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Thread: Nuc boxes ?

  1. #1

    Default Nuc boxes ?

    Not to hijack the other thread. And to keep my thinking straight. And last summer my first year to play with nucs on these lines. I made up some five frame nuc boxes last summer. (Late June July) An and had problems with bee Quantity in some of them. Would I have been better of pulling two of the frames out and putting following boards in there place? Thinking of spring and making plans for it. if I need to make some following boards or not. When I make splits in the spring Should I move them to a differnt yard?
    David
    My-smokepole
    http://www.davidspaintingandwallpapering.com"

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Nuc boxes ?

    Moving splits away from more populace hives can help fight robbing and also keeps bees drifting back home down. If I can't move them for some reason, I just make sure to minimize entrance opening and overstock the splits to allow for the older bees drifting home.

    I cut follower boards out of 1 inch foil clad styrofoam and they worked well for me. When it is cold, the bees buildup is directly affected by the volume of space tehy have to heat. You just have to be very aware of population explosions when frames of brood start emerging.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Nuc boxes ?

    Making spring splits after the flow has started is not as hard as making them in the summer like you did last year. Keep the entrance one bee wide and you should not have many problems. Summer and fall splits can be more challenging to get going. I have never felt the need for a follower board in a nuc, I just make sure they don't have more drawn comb than they can protect. I don't see undrawn frames being much different than a follower board.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Nuc boxes ?

    You can also remove a frame or two and use a in hive feeder that replaces a frame. Feeding will help build up during a weak flow or dearth and reducing the entrance down to a single bee space will help prevent robbing by bigger hives. Moving the nucs to another yard will also help stop drift of bees returning to the original hive that you pulled the nucs from. Moving nucs to a yard away from larger colonies may also help prevent some possible robbing issues.
    If starting with a mated queen, I like to use mostly capped brood for making nucs, if starting with a cell or virgin, I like to have brood in multiple stages, but more young brood than capped brood. I have found that with a cell, orvirgin queen, having brood of all ages helps with the age difference between the last brrod that hatches and the new queens brood that she is starting to lay afrer she mates. Having mostly capped brood with a mated queen allows the new queen to ramp up egg laying as there is a influx of nurse bees as the sealed brood hatches out. Just how I like to do it, not saying that it will effect the outcome of your nucs, but just another option to think of.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Nuc boxes ?

    Quote Originally Posted by My-smokepole View Post
    I made up some five frame nuc boxes last summer. (Late June July) An and had problems with bee Quantity in some of them. Would I have been better of pulling two of the frames out and putting following boards in there place?
    What do you mean by quantity. Did you mean quality?

  6. #6

    Default Re: Nuc boxes ?

    I might Quantity of bees. Some where light on bees
    David

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    Default Re: Nuc boxes ?

    David, how did you make them up? When making splits I make use of an excluder. Bees get shaken off frames of brood and placed above an excluder for a week. After a week 2 fairly full frames of bees are placed in a 5 frame nuc with the entrance reduced to one bee, or no more than 3/8 inch. I add a frame of honey and 2 other frames. If the nuc does not seem to have many nurses I shake more bees in from other frames above the excluder. They tend to stay with the nuc. I like to make up nucs in mid-june. If you used mostly sealed brood you won't need to make follower boards.

  8. #8

    Default Re: Nuc boxes ?

    I just pulled a frame of brood. With bees on them
    David

  9. #9

    Default Re: Nuc boxes ?

    When I'm making up nucs and leaving them in the same yard I always give them an extra shake of bees or two. Sometimes I'll have one or two that are a light on bees so I will shake a frame of bees right at their entrance late in the evening. Nurse bees will walk right on in the new hive and be accepted fine, the older foragers will fly back to the parent colony.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Nuc boxes ?

    I have been experimenting on wintering nuc's . I started some a few years back the first of sept. I had about a 50 percent survival rate. I have moved the starting date to August first and they build up great and have plenty of stores for winter. Time will help fill in the frames but if you don't have a big enough mass of bees they will build very slowly and may get cleaned out by yellow jackets around here.
    I'm not tense, Just terribly, terribly alert!

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Nuc boxes ?

    David, if possible I try to use about to emerge capped brood, and I start them with 2 fairly filled frames and adhering bees in the warmth of June and July. If you are using a double deep shake the bees of the frames and put an excluder between the two boxes; Capped brood, or about to be capped brood, goes above the excluder. Leave it above the excluder for about a week, and then take it and adhering bees for the splits. The queen will be below the excluder and will be left behind. The bees covering the brood won't drift as they will be nurse bees. Those two frames of soon to emerge brood should contain almost 2-3 pounds of bees. Reduce the entrance to about 1/2 inch or less at first in the nuc for security. This is also a good way to ensure no rogue queen cells develop because the window for their appearance has closed as the queen has been isolated from the frames.

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Nuc boxes ?

    Quote Originally Posted by BGhoney View Post
    I have been experimenting on wintering nuc's . I started some a few years back the first of sept. I had about a 50 percent survival rate. I have moved the starting date to August first and they build up great and have plenty of stores for winter.
    Try starting some out even earlier. They'll build up into a second story and draw out several frames of foundation for you.

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Nuc boxes ?

    I see the nuc master has joined the thread

    When starting nucs with limited drawn comb, say 2 frames of brood, a frame of honey/pollen, and 2 foundation or foundationless frames, is there much value in providing a mated queen?
    I was wondering if the lack of a mated queen might be offset by the bees drawing out more comb while waiting for the QC to mate and start laying?

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Nuc boxes ?

    Quote Originally Posted by DonShackelford View Post
    I was wondering if the lack of a mated queen might be offset by the bees drawing out more comb while waiting for the QC to mate and start laying?
    I much prefer to start with mated queens. Not sure if the bees will draw much foundation before the virgin is laying. Wouldn't their resources go into the combs as the brood emerged and wasn't re-filled with brood. Surely somewhere down the road there will be fewer bees to draw the foundation that if a mated queen were used.

    And, did you ever give the bees foundation before they could draw it out? What a mess.

  15. #15
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    Default Re: Nuc boxes ?

    Moved swarm cells to nucs with bees. First year wintering them so will have to see what happens. I think most built up in time to survive. They raised their own queens. Even was able to move one to a 10 frame box, moved some other resources in and built up to a two box hive for winter.
    Try living life with the attitude it's not about what you want to do but what you should do!

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Nuc boxes ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Palmer View Post
    I much prefer to start with mated queens...
    Point taken. I can see the benefit of providing mated queens for planned nucs. However, how far do you take this? If you run across a hive full of swarm cells, do you make splits with those cells?

  17. #17
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    Default Re: Nuc boxes ?

    I started two nucs late last season. I had captured some bees form a trap out and needed something to do with them. As it was I had just finished building 4 5 frame nucs and some 10 frame deep boxes.

    The trap out progressed in such a way that the bees ended up making several queen cells and I was not capturing bees fast enough to really fill up a 10 frame box. So I set up a nuc added a frame with queen cells on it and took additional frames of capped brood and stores form my big hive.

    I continued to trap bees but before the queen cells woudl emerge moved another load of bees to a second nuc and gave them the other frame with queen cells. I did not add brood from my big hive to this one but planned on bringing them any additional bees I trapped. It was my big hive that was given frames of foundation to deal with. They took 60 lbs of honey from the top super of the hive to do it.

    I then fed the big hive to get them to fill that med super again and used those frames to place a med nuc of honey over each 5 frame nuc. Confirmed that both nucs had laying queens. and hoped for the best as far as population and wintering.

    If anything that is a real life example of how all the advice works out. I needed honey so I found it. I needed brood so I found it. 5 frames of foundation needed to be drawn so I gave it to the bees most capable of doing it. Additional trapped bees needed a home so they where put with the weakest of the two nucs.

    The bees where given pollen sub also. last I checked both nucs had no empty cells and where producing brood.

    Last day bees could fly was 16 days ago and bees where coming from all three hives. population estimate by peering through the entrance looks good solid layer of bees across the bottom of the frames.

    So far this winter is colder than most. I don't know if that is a good or bad thing. the more it is cold the less they eat. the more risk they are from the cold. I can pick up the double nucs the big hive I cannot even tip.

    At this time I really don't know if I got them ready enough or not. If they are still around in the spring I guess I did.
    Stand for what you believe, even if you stand alone.

  18. #18
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    Default Re: Nuc boxes ?

    Quote Originally Posted by DonShackelford View Post
    Point taken. I can see the benefit of providing mated queens for planned nucs. However, how far do you take this? If you run across a hive full of swarm cells, do you make splits with those cells?
    No, never. Don, I raise somewhere over 1200 queens each summer. Why bother using swarm cells?

    Also, I do believe that a low propensity to swarm can be selected for, but not if you use swarm cells for your queen supply. Now, if I had no other option, I would use swarm cells to start nucleus colonies, but I don't even use cells I grew to start my nucs.

    When you give a newly set up nuc, giving cells as the queen source means some nucs will raise their own cell as they don't accept mine...that means a further delay in getting a laying queen in the nuc. Also, sometimes that cell is accepted, the virgin leaves on her mating flight, and never returns. At that point, the nuc is hopelessly queenless and will fail. Too bad to donate the bee/brood resources to a nuc and have it fail. Using mated queens means nearly 100% successful nucleus colonies. Also, if that queen isn't accepted, and I look in no longer than 10 days...if they haven't accepted my queen, they'll have emergency cells which I can remove and then give another queen.

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