Re: can I start with a 4 box nuc hive?
I started with a 5 frame nuc last spring (May10th). By early June they where a full 10 frame box. two weeks later they where 2 deep boxes and 20 fraems. before the summer ended they had both of those boxes packed full and had made 2 med supers of honey. In all with 20-20 hindsight I believe I messed up and these bees did not do nearly as well as they could have. They are now in a double deep 10 frame hive. So if all you want to do is keep the bees through the summer and allow them to have enough stores for winter. I think you can get by on 20 frames. But you will not be bale to take any of heir honey unless you harvest a box and return it in time for them to fill it again.
In my case colonies have found creative ways to multiply. After getting bees I got a call to capture a swarm. resulting in hive two. I then got called about bees living in the brick siding of a house. resulting in hives 3 and 4. Yesterday I completed the cut out from call 3 and now have not only hive 5 but possibly the strongest hive to date. Final equipment tally. 5, 5 frame nucs with 2 bottom boards inner covers and outer covers. 7 deep 10 frame boxes, 4 bottom boards inner covers and outer covers. 4 med 10 frame boxes. frames to fill all boxes plus a few to spare.
With that I woudl have to say no. 4 nuc bodies are not even half of what you need. That or you need more discipline that I even want to have
Significant Minority vs Insignificant Majority, 20% of causes produce 80% of the effects.