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  1. #41
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    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

    I see today Michael Plamer has also posted a near identical thread to mine about overwintering mini frames.

    http://www.beesource.com/forums/show...on-mini-frames

    He is in Vermont and I am in Washington State. Both Northern states-so it will be a good test. Hopefully between the two of us, we will work out the bugs so many people can have confidence to try it themselves.


    Velbert and others, jump in on this. I KNOW you are doing the same thing.
    Last edited by Lauri; 11-12-2013 at 07:23 PM.

  2. #42
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    Feb 2012
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    West Bath, Maine, United States
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    Default Re: How I plan on overwintering 40 mating nucs on mini frames

    Lauri, Do you insulate the south side as well or am I misreading the photos? Would think that would block solar gain without an empty under or an exposed south side.
    4 yrs, Peak 14, back to zip, T lite; godfather to brother's 3.

  3. #43
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    Default Re: How I plan on overwintering 40 mating nucs on mini frames

    Saltybee, I usually don't insulate the south side in bigger hives and nucs, but I did in this case since the clusters are small. More often we have cool cloudy weather and not many sunny winter days. I opted for more consistent interior temps over an occasional few hours once a month on a sunny day.

  4. #44
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    Feb 2012
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    West Bath, Maine, United States
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    Default Re: How I plan on overwintering 40 mating nucs on mini frames

    I had followed discusions a few years ago about all insulation nucs. Many found them to hold the cold as well as the heat. Thought about putting them over a empty body and inner cover to pick up the rising heat without cooling at night.
    4 yrs, Peak 14, back to zip, T lite; godfather to brother's 3.

  5. #45
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    Sep 2011
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    Reno, NV
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    Default Re: How I plan on overwintering 40 mating nucs on mini frames

    So far our night are getting down into the 30's. we have had a hand full of mornings with frost. I was able to look up under my top bar hive the other morning and saw the bees clustered. later that day it was sunny and it warmed enough for them to fly.

    I have 11 nucs, We added more sugar candy to them last weekend and all of them are able to break cluster during the day and access the food. they range from no stores two weeks ago to as much as 4 med frames of honey. Mine are 5 frame nucs but amount to the same volume of space. I did this last year with 2 nucs and they both did fine. So far so good.

    Our weather patterns are much like Washington except we get bright sunny days most of the time. yesterday was overcast. We should not get really cold days until sometime in January early February.
    Stand for what you believe, even if you stand alone.

  6. #46
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    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

    I notice with any hive that is fully insulated on all sides is not as active quite as fast as those with more solar gain exposure. But on cold days, the bees in fully insulated hives are congregated at the entrances, both top and bottom. Bees in Hives without as much insulation are no where to be seen near the entrances. It is a very obvious difference.

    As I said, I would rather have more consistent temps within the hive than temp extremes. The very active flight hives with solar gain exposure look nice, but there is something to be said about low activity to survive the long winter months too. I only want them to get out for regular cleansing flights, not party when the sun comes out. Not be extremly active during the winter months when there is nothing to forage for.

    So a full insulatiing wrap that allows the bees to access stores, but keeps them from quickly warming in the sun, and thus exerting too much activity, may be benificial.
    This is how it works in my climate. Would of course need to be modified for climates that are warmer or colder.

    My hives that are insulated on all four sides with rigid foam are not totally enclosed. It is as much of a wind break as much a light insulation. Enough gaps and cracks to still allow breathability.

    Here is a hive I have wrapped completely with a commercial insulation. I did a few this way to see how they would fare. This is a complete wrap and I will need to keep an eye out for condensation issues. So far so good though.







    This is generally all I do though..Two layers of 1 1/2 above the inner cover and in lid.

    Last edited by Lauri; 11-14-2013 at 01:46 PM.

  7. #47
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    Apr 2010
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    Tipton, TN, USA
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    784

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

    Lauri,

    I tried to look through your threads and find these answers, but you have lots of posts. *grins*

    What are your dimensions on your frames? Are they exactly half of a ML frame minus saw curf or do you cut them down to a specific length? Also on your dual boxes what size wood did you use for your center divider.

    Have you built a jig/sled for doing the remilling of the end bars, or do you manually setup for each step? I'm looking at building a bunch of these this winter. Trying to decide the best way to do it.

    I.e. buying 4 end bars for each top/bottom bar from Mann Lake..

    I'm "thinking" that I can setup a sled and dado blade to speed up the milling process. Just looking to see what your doing..

    Thanks,
    -Kevin
    Solo for the last 4 Years, ~60 Hives, TF + Oils.
    http://tradingwebsites4bees.com

  8. #48
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Reno, NV
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    2,958

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

    Quote Originally Posted by KevinR View Post
    Lauri,

    I tried to look through your threads and find these answers, but you have lots of posts. *grins*

    What are your dimensions on your frames? Are they exactly half of a ML frame minus saw curf or do you cut them down to a specific length? Also on your dual boxes what size wood did you use for your center divider.

    Have you built a jig/sled for doing the remilling of the end bars, or do you manually setup for each step? I'm looking at building a bunch of these this winter. Trying to decide the best way to do it.

    I.e. buying 4 end bars for each top/bottom bar from Mann Lake..

    I'm "thinking" that I can setup a sled and dado blade to speed up the milling process. Just looking to see what your doing..

    Thanks,
    -Kevin
    I am not Laurie, But I do make my own half frames. I also make the nucs so they are made to fit the frames not the other way around. I want to be able to fit he fraems end to end to fit in a full size hive. I am then able to put them in any hive and get the queen to fill them with brood. This is part of my idea on how to produce queens with little to no impact on the other colonies. remove a frame that was placed there specifically for the purpose then return a frame later when the new queen is mated and laying. the donor hive never misses anything except for a few weeks of one frame of brood.
    The half fraems are the length of a full size frame minus the saw kerf. They are cut on my radial arm saw with a stop block. The ends are then cut using a dado blade set to a slight tilt on the table saw. use a fence to set the depth of the taper and the miter gauge to hold the pieces. I can cut 4 to 5 of them at a time this way. The set up time is huge if all you are making is a few. I like to plan on making hundreds if I am goign to go through all the set ups. The remainder of the notches on the end bar are again done with a dado and simply jigs on the table saw. I also have jigs for my radial arm saw. the dog ears are cut on a jig and the radial arm saw.

    I make my top bars from scratch. so I have jigs for every cut. including the width. length. groove if I make one. entire shape of the end including taper and notches. Making jigs pays for itself with just a hand full of bars made. Consistency is no effort. I make m jigs as mistake proof as possible this means you cannot even place them on the saw wrong. they will not fit. About the only mistake you can make is setting the depth of the cut. Take the time to make a strong quality jig and you will save yourself many hours of tedious labor over time.

    Oh always make more than you think you need. it is a pain to come up one top bar short and have to go back through every step to get it. Right now we are in the process of making 600 of them. we will make 660 to insure we do not come up short. Making your own. not every bar is a winner. you get to cull out and take the losses for the duds. For me duds usually get drawn out and saved as 5 frame nuc frames that will get sold. Get cut in half to make mini nuc frames or are otherwise used for temporary purposes.

    Here is a neat trick I found almost by accident. place a med frame in a deep box sandwiched between two deep frames. the bees will draw comb under the bottom bar. You can then cut away this comb and use it to bad into the half frames or as starter comb on new foundationless frames. The med frames comb is undamaged and can be placed back in a deep or added to a med box. In this way you can have every hive in your apiary contributing to the drawing of comb for a new hive or hives.
    Stand for what you believe, even if you stand alone.

  9. #49
    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

    Skip end bars and bottom bars. Make your top, and cut a piece of foundation fasten it securley and let them hang. Lot simpler and you can a few cells on 3 sides. They are no more prone to bur comb this way than they are with end bars

  10. #50
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Knox Co, Ohio, USA
    Posts
    830

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

    Quote Originally Posted by gmcharlie View Post
    Skip end bars and bottom bars. Make your top, and cut a piece of foundation fasten it securley and let them hang. Lot simpler and you can a few cells on 3 sides. They are no more prone to bur comb this way than they are with end bars
    Now why didn't I think of that??!!

    I'm wanting to make some half-sized frames for mating nucs. I was thinking of using just a top bar and a starter strip. But, I like the idea of cutting down foundation instead.

    Thanks,

    Tom

  11. #51
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    May 2009
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    Flora,IL
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    Default Re: How I plan on overwintering 40 mating nucs on mini frames

    Quote Originally Posted by TWall View Post
    Now why didn't I think of that??!!


    Tom
    Your Lazy cheap bone is not as well developed as mine!

  12. #52
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Cheyenne, Wyoming, USA
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    1,693

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

    Quote Originally Posted by KevinR View Post
    Lauri,

    I tried to look through your threads and find these answers, but you have lots of posts. *grins*

    What are your dimensions on your frames? Are they exactly half of a ML frame minus saw curf or do you cut them down to a specific length? Also on your dual boxes what size wood did you use for your center divider.

    Have you built a jig/sled for doing the remilling of the end bars, or do you manually setup for each step? I'm looking at building a bunch of these this winter. Trying to decide the best way to do it.

    I.e. buying 4 end bars for each top/bottom bar from Mann Lake..

    I'm "thinking" that I can setup a sled and dado blade to speed up the milling process. Just looking to see what your doing..

    Thanks,
    -Kevin
    Hey Kevin,
    I started a thread awhile back on how to mill your own frames. I think it would be extremely helpful in this process. Here is the link: http://www.beesource.com/forums/show...Photo-Tutorial

  13. #53
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Tipton, TN, USA
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    784

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

    Thanks.

    I'm going to try to set up some sleds for repeatability, but those steps will help in finalizing the goals/design.
    Solo for the last 4 Years, ~60 Hives, TF + Oils.
    http://tradingwebsites4bees.com

  14. #54
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    Jersey City, NJ
    Posts
    22

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

    For each mating nuc I need 2-3 combs of sealed and emerging brood in May. How do you get half frames drawn if it your first time/spring using it half frame mating nucs? How did you start on those for the first time?

  15. #55
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    St. Albans, Vermont
    Posts
    5,373

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

    You can cut up brood comb on a table saw and fit the comb into the empty frames. Use support pins to hold in place. Then you can add the empty combs to a strong colony, in the center of the broodnest.

    Or you can add them to an extra box on a nuc, confining the queen to the box where the empty mating combs are by an excluder.

  16. #56
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Reno, NV
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    Default Re: How I plan on overwintering 40 mating nucs on mini frames

    Darius. the need for fraems to be drawn is the reason I switched from mini nucs to queen castles. I needed the mating nucs right now as I had queen cells setting in the incubator. We then modified out mini frames so they could be hooked together and placed in a full size hive. so we put every mini frame we had in full size hives and left them there the rest of the summer. all of them now have at least some comb drawn in them. Next spring they will be placed next to the brood nest during build up and the queens from our full size colonies will fill them with brood.

    I have no idea how you would get those first fraems drawn if you do not have hives to make them. I could not get bees to stay in the mini nucs with undrawn fraems. Like Michael describes. cut comb from other frames and mount it in the mini frames.

    Now I will have 7 or 8 minin nucs that as I add queens and bees I will also add a new undrawn frame. this way for every queen I rear I also make up an additional mini frame.

    My idea is that the queen castle will be used to rear queens destined to be 5 frame nucs. the mini nucs will be used to rear queens that are either replacements, intended to be improved stock or to be sold. One way or the other they are destined to replace some other queen in an already established colony.
    Stand for what you believe, even if you stand alone.

  17. #57
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    Jersey City, NJ
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    22

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

    Mike, Lori you are up north, but I assume you tried wintering queens in a queen castle on 2-3 deeps. Do you find better survival rate on mini frames?

  18. #58
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
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    Tipton, TN, USA
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    784

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Darius View Post
    For each mating nuc I need 2-3 combs of sealed and emerging brood in May. How do you get half frames drawn if it your first time/spring using it half frame mating nucs? How did you start on those for the first time?
    My plan is to overwinter the hives with a box on top that has mini combs. The main hive will move into it naturally... By late winter/early spring they should be laying in it. But you'd have to plan in advance. The other option would be to compress the hive like some people do for comb honey and only give them the option of drawing/living in the mini combs.
    Solo for the last 4 Years, ~60 Hives, TF + Oils.
    http://tradingwebsites4bees.com

  19. #59
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Roy, Wa
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    Default Re: How I plan on overwintering 40 mating nucs on mini frames

    UPDATE: On mini nucs as shown in the original post..
    After 10 days very cold temps..a few days in the single digits-wind chill temps below 0, I went straight out to my smallest mini nuc and took a peak. Temps today reached about 45 degrees, just enough so I could crack the insulated inner cover and take a pic and glance. These were late mating nucs with a virgin introduced early August. Only on 4 -5 half sized deep frames with outside frames being totally empty, foundation only. I left them this way just to see if they would overwinter on a colony that small, in a not so perfect interior. I was glad to see they looked great. I was surprised to see how much of the sugar block they had consumed. Placed directly over the cluster, it gave them the feed they needed with out forcing them to break the cluster move.(Although these had nothing to move to) Placing frames of honey over the cluster would have given them too large an interior. When I get a day that is above 50, I will push the remaining sugar block together in the center over the cluster and will plan to replace it in a few weeks.





    These are my own line of Carnie hybrids from survivors since 2011. Washington State.

  20. #60
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
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    Tipton, TN, USA
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    Default Re: How I plan on overwintering 40 mating nucs on mini frames

    Mail that queen to me!! =)) Actually mail me her daughter after she's puts up 300lbs of honey....

    I cut pieces to make 200 mating frames yesterday... Now I just have to get motivated to cut all the end bars.. *grins*

    Looking good...
    Solo for the last 4 Years, ~60 Hives, TF + Oils.
    http://tradingwebsites4bees.com

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