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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
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    Pike, Pennsylvania, USA
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    287

    Default Introducing cells to a nuc?

    Hi Everyone,

    I wanted to get some feedback on how you all make up your nucs.

    I am trying to reduce drift when I make mine up so I'm looking at closing the bees in a little longer, here is how I'm currently making them;
    I select the resources I want to make a nuc, one frame of honey, one frame of capped brood and adhearing bees, one shake of bees off brood comb. The nucs are taken to another yard about 1 mile away(12 to 24 hrs queenless), cells are planted the next day at which point I open the entrance and let them fly. I read a previous post on planting cells in a mating box and the poster suggested keeping the box closed up until the cell had hatched, keeping it closed for two days after, then opening up the entrance.
    I have a couple concernes about this, heat build up and no water. I know the virgin won't have much of a smell to her until she's been mated and starts laying so I'm not sure of the benefit of keeping them closed in to minimize drift. I have had good success with mating, it just seems that I don't have the bees in those boxes I should have to get things going.
    Thanks for you opinions!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    syracuse n.y.
    Posts
    1,880

    Default Re: Introducing cells to a nuc?

    For my first batch of nucs for the year, I put in two frames of sealed brood, but I move mine more than two mile away, and plant the q cell as soon as the nucs get there, and never bother leaving them locked in. for nucs in warmer months I only use 1 1/2 frames of brood and only in the earliest nucs do I shake extra bees in. The only time I have had a problem with nucs being short of bees is if one of the nucs has a queen in it, that nuc ends up loaded with bees and all the bees have smiles on there faces. Some people do what they call trashing the hives, they put one frame from multiple hives in each nuc and leave them in the same yard, but would be hard to do if you are only putting one frame of bees in each nuc. I never tried it by leaving in the originating yard. Hope your having a nice vacation this winter.
    mike syracuse ny
    I went to bed mean, and woke up meaner. Marshal Dillon

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Grosse Ile, Michigan, USA
    Posts
    2,833

    Default Re: Introducing cells to a nuc?

    I have found that unless you move newly made up nucs at least 1 1/2 to 2 miles away from the parent yard, you are going to get considerable drift back. I also have experimented with confining bees in the hive for a couple days if you are only moving them shorter distances or not moving them at all, and it doesn't work, you still get drift back. Someone recently said here that bees will reorientate after three days of being confined, and I don't find that to be the case at all, in fact, I have moved free flying nucs to a different position in the same yard, like 30 feet or so, and then they get confined because of bad weather for over a week, and as soon as they get good weather to fly they go right back to the original location and cluster on the empty hive stand, so you can see that it takes long distance moving to eliminate drift back, that's really the only sure way to do it.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Pike, Pennsylvania, USA
    Posts
    287

    Default Re: Introducing cells to a nuc?

    I usually divide my parent colonies between 3 yards, the furthest of which is 4/5 miles away. I would make nucs out of each yard then move it to another. I felt dedicating one of those yards for just nucs would help w/drift and robbing. I realize a little further then a mile would be better but I don't have that situation right now for a nuc yard. the other consideration is good coverage with drones. I also try and make up the nuc with nurse bees assuming that if any drifted they would be older field bees anyway.
    I appreciate the comments and will look at what I can do.

    Ah, Mike, I wish it were a vacation for me down there. I keep taking the fishing rod and it never leaves the truck, seems like when the work is done it's time to come home and rest

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    45,925

    Default Re: Introducing cells to a nuc?

    It's much less stress on the bees, and less for you to worry about, to put an extra shake of bees in to make up for drift and don't confine them...

    http://www.bushfarms.com/beessplits.htm#accountfordrift
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Brainerd, MN
    Posts
    533

    Default Re: Introducing cells to a nuc?

    Couldn't you put some open brood above an excluder the day before and use those for the split?
    Not Michael Bush. My name is Dan. Sorry for the confusion.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    Denver, Colorado
    Posts
    5,078

    Default Re: Introducing cells to a nuc?

    One frame of brood with bees, one frame of stores with bees, one empty frame, one or more queen cells in push-in cell protectors.

    That's it.

    Seriously.
    Solomon Parker, Parker Farms, ParkerFarms.biz
    11 Years Treatment-Free, ~25 Colony Baseline

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Pike, Pennsylvania, USA
    Posts
    287

    Default Re: Introducing cells to a nuc?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bush_84 View Post
    Couldn't you put some open brood above an excluder the day before and use those for the split?
    That's usually what I do but I use capped brood for the nuc, the open brood stays after some bees have been shaken off. I think I'll try adding another shake off bees if I can do it and possibly move them another 2 miles away.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Pike, Pennsylvania, USA
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    287

    Default Re: Introducing cells to a nuc?

    Quote Originally Posted by Solomon Parker View Post
    One frame of brood with bees, one frame of stores with bees, one empty frame, one or more queen cells in push-in cell protectors.

    That's it.

    Seriously.
    That's usually what I do after shaking them down below the excluder the day before. I just felt it was taking too long for the nucs to really get established. Last year I used two frames of brood instead of one and results were no better, too many bees drifted and some of the brood got chilled.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    Denver, Colorado
    Posts
    5,078

    Default Re: Introducing cells to a nuc?

    They are in Queen Castles, so that helps with maintaining temperature.
    Solomon Parker, Parker Farms, ParkerFarms.biz
    11 Years Treatment-Free, ~25 Colony Baseline

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Pike, Pennsylvania, USA
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    287

    Default Re: Introducing cells to a nuc?

    maybe I'll try and add bees if nessasary after the queen is mated, that might help with drift. I'll probably need to shake them out of the parent colonies the day before

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Herrick, SD USA
    Posts
    4,325

    Default Re: Introducing cells to a nuc?

    It's pretty tough to make up a nuc that small with consistently good success. Your basic plan is a good one but remember it takes proportionally more bees to cover one frame than it does to make them up with 2 or ideally 3 combs. Confining them longer will probably just make things worse. My suggestion is not to confine them at all, to move them in the evening after making them up and giving them one full day to fly in their new spot. The next morning you can even them up (or do some switching between larger and smaller nucs) before finally installing your cell 1 full day and 2 nights after the move. We make up thousands in this manner each year with excellant success. Lots of them will begin to make cells but your newly emerged virgin will deal with them just fine.
    "People will generally accept facts as truth only if the facts agree with what they already believe."- Andy Rooney

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
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    Pike, Pennsylvania, USA
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    287

    Default Re: Introducing cells to a nuc?

    I like the sound of your plan, Jim. My concerns about letting them fly right away is that the yard where the parent colonies are is about 1 mile away. I do have another option for a location that is maybe 3 miles away, the concern there is that I may not get good drone coverage. I do realize that making them up stronger should better ensure there long term success. I have had times when it would take almost 3 weeks after planting a cell to see a queen laying, even though I had pretty good success at getting queens mated I always hated losing all the brood and bees from the nucs that didn't get a mated queen so, I started making them up with minimal resources. Like I mention, it worked but they took forever to get to 5 frames. I really want to get them a better start this year.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
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    Herrick, SD USA
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    Default Re: Introducing cells to a nuc?

    The 1 mile distance is a bit close for sure but I don't think a longer confinement will do much to alleviate the problem of bees returning or of drift within the yard. Putting out some "landmarks" such as some limbs laid around the entrances would probably help some but if you have a spot 3 miles away by all means use it.
    "People will generally accept facts as truth only if the facts agree with what they already believe."- Andy Rooney

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    45,925

    Default Re: Introducing cells to a nuc?

    >Couldn't you put some open brood above an excluder the day before and use those for the split?

    There is nothing strategically wrong with this plan, except I don't want to make another trip to the bee yard and I don't have any queen excluders in my out yards and only a few in my home yard.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
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    287

    Default Re: Introducing cells to a nuc?

    I enjoyed reading that section
    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Bush View Post
    It's much less stress on the bees, and less for you to worry about, to put an extra shake of bees in to make up for drift and don't confine them...

    http://www.bushfarms.com/beessplits.htm#accountfordrift

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    Weatherford,Texas,USA
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    449

    Default Re: Introducing cells to a nuc?

    would putting some branches and or partially obstructing the entance get the bees to reorient to the new set up?
    "It's better to die upon your feet than to live upon your knees!" Zapata

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
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    Grosse Ile, Michigan, USA
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    2,833

    Default Re: Introducing cells to a nuc?

    They say putting something in front of the entrance may help, that's ok if you only have a couple hives to do it to, but if you have 50 it would get sort of ridiculous. John

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    Denver, Colorado
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    5,078

    Default Re: Introducing cells to a nuc?

    What if the entrances on your hives are fundamentally different from the entrances on your nucs?
    Solomon Parker, Parker Farms, ParkerFarms.biz
    11 Years Treatment-Free, ~25 Colony Baseline

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Pike, Pennsylvania, USA
    Posts
    287

    Default Re: Introducing cells to a nuc?

    I paint my lids a few different colors, use 5 different color entrance disks and rotate the position of the nucs as I put them out. I'm hoping that helps them get oriented okay??

    Quote Originally Posted by Solomon Parker View Post
    What if the entrances on your hives are fundamentally different from the entrances on your nucs?

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