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  1. #21
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Ojai, California
    Posts
    932

    Default Re: Advice on the number of nucs I can make up.

    mbevanz -
    10 colonies on 10 frames of drawn comb does sound better than I was thinking. They don't have to make wax, and that is a lot of honey stores for winter they don't have to convert to wax, so if your area still has plenty of flower power, I'd try it. If things fizzle on you, sacrifice the weakest ones, distributing the brood frames to equalize your colonies as best as possible, then newspaper combine the (queenless) bees with the same scheme in mind - equalize the hives in fall. It does sound like you have the hang of it. This is the art of being a beekeeper!.

    One thing to keep in mind - and thank Dr. Larry Connor for this - a good goal is a 2-box tall colony going into winter that weights 130 lbs or better. This should survive even a late Spring thaw. Less than that should be fed, and don't feed liquid when it freezes - use an insulated fondant board plus a patty. Judge your increaser colonies' strength by this guideline early, figuring for this ahead, say August, and your over-winter survivor score should be on par for your area, especially if you combine this with a vigorous integrated pest management program .

    DanielY & beedeetee -
    You guys are right - we should getinto the definitions a bit more:

    Colony = a group of bees (any size) that are mostly related to eachother, not necessarily having a queen
    Nucleus Colony = a group of bees usually 5 frames or less, and usually in a smaller box
    Double Nuc' = usually two 4-frame colonies of bees in an eight frame box OR two 5-frame colonies in a 10-frame box, separated by a hive partition and usually having entrances facing opposite directions.
    Increaser colony = often a split (one box of bees taken from a 2- or more-box tall colony) or a swarm colony that has been established in a hive box for a few months, intended to grow into a strong colony for making bees, honey production, pollination, or some combination thereof.
    Package Colony = a group of bees that is not necessarily related, nor is it related to it's queen. These are often shaken from several strong colonies and given a newly - hatched and mated queen. Often notoriously slow to get established, rarely high-performers.

    Ed - I'm glad post #5 helps, I hope # 17 helps, too. I have to go to the government center or the library to print out the good posts on paper, then take them to Fed-Ex Office to laminate them. You can bet many of Oldtimer's, Michael Palmer's, Michael Bush's, Ted Kretchman's, JSL's, Joseph Clemens', and a bunch of other great veteran beek's posts have been laminated and put in my bee tool box. And yes, I refer back to them a lot! Like I said, that search box is a good friend - search, read, print, laminate, refer before building something...I do love Beesource!
    Last edited by kilocharlie; 06-11-2014 at 11:05 PM.

  2. #22
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    boone county indiana
    Posts
    34

    Default Re: Advice on the number of nucs I can make up.

    My three packages are now 10 colonies in one state or another. 2 of the package queens are heading up 10 frame double deep colonies. I ran 2 rounds of queens through the other 7 nuc setups. The 7 nucs are currently in a double nuc arrangement(5 over 5) and I am thinking of adding a third box of foundation to each one. What are peoples thoughts/experiences with wintering bees on 15 deep frames? 5 over 5 over 5.

  3. #23
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    St. Albans, Vermont
    Posts
    5,322

    Default Re: Advice on the number of nucs I can make up.

    Quote Originally Posted by mbevanz View Post
    What are peoples thoughts/experiences with wintering bees on 15 deep frames? 5 over 5 over 5.
    I'd do it if they need it.

    One thought…Tippy!

  4. #24
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Reno, NV
    Posts
    2,927

    Default Re: Advice on the number of nucs I can make up.

    Quote Originally Posted by mbevanz View Post
    What are peoples thoughts/experiences with wintering bees on 15 deep frames? 5 over 5 over 5.
    If you can get them built up that large it could be the answer to nucs having enough stores to make it through winter with no feeding. I am not certain about that though and woudl want to see it actually happen before I got to comfortable.

    Charlie is speaking on some issues I have sen other information on. I have been mulling over his comments for a few days. Observing my bees in everything form mating compartments to full size hives and pretty much everything in between. And stating to set some further limits on what it what.

    Mating compartment. I use two frames sparsly moderately populated with bees. I get the impression far fewer bees could be used. Weather my need to be considered in determining how many bees is enough. but virgins can mate with a very small population of bees. So for now I am considering 100 bees a minimum to get a virgin mated and a comparable size compartment. Comments and experiences much welcome on this one.

    Nuc. I am starting to consider that a minimal size nuc. or the number of bees that will allow the queen to increase the population of the colony toward a minimal hive is 4 moderate to well populated frames of bees. This would be between 4000 and 8000 bees. Quite a difference and reflects on Charlies work load balance comments. So regardless of the number. make sure that all work is able to be performed. I also want to see the queen always have some space to lay in. To do so may require even more space than 4 frames. Keep in mind a full size colony has nearly half it's space that is storage and does not necessarily need bees covering it. A nuc on the other hand I find needs bees everywhere.

    Full size colony. I consider that 20 frames (16 for 8 frames equipment) minimum moderately to heavily populated. If the upper ten frames are primarily storage then it can be weakly populated as long as the lower box has a strong population.

    In addition a full size colony has a complete cross section of population from newly emerged brood to an adequate population of foragers. And the ability to provide for and tend to a minimum of 7 frames of brood.

    Anything above 20 frames and a hive becomes a production colony.

    Increase space any time the current space is 80% full. Full means not only comb drawn in height and width but in depth as well and filled with something. brood, nectar or pollen. So an egg in the bottom of a cell is considered full.

    SO for me the entire progression goes.

    Mating on two frames of weak population. Move a mated queen to a minimum of 4 moderately populated frames. Inspecting for indication that the brood volume will insure growth of the colony.

    Expansion to a 4 over 4 or 5 over hive nuc. again inspecting for moderate to heavy population and that hive tending is adequate in all regards. At this point hive tending may suffer at specific points. Foraging for example take adequate measures to alleviate such deficiencies (feed). Lack of guarding make entrances small and install robber screens. In other words help the bees out with any jobs not getting done adequately.

    For me when the 5 over 5 is 80% full and heavily populated it is time to move them to a 10 frame deep box and add a medium super. This is when I typically see a hive be able to hodl it's own. but Charlies comments gave me some additional insight as to why I may be seeing this. I think it has as much to do with the population reaching that sustainable threshold. They are for the first time getting a population that can cover the entire work load and achieving some state of balance.

    Given some factors are fixed to some degree. For example a queen is capable of laying a fairly set amount of brood. Then other numbers must relate to that and tend to become fixed as well. So although a 5 frame nuc can be overwintered. Is it a well managed colony?

    Anyway those are my guide posts for now. pending further information that may alter them.
    Stand for what you believe, even if you stand alone.

  5. #25
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    boone county indiana
    Posts
    34

    Default Re: Advice on the number of nucs I can make up.

    My experimentation with wintering nucs was inspired by your talks at last year's EAS meeting Michael. I am using a deep hive body that has been cut and expanded by 2 inches in width as my foundation. Bottoms have been permanently attached to these with 2 entrances that face opposite directions. I stack 5 frame nuc boxes on top creating 2 separate colonies under 1 roof. We are having an above average year and I will be able to get these to 15 frames before winter. I had better survival last winter in smaller nuc setups than in my 2 deep setups.

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