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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
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    Roy, Wa
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    Default Improved divided mating nuc.Better for feeding when nights are cold spring/fall

    As nights get cold, it gets more difficult to feed the mating nucs I plan to overwinter. At 350' in elevation it was 36.5 degrees here yesterday morning. Quite a nip in the air. Montana/Idaho was 16 degrees this morning. There's no doubt winter is right around the corner.

    An inverted mason jar on the screened innner cover works well for feeding in warm weather, but not so well when nights are cold. These mating nucs need warmth as well as feed and a big empty void over the frames does them no good when you're trying to get them to build up their populations. Here you can see Where I used the mason jars and covered them with a burlap sack to retain warmth. But I was short a couple divided deeps and started making them a new way with a one gallon interior feeder. It takes a little more time to construct, but once I got the measurements figured out and my parts all cut out, assembly was reasonably fast.



    And the new version:







    Bottom:

    I staple a 3/4" x 1" rim around the bottom as a spacer for the attached bottom board:







    When using a pine divider, I leave it a bit long to allow for shrinkage. Plywood would be more stable, but I don't like milling the top with a laminated material.



    A few staples permanently attach's the bottom, but since the entrance's are small, I also drill a few small drainage/air holes in the bottom board. But not until after it is painted or you'll just plug them up.






    Screened divided inner cover. I staple the center divider to the screen, but do not staple to the frame, so if the center divider in the hive body is a little tall or short, I can float the inner covers divider to match it.



    You get 8 new frames each side with a 3/4" gap.



    Here are the parts. I use 3/4" plywood for the bottom for insulation value + I'm able to salvage used 3/4" plywood scraps fairly regularly from job sites.



    Feeder needs to be removable for cleaning, so I just put a couple dabs of clear silicone on the irregular spots and added a small tight fitting filler piece. After the sicilone dries, it acts like a fitted gasket and can be pulled off when needed.





    The only small downside to this is you can't easily tell if one of the nucs is not taking up feed. Feed uptake is something I pay attention to.
    Last edited by Lauri; 09-13-2014 at 03:26 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
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    Roy, Wa
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    2,375

    Default Re: Improved divided mating nuc.Better for feeding when nights are cold spring/fall

    I've got smaller mating nucs hanging all over the place. Here I am transfering them into an overwintering sized box. Move a short distance with their recognizable nucs, then after they have reoriented, transfer into new divided deep. Then I'll move it about 8" every other day until I get it onto my bench, which is just out of the photo. Now they have room for feed and an increased population.










  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
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    Roy, Wa
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    Default Re: Improved divided mating nuc.Better for feeding when nights are cold spring/fall

    My homemade lids are 3/4" x 3" frame with 1 1/2" insulation cut to fit tight. Run a bead of silicone around the rim & top with triple wall polycarbonate. Three screws each side with rubber washers hold it in place.






  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    jackson county, alabama, usa
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    6,099

    Default Re: Improved divided mating nuc.Better for feeding when nights are cold spring/fall

    those look like they ought to work perfectly lauri. thanks for sharing.
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
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    Roy, Wa
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    Default Re: Improved divided mating nuc.Better for feeding when nights are cold spring/fall

    I think so. When I have a chance, I'll write a little more about overwintering colonies this small and their behavior & needs come early spring.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Wayensboro, Virginia, USA
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    168

    Default Re: Improved divided mating nuc.Better for feeding when nights are cold spring/fall

    Lauri I really like those half size deep frames that you use in your queen rearing operation and have been looking at preparing some for my own use next year but I just don't think I can find the time to put the work into making them. Is there any other reason you use the half frames other than the fact that they require less resources. I was thinking that deep boxes devided into 3 frame queen castles would be more beneficial in the long run.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Ojai, California
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    1,726

    Default Re: Improved divided mating nuc.Better for feeding when nights are cold spring/fall

    Lauri - First of all, NICE POST!

    You might try to run a siphon from a mason jar upright above the hive running into the frame feeder, allowing you to monitor feeding. Just a thought, but not good once it freezes.

    Another idea is a float with an "antenna" sticking up. As the stick goes down, the syrup goes down. A float attached to needle swinging over a fulcrum can also act as a guage. How much effort is it worth depends on how many bees you run.

    Mountain Bee - both 3-frame and half-frame systems can be made to work. Sharing heat is one of the big benefits. Either setup can be put over a strong colony, separated by a double screen board, the nucs getting the advantage of the strong colony's heat.

    If using a 3 x 3-frame in a 10-frame box, it helps to put the strongest colony in the middle (but then, I'm down here in So Cal, surfing in trunks with no wetsuit, and more worried about catching tuna at this time. Please don't hate me.) Your results may vary. Let the bees prove what's right.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
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    Roy, Wa
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    Default Re: Improved divided mating nuc.Better for feeding when nights are cold spring/fall

    Quote Originally Posted by kilocharlie View Post

    Another idea is a float with an "antenna" sticking up. As the stick goes down, the syrup goes down.
    .
    The problem is the feeder is shared. If one side sucks the whole gallon down and the other side is say- queenless and hasn't taken up anything, I can't tell by looking at the feeder.

    For example, here are mating nucs in divided nuc box's newly made up late May. After a short confinement period, when the the cell has hatched, I open up the entrances and offer a quart of 1:1. (I wait to feed because I use the screened hole in the top for ventilation while condfined)



    And here is a photo of the next day. The one colony that didn't take up feed needs to be checked.



    Heres how that bench looked after 4 weeks. Nice early June queens. Now that I have shipping figured out, I can be more prompt with cycling out the mated queens on a 3 week schedule.

    Last edited by Lauri; 09-13-2014 at 05:41 PM.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Wayensboro, Virginia, USA
    Posts
    168

    Default Re: Improved divided mating nuc.Better for feeding when nights are cold spring/fall

    I guess that is the benefit of those little homemade frame feeders I have seen Michael Palmer use in his mating nuc setups. But they also look time consuming to build.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Ojai, California
    Posts
    1,726

    Default Re: Improved divided mating nuc.Better for feeding when nights are cold spring/fall

    Lauri - Sorry, I just hoped to figure a way to monitor feed - I know the feeling - monitoring is an important "tell", especially on nucs. Observer nucs and clear feeders is getting unreasonable, unless someone starts making them for sale cheap enough.

    Mountain Bee - For the meantime, production runs and assembly jigs are the best answer if you choose that setup. I also tried to make half-feeders (split length-wise) on a CNC, then put them together, but I should have done it in plastic in the first place - it might have worked. The wood was not dimensionally stable enough to seal well. It could be done on a router jig with the right wood, maple perhaps?

    So far, built-up wood is best for my make-it-yourself feeders. I cut parts for 100 feeders, put light brown package tape over the assembly blocks, dip a handful of parts into the glue tray, locate and clamp them together, wipe the glue off the outside with a sponge, staple, pull the parts off the blocks, wipe the glue off the insides, hang them to dry, wipe the assembly blocks clean. Then I heat up a large pot of wax, and dip the entire feeder in the pot, which seals up more often than only sealing the insides. I scrape the excess off the outsides with a paint scraper.

    Yep, lots of work.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Hampshire, MA, USA
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    445

    Default Re: Improved divided mating nuc.Better for feeding when nights are cold spring/fall

    I am getting many of the photos with broken links. Is it just me, or are others seeing the same red X's?

  12. #12
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Sacramento, CA, USA
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    4,162

    Default Re: Improved divided mating nuc.Better for feeding when nights are cold spring/fall

    The first 4-5 were broken for me as well, but only in the second post.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
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    Roy, Wa
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    Default Re: Improved divided mating nuc.Better for feeding when nights are cold spring/fall

    I can view all the photos.

    As an update on this thread, after using this new design for over a month, I notice the nucs with the interior feeder are much more willing to consume more syrup later in fall than the covered insulated inverted mason jar feeder method shown above. Temps not a big factor, my nights were in the mid to high 50's at time of feeding. Day temps 60-70's

    These mating nucs put on more weight and continued to grow in populations as compared to the other mating nucs. A big advantage if you are trying to get them to overwintering weight and populations.

    The age of the queens were taken into consideration, eliminating the late mated queen 'enthusiasm' effect.

    Last edited by Lauri; 10-24-2014 at 04:54 PM.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Hampshire, MA, USA
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    445

    Default Re: Improved divided mating nuc.Better for feeding when nights are cold spring/fall

    They are all now working for me as well...

  15. #15

    Default Re: Improved divided mating nuc.Better for feeding when nights are cold spring/fall

    Lauri what size hardware cloth are you using ? I have Been using some scrape 1/2 but about to buy some more.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    Location
    Corsock, United Kingdom
    Posts
    50

    Default Re: Improved divided mating nuc.Better for feeding when nights are cold spring/fall

    I notice the hive lids are not telescopic are they held on with straps?

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
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    Roy, Wa
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    Default Re: Improved divided mating nuc.Better for feeding when nights are cold spring/fall

    Quote Originally Posted by thebeemanuk View Post
    I notice the hive lids are not telescopic are they held on with straps?
    They are telescopic. That is 3/4" x 3" frame material with 1 1/2 foam. I have about a 1" - 1 1/2" of rim on the bottom edge.(Although this photo shows 2" foam)





    Before I place the polycarbonate & screw it down, I run a bead of clear silicone around the frame to seal it well.



    I am using #8 hardware cloth. I get it by the roll locally, but it is special order and NOT cheap. You can also buy it by the roll at Amazon.com. It's hard to find locally by the foot, and runs about $4.00 a foot if you can find it. I remember when it use to be $1.69 a foot.
    Last edited by Lauri; 10-25-2014 at 09:35 AM.

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Location
    Fort Gay, WV, USA
    Posts
    2,031

    Default Re: Improved divided mating nuc.Better for feeding when nights are cold spring/fall

    Lauri, Just wondering, are you planning to use the 8 frame version for queen mating next season or are you only using for the over wintering aspect of things?
    Thomas Bartram

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Roy, Wa
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    Default Re: Improved divided mating nuc.Better for feeding when nights are cold spring/fall

    If I start out with a small mating nuc, I always end up transfering it to a larger nuc by mid summer. So I try to use the larger nucs right from the start. I have plenty of bees to stock the nucs and overwintering most of them in place saves me a ton of spring time work.

    I still use the small nucs too, but don't make them anymore.

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Location
    Schenectady, NY, USA
    Posts
    320

    Default Re: Improved divided mating nuc.Better for feeding when nights are cold spring/fall

    Quote Originally Posted by Lauri View Post
    They are telescopic. That is 3/4" x 3" frame material with 1 1/2 foam. I have about a 1" - 1 1/2" of rim on the bottom edge.(Although this photo shows 2" foam)





    Before I place the polycarbonate & screw it down, I run a bead of clear silicone around the frame to seal it well.



    I am using #8 hardware cloth. I get it by the roll locally, but it is special order and NOT cheap. You can also buy it by the roll at Amazon.com. It's hard to find locally by the foot, and runs about $4.00 a foot if you can find it. I remember when it use to be $1.69 a foot.
    I just ordered some at $2.50 a running foot. 36 inch rolls, 100 feet long. http://www.gerarddaniel.com/. I highly recommend them for 8 mesh hardware cloth and stainless steel mesh. Do not buy 5, 6 or 7 mesh from them as it is made in China and you will have 30% loss due to uneven weaves.
    Lloyd Spear, Owner of Ross Rounds, Inc. Manufacturers of round section comb equipment and Sundance Pollen Traps.

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