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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
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    Clark county, Illinois, USA
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    220

    Default Minimum frames to overwinter NUC

    BLUF: Those of you that have over wintered nucs, What is the minimum number of frames of bees that you would attempt it with? Also minimum frames of stores? If MP or MB answer I know what size frames they are talking about all others please state size.

    I am still considering combining some of my nucs and would like some input on how small might make it thru a winter. We supposed to have some mid sixties next week to get it done but I doubt I will see seventy again until spring so I need to get it done.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Otero County, New Mexico, USA
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    1,385

    Default Re: Minimum frames to overwinter NUC

    I have overwintered with 2 frames of brood and 3 of food before. Also added a candy brick as insurance on the top bars in a second box (which they barely touched). Worked for me. Was my best hive the next season.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Clark county, Illinois, USA
    Posts
    220

    Default Re: Minimum frames to overwinter NUC

    Thanks Paul but I meant actual live bees when I look down into the nuc. I know it can depend on the race of bee as some can survive with a smaller cluster, just looking for some opinions from those that do it.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Auckland,Auckland,New Zealand
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    Default Re: Minimum frames to overwinter NUC

    I winter 3 frame nucs, in deep lang boxes divided into 3 nucs each. They all keep each other warm. The outside 2 nucs will cluster against the divider where the middle one is.

    They go into winter with 2 1/2 combs of honey, just a small clear area for clustering. They go through winter fine with this but have to get another comb of honey in spring after brood rearing starts in earnest but before there's a nectar flow. In this situation carniolans winter smaller and better than italians, which stay too strong and consume excessive honey.

    Winters here are mild, never goes below freezing so it may be different for some other folks with colder winters.
    44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Clark county, Illinois, USA
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    220

    Default Re: Minimum frames to overwinter NUC

    Oldtimer, is the nuc "full of bees when you start the winter?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Keene, NH, USA
    Posts
    224

    Default Re: Minimum frames to overwinter NUC

    Not sure about your winter but here in SW New Hampshire we can have anywhere from 30"-200" of snow. I have overwintered nucs with 2 mediums (5 frames honey in top) but usually try to use 3 mediums. This year I have 7 nucs entering winter. My guess is they average out to bees covering 7 frames and 8 frames of honey. Most likely, there will be honey left in the spring. FWIW, I use SBB partially closed, close the bottom entrance and use a full width top entrance. All hives are on a 11" high stand.

    John
    7 yrs, 6 hives, TF, small cell
    www.honeymeadowfarm.com, www.nhbees.wordpress.com

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Auckland,Auckland,New Zealand
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    5,898

    Default Re: Minimum frames to overwinter NUC

    Quote Originally Posted by oblib View Post
    Oldtimer, is the nuc "full of bees when you start the winter?
    No they would eat too much, if the nuc is around 1/2 full works best.

    Should have mentioned, I'll treat if need be and have mites at virtually none as they go into winter, this is a very important factor in their survival, too many mites you can kiss the bees goodbye.
    44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Tucson, Arizona, USA
    Posts
    5,323

    Default Re: Minimum frames to overwinter NUC

    I overwinter many 'Nucs' on three medium frames, in what I call "mating nuc condos", where I've partitioned medium depth supers into 3-frame compartments (10-frame supers can accommodate three). I find it works best if one or both of the outer frames are primarily honey and pollen and the center frame is mostly brood. I have less problems with robbing if each nuc is fairly populous, but not too populous -- difficult to describe, but it took me a few seasons to get a good 'feel' for it. Of course I don't know if you can really call it 'overwintering', since I am usually using these mating nucs to mate new virgins, even during, what is actually our Winter.

    I have Varroa mites, but basically ignore them, they have rarely caused much obvious trouble. Once in awhile a mild case of PMS, but not much else.
    48 years - 50 hives - TF
    Joseph Clemens -- Website Under Constructioni

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    St. Albans, Vermont
    Posts
    5,321

    Default Re: Minimum frames to overwinter NUC

    I've wintered many on 4 deep combs, though mostly on 8 now. Also, wintered mating nucs on 4 half combs.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Clark county, Illinois, USA
    Posts
    220

    Default Re: Minimum frames to overwinter NUC

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Palmer View Post
    I've wintered many on 4 deep combs, though mostly on 8 now. Also, wintered mating nucs on 4 half combs.
    So it seems to me I just need to be thinking about follower boards instead of combining as it looks like any size can make it with the proper space and stores. 1/2 full of bees and 3/4 full of stores sound about right MP?

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Old Hickory, Tennessee, USA
    Posts
    19

    Default Re: Minimum frames to overwinter NUC

    Winter is fast coming and I haven't tried wintering a hive yet. This is my first best info about it yet. Thanks very much.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Auckland,Auckland,New Zealand
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    Default Re: Minimum frames to overwinter NUC

    Quote Originally Posted by virgiea68 View Post
    Winter is fast coming and I haven't tried wintering a hive yet. This is my first best info about it yet.
    Hey look for you guys just starting out I don't want to give the wrong impression. What I do works for me,after many years of experiments, in MY AREA. But if you got cold winters with snow etc. you need to take the bees into winter with a good number of bees and lots of honey. Once you have more experience you can start experimenting with bee numbers & amount of stores.
    44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Clark county, Illinois, USA
    Posts
    220

    Default Re: Minimum frames to overwinter NUC

    I understand that Oldtimer. I made a decisision when I started beekeeping that I would learn as much as I could as fast as I could no matter what it cost. So I started with 10 hives, then did cutouts, trapouts, and swarm captures. Some hives I grew as normal and other I turned into nucs. Learned how to make my own queens and am going into winter with 23 hives or nucs. I tried out several diffent kinds of equipment and learned what I want to use in the future.

    If I lose most of them this winter due to mistakes I have made I still think it was worth the expense and labor to see/learn in one year what would have taken 10 if I had only tried to go the "get 2 hives and build them up the first year" route.

    Well that was awfull long winded to say I would never hold any advice against anyone. All anyone can do is speak as to what works for them and their location. Everything I do is an experiment this year as I try to find what works for me and my location this year.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    St. Albans, Vermont
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    5,321

    Default Re: Minimum frames to overwinter NUC

    Quote Originally Posted by oblib View Post
    So it seems to me I just need to be thinking about follower boards instead of combining as it looks like any size can make it with the proper space and stores. 1/2 full of bees and 3/4 full of stores sound about right MP?
    Probably okay...you'll find out. One important thing...young bees going into winter.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Fort Wayne, IN
    Posts
    930

    Default Re: Minimum frames to overwinter NUC

    Last winter I overwintered a 5 frame medium nuc with maybe 3 frames of bees and a couple frames of honey. Kept it in my unheated garage and kept a quart jar with dry sugar available. Set it outside on 50+ degree days. Other option if you can stack it over a double screen on top of a packed hive for warmth you can get by with less bees / stores.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Clark county, Illinois, USA
    Posts
    220

    Default Re: Minimum frames to overwinter NUC

    Outstanding hilreal. We should have close to the same weather. In fact you are prob 100 or so miles north of me so that was exactly the info I was looking for. Not going to combine any of them now.

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