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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Location
    pensacola, Florida
    Posts
    16

    Default Max Nuc Production

    Ok fellow Beekeepers, here's my situation, and I'm looking for a few different opionions on this. I'm sure I will get them seeing how every beekeeper has their own opinion.
    I have just retired from the military, and haven't had very much time to spend with my bees through the years. Now that I'm out and working at my new career. I would like to expand my bees to obtain the most nucs that I can. I currently have my hives along the Gulf coast of Alabama so we have a very mild winter. I have recently discovered Michael Palmers Youtube video's, and I must say, What a magnificient learning experience! My question to you is: How should I go about breeding my own queens and putting them into nucs so that I get the max amount of nucs. My idea so far is to breed about 10-15 queens and start nucs with at least one to two frames of Brood, right now my two hives have two deeps of brood and two full medium supers of honey each, so supplying honey on the frame shouldn't be a problem. I plan on feeding heavy to ensure the bees can build wax on new foundation. After I do this what should I do with the rest of the season, how would you go about creating more nucs?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    St. Albans, Vermont
    Posts
    5,384

    Default Re: Max Nuc Production

    I would start by learning how to build the nuc side of your apiary to a level where raising your own queens makes sense. Find someone locally that raises good queens and use those for now.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    Stafford, Virginia
    Posts
    287

    Default Re: Max Nuc Production

    In addition take a queen rearing course, and also since you are in Florida, find someone who does this commercially and work for them for a couple weeks at least. split it up if you have too.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Auckland,Auckland,New Zealand
    Posts
    5,996

    Default Re: Max Nuc Production

    Michael Palmer, agree with your post in terms that what you say is the surest and likely most profitable way long term.

    However in my opinion a guy raising a few cells and starting 10 or 15 nucs is a fantastic learning experience for the guy plus very enjoyable for him and satisfying if he succeeds. I think he should figure how to raise a few queen cells based around your own Michael Palmer described methods, then make a few nucs. Sure it will be slower and he'll get some misses, but he'll learn & get a little better at it each time.

    To Whiterk, when starting out cell raising the old saying applies, don't count you chickens before they hatch, LOL. Wait till you have capped queen cells, then count them & decide how many nucs you will make. Only use the big healthy cells.
    44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Cookeville, TN, USA
    Posts
    4,077

    Default Re: Max Nuc Production

    Be very careful about promising anyone anything until you are ready to deliver it. Demand for nucs is so high where I live that you probably don't need to pre-sell them.
    Since '09-25H-T-Z6b

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Location
    pensacola, Florida
    Posts
    16

    Default Re: Max Nuc Production

    Thanks for the advice, Mr. Palmer, I didn't even think about using someone elses queens, after i raise my first 10-15 for my nucs. I've had the same hive of bees since 08 and they have always been strong and have never been treated for anything. Bringing in new queens would also ease my mind of bring in new genetics. Thanks Oldtimer for the recommendation of rearing a few queens for my experience. I'm really excited about rearing my first stock and thats why I said 10-15, I would expect a 60-70 acceptance then like you said, make nucs after the cells mature.
    Matt. I am already making connections so I can learn grafting hands on.
    After watching MP video's his way makes total sense to me and I want to mimic what he does when I grow my apiary.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Location
    pensacola, Florida
    Posts
    16

    Default Re: Max Nuc Production

    I would really like to move into the nuc business however, I think I will be growning my apiary for a few years before I start selling. From what I have read on the board, there seems to be a high demand for nucs everywhere.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    Westville, Florida, USA
    Posts
    10

    Default Re: Max Nuc Production

    You can get about $100.00 for a better than average nuc in Northwest Florida. A good quality local marked queen can be had for $20.00. We grew our apiary near you by first learning how to keep and increase what we had, then using our increase with bought queens for new colonies and last year we had a blast raising some of our own queens using primarily Oldtimers thread entitled "How to raise Queens Without Grafting." We raised many more than we could use. Queen production is incredibly addictive.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Strasburg, Pa, USA
    Posts
    115

    Default Re: Max Nuc Production

    There are some interesting ideas on this site. www.mdasplitter.com

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Great Falls Montana
    Posts
    3,975

    Default Re: Max Nuc Production

    Whiterk, first, thankyou for your service. Consider going to mdasplitter.com Mr. Disselkoehns methodology may be just what you are looking for. Good luck.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Sandy Ridge,NC
    Posts
    110

    Default Re: Max Nuc Production

    I find it easy to make 10 to 20 queens for nucs. Just make a queenless nuc with the correct age larva and you should have over 10 queen cells no need to graft. Cut the cells out and place them in nucs. When I first got started with making nucs I did this and it worked well. I only had a few queens that did not get mated well or just was not up to par. Put drone foundation in your hives you will get plenty of drones. I actual have made some great queens this way.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Location
    UK
    Posts
    10

    Default Re: Max Nuc Production

    The Scheme outlined by Mel at MDA Splitter, does work, I've done it.
    However forget any honey production, you won't get any. And feed continually everything you split from and to. But if you want to expand numbers very quickly that scheme worked for me.
    10 to 1 is doable.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    St. Albans, Vermont
    Posts
    5,384

    Default Re: Max Nuc Production

    Well yes, if your splitting up production colonies to make nucs, why would you get honey. My plan would be different, but takes two seasons.

    First summer, you sacrifice a number of production colonies...that aren't making a crop. Make as many nucs from each colony as you can, and do it when there's still a flow on. Build the nucs up into two stories, and winter. You should get 4-6 per sacrificed colony.

    Second summer, and every summer thereafter, you keep a number of the wintered nucs, allow them to build up into three stories, and begin the splitting process on the main flow. Take enough bees and brood from each, every 10-14 days to prevent swarming of the parent nucs, but not enough so it won't continue to fill frames of brood for you. On the last few splits, you knock the parent nuc down, and down, and eventually you're down to nuc level...a couple frames of brood and a honey and an empty comb. If any of the parent nucs need new queens...remember they were over wintered...you can re-queen them at this point.

    Then winter all of them all over. The following spring, you use the nucs where you will in the operation. The original parent nucs can be kept, build up again, and used as this year's brood source.

    This way, your production colonies produce. The nuc operation is run separately, but supports the apiary with bees and/or nuc sales.

    10 to 1 is doable.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Location
    pensacola, Florida
    Posts
    16

    Default Re: Max Nuc Production

    Thank you for telling me about MDASPLITTER.COM I read that when it was first posted and I couldn't remember where I saw it, That is the aggressiveness I first had in mind and wanted to mimic. Then I saw Michael Palmers Youtube videos and his way made the most sense and I decided that it was the way that I really want to run an apiary, I wish I had more than just the two hives that I have, I will get there soon enough. Thank you again for all the post and replies.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Jacksonville, Florida
    Posts
    1,646

    Default Re: Max Nuc Production

    I sell queen cells. I have an over wintered VSH breeder from VPqueens I will start grafting with next month and have another Poline Breeder ordered for sometime in April. I'm in Jacksonville.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Location
    Humboldt county CA
    Posts
    2

    Default Re: Max Nuc Production

    I also want to grow my apiary using Michael Palmer's techniques. I currently have around 10 hives. I plan on starting 24 packages as my nucs. Let them build up two 8 frame med. boxes, then begin taking brood from them to produce more nucs come July/ Aug. Aug. is our best queen rearing season. I plan on starting grafting from my survivor hives to make queens for my later nucs.

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Concord NC
    Posts
    33

    Default Re: Max Nuc Production

    Michael or others with similar experience, what if you are starting over from scratch for one reason or another. Would you start with packages to give yourself the largest number of colonies for the money to rebuild from or attempt to buy fewer, but establised colonies to split down.
    Thanks,
    HS

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Location
    Haymarket, Virginia
    Posts
    197

    Default Re: Max Nuc Production

    This is more a question than statement:

    Or, if you have limited hives, buy packages like Horse Shoe suggested and replace the queens with your/local/known queens? Then do your splits from the packages once the new queens' offspring emerged? Gives you more hives to work with if nuc production is your goal.
    2013, 7 hives, T

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Tipton, TN, USA
    Posts
    784

    Default Re: Max Nuc Production

    If I was starting from "scratch" and had the ability... I'd scoop up some post almond hives... Split them heavy with purchased cells and feed... repeat in month or so... 1 frame splits, while feeding like crazy... repeat as able then combine any that are "weak" for winter...

    Short of that, I'd do the same with Nucs.... Packages are fine, but they take a little extra time to build up the comb.... And the cost these days isn't "much" better than just buying a "good" nuc.

    Which should be roughly the same cost that you can pick up hives out of the almonds for.... Too bad I'm too far away from California... I'm not ready to buy enough hives to offset the transportation cost.
    Solo for the last 4 Years, ~60 Hives, TF + Oils.
    http://tradingwebsites4bees.com

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