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Thread: Mini Mating Nuc

  1. #1
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    Default Mini Mating Nuc

    Hello, I'm looking to build or buy some mini mating nucs for queen mating and just wanted to get some opinions from people who have used them. I have used a queen castle(3 sets of 3 deep frames) and 5 frame nucs but would like to try something that utilizes a little less resources. I found plans for both 3 and 4 frame mini nucs and noticed Mann Lake sells a 3 frame styrofoam mini. Thanks

  2. #2
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    Battle Ground , Washington, USA
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    Default Re: Mini Mating Nuc

    I made some for myself , they use 3 half deep frames. they were plastic frames and I roto zipped them in half, then made the nuc boxes to fit..they work great but they can fill up quick with bees if you leave them to long. I slotted the back end for a boardman feeder the front just has a 3/4 hole
    I'm not tense, Just terribly, terribly alert!

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Mini Mating Nuc

    Go to the online catalog. *www.beeworks.com
    Go to page 2 on queen rearing

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Mini Mating Nuc

    Bee works top bar mini nuc. The end with the sealed honey is a feeder will hold a pint of feed


  5. #5
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    Default Re: Mini Mating Nuc

    I started with 4 half frame deep mini nucs. converted to queen castle (10 frame deep with 4 compartments two deep frames each). Uses exactly the same amount of resources without the hassle of half frames. They serve barely long enough to get a queen mated and confirmed. don't slack on moving them to a 5 frame. Frames can be hard to remove from such a narrow space. I never did get a queen started in the mini nucs because I had to stop and get comb drawn in them. I will attempt to mate queens in them next spring.

    Adding bees to a half frame is also a pain so I am going to attempt to get them filled with brood before transferring them to the nuc. my half frames attach together and will fit in a full size box.

    I see pluses and minuses in both cases. I only got 50% success in getting queens mated which worked out great for moving frames to 5 frame nucs. Not so good for mating rate.
    Stand for what you believe, even if you stand alone.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Mini Mating Nuc

    I started raising a few queens this past season, and I used 5 frame nucs. It takes more bees to raise queens, but if you don't use the queens right a way, you can just leave them in the nuc and they do fine. I think they mate better and definitely start laying better because of the extra room. If you don't use the queen you can easily grow them into a hive and add to your apiary, or sell as a 10 frame hive. If you are raising a few queens for yourself and a few extra for friends then I think nucs are definitely the way to go. If a full commercial queen operation is your plan then obviously the more queens you can raise on the least amount of resources is the way to go, but don't sacrifice quality for quantity.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Mini Mating Nuc

    This is 1/2 length 4 frame medium depth Mini Nuc
    Very well mated and laying queen you can evaluate this by the solid brood pattern not the size of the frame


    Here is a very good laying queen from a 5 frame deep mating nuc.
    She don't look any better than the queen out of the 4 frame mini nuc

    I the a lot of good laying queens come from a well fed graft and plenty of available drones to mate withand good weather for mating flights.
    What ever you use you have to learn to work and figure out how to applied the best usage of product

    Last edited by Velbert; 11-03-2013 at 08:07 AM.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Mini Mating Nuc

    Here is another 4 frame 1/2 length medium depth
    Her pattern don't look as good. And here you will need to learn how to figure out is she not mated well or has there been a problem nuc mites or did they have a lay worker that has messed up the available cells for her to lay in because there may have been drone brood on some worker cells or disease like post mite syndrome or some other factor.


    This is a video tap

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Mini Mating Nuc

    Here's another well mated and laying queen in a WWW.beeworks.com mini mating nuc
    And you don't have to let them be sealed just let the eggs hatch you will see the same pattern
    And the way to achieve this make sure they have good empty brood combs to lay in


  10. #10
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    Default Re: Mini Mating Nuc

    I am actually going to sell these mini mating nucs. They take three half sized top bars which are included in most of them. I believe I have 19 of them. $10.00 each of you buy them all and pick them up-so you would have to be local. Shipping probably would cost more than they are worth. You just shake some young bees into a box and scoop them up to fill the nuc. Easy to do and doesn't take many resources, , but my climate is a bit too cool for this small nuc and I prefer larger ones.











    Some are screened bottoms, some are solid. Some have lid with hinge, some are migratory style.

    No interior feeders, I feed them the same as the larger mating nucs I use now> Just get a small thin piece of plywood with a screened hole in the top. Invert mason jar over screen.





    If I have to feed in the fall or rain, I just put a coffee can or flower pot over the jar to keep it dry or avoid attracting robbers.



    I'm in Roy Washington
    Last edited by Lauri; 11-03-2013 at 07:48 PM.

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Mini Mating Nuc

    Quote Originally Posted by BGhoney View Post
    I made some for myself , they use 3 half deep frames. they were plastic frames and I roto zipped them in half, then made the nuc boxes to fit..they work great but they can fill up quick with bees if you leave them to long. I slotted the back end for a boardman feeder the front just has a 3/4 hole
    I put slots on the back of the last bunch of 5 frame nucs I built, they work great. I have tried the plastic but the bees don't seem to draw it out as well as wax foundation for me.

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Mini Mating Nuc

    Quote Originally Posted by Bill91143 View Post
    I started raising a few queens this past season, and I used 5 frame nucs. It takes more bees to raise queens, but if you don't use the queens right a way, you can just leave them in the nuc and they do fine. I think they mate better and definitely start laying better because of the extra room. If you don't use the queen you can easily grow them into a hive and add to your apiary, or sell as a 10 frame hive. If you are raising a few queens for yourself and a few extra for friends then I think nucs are definitely the way to go. If a full commercial queen operation is your plan then obviously the more queens you can raise on the least amount of resources is the way to go, but don't sacrifice quality for quantity.
    Bill i'm just north of you in Nelson County Ky. I used 5 frame deeps and a queen castle earlier this year but would like to try and utilize my resource bees better. Mainly for queens I raise for other people.

    Quote Originally Posted by Daniel Y View Post
    I started with 4 half frame deep mini nucs. converted to queen castle (10 frame deep with 4 compartments two deep frames each). Uses exactly the same amount of resources without the hassle of half frames. They serve barely long enough to get a queen mated and confirmed. don't slack on moving them to a 5 frame. Frames can be hard to remove from such a narrow space. I never did get a queen started in the mini nucs because I had to stop and get comb drawn in them. I will attempt to mate queens in them next spring.

    Adding bees to a half frame is also a pain so I am going to attempt to get them filled with brood before transferring them to the nuc. my half frames attach together and will fit in a full size box.

    I see pluses and minuses in both cases. I only got 50% success in getting queens mated which worked out great for moving frames to 5 frame nucs. Not so good for mating rate.
    I like that idea, I may try my queen castle with just 2 deeps instead of 3.

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Mini Mating Nuc

    Quote Originally Posted by Velbert View Post
    Bee works top bar mini nuc. The end with the sealed honey is a feeder will hold a pint of feed

    Your pictures are Great! Are the top bars in the Bee Works nuc half width bars and how deep are they?

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Mini Mating Nuc

    Quote Originally Posted by Lauri View Post
    I am actually going to sell these mini mating nucs. They take three half sized top bars which are included in most of them. I believe I have 19 of them. $10.00 each of you buy them all and pick them up-so you would have to be local. Shipping probably would cost more than they are worth. You just shake some young bees into a box and scoop them up to fill the nuc. Easy to do and doesn't take many resources, , but my climate is a bit too cool for this small nuc and I prefer larger ones.
    I'm in KY but wish I lived closer that's a heck of a deal! I tried to edit my location but it won't let me. Are the larger ones you use now just half length 5 frame deeps?

  15. #15
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    Default Re: Mini Mating Nuc

    Yes, I get my frames and cut them down. Remill them and make 9 1/4" half deeps. I've tried many mating nuc sizes and types and like these frames the best. You have less outside frame exposure and more interior frame exposure, when you compare five deep half frames to two standard deeps. That means they will be more apt to lay up more cells even in cold weather when avoiding the outside frame.

    I will be milling up at least another 1000 of these this winter. Not hard to do, but time consuming. I wouldn't bother if they were not worth it. I actually really like working with them in the hives. I also like the way the bees draw them out in a large hive setting. I can aggressivly alternate them with drawn frames and they work them in a flash.


  16. #16
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    Default Re: Mini Mating Nuc

    When my local customers come over to get a queen, they are welcome to look in the nuc as I collect her. If they don't have time and want her ready to go when they get here I can take a photo of her on the frame so they can see what she looks like and see she was laying well. Information about her genetics included.
    I have not even come close to producing enough queens to satisfy my local customers-so I don't ship yet. My price reflects some personal customer service and unique local genetics.

    This is how it looks :





    I also take a video or photo of each breeder queen, so if the customer is really interested, they can see just where their new queen came from and the hives traits.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w-VW_PMRHCs

    Here's a just hatched daughter hot out of the incubator, from the breeder queen in video shown above, licking honey off my finger.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i50Yf8vVGWY

    Most people don't care about any of this, but some do.
    Last edited by Lauri; 11-03-2013 at 02:40 PM.

  17. #17
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    Default Re: Mini Mating Nuc

    The picture of my deep is a full length deep 5 frame nuc

  18. #18
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    Default Re: Mini Mating Nuc

    The beeworks topbar frames are only about 6" long 2 frames in front are about 4" deep the 2 frames closes to the feeder end are about 5" deep

  19. #19
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    Default Re: Mini Mating Nuc

    I've tried several different configurations/types of mini mating nucs. I've had little positive results; first attempt, all the virgins departed on their mating flights and the majority of the worker populations departed with them, producing a virtual absconding event. Despite the use of fewer resources, it would have been even more economical if the results had actually produced some queens. At least the queens had escaped to the local feral environment, hopefully, successfully.

    Also, when I want to use the queens in mating nucs, or grow mating nucs into full-size colonies, it is quite problematic to utilize the mini nuc resources to accomplish that goal. Similar to the reason for using gear with all one size frame, using all normal size frames, in various sized nucs, for mating, certainly simplifies all necessary manipulations.
    48 years - 50 hives - TF
    Joseph Clemens -- Website Under Constructioni

  20. #20
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    Default Re: Mini Mating Nuc

    I agree with Joseph about all one size gear. If I was smart I'd heed that advise. But if you are on a smaller, more manageable scale and don't mind making custom stuff, mini's are workable.

    I've actually never had a single mini abscond. But I overwinter large colonies on mini's, move almost the entire hive in spring and let the foragers fly back to the old location where the established queen and any open brood is waiting. I give them new frames to draw out, feed them and let them rebuild.

    After 2 or 3 days( So I can find and easily remove all wild queen cells) I take the remaining frames of young bees, capped brood and feed from the hive I moved and distribute to the mating nucs as the virgins hatch out in the incubator. The bees on these frames are all young-so they are very receptive to the direct release of virgin and will stay put in the new nuc, avoiding chilled brood. No one will fly back to the old hive, because any that were old enough to do so, already did. Your mating nuc stays as strong as you make it. This also gives me a lot of time to leasurly make up the mating nucs and place the queens as they hatch, usually over a 24 hour period. Wild cells are removed, new nuc is assembled and virgin queen is installed all at once. No further disturbance is required

    Note: You must be sure you have plenty of young bees in the hive or they'll all fly back and leave the brood to chill. Install the moved hive on a solid bottom board and control drafts.

    Here is a divided 10 frame deep. You can start out just a few frames of bees and brood with a follower board, but you have enough room to grow, eventually into over wintering strength with your last round of queens.





    There are lots of mating nucs types and sizes that will work. It just depends on your style and what's available to you. I like a larger one myself. I mark my queens at hatching time so I don't mind a more populated nuc. I also leave the queen in the mating nucs for a while until they are sold or needed so I don't like restricting a young queen from laying. Even in a five frame deep half frame size (Equivelent 2 1/2 deep standard frames) , she will lay it up mighty fast and have no where else to lay. Once they lose their momentum, it takes a while to get it back. You are almost better off to install a virgin compared to a queen that has been supressed. The productivity ends up being pretty close to the same, once the mated queen is accepted in a new hive and starts laying well again. At lease in my experience.

    Of course you could have smaller nucs if you can remove them on time on a schedule so they don't get supressed. As soon as they lay it up, they are out, new virgin in. The scheduling is still a little tricky for me at this point. If you banked them it would be easier, but the you get back to that interupted laying or suppression.

    Here is a couple more photos of half sized deeps in standard box's-just stack'em up for a standard size hive
    With a simple divider stapled in, you can use this deep with standard frames or mini frames..room for interior feeder on the other side of the board. They will never cross and make a mess.



    here's the same box with mini frames and a feeder. No need to put the standard frame in there. I just did it to show you could. (It could be a honey frame for feeding instead of feeder.)


    Same box-occupied:



    I've overwintered these smaller frames, five deeps high, with excellent results. With that big empty spot on one side you'd think it would cause chilling or invite a burr comb mess. Nope. it works surprisingly well. If you look closely you will see this is two deeps, stacked. I removed three deeps of capped honey right before I took this photo. The left side is totally clean. No comb. They just won't occupy that side, even though they have access to do so.

    Need frames drawn out? Toss them over standard frames. Different directions? No matter, no mess.


    Or you can make your mini frames and install a package on the in spring. Gets them drawn out in a hurry.




    Mini frames all cut and milled ready for assembly. Cut your rite cell with miter saw.






    You'd think I was trying to sell mini frames here, LOL. I do like them. But I also have at least half my mating nucs on standard frames. They start out as mating nucs but are grown to overwintering nucs.

    Probably too much information...Now you're really confused
    Last edited by Lauri; 11-03-2013 at 04:28 PM.

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