest mess you can encounter in this business. I had a yard of singles with excluders on and supered up flooded once, everyone with a water line above the excluder died except one, they were busy cleaning it out and the queen was laying like crazy, I always wondered how that was possible. Sorry getting off topic.
    "People will generally accept facts as truth only if the facts agree with what they already believe."- Andy Rooney

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