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Thread: Mating Nucs

  1. #21
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    Default Re: Mating Nucs

    Velbert,

    It's probably a location thing, or, since it is often fleeting - maybe an observation thing.

    A most obvious demonstration of how wax moths work, around here: For instance, when growing 5-comb, medium, top bar nucs, with strong, Langstroth nucs, being converted -> wax moths often infest the bottom-most rows of capped brood, in the new combs. It escalates, to where the bees attack the wax moth larva, tearing out the infested comb, afterwards they rebuild the affected comb. If I weren't checking these hives, nearly every day, I would likely have never witnessed this -- it all plays out very quickly. Since I'm only able to apply Bt 'Aizawai' to idle combs, or new plastic or wax foundation (and I rarely use wax foundation), it's combs, unprotected by Bt, that seem most vulnerable, and hence, affected.
    48 years - 50 hives - TF
    Joseph Clemens -- Website Under Constructioni

  2. #22
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    Default Re: Mating Nucs

    I cannot say what their succes rate is but in the video serios on skep beekeeping they show them setting up hundreds of mini mating nucs with just a cup of bees each. cup as in 8oz not coffee. I thik that works out ot around 300ish bees if my what equals what is still in tact.

    With that I tend to think a lot of the methods in those videos are geared toward volume rather than quality.

    Other information I have gatherd withthis same concern is that 1 deep full size frame of comb or equivalent and you want it farly well populated wtih bees. The number in my head in that case is clsoer to 1000 bees minimum and at least two half frames. I actually make 4 half frame mating nucs. But I do not expect to fill it with bees. it will have two drawn frames and two empty frames since I will work on queens mating and drawing comb for additional mating nucs for a while.
    Stand for what you believe, even if you stand alone.

  3. #23
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    Default Re: Mating Nucs

    If you are just mating queens to later move them into nucs you are causing your self quite a bit of extra work. Just use the cells to make up your nucs and you will be finished. There's no need to use mini mating nucs unless you plan on trying to sell queens. But, to answer your question I have used two cups of bees with success. Put the bees and the queen cell in the mini with a feeder and keep them closed up in a cool place for about 48hrs to get them started. Last year I was able to get 3 rounds of queens mated with the mini nucs before the SHB really started to decimate the mini hives.

  4. #24
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    Default Re: Mating Nucs

    John i didn't have very good results releasing bees before the queen was a full 3 days old from hatch, I released them at end of second day, out of 33 only 2 stayed with the Nuc's bees queens all were gone. From then on I would leave them closed up until the end of 4th day when using a ripe queen cell all stayed then.

  5. #25
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    Default Re: Mating Nucs

    Thanks everyone. Extra work is not a bigger right now, heck I have 3.5 hives (one queenless with worker layer - about to be combined - shook it out this evening). But I was thinking I could make more numbers of small colonies in mini nucs than I can with splits into nuc size colonies. Then move them as they build. If the flow is 3 months, they all have that period to grow. If I do splits, and wait a bit, then do more splits after bee numbers build, I am going to miss most the flow. But guess I will just raise some queens and put them into nucs this spring. Maybe next year I will play.

    Will adding a frame of capped brood help hold the small numbers of bees in the mini's?
    Started 9/13, building slowly, now @ 7 Lang hives + 3 nucs, and treatment style not decided yet

  6. #26
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    Default Re: Mating Nucs

    I had problems gettign bees to stay in the minis as well. My answer is to make my mini frame half the size of full size frames. I then fit them together into a full size frame and put them in one of my production hives. they get drawn and if placed near the brood nest they get brood put in them. I then transfer them, bees and all to the mini nuc before introducing the virgin queen. Preferably the brood will be capped by then and beginning to emerge. this makes the nuc the only home many of the bees have ever known.
    Stand for what you believe, even if you stand alone.

  7. #27
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    Default Re: Mating Nucs

    Quote Originally Posted by Oldtimer View Post
    ................ 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.
    Ok. Say what???????

    Sound like its time for OT to take a winter vacation to good ol California when fall hits the south side of the planet and plug his nose into a few thousand mini's for a month or two to get a real feel of what they act like in person. I'm sure someone would love to fund your study to test the above hypothesis as long as the conductor would pick the test subjects during the process. Airfare reimbursed as in proportion to the queens secured.

    Are larger frames better for the bees? Most likely. Has the market been willing to pay the extra few dollars for large frame queens? not yet. I'm sticking with the mini's till OT helps me test his theory three years in a row and their is financially proven benefit to dumping the mini's.

    For all those wishing to get in the queen production racket here's a new opportunity for someone to specialize in... TF LF NMM's GBQ's ( Treatment Free Large frame No more mini's Gently bred queens.) $35 us each?

  8. #28
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    Default Re: Mating Nucs

    You think I have to go to California to learn anything? Strange as it may sound I have been in the business have worked with thousands of nucs and do know how it's done and what is needed for different nuc types & it's all happened outside California.

    However I know it's about price. If breeders want to sell queens for $20 as in your country and that's all people will pay then that's what's going to happen. Agreed. I can also say that a lot of NZ queens that went to Canada were done in minis and I'm talking tiny, probably cos of price.

    I'll tell you how what I consider extreme mini nuc queen raising is done. Not by me but I've seen it. The nuc is a piece of 4 inch pipe. It's cut to a length maybe 12 inches, at a guess. It gets a lid with a foundation strip glued, a queen cell and tin of bees. Locked in a shed for 3 days so the cell will hatch then trucked out each one is hung on a stick poked into the ground. The sites look real strange with hundreds of these things sticking out of the ground.

    When the queens should be mated the pipes all get thrown on a truck again & taken back to a shed for caging. People are standing at benches & truck loads of these things are brought in. They get smacked on the bench the comb is looked at to see if there are eggs if so the queen that came out is caged. I was told mating is sometimes as low as 20%.

    I wanted a breed those guys have so they gave me 2 caged queens. One turned out OK, the other was so small I don't think it could possibly be mated, but introduced it to a hive anyway, it never laid an egg and eventually disappeared.

    Instead of me going to California to "get a real feel of what they act like in person", why don't you just tell me now how you would judge the quality of a queen with a system like that. I'm all ears.
    Last edited by Oldtimer; 01-17-2014 at 09:17 AM.
    44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).

  9. #29
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    Default Re: Mating Nucs

    Before the six guns come out you might agree on the definition of "tiny". That may be more of the problem than your experiences.
    4 yrs, Peak 14, back to zip, T lite; godfather to brother's 3.

  10. #30
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    Default Re: Mating Nucs

    Definition of tiny? Well I don't really know. But nucs that allow the queen 2 or 3 square inches of comb she can lay in will sometimes cause the queen to abscond if she is not caged soon enough, and have other problems that affect the queen such as temperature, nutrition, and she cannot get into the swing of laying before being shipped.

    The six guns? Well that comment made me re read my post I guess it did come over a bit aggressive wasn't meant to be that way though. If I do get to California I'll look you up Honey4All, would be a great experience for me, you'll find me pretty agreeable in person.
    44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).

  11. #31
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    Default Re: Mating Nucs

    Our mini's have 3 frames of about 12 square inches each side on them. We wait to pick till the brood is capped. By that time one can see if the pattern is a bust, roaring, or somewhere in between. depending on the forecast we use anywhere from .25 to .33 pounds of bees per cell.

    The idea of a single frame in a tube with a transfer directly to a nuc without picking is something I ought to test in a few months.. Like all methods it all sounds great till you try it and end up just finding some other bottleneck in production.

    Do the tube guys color the tubes or are they just straight white pvc. Do they use thick or thin wall pipe?

  12. #32
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    Default Re: Mating Nucs

    The mini's that I'm using are 2 medium combs cut in half... So 4 mini frames...roughly 5.625 by 7.25" of comb per frame... or about 2.5 times bigger than the little Styrofoam ones... I had no problems with the queens I mated in them, but I've only mated ~50-60 queens in them so far with 15 minis..... Except for the week that some raccoon went on a queen eating rampage.... *grumbles* I've made another 50 and plan on making at least another 150 before spring. Doubt I'll have all the combs drawn out in the beginning, but should have most of them by fall. I'm thinking about dropping in a new frame in each mini nuc with each cell. That will allow me to make 1 new mating nuc from every 3 that I put in cells in.. Assuming the bees keep them drawn and laid. This will also allow the queen to potentially have a free frame to lay in.

    I believe that weather/drone availability is much more of a issue than the size of the nuc. At least in my experience.
    Solo for the last 4 Years, ~60 Hives, TF + Oils.
    http://tradingwebsites4bees.com

  13. #33
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    Default Re: Mating Nucs

    Well if you wait to cage till brood is capped and there's enough to check the pattern well that means you'll catch the shonky ones so shouldn't be too bad, when I said tiny I was talking smaller, and the method used was not catching spotty layers or drone layers. Re the tubes they looked to be white PVC although I'm not 100% certain on that, no idea if they were thick or thin walled. If I can find it on the old computer I think there is a pic of an apiary of them if it's still there I'll post it.
    44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).

  14. #34
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    Default Re: Mating Nucs

    http://naturesnectar.blogspot.com/20...n-rearing.html

    The ones at this website are the little Styrofoam ones that I was talking about... The comb is roughly 3.5x4 inches... I didn't have very good luck with these, between absconding and shb. They were too small... They probably work better up north than the do in the south, but that's just theory on my part.

    I'm not yet sure if the medium height ones will be big enough, but they worked well for the last 1.5 years on the limited runs that I have.. I might end up with deep ones like Lauri's, but I'm going to try mediums first. Since the majority of my gear is medium height.

    Square inch of comb per frame is 14" in the small ones vs ~40 in the ones I'm using and ~66" on the deep version.
    Solo for the last 4 Years, ~60 Hives, TF + Oils.
    http://tradingwebsites4bees.com

  15. #35
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    Default Re: Mating Nucs

    Kevin the cut in half medium size ones you mention is a pretty decent size in the world of mini nucs should be fine long as they are managed right.
    44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).

  16. #36
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    Default Re: Mating Nucs

    Quote Originally Posted by Oldtimer View Post
    ........ If I can find it on the old computer I think there is a pic of an apiary of them if it's still there I'll post it.
    I'd like to see that OT
    LeeB
    I try to learn from my mistakes, and from yours when you give me a heads up :)

  17. #37
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    Default Re: Mating Nucs

    I will be set back at least 2 yrs with this springs start from last August's pesticide event. Sick bees do not make bees that winter well.
    I have been toying with various mini hive ideas as a way to make bees from small starts. Not as a queen method but as an increase method. From this post and historical ones as well as the you tube mini hive videos I am narrowing the plans.

    Really like the sq inch descriptions for mini sizes.

    Thoughts;
    1. Ratio of lenght to width seems important.
    2. Bees to sq in is as important as # of bees, too many as bad as too few.
    3 Speculating that location matters a lot. Even one feral large hive nearby, I would think, would greatly complicate absconding.
    4.I am leaning towards a set up mimicing Lauri's cross half frame to full frame in a smaller version. My thought is two 1/4 length medium frames for mating with a follower. Growing through 1/4 sizes onto 1/2 size cross frame and then up Velbert style into 1/2 frames then splitting up to a Lauri cross configuration to make the tansition to full frames.

    Greatly appreciate any warnings or observations.
    4 yrs, Peak 14, back to zip, T lite; godfather to brother's 3.

  18. #38
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    Default Re: Mating Nucs

    Quote Originally Posted by Honey-4-All View Post

    For all those wishing to get in the queen production racket here's a new opportunity for someone to specialize in... TF LF NMM's GBQ's ( Treatment Free Large frame No more mini's Gently bred queens.) $35 us each?

    Actually I get $40. and can't keep up with the demand





    I didn't read through this whole thread so if my comments are repetitive, please excuse me.
    The small nucs do the job, but as soon as the queen is out of room to lay and she is supressed, her quality decreases in a hurry. Pretty hard to get her momentum back, if it ever really returns in full, I'm not sure. Might as well bank them at that point. I would probably actually rather install a virgin queen than a mated queen that had been suppressed . They both take about the same time to get with it, but the suppressed queen just doesn't have the same 'enthusiasm effect' on the colony compared one that has never been suppressed. In my experience I believe it is a significant factor in future performance.
    *

    I can leave them this size mating nuc longer than a smaller mini.




    I don't like the mini's but have them around for back up. You just have to get them out before all the available room is used up.



    One scoop of young bees is sufficient if the weather is warm enough. Leave them all together overnight in a larger cluster , allowing the foragers to fly back to the old location. Take what's left and scoop them up. Drop in a virgin quen and confine for 24 hours. I never have absconding issues, even with a nuc this small. But they know no other home. Feeding is an issue with these. If you have even a single drawn comb with feed you are set.



    Here is one way to feed to get them started. Scrap cage wire, a couple staples at the bottom and a handy dandy zip tie :

    Last edited by Lauri; 01-19-2014 at 02:04 PM.

  19. #39
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    Default Re: Mating Nucs

    I don't think the ratio of length to width really matters... I "believe" that you should have at least 3 combs... That provides a protected comb in the middle. I don't believe it matters if they are short/long or deep/shallow within reason.

    I think you should standardize whatever it is your going to do, if you plan to do more of it in the future.

    I prefer the square'ish shaped boxes to the skinny boxes... I tried 2 frame nucs, but I couldn't fit my hand in there to catch the side/bottom running queens. The 4 half frame width provides an easier solution.

    Next to that, I think the big issue is not to have to many bees in the box. I have hard times requeening large hives, but I can requeen 5 frame or smaller nucs fairly easily.

    I believe the 8oz cup of bees, or ladle of bees that you see in the youtube videos is probably the smallest I would go. You need enough bees to cover the brood and account for them dying before the new brood emerges.

    My plan is to build supers that have a runner in the middle. I plan to place my half frames in the supers and on the hive before the flow and feed. This "should" get the bees drawing the foundation and hopefully laying eggs.

    Once it gets closer to mating time, I will split all those "supers" into 4 four frame nucs with attached bees and place a cell.

    That's my rough plan, will see how it needs to be modified in a few months.

    I did this last year with "decent" success.... If I hadn't been attacked by the queen munching raccoon. I believe it would have been better. This year I'm either placing 4x4 posts with a platform for the nucs, or t-posts with the platform. The nucs will be strapped down. The bricks that I had on them previously didn't slow down the masked bandit..
    Solo for the last 4 Years, ~60 Hives, TF + Oils.
    http://tradingwebsites4bees.com

  20. #40
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    Default Re: Mating Nucs

    Quote Originally Posted by KevinR View Post
    I don't think the ratio of length to width really matters... I "believe" that you should have at least 3 combs... That provides a protected comb in the middle. I don't believe it matters if they are short/long or deep/shallow within reason.

    You're not the first to recommend using three frames.


    If we are to have this [a] quart of bees work to the best advantage, something depends upon the sort of hive they are domiciled in. A single comb, long and narrow, so as to string the bees out in one thin cluster, is very bad economy. Two combs would do very much better, but three would be a great deal better still. It is like scattering the firebrands widely apart; one alone will soon go out; two placed side by side will burn quite well; and three will make quite a fire. It is on this account that I would have a nucleus of three, instead of one or two frames. The bees seem to seek naturally a space between two combs; and the queen seldom goes to the outside comb of a hive, unless she is obliged to for want of room.
    Root, A. I., ABC of Bee Culture, 1891, A. I. Root Co., p. 205

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