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Thread: Mating Nucs

  1. #1
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    Default Mating Nucs

    A few questions here, looking for guidance, not an exact figure.

    With the mini mating nucs, how many bees are needed for those to be successful. A pint full, Quart can (don't say coffee cup, heck I came from Cajun land were they melted spoons in some of the coffee, so some cups are the size a 1/4 measuring cup it didn't eat your stomach out and then you have that new supposed great stuff mixed latte, chocolate, mint spiced monkey sorted bean coffee in mugs that take 2 measuring cups to fill. I want a actual measurement estimate.)

    If I am not looking at honey production concerns this year and would like to get a large batch of queens (large for me = 20 to 35) started in mini mating nucs, and then after she is laying, shift them into nucs. These would catch the main flow, hopefully build and then catch the fall flow of goldenrod. Might try to overwinter the queens or replace, just trying to jump start a number of smaller hives. Has anyone tried this with success and maybe have some tips.

    Thank again
    Started 9/13, building slowly, now @ 7 Lang hives + 3 nucs, and treatment style not decided yet

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Mating Nucs

    The amount of bees you need to make up a mating nuc depends on the size of the nuc! In the uk ther are numerous sizes! Mostly polystyrene unless they are home built with half size frames. A bit mor info on the type of box will help with the right amount of bees.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Mating Nucs

    Why do you want to use mini-nucs if you're just going to shift them into nucs to catch the main flow. Just get your queens mated in the nucs in the first place.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Mating Nucs

    Mike, what do you find? I find queens mated in smaller boxes come into lay faster,due to the need for brood, in Nucs there is still a lot of nurse bees and brood hatching so there does not seem to be the same urgency, Beeuk and I have had this discussion
    Kev

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Mating Nucs

    I'm replying just so I can follow the thread. I bought a mini mating nuc myself this year. I have heard 2 cups of bees for the small styrene nuc. My question is how to measure that amount. I'm assuming you brush them off frames so you are getting nurse bees.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Mating Nucs

    Depends how many you are filling, for a small amount you could put a brood on a floor with closed entrance then qx another brood, find queen and put her and frame to one side and shake enough frames off, the nurse bees go for the dark, the drones and foragers fly home, then scoop your bees up and drop them into the poly through the open floor upside down, a mist spray will help stop them flying, nor how I do it but then I never fill one at a time.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Mating Nucs

    Quote Originally Posted by beebreeder View Post
    Mike, what do you find? I find queens mated in smaller boxes come into lay faster,due to the need for brood, in Nucs there is still a lot of nurse bees and brood hatching so there does not seem to be the same urgency, Beeuk and I have had this discussion
    Kev
    I agree that very strong shook swarms take longer to get an introduced queue laying. Never compared mini nucs and standard nucs, so I can't say.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Mating Nucs

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Palmer View Post
    Why do you want to use mini-nucs if you're just going to shift them into nucs to catch the main flow. Just get your queens mated in the nucs in the first place.
    If I use a box split into 4 compartments (using mini frames), I can set up 5 to 8 of these and try to raise 20 to 32 queens. If I have 50% success, then I need to move only 5 to 8 of them into nucs, and the remainder will stay in the mating nuc as I remove deviders. Just don't have that much gear yet, but I can handle the above situation. If I am wildly successful, I will have time as the bees build to construct more gear (or offer them to someone else).

    Was thinking of something like a quart size bundle of bees into the nuc with a new queen, maybe some brood on a frame if I can, trying to get that established on mini frames at this time. Guess I am trying to maximize the best growth potential I can without huge resources. I am not interested in honey production this year, just building colonies.

    BeeBreeder - Might just try that shake method.

    Thanks for any guidance and appreciate the patience with us new folks that want to reinvent the world.
    Started 9/13, building slowly, now @ 7 Lang hives + 3 nucs, and treatment style not decided yet

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Mating Nucs

    Smallest amount of bees that's worked for me is 250 mls, once the queens are laying if you want to get another round you add another 125 mls so she can lay a bit more & the bees can cover it, pull the queen a few days later.

    Yes queens in these small nucs will often mate faster than say a 4 deep frame nuc. But they also have a higher rate of supersedure and failure after they are sold. My personal theory is the queens in the small nucs feel more urgency so mate & start laying faster. But the queens in the larger nucs can take longer and get it done right, hence the better performance after they are sold.
    44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Mating Nucs

    I don't have great experience with queen breeding and mating nucs. But I learned this way and for me as relative "green" proven safe and easy. I have mating nucs which are half frame ( vertically divided), and attach them together, with foundations usually to get them built. Then put them in a strong colonies where from I want to take the bees+stores+brood ( mainly sealed). I leave it and when I need just take one that "frame", dismantle and put in mating nuc, also one of that frame with stores and one half frame with foundation ( total 5 half frames), I shake even some bees from honey frame, put ripe queen cell and drive 3km away at other apiary.. Leave it and when time to check see if the queen is acceptable for me to take her in production colony.

    Of course the main reason why I like to put the brood in these to prevent the bees abscond mating nucs ( I read that in mating flight from such small colonies the bees sometimes all follow virgin queen out and with brood present less chance)
    This will be second season for me to work with these mating nucs and learn more of good and bad sides of it. For me it is like playing, and options to work with are many and simple..

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Mating Nucs

    Quote Originally Posted by Oldtimer View Post
    Yes queens in these small nucs will often mate faster than say a 4 deep frame nuc. But they also have a higher rate of supersedure and failure after they are sold. My personal theory is the queens in the small nucs feel more urgency so mate & start laying faster. But the queens in the larger nucs can take longer and get it done right, hence the better performance after they are sold.
    Well I will follow the advice of experience, and not looking to sell any, just to build so I really don't want excess numbers to supercede. Guess I will just use tired and proven methods until I actually have enough bees to play games with new ideas.
    Started 9/13, building slowly, now @ 7 Lang hives + 3 nucs, and treatment style not decided yet

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Mating Nucs

    Thanks everyone.
    Started 9/13, building slowly, now @ 7 Lang hives + 3 nucs, and treatment style not decided yet

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Mating Nucs

    Quote Originally Posted by Oldtimer View Post
    But the queens in the larger nucs can take longer and get it done right, hence the better performance after they are sold.
    Very interesting observation. Do you have any data to support this statement, or is it just from years of observation? Most commercial queen rearing operations use mini's, which if what you stated is true would lead one to suspect that commercially raised queens would be more likely to get superseded. Of course no one has observed that...
    Horseshoe Point Honey -- http://localvahoney.com/

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Mating Nucs

    Not had any problems with early supercedure with queens mated in clean mini nucs, anymore than queens mated in larger boxes, but the bees in mini nucs can be much more susceptible to nosema infection, so important to stock them with healthy bees in the first place, and into nucs that have been sterilised before use, and started with new starter strips each season.
    Seen some that are using dirty boxes, old combs, and layers of squat bees under the roofs and on the rims...ideal to spread Nosema, ideal to cause early supercedure.
    There was a post about someone who actually bought some queens from a commercial supplier, and sacrificed them on purpose just to test for Nosema, queens don't usually get Nosema easily, but they were riddled with it, and that supplier was not the only one with problems, led to them pumping them up with fumidil.

    I also know of one who runs a couple of thousand mini nucs, makes me cringe the amount of bees that are squashed every time they are inspected, like bee Armageddon, plus they are removed and off in the post as soon as eggs are seen, so more likely to be superseded, just on introduction.
    Last edited by beekuk; 01-09-2014 at 09:47 AM.

  15. #15
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    Default Re: Mating Nucs

    There is no study, at least that I'm aware of, re supersedure rates of queens from various nuc types, it's just an observation. Beekuk also makes a useful observation, it is a fact that breeders who sell queens from the really tiny mini nucs, have to cage them within days of them starting to lay, or the queen may abscond. This in itself causes a % of dud queens to be sold, as those with poor brood patterns or even drone layers cannot be distinguished.

    And as per Beekuk nosema can cause issues, although it does not have to automatically go hand in hand with mini nucs, long as they are run in a way that does not promote the disease.

    However a mini nuc that is 1/4 of a lang super, can actually be big enough to avoid most of those problems if run well, I was talking (believe it or not), about nucs even smaller than that.
    44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Mating Nucs

    Am working on a document on how I start a mini nuc on just foundation. Will try to post in the next week or so.

  17. #17
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  18. #18
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    Default Re: Mating Nucs

    Thanks Velbert. Very interesting.

  19. #19
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    Default Re: Mating Nucs

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Palmer View Post
    Why do you want to use mini-nucs if you're just going to shift them into nucs to catch the main flow. Just get your queens mated in the nucs in the first place.
    Exactly what I was thinking.

    My first experience, using mini mating nucs. I had a group of about a dozen mini mating nucs. I established them with nurse bees and queen cells. They built combs, the cells emerged, and when the virgins went on their mating flights, every single one, every time I tried, the entire colonies went with them, never to be seen again. That was a few years ago. Just last year I tried again, with two similar sized mini mating nucs. I managed to get three rounds of queens, successfully mated in them. At the end of the season, though, for reasons unknown, were overrun with wax moth larvae. They were strong and queenright colonies, just before succumbing. The majority of my other queens were mated in three, four, and five frame medium nucs. None of those were devastated by wax moths, though some did have wax moth problems.
    Last edited by Joseph Clemens; 01-16-2014 at 08:48 AM.
    48 years - 50 hives - TF
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  20. #20
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    Default Re: Mating Nucs

    I dont have problems with wax moths.
    Only time wax mothstake over a nuc or hive is when something is wrong with the hive no queen for a long period usually.

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