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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
    Posts
    1,974

    Default Nucs to Full Colonies - What's Your Ratio?

    It seems that more and more of you are getting into maintaining and wintering nucs. I wonder what your ratio of nucs to full-sized colonies is? How many nucs do you have? How many full-sized, or production colonies?

    Right now, I have almost 50% nucs. But I think I'll try to move to 75%

    Adam

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Tyrone, Pennsylvania,USA
    Posts
    353

    Default Re: Nucs to Full Colonies - What's Your Ratio?

    So far i have fifteen hives and seven nucs.One of the nucs was a colony that went queen less a while back and was to weak to build up before winter!All nucs are two story except for one.The one is a divided deep with a queen excluder and a super on top.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Portland, Oregon
    Posts
    966

    Default Re: Nucs to Full Colonies - What's Your Ratio?

    100% nucs this winter.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Dexter,MO,USA
    Posts
    122

    Default Re: Nucs to Full Colonies - What's Your Ratio?

    400% nucs, i only have one full sized colony.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Winhall, VT
    Posts
    1,066

    Default Re: Nucs to Full Colonies - What's Your Ratio?

    I have a little better than 1:1 nucs to full sized hives. Rather have 2:1 but that is life this year.
    Raising Vermont Bees one mistake at a time.
    USDA Zone 5A

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
    Posts
    1,974

    Default Re: Nucs to Full Colonies - What's Your Ratio?

    I guess it depends on your goals. But for me, I'm thinking that it is probably better to have about 3 to 1 nucs to full sized hives. Between winter and mites, you've got a good chance of losing a colony.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Hudson, WI USA
    Posts
    2,199

    Default Re: Nucs to Full Colonies - What's Your Ratio?

    I expect it will be 18 nucs and 10 hives. Now I know that my two storey 5 frame nucs can survive it seems that to risk 30 frames in 3 of these versus 30 frames in 1 colony (U. of MN. advocated method) is a safer bet.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Location
    Laurel Hill, Florida, USA
    Posts
    258

    Default Re: Nucs to Full Colonies - What's Your Ratio?

    I never could manage to stop a hive from reaching its full potential. It always made sense to me that if im gonna have a hive there, it might as well be making me some honey. But i realize the advantages and if you decide to maintain them i would recommend looking at previous year's losses and keep that many nucs. I think average yearly losses are around about 10-20%

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Keene, NH, USA
    Posts
    225

    Default Re: Nucs to Full Colonies - What's Your Ratio?

    Twelve hives and 8 nucs. A special thanks to Mike Palmer for showing me the value nucs bring as well as how to successfully manage them through a New Hampshire winter. My nucs usually do better than my hives and are a great start in the spring.

    John
    7 yrs, 7 hives, TF, small cell
    www.honeymeadowfarm.com, www.nhbees.wordpress.com

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    West St. Paul, MN, USA
    Posts
    68

    Default Re: Nucs to Full Colonies - What's Your Ratio?

    Sorry to join the conversation late, but I am curious. When you all are saying you are over wintering nucs versus a full hive, what is the difference? I thought nucs were used in the spring to get colonies established quicker. On a different thread I have been talking about my current hive which has a small population going into winter, can I treat that as a nuc, or am I missing something here? Thanks!!

  11. #11
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Stevenson, Washington, USA
    Posts
    181

    Default Re: Nucs to Full Colonies - What's Your Ratio?

    I ended up with 1:1 this year! had a few that didnt prove out and got combined.
    Im using nucs to help my production hives reach their full potential. I started this year with two nucs (went I to winter with three), and am closing out the season with eight fully provisioned ten frame (five over five) nucs with proven queens. I used the nucs to prove swarm queens and supply brood to boost my full size hives with brood and larvae. I would evaluate a nuc queen an then pull frames of eggs to requeen hives after pulling queens for splits. Another side benefit is that when I get a bummer queen with a swarm or split, they will fill the nuc with ten frames of drawn comb that I can use to kick start a hive!

    I see nucs as a way to pick out next years rock stars and see how they winter before I let them go crazy, and then I know where to grab my splits from!

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Tucson, Arizona, USA
    Posts
    5,350

    Default Re: Nucs to Full Colonies - What's Your Ratio?

    When this season first started I had about 18 full-size colonies, and about 6 viable nucs. Then while it was still early in the season, but after I had raised some larger batches of queens and reorganized some of my honey bees and their resources, I had about 4-5 nucs to every full-size colony, and now, in early Autumn it's more like 3:1. During the season I sold and traded many nucs/queens, and helped several nucs to grow into full-size colonies.

    It's a little bit complicated; because, as I observe and inspect my colonies, both nucs and full-size, I am constantly making mental plans, devising ways that I can reorganize the bees and their resources and reconfigure them into even more nucs and more full-size colonies. Fortunately, in my location, I can do all of this, year-'round, most years.
    48 years - 50 hives - TF
    Joseph Clemens -- Website Under Constructioni

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Palermo, Maine, USA
    Posts
    731

    Default Re: Nucs to Full Colonies - What's Your Ratio?

    Quote Originally Posted by Autonomy Acres View Post
    nucs versus a full hive, what is the difference?
    A nuc has everything a hive has, it is just smaller


    Quote Originally Posted by Autonomy Acres View Post
    I thought nucs were used in the spring to get colonies established quicker.
    That is one use, perhaps the most common. They are also used as a resource to boost or rescue a hive that need help. You can use them to supply queens, brood, drawn comb.

    Quote Originally Posted by Autonomy Acres View Post
    On a different thread I have been talking about my current hive which has a small population going into winter, can I treat that as a nuc, or am I missing something here? Thanks!!
    I think that you could treat it as a nuc.
    Like us on facebook This is the place to bee!
    Ralph

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Grand Blanc, MI
    Posts
    38

    Default Re: Nucs to Full Colonies - What's Your Ratio?

    First year bkeep. I started with 6 pkgs in April, and added 4 nucs in July, so almost 1:1. I'm trying to get all the nucs built up in a 5 over 5 configuration (5 frame deep) but one of the nucs isn't following the plan... So a single story 5 frame nuc might wind up being my control group.

    I'm feeding all of them now, there really wasn't much that I could have taken anyway. Next spring, I'll find out who survived winter, but my eventual goal is about a 2:1 ratio. Bryan

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    Detroit, MI USA!!
    Posts
    21

    Default Re: Nucs to Full Colonies - What's Your Ratio?

    As a Noob to this entire process, please forgive my ignorance here.

    You are using your full hives to create nuc, I assume, thereby weakening your full size hive or at least stunting their growth, correct?

    So, the procedure is to get a new queen, take a few hundred bees and a couple frames of brood and put it into a smaller box to start a mini hive for next year?

    The more often you do this, the more mini hives you have in case of disaster in the full hives?

    How does one start this process and when is the best time?

    I lost my queen in my only hive this past summer and tried to create a new hive when I got two queens by mistake. That hive died out and I assume it was because I didn't provide enough food for them to establish themselves. Had I started out in a nuc box and provided more honey, would my chances have improved?

    Thanks for the advice!

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    DesAllemands, Lousiana
    Posts
    212

    Default Re: Nucs to Full Colonies - What's Your Ratio?

    It seems like my nuc yard is growing faster than i can keep up with. I have about 50/50 nucs to hives. I treat most of my nucs just like my full size hives. I just keep stacking nuc supers on top of them. You would be amazed how much honey you can make with nucs.

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Weeki Wachee, Florida,USA
    Posts
    1,979

    Default Re: Nucs to Full Colonies - What's Your Ratio?

    I think that our perspective on Nucs in warmer climates with nearly year round brood cycle is different.

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Delhi, New York, USA
    Posts
    351

    Default Re: Nucs to Full Colonies - What's Your Ratio?

    Hi Ralph, I was going to ask the same questions about the nucs; so it is a good idea to have some nucs in my bee yard? I just started this year and my colony has just absconded (see the thread "absconding?)....if I had a nuc in addition to my hive, I could have saved the bigger hive?

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Hudson, WI USA
    Posts
    2,199

    Default Re: Nucs to Full Colonies - What's Your Ratio?

    For those who are not quite sure what we mean by nucs please watch Michael Palmers taped presentations on the matter. It takes a couple of hours to watch them both, but it is well worth the time. I am posting the link to the first one. http://vimeo.com/23178333

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    St. Albans, Vermont
    Posts
    5,384

    Default Re: Nucs to Full Colonies - What's Your Ratio?

    Quote Originally Posted by Detroit Bees View Post

    You are using your full hives to create nuc, I assume, thereby weakening your full size hive or at least stunting their growth, correct?
    There are three ways to do this.

    Rob bees and brood and from a production colony. Only a couple frames of brood and one honey are needed per nuc. Not a lot of resources taken from the parent, but still some. Possibly reducing the total honey crop.

    Sacrifice a non-producing colony that isn't making a crop, but is healthy otherwise. The brood/bee resources in these colonies is more valuable in making nucleus colonies than trying to squeeze a honey crop out of them. I usually get 4-6 from these sacrificed colonies.

    Use over-wintered nucleus colonies as brood factories, harvesting brood and bees periodically, to make your nucs....eventually nucing them right down to the strength of a new nuc.

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