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  1. #1
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    Default How I plan on overwintering 40 mating nucs on mini frames

    Here's how these mating nucs were run all summer. Divided nucs with five, half sized deeps on each side:



    Transferred into divided 10 frame deeps to hold a colony on each side:





    Below: Another 'condo' after transfer..colony in back transfered two weeks ago. Colony in front transfered three weeks ago. Not all frames are drawn out yet, but they are trying to build up as you can see by the new comb on the top bars and inner screened cover:



    If they havn't drawn out and filled all the frames in the bottom box, I don't 'bait' them up to the new box with any drawn frames, so they fill the bottom deep before moving up.This photo was taken July 13th.



    Give them another box and feed well:


    Here they are after about a month-photo taken 8-10-13:


    One side stronger than the other. This is the upper box:


    The smaller mating nucs do suppress the newly mated queen if you keep her in very long. Give her more room and watch her go to town!
    Overwintering double colonies is a little tricky. You need to equalize the colonies so they are about the same strength going into the winter. Easy to do with a little manipulation and increased/reduced feeding depending on the needs.

    I could put a queen excluder on top and let the bees mingle over winter, keeping the queens separate. But the problem with that is during the winter the bees will pick a favorite queen and jump ship to the other side, abandoning their queen. Be sure your hive divider tolerances are tight! Or they will sneak over to the other side on their own.

    I have 40 premium queens I am over wintering this way. Some will be in singles, some doubles. I'll let you know how it goes.
    Those that overwinter well and show excellent qualities will be available as breeder quality, locally mated Northern queens. I plan to use the others for making up early nucs and any replacements I may need for my larger hives.

    https://www.facebook.com/pages/Mille...56954971040510

    I picked a good year to make increases to my yard. Suger is the lowest I've seen it since I have had bees. I paid $9.73 for a 25# C&H at costco. Just bought another ton
    Last edited by Lauri; 08-17-2013 at 04:31 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2009
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    Flora,IL
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    2,644

    Default Re: How I plan on overwintering 40 mating nucs on mini frames

    interestresting plan.. I am trying some of teh shamrock mateing nuces this winter. they are devided into fours. double deep, but small clusters. but since there is 4 clusters....

    We shall see

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
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    27,660

    Default Re: How I plan on overwintering 40 mating nucs on mini frames

    Lauri,
    I would have thought that the bees would have trouble getting to the underside of the feeder jars,having to stick their tongues through the screen. Apparently they do just fine.

    Very good looking setup and plan. Things should work out well for you.
    Mark Berninghausen To combat Ebola, please consider supporting http://www.doctorswithoutborders.org


  4. #4
    Join Date
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    Roy, Wa
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    Default Re: How I plan on overwintering 40 mating nucs on mini frames

    The Shamrock mating nuc is too thin walled for overwintering here. I average 40 degreewinter temps, but get down to the teens at times.

    Mark, I'm breeding those long tongued bees ya know. LOL, seriously, you have to invert the lid of the jar or they can't reach it.



    They'll all get sugar blocks whether they need it or not. I have had good luck with this method and will write more about it when we get closer to the season for winter feeding.

    I'm feeding 1:1 right now until the frames get drawn and the queen has filled them well with brood. Then I'll switch to 2:1 for fall weight. If needed, I'll take capped honey from other large hives that are also on the half deeps. I have several to take extra resources from.





    Last edited by Lauri; 08-17-2013 at 09:27 PM.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    jackson county, alabama, usa
    Posts
    4,648

    Default Re: How I plan on overwintering 40 mating nucs on mini frames

    very cool lauri, thanks for sharing.
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    Jefferson Co, TX
    Posts
    702

    Default Re: How I plan on overwintering 40 mating nucs on mini frames

    Like what you are doing. Like Squarepeg said, Thanks for sharing.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Great Falls Montana
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    4,068

    Default Re: How I plan on overwintering 40 mating nucs on mini frames

    You do a first rate job on your bees and equipment but I wonder if the bees would abandon a queen worth staying with. I regularly use a miller feeder over a queen excluder to feed two and three nucs in a divided ten frame deep. Of course I have brood to hold bees but abandonment drifting just doesn't seem to be an issue.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
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    Roy, Wa
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    Default Re: How I plan on overwintering 40 mating nucs on mini frames

    Thanks for the input. I just had the experience of overwintering doubles last year and many ended up with one side packed full of bees, the other side empty. I just assumed they jumped ship as these were my only winter 'losses'. I assumed one queen was more actively laying in the winter months than the other and thus prefered.
    Do you let the colonies mingle in the summer or winter months?

    I rarely bank mated queens or virgins, but when I have, I see a clear favoritism by the nurse bees for some queens, some queens ignored. They are always the same age, from the same batch of grafts. If I don't have room for all in mating nucs, the 'favorites' are always installed before the others.

    I have observed a lot this summer and will be writing about it in winter months when I have time. I did not raise as many queens as I had hoped due to bad weather and 2 virgins getting into my only starter...Hopefully those that wanted queens will get them next year. Trust me, I'm working on it!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Hudson, WI USA
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    2,213

    Default Re: How I plan on overwintering 40 mating nucs on mini frames

    Lauri, in post #4 you say you might put a frame of honey from your larger colonies in the nucs if they need it. I would anyway even if you are not sure, because there may be some health benefit to the overwintering bees to have some pure honey in addition to sugar syrup to overwinter on.
    I do appreciate the time you take to post up and write about what you do. That to me is the beauty of beesource - sharing.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: How I plan on overwintering 40 mating nucs on mini frames

    I agree Adrian. I let my bees keep their honey and prefer not to harvest until winter is almost over. When I checkerboard above the broodnest in early spring in the large hives that have not been fed syrup, I will take the surplus honey then. Even then, I save it for future feeding until the next flow starts. Remember, my interest is in raising queens, not harvesting honey yet.
    But I do have a LOT of honey on the frame out there. It's been a great year for honey production in my area. I estimate I have a ton and a half of 'surplus' honey in the hives right now. I may change my mind about this method of management as I get more experienced though. This is just what I am doing this year. I'm not really sure how to manage all those resources, so I let the bees take care of it for me for now.

    Some of my large hives are on mini frames, but I also threw on a deep with mini frames on some of my production hives to get drawn out and filled this summer. Frames going different directions? MERCY! Hee hee, they absolutely don't care and don't make a mess. These are my planned resources for the mating nucs if they are needed.



    I wish I had thought of this configuration of overwintering sooner. (Overwintering condos) I'm only feeding syrup to get the new frames drawn and filled. It's late in the summer and they are doing a good job of it.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    May 2012
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    DFW area, TX, USA
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    Thumbs Up Re: How I plan on overwintering 40 mating nucs on mini frames

    Quote Originally Posted by gmcharlie View Post
    ... I am trying some of the shamrock mating nucs this winter. they are devided into fours. double deep, but small clusters. but since there is 4 clusters....We shall see
    I'm probably going to do the same, but may only make two divisions in the shamrock hives.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lauri View Post
    The Shamrock mating nuc is too thin for overwintering here. I average 40 degree winter temps, but get down to the teens at times... snip...
    FWIW Charlie & Lauri, I wintered a 10 frame colony in a Shamrock box last winter with a piece of tar paper around three sides, and the bees did just fine. The bees have done well this summer as well. Winter lows here at my house were around 10 F (maybe 5 days), and highs this summer were 110+ F (18 days so far). I'm pleasantly surprised, that these three Shamrock hives are working out better than expected -AFTER, dipping the half frames in hot wax myself.


    Quote Originally Posted by Adrian Quiney WI View Post
    Lauri......I do appreciate the time you take to post up and write about what you do. That to me is the beauty of beesource - sharing.
    I appreciate your reports as well Lauri, your report gives me courage to winter along the same lines as you and gmcharlie.
    LeeB
    I try to learn from my mistakes, and from yours when you give me a heads up :)

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Great Falls Montana
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    Default Re: How I plan on overwintering 40 mating nucs on mini frames

    I need to add your experience into the mix on the bees drifting in all your wintered doubles. I have read accounts by a couple Canadian commercial beeks who routinely winter two five frame nucs with a shared food source. I intend to try more of it this winter. It worked on a limited basis for me last winter. All my splits are grown out in double screened bottom duplex and triplex divided ten frame deeps over a strong colony. I put a queen excluder over them and a miller feeder on top that they share quite successfully. I do not disregard your experience and it makes me doubt my plan. I may just super them with a divided upper and let them fill that with stores. It is ALL local what works for you may not work for me and vice versa. Yes I was looking forward to getting some queens from you this year. Keep me in mind for next season please. I am filling an isolated yard with mite biters and groomers that I am buying where I can find them. Vance

    Quote Originally Posted by Lauri View Post
    Thanks for the input. I just had the experience of overwintering doubles last year and many ended up with one side packed full of bees, the other side empty. I just assumed they jumped ship as these were my only winter 'losses'. I assumed one queen was more actively laying in the winter months than the other and thus prefered.
    Do you let the colonies mingle in the summer or winter months?

    I rarely bank mated queens or virgins, but when I have, I see a clear favoritism by the nurse bees for some queens, some queens ignored. They are always the same age, from the same batch of grafts. If I don't have room for all in mating nucs, the 'favorites' are always installed before the others.

    I have observed a lot this summer and will be writing about it in winter months when I have time. I did not raise as many queens as I had hoped due to bad weather and 2 virgins getting into my only starter...Hopefully those that wanted queens will get them next year. Trust me, I'm working on it!

  13. #13
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Flora,IL
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    2,644

    Default Re: How I plan on overwintering 40 mating nucs on mini frames

    I do intend to wrap the shamrock in foam insulation board.....

    As for nucs mixing in the summer, bad idea every one of my split 10 frames that allows bees to escape or go around, has issues. fighting and migration to one side or the other.

  14. #14
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    Roy, Wa
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    Default Re: How I plan on overwintering 40 mating nucs on mini frames

    Wrapping the shamrock should work. It is really a decent buy and a neat product, considering it includes the top and bottom and all the frames. I considered trying them, but since I have more time than $$, I built my own.
    Let us know how it goes.

    Vance, I believe I read that too about the Canadians. Although I can't find that web site anymore. I thought maybe it didn't really work and they removed it. The theory of letting the bees feed together and equalize is good, but I had far more doubles eventually end up over on one side than I had occupying both sides come late winter. But that was just my experience here.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
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    Heavener Oklahoma
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    932

    Default Re: How I plan on overwintering 40 mating nucs on mini frames

    You will have some very nice nucs
    come spring time.



    Going to winter these just made splits i will put on another box when i get a laying queen going.we don't get as cold as you a few nights in teens and single degree but more like 20 to 30 lows

    Been using my strong mini nucs when i pull a queen to raise a few cells.

    TAP PICTURE ITS A VIDEO


  16. #16
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    Palmdale, CA
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    68

    Default Re: How I plan on overwintering 40 mating nucs on mini frames

    Very nice pics and explanation. They gave me some good ideas

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
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    Heavener Oklahoma
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    Default Re: How I plan on overwintering 40 mating nucs on mini frames

    Picture of my 4-1/2 frame length mini nuc with brood that will make up winter cluster
    Most have 2 frames like this and side frames have about 1/2 that amount of brood this will winter great still bringing in goldenrod nectar and pollen. Some brood in top box with honey.

    http://i59.photobucket.com/albums/g3...004_113232.jpg

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
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    Franklin, New Hampshire
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    128

    Default Re: How I plan on overwintering 40 mating nucs on mini frames

    Having no experience with mating nucs; but incredibly interested in learning more about this.

    Is there a benefit to the 5 "half" frame mini mating nucs (that Lauri is using) rather than using 2 or 3 full size frames?

    In FatBeeMan's videos, he uses an 8 frame box with 3 partitions to divide the box into 4 2-frame colonies for rearing or mating queens. Wasn't sure if there was a difference or what every one's experiences show.

    More specifically in the FatBeeMan's videos:
    Part 1- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X-c6MQbEs14
    Part 2- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Y6fztFLcNw

    Thoughts?

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Heavener Oklahoma
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    932

    Default Re: How I plan on overwintering 40 mating nucs on mini frames

    There is some bad points on all of them.
    I have tried quads, 6 packs deep 10 frame hives with 3 frames per box
    Single shallow, Deep singles and Medium singles with bottoms nailed on bottoms

    The quads or 6 packs they have a lot of hidding places for small hive beetles,if one compartment gets robbed out and you restock it they will usually get rerobbed out.the grooves you cut in the ends for your dividers they are hard to take out after a few months with bees in them. If the beetles take over 1 compartment its hard to clean up if you don't watch they will spread to the other compartments.

    I like Singles best of all I tried
    They all will work some just need more detailed care and it also depends what you plan to do on which one will work best for you.

    I got a few YouTube vlwbee123 do a search

    The queen castle has the same issues as the quads or 6 packs with one more added problem the narrow spacing to to get queen out if she happens to be on the bottom or side wall which happens more than you would think
    Last edited by Velbert; 10-05-2013 at 08:34 PM.

  20. #20
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    Mar 2006
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    Heavener Oklahoma
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    Default Re: How I plan on overwintering 40 mating nucs on mini frames

    Jared

    I think you will like the ones Lauri has built better.
    Hers are better for overwintering and your not having to restock each unit every spring some might not make it but most will if they have plenty of bees and stores.

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