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  1. #1
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    Default How to manage nucs

    I decided to try to keep a nuc on hand this year. Now that I've got it, don't know what to do with it, really. Anyone have a link to a site that explains the management of nucs with the intention of keeping it a nuc? All of what I'm finding is mostly about taking the nuc for a new hive. Thanks. PS - I found some good info on Michael Bush's site, but I really am looking for more details.
    Last edited by Seymore; 05-29-2012 at 11:08 PM.
    Zone 7b ~ Central Arkansas
    8fr medium equipment

  2. #2
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    Cookeville, TN, USA
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    Default Re: How to manage nucs

    Be prepared with equipment to either hive it up a size or split it again - or take frames of brood from it to keep it from getting to big. Letting it get very strong and then splitting out the queen into a weak nuc is one way to go - then assuming the queenless half makes a new queen both hives will be somewhat set back, and as the season progresses excessive growth probably won't be as much of a problem.

    I let them grow into a full single for winter. Nucs overwinter fine in my part of the south, but once they start building up in February they have to be promoted soon anyway, so it's probably less trouble to just winter them as a single to begin with. For me anyway.

    Just try not to run out of equipment and you will figure out what you want to do with them. Big hives are work, Nucs are fun - no lifting and everything is right there just under the lid.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2011
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    Campbell, Wyoming USA
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    438

    Default Re: How to manage nucs

    http://vimeo.com/23178333

    Michael Palmer the sustainable apiary videos 1 & 2 for nuc management is a pretty comprehensive in-depth look at nuc management. I highly recommend you watch these two videos.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: How to manage nucs

    Moon, tthanks for the link - cant wait to go watch!

    David, that info is very helpful. One point for clarification please.
    "I let them grow into a full single for winter." A full single being NOT a single NUC, I'm guessing. Do you mean a full single hive body?

    Ive got them stacked 2 high in 5fm right now. I have yet to do my reading about overwintering nucs but I kinda thought it might be cozier going up.

    Yes, I can see how they would be a lot of fun - and VERY easy to manage, as far as the manipulation aspect. Just gotta get my understanding down of the management aspect.

    Thanks to you both.
    Zone 7b ~ Central Arkansas
    8fr medium equipment

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2012
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    DFW area, TX, USA
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    Default Re: How to manage nucs

    In the Spring of 1977, I took a queen cell and put it in a mini mating NUC with some bees shaken from the comb of the donor hive. Left it mini NUC for months, finally moving the colony to a hive. Sold it then, as I was going back on active duty and couldn't take it with us.

    The little colony was gentle and quite easily manipulated to familiarize my kids with bees. Was fun

  6. #6
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    Default Re: How to manage nucs

    Lb - Hadn't even thought of the "kids" aspect. I have a heart for raising the nextgen for bees - awesome!

    Moon, started that vid. I'll have to do it in segments cuz so long but it's EXACTLY what I was looking for! Color me JAZZED!
    Zone 7b ~ Central Arkansas
    8fr medium equipment

  7. #7
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    Jan 2009
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    Cookeville, TN, USA
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    Default Re: How to manage nucs

    Quote Originally Posted by Seymore View Post
    David, that info is very helpful. One point for clarification please.
    "I let them grow into a full single for winter." A full single being NOT a single NUC, I'm guessing. Do you mean a full single hive body?

    Ive got them stacked 2 high in 5fm right now. I have yet to do my reading about overwintering nucs but I kinda thought it might be cozier going up.
    I guess a double-decker nuc would be fairly equivalent to a regular single box hive. If that's the kind of equipment you have then it should be fine. All of my regular equipment is 8 frame medium so if you have 5 frame deep nucleus hives then one of those just about equals one of my 8 frame mediums anyway.

    My nucs are all home built and most of them have the bottoms attached so that they move as a single unit - and I don't use many nuc sized supers. So what works best for me and my equipment might be different than what works best for you and yours - but you will be able to tell what the bees need if you pay attention at all.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2008
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    Concord, CA
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    Default Re: How to manage nucs

    all of ours are double decker, it can be hard to keep them small.
    Dan

  9. #9
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    Default Re: How to manage nucs

    I have 5 frame mediums for nucs. Dan, are yours mediums or deeps?
    Zone 7b ~ Central Arkansas
    8fr medium equipment

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
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    Greensboro, North Carolina
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    2,850

    Default Re: How to manage nucs

    I use 5 frame medium nucs. I have 4 going at the moment. Just be ready to slap a super on it about once a week in the spring, they will fill it quickly. That or be ready to rob frames of sealed brood once a week to keep their size down to one 5 frame medium. I got one nuc that I had to add it's 4th super to the other week, making it 5 medium nuc boxes in all. I split that one three ways yesterday though.

    I have noticed that bees prefer to move up or down, rather than laterally. That's why I kept them in nucs this year. I did transfer one nuc to a 10 frame hive, just to watch the build up. In my opinion the nuc colonies grew much faster than the 10 frame colony this spring. Management just involves more time.

  11. #11
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    Concord, CA
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    Default Re: How to manage nucs

    We have deeps, & mediums, heck some of them are a mix of med, & deep boxes.
    3 tall on deep nucs is as high as I've ever gone. I can easily see going 4 on mediums.
    Dan

  12. #12
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    Default Re: How to manage nucs

    Would it still be a nuc - or just a tall skinny hive?

    Seriously. at some point it has to stop being "nuc management."

  13. #13
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    Sep 2009
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    Hatfield, Arkansas, USA
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    Default Re: How to manage nucs

    I overwintered a couple of 2 story medium NUCs last year and one of them has grown into a 5 medium box honey machine! The other one is almost as good. Maybe this is not just 'good luck'.... Makes me want to try it on a bigger scale.

  14. #14
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    Default Re: How to manage nucs

    So Special - you had only nucs till you created the 10-frame? That's pretty hilarious - a 5-box nuc! Would love to see a pic - got one?

    Yeah, David ... U may be right! Skyscrapers! Lol.

    Bill - that's what I'm learning - the nucs really take off in the spring. Be sure to check out the link Moon shared. It will really get you pumped on nucs!
    Zone 7b ~ Central Arkansas
    8fr medium equipment

  15. #15
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    Default Re: How to manage nucs

    I still call them nucs, as they are emergency bees for friends who run into problems. They over winter well with the box of honey on top.
    Should they be called nucs, I don't know.

    Quote Originally Posted by David LaFerney View Post
    Would it still be a nuc - or just a tall skinny hive?

    Seriously. at some point it has to stop being "nuc management."
    Dan

  16. #16
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    Default Re: How to manage nucs

    Well...still thinking on nuc or hive. What if I didn't have ANY full-size hives, only nucs, and the question is asked "how many hives do you have?" Would I be compelled to say "None"? I'm a beekeeper with no hives but 10 nucs? I know, I know, a conversation would thus ensue about I don't have a "hive" but I have a nuc....

    I think I'll call it a hive. But I have already felt the need to explain.

    But, just went online, and many places call it a Nuc Hive....beesource beeing one of them...

    http://www.beesource.com/build-it-yo...leus-beehives/

    A nuc (nucleus) hive has all the features of a standard 10-frame hive except on a reduced scale. The nuc hive is used for making splits, swarm control, queen introduction, pollen/nectar monitoring, to name a few. This version is put out by the U.S.D.A.


    So, it IS a hive! But I know I'll feel the need to say "Two hives and 1 nuc."

    But a nuc is all the same work - just not as much of it.... So is it any less a hive?

    I think I'll stick with 3 hives... and the need to explain.

    Ok, back to my mundane task of processing payroll. I'd rather bee beekeeping!
    Thanks for joining me on this brief diversion.
    Zone 7b ~ Central Arkansas
    8fr medium equipment

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Citrus County, Florida, United States
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    260

    Default Re: How to manage nucs

    Quote Originally Posted by David LaFerney View Post
    Would it still be a nuc - or just a tall skinny hive? "
    It would be a Super Nuc

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
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    Cookeville, TN, USA
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    Default Re: How to manage nucs

    When I get that question I usually say - it depends on what you consider to be a hive. But in the last few weeks almost all of my nucs have become hives. Time to do some splits.

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
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    Hudson, WI USA
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    2,267

    Default Re: How to manage nucs

    The overwintered nuc queens are laying machines just like Michael Palmer says. Wall-to-wall brood on the center frames. If your experiences parallel mine (from this spring) you will need 3 to 4 times the equipment to expand or sell in the spring.
    BTW, my definition is that it is a nuc until I put it into a horizontal 10 frames and super it.

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