As some of you may remember, I had been keeping a few nucs over the summer to see how well it would work. We have harsh hot summers here and Michael Palmer had stated that he has problems with absconding if the hives are not large enough. So I thought I would try it out to see if I had similar conditions here.
First, as far as I can tell, none of the hives absconded (left brood) but all three did fail. I found one at the point of having a couple dozen bees left so I dispatched it. One other nuc I started in the middle of summer barely made it, having virtually no stores, no brood, and a relatively small population. The hives should have had brood at this time. There have been flowers blooming for over a month. I merged it with a dink-ish hive started this spring.
So that's the end of that experiment. I'll use the five frame nucs for other things, for sales or mating probably. I have had hives come through with a ten frame nuc though, so I'll continue using those. I don't know how much swarm trapping I'll keep doing. I had 15 or so swarm traps out this year and only caught one swarm. I don't need to catch swarms anymore as it is, I have as many hives as I want to keep. I believe many of the feral bees in this area did not make it through a month and a half of 100+ and weeks of 110+ temps last year with no rain.
So it's back to making strong bees. These days I seem to be losing more in the summer than in the winter. I lost one last winter, but lost three last summer and the three nucs this summer. I still have a total of 24 with a goal of 20, so I'm right where I want to be.