I have 16 nucs that I have made up this past summer. last weekend some of the older colones absconded. I was thinking we where managing these properly and keepign the population low enough to keep the nucs functioning. Obviously not. some of the nucs absconded even though they had been give. an additional 5 frame box.
So now I have some questions but am looking for more detailed and exact information than generalizations. for example frames with 3 frames covered with bees. rather than simply saying some bees.
We started these nucs form mating compartments with two frames weakly covered in bees. Weak coverage means patches of bees approximately hand size. Maybe 400 bees per frame. The nucs then had additional bees added until they had 3 frames of bees. This woudl be three frames well covered in bees. Again later they where given a frame of brood.
The purpose for this slow deliberate build up of populations as for the purpose of observing a colonies performance with various degrees of population. Build up was for the most part either lacking or very slow up to about 4 frames of bees and 3 fraems of brood.
At the point of 4 fraems of bees and 3 frames of brood a second 5 frame box was added to the nucs.
It was at this point that the nucs absconded anyway.
I have considered many possible causes. such as general dissatisfaction with the space . lack of expansion room for the queen. We have sen a lot of multiple eggs in cells do to restricted laying space.
Mainly I am looking for what you all consider minimal numbers to make up and maintain a nuc. I am starting to think that a genuine nuc (5 over 5 boxes) can only be maintained for a limited length of time.
For those that use them do you think that use of a split ten frame or 8 frame box alleviates absconding tendency? That it might give the impression to the bees that they are part of a larger colony maybe?