Questions on...going to small cell and going to 8 frame mediums
Hello all, new beek asking typical new beek questions, and appreciative of advice.
I am making notes and plans for my 2013 season, in which I want to expand from 1 hive to 10. I have set up beeyard agreements with some local landowners and now have some non-urban space to expand into. This includes a nice empty field in a largely organic area, behind a barn, surrounded by walls of blackberries, where I can put nucs and have a queen mating yard (there are spots nearby to put drone mother hives as well).
But I am not sure how to go about:
1. Going to small cell. I do not have drawn comb, by and large, to put the new bees on. How do I set up the new hives...can I just dump the new packages into hives with small cell foundation? Should I use plastic small cell foundation and then over the summer put in empty/foundationless frames between the drawn small cell plastic foundation frames? Advice needed. Package bees here are Arataki from New Zealand, which come in March and I plan to split and queen splits with local queens from mutt/reputed resistant lines when they are available in June. Depending on survival rates, it could take me 2-3 years to go 100% to my own locally bred queens.
2. What to use for nucs. Most commercially available ones are for large frames, not medium. Would it be better &/or easier to use a medium hive body with follower boards to keep the new split in a manageably small space until it expands and the follower boards can be switched out for empty frames? Would you use one medium for a split or stack two? Or just make or buy medium sized nuc boxes?