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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
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    Default How many nuc boxes do I need?

    I am getting relatively new to beekeeping and hope to expand my existing hives. I'm planning on getting 6 frame nuc boxes and wondering: Is there a recommended number of nuc boxes or a ratio of nucs to existing brood boxes? I hope to be working 40-50 hives in a year or so. I was thinking around 15-20 nuc boxes or so. Is this high or low?

    How many nuc boxes should make?

    While I am on the topic, a mating box is essentially the same as a nuc? I was planning on using the same 6 frame ones as mating boxes and introducing new queens.
    Last edited by Goldenman; 11-06-2013 at 08:29 AM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2002
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    San Mateo, CA
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    4,984

    Default Re: How many nuc boxes do I need?

    You are just "getting into beekeeping", you hope to expand to 50 hives the next year or so, and start raising queens and filling nuc boxes all at the same time?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
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    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
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    Default Re: How many nuc boxes do I need?

    Fifteen or 20 is a good number. No reason not to use them as mating nucs too. What odfrank said. Cart before horse?
    Mark Berninghausen
    Squeak Creek Apiaries



  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
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    New York City, NY
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    Default Re: How many nuc boxes do I need?

    You can take an an existing deep and turn that into a double/+ nuc. Take the sides from an unassembled deep, cut off the fingers (the top part needs to fit where the frames rest, so it takes a little thought), and use them as dividers in a deep. There's other things to do to the bottom boards, etc., but I think that you get the idea.

    You can also cut down deeps to nuc size with a circular saw.

    I hope that you like woodworking.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Rader, Greene County, Tennessee, USA
    Posts
    6,533

    Default Re: How many nuc boxes do I need?

    Welcome to Beesource!

    There are free plans for all kinds of beekeeping equipment, including two versions of nuc plans, available in the Build-It-Yourself section here:

    http://www.beesource.com/build-it-yourself/
    Graham
    USDA Zone 7A Elevation 1400 ft

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
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    West Bath, Maine, United States
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    Default Re: How many nuc boxes do I need?

    You will have a bigger need for drawn comb than nucs the first year. If you are lucky you will get that 1 in 10 queen that booms. Are you planning deeps mediums or shallows. The smaller the frame the more quickly you can devide, but the bigger the hive the faster it grows. Go figure.
    All nucs or full hives and splits to nucs. How many are you going to buy to start out?
    Yeah it is fastenating.
    4 yrs, Peak 14, back to zip, T lite; godfather to brother's 3.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
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    Default Re: How many nuc boxes do I need?

    Thanks for the replies everyone!

    Ok, I have done a little beekeeping and hoping to expand the operation. We use the deep supers. I didn't mean to suggest I am going in head first knowing nothing...

    I am just getting into the nucs and stuff. As someone who wants to increase and maintain hives, if I have 30 hives, 10-20 nucs starting out is fine? I want to try queen raising / splitting and so on so I don't want to sell myself short on nucs.

    I am aware that you can split deeps in half, but I would rather prefer individual nucs.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
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    Cookeville, TN, USA
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    Default Re: How many nuc boxes do I need?

    It's going to depend on if you overwinter nucs or not. If not then you just need enough for starter hives and mating nucs. If you overwinter in them then the sky is the limit.
    Since '09-25H-T-Z6b

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
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    McClure, OH
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    1,017

    Default Re: How many nuc boxes do I need?

    It also depends if you want to keep some of the hives back for honey production or if all goes into the increase.

    I would say 2 nucs for each deep dedicated to increase if you are serious about said increase. Early nucs build up quickly to a single, so don't forget to account for some full size boxes to handle the increase or for some extra nuc boxes to super the strong ones.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
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    Default Re: How many nuc boxes do I need?

    I was planning on overwintering them.

    I have lots of extra brood chambers and supers to account for the increase. Can I also depend on these nuc bees to draw out frames or should I put in already drawn out frames? That is besides the ones with honey/pollen/brood in them. I am thinking of having a 6 frame pattern like this E H B B H E that equates to Empty, Honey/pollen, Brood when I initially add bees to them.

  11. #11
    Join Date
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    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
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    Default Re: How many nuc boxes do I need?

    Quote Originally Posted by Goldenman View Post
    Thanks for the replies everyone!

    Ok, I have done a little beekeeping and hoping to expand the operation. We use the deep supers. I didn't mean to suggest I am going in head first knowing nothing...

    I am just getting into the nucs and stuff. As someone who wants to increase and maintain hives, if I have 30 hives, 10-20 nucs starting out is fine? I want to try queen raising / splitting and so on so I don't want to sell myself short on nucs.

    I am aware that you can split deeps in half, but I would rather prefer individual nucs.
    Well, sure, more could be better. You may not use them all the first year you have them. But if you are going to build them yourself, building more shouldn't be that big a deal once you get started. Often getting set up for production and getting started is the hardest part.

    I certainly don't see that you would need one nuc per hive. But you never really know.
    Mark Berninghausen
    Squeak Creek Apiaries



  12. #12
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
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    West Bath, Maine, United States
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    1,143

    Default Re: How many nuc boxes do I need?

    Quote Originally Posted by Goldenman View Post
    I was planning on overwintering them.

    I have lots of extra brood chambers and supers to account for the increase. Can I also depend on these nuc bees to draw out frames or should I put in already drawn out frames? That is besides the ones with honey/pollen/brood in them. I am thinking of having a 6 frame pattern like this E H B B H E that equates to Empty, Honey/pollen, Brood when I initially add bees to them.
    Looks like a good plan to me. I would use every drawn frame as soon as it will be used and add empties later. That is a density question mostly. More thinly staffed hives or fewer densely packed hives. I try to resist more hives versus packed hives, though I frequently fail to resist trying just one extra.
    Feeding early and often and including sub really does help with the drawing.
    4 yrs, Peak 14, back to zip, T lite; godfather to brother's 3.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
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    Reno, NV
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    Default Re: How many nuc boxes do I need?

    One nuc per hive is my goal. I basically look at it as part of a complete hive. I Actually mark my nucs to match the number of the hive they go to. So the nuc for hive 10 is market N10. Right now I have 8 hives and 11 nucs. Next spring I intend to make 10 more just to see how spring nucs compare to over wintered ones.

    I trend to build up nucs from a hand full of bees with a queen so the drain on resources from other colonies is minimal.
    Stand for what you believe, even if you stand alone.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
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    Cookeville, TN, USA
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    Default Re: How many nuc boxes do I need?

    Here's the thing - it will vary. I have 20-25 nucs of various configurations and degrees of jukiness. At times I use every single junky one that I can put into service and wish I had a few more. At the moment none of them are in use - most of them didn't get used this season at all. Next year I might decide that I need to build some more. As you try new things and learn what works for you your equipment needs change - at least for me it has.

    FE, after trying everything from 3 frame minis on up I have come to the conclusion (for now) that for many purposes an 8 frame medium single makes a great nuc - and doesn't require any non-standard equipment for me since 8 frame mediums are what I use anyway.
    Since '09-25H-T-Z6b

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