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Thread: Mating Nucs

  1. #41
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
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    Jefferson Co, TX
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    545

    Default Re: Mating Nucs

    Lauri, Kevin, and Michael, - now that is the stuff/information we newbees can use.
    Started 9/13, building slowly, now @ 7 Lang hives + 3 nucs, and treatment style not decided yet

  2. #42
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Heavener Oklahoma
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    928

    Default Re: Mating Nucs

    In my ( bee works 4 frame top bar styrofoam) mating Nuc out of 200 nuc's I got 3.5 sell able queens and for the year it took 11 lbs of syrup to get them through a year per Nuc. That was a hot dry year, took about 3 1/2 55 gallon barrels of syrup. Saved the last queen and wintered them.
    Last edited by Velbert; 01-20-2014 at 09:46 AM.

  3. #43
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
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    West Bath, Maine, United States
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    1,065

    Default Re: Mating Nucs

    Velbert, I've seen a variety of your nucs. Which length bar is the above post? Thanks.
    4 yrs, Peak 14, back to zip, T lite; godfather to brother's 3.

  4. #44
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Heavener Oklahoma
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    928

    Default Re: Mating Nucs

    I posted picture
    These were started with 1.5 cups of bees from the brood nest of a well crowded colony. Shook into bulk box and left there for 2 full days will feed them all they could eat and when nuc was stocked with these bees they had began production of wax from their glands.They was started on about 1.25" stater strips of wax foundation and a ripe queen cell and place in my little dark air condition room left there four days and at about dark at the end of 4th day set them on location and opened them up.
    Last edited by Velbert; 01-20-2014 at 07:22 PM. Reason: added

  5. #45
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    Heavener Oklahoma
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    Default Re: Mating Nucs

    1Gallon of bees is just a little bit over 3 lbs at about 3500 bees per 1 lb. 3 lbs of bees = 10,500 bees

    1 Gallon = 4 quarts
    1 Gallon = 8 pints
    1 Gallon = 16 cups

    1 Quart of bees is about 12 ounces
    1 Pint of bees 6 ounces
    1 Cup of bees 3 ounces

    10,500 bees 16 cups = 656.25 bees per cup

    I like to use 1.5 cups of bees in my
    (WWW.beeworks.com) mating nucs

    In my 1/2 length 6.25" medium 4 frame mating nuc that have approximately 1,700 cell per frame counting both sides of the frame I like puting a PINT of bulk bees in, about 1300 bees for building my combs.
    Last edited by Velbert; 01-22-2014 at 05:34 AM.

  6. #46
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    Feb 2012
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    West Bath, Maine, United States
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    Default Re: Mating Nucs

    Velbert, thank you for the data. I was getting lost with the photos of the Beeworks frames on your site. Did not look like half frames because they are not. Very generous with your site info.

    Question of the expansion you get with your stacked 4 frame mediums. Do they expand faster with the (4) 1/2 frame nucs adding another above it than a 2 full frame nuc would expand sideways into a single 4 full frame nuc? Just seems like the heat distribution would be better in the square than the rectangle, especially in the spring and winter.

    Wow, that is an awkward question but I hope you get the drift.
    4 yrs, Peak 14, back to zip, T lite; godfather to brother's 3.

  7. #47
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    Mar 2006
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    928

    Default Re: Mating Nucs

    Yes Saltybee your welcome
    they expand a lot quicker all being equal and if its 4 1/2 frames with foundation the frames are built better from top to bottom and end to end.
    Last edited by Velbert; 01-22-2014 at 04:22 PM. Reason: added

  8. #48

    Default Re: Mating Nucs

    I totally agree with Michael Palmer. Unless you are producing queens for sale, it is far better to get new queens established on full sized frames right from the start. There is no interruption to your colony build-up, there is much less risk of absconding and you leave yourself several options:
    1) Overwinter your new colony in a small hive (I use 6-frame Dadant hives for this). This was the method favoured by Brother Adam at Buckfast Abbey.
    2) Combine your new colony with an older one at the end of the summer by simply placing its frames into the middle of the old colony (having first removed the old queen). A dusting of icing sugar for all the bees involved helps a lot.
    3) Combine two new colonies into one big hive after removing the weaker of the two queens.

    Option 1 works really well. You use the new queen which you will have produced during the summer to replace an old one in the following spring. You know she is strong because she has successfully overwintered. Using this method, the old queen who will have lived through 3 winters and 2+ complete laying seasons is ready to be replaced. There will be no interruption to the colony's spring build-up as the new queen is herself in full laying condition when she arrives. If you introduce the new queen when there is a good nectar flow you should have no problems with acceptance by the old colony.

    One little trick. Unless the old queen is really failing, you might decide not to kill her but rather to put her into the little colony that your new queen has come from. This not only gives you some insurance against the possibility that your new queen is rejected but also, it keeps the little colony going until such time as you have a new queen cell to put in it (which might be a month or two later).

    07012011.02.small.JPG
    Bees at the entrance of a 6-frame Dadant hive. This picture was taken on January 7th 2011
    Last edited by Constant Gardener; 01-23-2014 at 08:19 AM.

  9. #49
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    West Bath, Maine, United States
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    Default Re: Mating Nucs

    Quote Originally Posted by marshmasterpat View Post
    A few questions here, looking for guidance, not an exact figure.

    just trying to jump start a number of smaller hives. Has anyone tried this with success and maybe have some tips.

    Thank again
    It is not a question of is larger better. If you have the bees and forage to support full nucs then why not do it that way. (Well maybe equipment and weight are also why not for some.)

    My land is ledge and pine trees. My neighbors mow their fields twice a week. My brother's hives are 1/4 mile away and easily bring in 6 fold the forage. Saltybee is in honor of the cold ocean spring winds. So the easiest way for me to keep bees is to move, but I like walking out the back door to the bees and that is physically easier than driving.

    For me it is what will work best for myself out of the various successful methods others are using. Small mating nucs have not worked well for me in the past for all the usual reasons. Several very informative nuc posts in the last year may change that. Good stuff.
    4 yrs, Peak 14, back to zip, T lite; godfather to brother's 3.

  10. #50
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
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    Jefferson Co, TX
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    545

    Default Re: Mating Nucs

    Lauri - I am assuming the large size welded wire is to hold comb in place, sort of like rubber bands after cutouts?

    Well I now have some 1/4 sized mating nucs. guess I will see if they work. Started them about 2 months ago, then set them aside to finish more mediums. Hope they work ok, gives bees less comb they have to build quickly, and I can slide a frame of capped brood out sooner (because it will fill faster) to keep a queen busy for a bit longer.

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

  11. #51
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
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    Roy, Wa
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    Default Re: Mating Nucs

    Quote Originally Posted by marshmasterpat View Post
    Lauri - I am assuming the large size welded wire is to hold comb in place, sort of like rubber bands after cutouts?
    Every one likes to use rubber bands. I find they are not near strong enough to hold comb if it has any honey or weight to in it. Especially of the comb is new and soft. The scrap cage wire holds comb securely in place and the bees just build over it. I use these for my cut outs.




    I find placing a small single section of comb in the center is better that filling the entire frame with multiple sections as show below.



    With a single section of comb in the center of the frame it gives them room to draw out and fill in the rest in an orderly fashion.

    Multi pal sections are not organized the correct way and once the brood has hatched and honey consumed, they will not work them well or will abandon them.

    Photo below is the same frame as the first photo, after it has been worked for a few weeks.



    The photo above is my inspiration for using a 3/4 sheet of rite cell in my deep frames.

    I'm assured of worker sized cell being drawn in the center, it gives them room on the sides for drone comb which I have the option to cut out for mite control-or if the frames are above the brood nest for honey comb harvest. I look forward to seeing if frames like this will encourage more feed to be stored near the brood nest, especially in fall. Although it is no big deal, it could keep them in the bottom box.

    Also, will more available area for feed storage near the brood nest help avoid backfilling and swarming ? We will see.

    Partial foundation also gives the comb the stability it needs in a deep frame, while having some benefits of foundationless.
    Plus it stretched my foundation costs. At over $100. a case now, stretching foundations costs by 1/3 = $30. savings per case.
    I hate feeding and hate paying for rite cell. But I do it because I love the results.





    Guess what I use the 5" I cut off the sheet for?



    This is what those frames look like in winter. Lots of feed around the sides. The center of this frame was full of open nectar/syrup, but is worker sized cells and will soon be full of brood.



    Here's a box of collected comb sitting where the entrance was in an old cedar log. Just collecting up the rest of the bees form the cut out.



    Yes, I got the queen This hive is overwintering extremely well in 4 deeps..and they are all packed.



    Wild colonies Collected from this area with queens this color have been really fantastically vigorous and productive. This cut out dropped a surprising amount of mites in late summer. But the hive was un phased by the mite load. It's outcrossed vigor will be a good addition to my genetics and in return daughters from this queen will benefit from crossing with the VSH genetics I already have here. I wish I had II equipment. I'd like to control some of these lines before they become too diluted.
    Last edited by Lauri; 01-24-2014 at 08:09 AM.

  12. #52
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    Feb 2013
    Location
    Clover, WV
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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.
    Since you brought this up, what is the benefit of using the mini hives and frames, rather than a 2 frame standard of any size? Lots of the older bee books have nucs set up in standard equipment, with follower boards in place to cut down on space until the bees need more room. Is the only benefit less woodenware, or is there something with the shape of the minis that help the bees?
    John Sampson-Tucker County, WV
    14 hives - All cutouts and swarms

  13. #53
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    Dec 2008
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    Solano, California, USA
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    Default Re: Mating Nucs

    Quote Originally Posted by Cub View Post
    Since you brought this up, what is the benefit of using the mini hives and frames?
    Commercially bulk bees have a value of $10-12 a pound in my area. That's 75 cents saved for every ounce you do NOT put in a mating nuc. Heat conservation and production is a big issue in a nuc. The fine line between quality and expense has to intersect at some point in queen production. A 2 or 3 dollar difference per nuc multiplied by thousands adds up to be a large chunk of change...... and a lot more work.

  14. #54
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    Default Re: Mating Nucs

    5 half sized deeps have more interior (Warm) surface area than 2 standard deep frames. They lay them up and sustain better in cooler climates like mine.
    In warmer climates you can get away with very small minis

    Compare this frame to those that I use. (Photo from one of my facebook friends in the Middle East)



    I'm overwintering many mini nucs of five half deeps. I'd never try that with on 2 standard frames.
    Last edited by Lauri; 01-24-2014 at 09:35 AM.

  15. #55
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    Feb 2013
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    Clover, WV
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    Default Re: Mating Nucs

    Quote Originally Posted by Honey-4-All View Post
    Commercially bulk bees have a value of $10-12 a pound in my area. That's 75 cents saved for every ounce you do NOT put in a mating nuc. Heat conservation and production is a big issue in a nuc. The fine line between quality and expense has to intersect at some point in queen production. A 2 or 3 dollar difference per nuc multiplied by thousands adds up to be a large chunk of change...... and a lot more work.
    Excellent answer. For my situation, I now have 7 hives and hope to maybe make it to 15-20 maximum. If there was a possibility of selling a few nucs here and there, that would be nice as well. For me, does it make sense to start building the minis at all? I like to build things, but adding another frame size doesn't sounds appetizing.
    John Sampson-Tucker County, WV
    14 hives - All cutouts and swarms

  16. #56
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    Default Re: Mating Nucs

    Quote Originally Posted by Lauri View Post
    5 half sized deeps have more interior (Warm) surface area than 2 standard deep frames. They lay them up and sustain better in cooler weather.

    I'm overwintering many mini nucs of five half deeps. I'd never try that with on 2 standard frames.
    I understand. My wife would love to paint the teeny tiny hives all sorts of bright colors, so maybe she will get her wish. What process do you use for transferring them to full size hives? Or, is that even the goal?
    John Sampson-Tucker County, WV
    14 hives - All cutouts and swarms

  17. #57
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    Default Re: Mating Nucs

    Half sized deeps are actually cool frames to use in everyday beekeeping. Perfect for handicaped folks, children, etc.

    The easiest way to get them drawn out is to simply install a package on them.

    I run several large hives on the half frames for distribution to the mating nucs. Just convert a standard box to hold the frames. These hives can get tall in a hurry since each box is the equivelent of 6 standard deeps. Room for interior frame feeder on the other side of the divider.






    Or let a colony move up to the new box of mini frames, but they will be slower to do so:


    Make yourself a shook swarm on the new mini frames and feed them well. In a week you'll get this:


  18. #58
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Ft. Collins, Colorado
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    518

    Default Re: Mating Nucs

    Cub: Back to the "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."

    Use your standard equipment, standard frames then go into standard potential buyers hives and nucs. Ounces of bees don't matter to you as they do to commercial queen rearers. Keep it simple in your case and you'll be happy you did.

  19. #59
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    Roy, Wa
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    Default Re: Mating Nucs

    It's easy to make new standard nucs with a virgin in spring.

    But there are always a few hives that, after the flow is over, should be broken up because they are too huge to overwinter or they are not as productive and you want to break them up. Many times those late nucs could really benefit from a brood break to control mites, but if you are in a cool short season area you may not have enough time. If you want those newly constructed late summer nucs to grow and be populated enough to overwinter, having some small mating nucs with mated queens around is sure handy. Not to mention if you should accidently squish a queen.

    It's not like you'll be stuck with them if you don't need them.
    Last edited by Lauri; 01-24-2014 at 05:18 PM.

  20. #60
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    Feb 2013
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    Clover, WV
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    Default Re: Mating Nucs

    Since I got some free lumber last night, a couple mini mediums might be in order. Lauri, your photos are fantastic.
    John Sampson-Tucker County, WV
    14 hives - All cutouts and swarms

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