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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Robesonia, Pa., USofA
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    439

    Default When do I move the nuc?

    I'm going to overwinter a nuc on top of a main colony and am not sure when to stack them on top.
    Once they are up there, is there an issue with orientation to their new spot?

    There is an upper entrance on the inner cover of the main colony.
    Wouldn't that be an issue with the entrance of the nuc being so close to it?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Winhall, VT
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    1,066

    Default Re: When do I move the nuc?

    You can always face the nuc entrance to the back.
    Raising Vermont Bees one mistake at a time.
    USDA Zone 5A

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Belpre,Ohio, USA
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    1,272

    Default Re: When do I move the nuc?

    Allen, you could place the nuc onto the bigger hive during the first cold days you have in your area, that way the bees will stay inside for a number of days and reorient on a warm day, and as Keth has already stated face the opening to the rear of the big hive.
    Bill...in Southeast Ohio

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Robesonia, Pa., USofA
    Posts
    439

    Default Re: When do I move the nuc?

    Thanks.
    Could either of you elaborate how cold that cold day should be?
    Is that in the 30's or the 40's.

    When facing the entrance to the rear I guess it doesn't matter that it's not towards the sun because it's winter.

    Side note:
    In the short time that we have had this divided 10 frame super being used as a Nuc box I will not be getting anymore of them.
    Rain collects inside on the bottom board and there is no way to tip the Nuc because there are entrances on opposite sides.
    Since one side is being used, I was able to tip the "back" for now.

    Once it's on the main colony, and I fill the other side with leaves or sawdust, I'm going to plug that other entrance so rain doesn't come in as easily over winter.

    I recently borrowed a 4 frame nuc box from Dennis Keeney to use as a pattern for single Nuc boxes.
    That style can be doubled-up on top of a 10 frame hive.
    Much more versatile.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    St. Albans, Vermont
    Posts
    5,305

    Default Re: When do I move the nuc?

    I would wait until bee flight is done for the season...November in PA?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Washington County, Maine
    Posts
    2,757

    Default Re: When do I move the nuc?

    On my divided deep box both entrances are on one side - the front of the bottom board. The entrances are reduced so that there is only a small opening for each side - at the extreme left and right as you are facing the hive. I have since summer separated the nucs into distinct 5 frame units and placed a 2nd 5 frame nuc box on top. These will winter directly on a hive stand and not on top of another colony. Too much work to be able to inspect the hive serving as the stand, and I don't think you accomplish much by getting the nuc up that high. Yes the entrance is likely above the snow line; no I don't think the nuc gets much if any heat from the hive underneath.
    Master Beekeeper (EAS) and Master Gardener (U Maine CE) www.beeberrywoods.com

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Coatesville, Pa, USA
    Posts
    828

    Default Re: When do I move the nuc?

    MP this past winter the end of flight wasn't until December or later. It was a VERY mild winter. I had girls bringing in pollen January 3rd. which SHOCKED me!!! So if there's a cold snap where the temps arent' to get above 45 for 3 or more days then that's a good time. (temps staying below 45 because I've seen some hives fly at about 47 degrees) November or December may work for that. On top of a colony I don't take that they'll get much heat, but I do think they'll have one less outer box wall that will be exposed to the same degree. It helps reduce wind / cold coming in. This past winter all I had was nucs. I clumped them all together so that they could all benefit from some "help". I had 2 facing one way and the 3rd facing the opposite. It worked great. 100% survival. 2 "nucs" were 10 frame deeps and one was 5 (technically 4-1/2) frames. I think I can post a picture if anyone's interested or if it'll be helpful.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Belpre,Ohio, USA
    Posts
    1,272

    Default Re: When do I move the nuc?

    Allen, as Michael and delber have stated, sometime in November should be good or possibly December, you should look for two or three days with daytime temps in the lower 40's.
    Bill...in Southeast Ohio

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Robesonia, Pa., USofA
    Posts
    439

    Default Re: When do I move the nuc?

    This is all good stuff.

    Michael:
    Looking at the not so accurate Accuweather projections for my area in November shows that the 45 degree temps won't happen till the end of that month.
    Till then, I wonder how much of that time will be spent increasing their winter stores

    Delber: I'd like two see a photo(s).
    While helping a friend with his bees last year, we observed a pale white or yellow pollen being brought in all winter no doubt due to the mild temps.

    Andrew, I could rearrange the bottom board in Spring to reflect how yours is laid out and that would help with the water issue.
    Thanks for the tip.
    Since we only have one nuc right now, I'm going to follow MP's lead on how he winters his nucs further north.
    But you've given me an idea.
    Next year we plan to have more nucs and maybe will try to overwinter a 5 frame Nuc with 2 or 3 boxes as a test. That nuc would total 10 or 15 frames going into winter.
    Just a shame we have to wait to try it. LOL

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Robesonia, Pa., USofA
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    439

    Default Re: When do I move the nuc?

    Thanks Triple W.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Belpre,Ohio, USA
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    1,272

    Default Re: When do I move the nuc?

    Andrew, I do agree with you about it being easier to have the nuc sitting separate from the big hive for ease of inspection however Allen has not mentioned the amount of stores or the size of the colony in this nuc so I am a bit concerned that the nuc will likely need the heat from the bigger hive to survive. If more heat is needed a screened bottom board could be used between the hives to let more heat pass into the nuc. With a strong nuc one could place it beside a bigger hive and wrap them both together for warmth which should work good in PA.
    Bill...in Southeast Ohio

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Coatesville, Pa, USA
    Posts
    828

    Default Re: When do I move the nuc?

    I'll work on getting the picture.

    FWIW I read about using a screen inbetween hives as was mentioned and it seems that the moisture was a issue. It put too much in the nuc that it couldn't handle. Research how to overwinter regular hives, look at MP's "overwintering nuc" thread and go from there. Michael Bush from what I remember currently puts foam insulation on top of the hive, pushes them together and lets it go with that.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Belpre,Ohio, USA
    Posts
    1,272

    Default Re: When do I move the nuc?

    delber, I am wondering if a person would place a cover board on the sbb that would have a smaller opening such as a 4"x 4" or even a 3"x 3" hole to provide a smaller screen area if this would cut down on humidity if it became a problem. With an upper vent I am wondering how much of a problem humidity would actually be, perhaps Allen could keep us posted through the winter as to how it all turns out.
    Bill...in Southeast Ohio

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Robesonia, Pa., USofA
    Posts
    439

    Default Re: When do I move the nuc?

    So far the Nuc has 4 drawn and filled deep frames of brood and honey and is working on the second box of frames.
    I'm not sure if humidity will transfer through the solid bottom board of the Nuc.
    This nuc is based on a divided 10 frame deep box.
    The bottoms board for it is just like other 10 frame bottom boards except this one isn't reversible because of framework nailed to it for dividing the Nuc.
    That means there is a gap underneath that will need to be filled with a piece of plywood which would effectively be doubling the thickness of the floor.
    That combo then needs to act as a top cover for the main colony inner cover which will have some sugar placed on it. That top entrance for that same inner cover will be utilized for ventilation.
    That might mitigate any warmth transfer from the main colony.
    If that is a real possibillity, then maybe the Nuc has to be wrapped for the winter while it's on top of the main hive.

    Or I need to make a different style Nuc system based on Dennis Keeney's 4 frame box.
    Two of them will fit the top of a 10 frame super.

    I'll take some photos today of it the set up.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Coatesville, Pa, USA
    Posts
    828

    Default Re: When do I move the nuc?

    Allen, Your bottom board will work fine to allow heat to exchange even though you have an upper entrance. What you'll do is limit one side (the bottom) of exposure to the elements. If you wrap the hive (Which I did last year with my 3 nucs) that's fine also. I am using upper entrances only and had 100% overwinter. I am trying to get a picture of my set-up but photobucket is acting up and not letting me log in.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Robesonia, Pa., USofA
    Posts
    439

    Default Re: When do I move the nuc?

    Some shots:




    Extra supers on top are for feeding.
    After the drenching rains yesterday the bees are giving an impressive flight demo today.



  17. #17
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Belpre,Ohio, USA
    Posts
    1,272

    Default Re: When do I move the nuc?

    Nice hives Allen, and it appears that you have a very nice setup.
    Bill...in Southeast Ohio

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Northern Virginia
    Posts
    743

    Default Re: When do I move the nuc?

    Quote Originally Posted by Allen View Post
    I'm going to overwinter a nuc on top of a main colony and am not sure when to stack them on top.
    Allen, just seems like more trouble than it's worth. You should be fine wintering in the box as it is... no need to lift it up on top of a hive. Most who do that, say they are due to snow lines, not heat from below. Although further South than you, we all winter just fine in single nuc boxes as small as 4 frames, and as large as 2D1M stacked up nuc boxes. Can't speak for Berks County, PA, but from my years living in Philly, we are not that far off temperature wise if I recall. In NoVA we have pretty consistently found that single deep nucs need supplemental feed (fondant, etc) in January. Too many warm days, some for flight, but many that break the cluster significantly inside and lots of internal activity and movement causing them to eat a lot more of their stores then their sisters up in the real North is the best explanation I can figure after a few years doing this.
    karla

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Northern Virginia
    Posts
    743

    Default Re: When do I move the nuc?

    Quote Originally Posted by Allen View Post
    Since we only have one nuc right now, I'm going to follow MP's lead on how he winters his nucs further north.
    Check out his system - on the videos link below, and you will see nucs sitting on deep hive bodies on teh ground as stands as well as nucs above colonies
    http://pwrbeekeepers.com/videos/
    karla

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Coatesville, Pa, USA
    Posts
    828

    Default Re: When do I move the nuc?

    As winevines already said. . . we can overwinter smaller hives. I overwintered a 5 frame nuc last year. The 5th frame was only about 1/4 or so drawn out and they had that and 2 others capped that I saw. I didn't check the last two before finally closing them up because I didn't want to have any issues with chilled brood or anything so I let them go. They did have some capped stores on the top of both of these frames as far down as I could see. I put a 3" home made "box" on top with some newspaper on the top bars and put about 4 or so pounds of dry sugar on top. As of January of this past year they hadn't touched it (I could see in the entrance with a flashlight as I'm using upper entrances) When I did the first inspection after nectar / pollen was coming in all the sugar was gone. I did sandwitch this hive next to and on top of other hives though so it had 2 walls "protected" from the elements, it was wrapped with tar paper, and foam insulation was put on the top / outside of the hive.

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