Results 1 to 10 of 10
  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    Tuckasegee, NC
    Posts
    59

    Default Small scale nuc & queen production

    I have been beekeepig for about five years and grafting queen for two and I was toying wit the idea of building up my apiary this year to try and sell 20-30 nucs next spring. I would do it without going south to Ga so here in western NC it would be middle of May or June before they were ready, but it appears the demand is out there.

    So, does any one have a suggestion as to how big my apiary needs to be and for 20 ish nucs?

    Thanks
    Devlin
    Devlin Wilde
    Zone 7a 2600 ft in WNC

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    Mtn. View, Arkansas, USA
    Posts
    1,305

    Default Re: Small scale nuc & queen production

    If you are talking about space, you can put a circle of 16 nucs housed in 5 frame boxes in 30 ft. x 30ft area. Use stands to hold 2 nucs and give yourself space between stands to work them from the side. Face the entrances toward the center of the circle.

    If you plan to make the nucs in summer and overwinter and sell next spring, plan to use 2 or 3 box high nucs. You will find the nucs draw foundation well in 5 frame boxes.

    The number of field colonies needed to make the nucs will depend on how strong you start them out. Nucs will build and swarm rapidly if not closely watched.

    The book "Increase Essentials" by Lawrence John Connor might be a help to you. If you are into woodworking you may want to buy a few wood bound queen excluders and re-work them to fit five frame boxes, I find it handy to confine a queen to one box a few days before selling/delivering a nuc.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Roy, Wa
    Posts
    1,799

    Default Re: Small scale nuc & queen production

    In my opinion, you'd be better off saving your nucs to raise locally mated queens and selling them. That leaves you your nucs to offset your winter losses and make your own apiary increases.
    I could easily sell 100's of locally produced nucs, but in my climate my season is too short and demand too great. I could never fill all the orders and would deplete my own yard.

    Kind of like not killing the chicken to get a meal...you're better off just eating the eggs and letting the hen keep on layin'

    I sell every queen I can raise locally and still keep all my resources for my own greedy self..+ get pick of the litter of the premium queens to overwinter for next years stock. My queen rearing is only limited by the lack of resources to fill the mating nucs. I can only manage so much by myself, which is currently about 50 production hives and 50 mating nucs.
    I'll have 100+ mating nucs before mid summer though.

    And making those takes bees! So sell you nucs if you want or let them raise a few queens and still get the same amount of $$ and still have your bees!

    My skills in having the overwintered hives large enough, early enough to break up into nucs is something I have to work on. Having genetics that will take up feed and build up early is part of the organization necessary for queen rearing.
    https://www.facebook.com/pages/Mille...56954971040510

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
    Posts
    1,992

    Default Re: Small scale nuc & queen production

    Interesting ideas, Lauri.

    Our spring here has been slow and cool. I am very much feeling the importance of just bee resources.... When you sell those 4 or 5 frames, the comb, the bees and the queen, it is a fair chunk of resources out the door for a small operation...

    Food for thought.

    Adam

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    Tuckasegee, NC
    Posts
    59

    Default Re: Small scale nuc & queen production

    I plan on keeping enough nucs to cover my winter losses but I use splitting as part of my IPM. I think I might end up with more hive than my family wants me to have.
    I have been lucky and not had more than 25 percent losses using no chemicals. I would be willing to use soft chemicals but haven't needed to.
    I currently have 15 hives I would like to expand but what is a good number to support making 20 ish nucs, I think I need 10 for honey, 2 as cell finishers and 10 as comb builders? I also need mating nucs.

    I am looking for others experiences to shape my decisions.
    Thanks
    Devlin Wilde
    Zone 7a 2600 ft in WNC

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    St. Albans, Vermont
    Posts
    5,542

    Default Re: Small scale nuc & queen production

    You all are looking to split strong colonies in the spring, and sell those splits as your nucs. That process takes too much of your bee resource when you have a small apiary. You split your strongest colonies and lose production. And, if there aren't enough strong colonies, you're sunk.

    But, if you took a few colonies and sacrificed them to make nucs in mid-summer, then you allow your strongest colonies to remain strong and make honey, and use non-productive colonies to make your nucs to over winter. My mid-main flow, you should be able to make 4-5 nucs from each of those colonies.

    That's how you start to grow. But once you are comfortable making and wintering nucs, you can use over wintered nucs as the brood source for your nuc making and your cell building, and making up your mating nucs.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Indianapolis IN 46227
    Posts
    285

    Default Re: Small scale nuc & queen production

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Palmer View Post
    But, if you took a few colonies and sacrificed them to make nucs in mid-summer, then you allow your strongest colonies to remain strong and make honey, and use non-productive colonies to make your nucs to over winter. My mid-main flow, you should be able to make 4-5 nucs from each of those colonies.
    This looks good on paper Michael, but I've had little luck trying to implement it. A "Non-Productive" hive won't have 8-10 frames of brood to make 4-5 nucs. Where am I going wrong?

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Northern Virginia
    Posts
    767

    Default Re: Small scale nuc & queen production

    Quote Originally Posted by Lauri View Post

    My skills in having the overwintered hives large enough, early enough to break up into nucs is something I have to work on. Having genetics that will take up feed and build up early is part of the organization necessary for queen rearing.
    Try what MP suggests and dedicate the overwintered nucs you make in summer as your queen rearing resource. You can put them in to winter 1 or 2 boxes high and they will easily grow and fill 3 or 4 boxes by early to mid Spring... then use those as your bee resources for queen rearing. Come Spring, get in them every 10 days to check for cells. This is my 2nd year with this method and I like it a lot. It works well- plus much easier to quickly get through even a 4 story nuc box than my double deep 1 m colonies. My only caveat, based on 4-5 years with OW nucs, is that I find the OW nucs need winter feed in my area. Perhaps I make them too strong- I leave plenty of honey, but our winters are "moderate" and they are active more than they are dead quiet. It is fairly consistent finding- the single deep OW nucs definitely have all needed winter feed, the doubles, less so, and generally not until Feb., but still something to consider and be aware of. I use fondant or bee candy only in winter. Frames of honey might work too.

    Someone mentioned a nuc size queen excluder- Good idea. I use those too to help put frames where I need them to pull quickly the next day, etc.
    karla

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Northern Virginia
    Posts
    767

    Default Re: Small scale nuc & queen production

    Quote Originally Posted by DonShackelford View Post
    A "Non-Productive" hive won't have 8-10 frames of brood to make 4-5 nucs. Where am I going wrong?
    I'm no expert... but I think you don't necessarily need 2 full frames of brood per nuc if you time it right and have good queens to put in- remember you are not turning this into a full size colony- but managing it as a nuc. The new queen will lay and fill it up well over the summer. or make fewer and make them 2 stories.
    karla

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Roy, Wa
    Posts
    1,799

    Default Re: Small scale nuc & queen production

    Ya Don, that's the same problem I have. I leave my strong colonies alone, other than using them for grafting larva doners. My so called 'non productive' colonies this early in the spring are just slow to build until the flow comes on. They still have honey are not interested in syrup. Probably slow to build at least partially due to the genetics in the hive. Some of them are made from swarm cells from a purchased Carnie queen. I won't do that again. They all overwintered well and are healthy with almost non existent mite count.
    I'm waiting for them to start taking feed and grow before I break them up. "You can lead a horse to water but you can't make him drink." that's how I am feeling about these colonies right now.


    This is my biggest hold up for raising more queens, earlier.

    I'm a big fan of overwintering nucs, they just have to be a decent size and have the right genetics to build faster in early spring. At least in my climate.
    If these colonies were not needed for mating nucs, their growth rate would be no problem.

    I have a fair amount of hives so I have a good comparison to gauge them by.

    As they say, "You usually get experience right after you need it" -so true...

    What sucks about figuring out the bee management that is right for you, is many times you have to wait until next year to implement it! DOH!

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
Ads