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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    Niagara-on-the-Lake, ON, CA
    Posts
    13

    Default Large scale Nuc production

    I'm reconsidering what I do with our hives after we bring them back to ON after maritime blueberry pollination. Currently we have been taking the thousands we send and busting them apart at a rate of a little over 2 from 1. Ie: this year 4800 becomes 11 000 singles with 3 frames of brood of all stages and we put cells into everything. We are now growing them into proper doubles and drawing a whack of foundation on a flow or feed depending on the yard.

    We produce all our own cells, and have no trouble pumping out 1000 per day. What I'm thinking is, what if I had equipment to make everything a 4 frame side by side nuc, started from one frame of brood end of June...cells everywhere and then excluder and super the strong ones after they build up to an August flow. I know the system works, since others do it...the goal for me, would be lots of nucs to sell the following spring.

    My questions is, is anyone familiar with a palletized nuc system that would allow us to move around this quantity of nucs, out of our holding yards and into summer pasture yards? Obviously our migratory pallets would not work well since the hives would all need a divided bottom.

    Any thoughts or pictures? Is this a terrible idea?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Campbell River, BC, CA
    Posts
    534

    Default Re: Large scale Nuc production

    Quote Originally Posted by B&E View Post
    Any thoughts or pictures? Is this a terrible idea?
    I think you read that article in the latest edition of HiveLights too. You, me, and thousands of other folks across the country. Most of them have watched Michael Palmer's video's from the National Honey Show too.

    Just reading here, and reading between the lines, there's a few regular folks here on bs, hedging in that direction already. I've done some travelling in BC and Alberta this summer, and over those trips, I've had the chance to talk with roughly a hundred or so beekeepers running from a hundred, to a few thousand hives for honey production. To a tee, every one of them is mumbling about 'gonna try some of those nucs this winter'. Some going outside on the cold praries, a lot going into extra space in wintering sheds, and a whole bunch will be scattered around southern BC where winters are not so brutal on the bees.

    I'm not 'betting the farm' on any one specific part of what we are doing here, and my numbers with bees are two orders of magnitude smaller than yours. My own personal opinion, next spring we are going to be seeing a huge glut of nucs being pedalled for sale by early May in the Canadian markets. I may be wrong, it'll depend on how many of those small colonies actually make it thru till the spring. From what I've been able to gather talking to folks, everybody is jumping on the bandwagon at some scale, some on a much larger scale than others.

    Time will tell, I've been wrong about things before, but my own opinion right now, next spring nucs are going to be a hard sell in larger quantities. There was a lot of money on the table this year for healthy bees in May, and a lot of folks looking at that pile of $$$, thinking 'I can make more selling bees in the spring, than running them for honey'.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Vancouver, BC, Canada
    Posts
    1,389

    Default Re: Large scale Nuc production

    If supply goes up and demand is constant at some point the price will decrease. The folks that produce somehow have to get meshed with purchasers.
    Janne....first hives April 2013, 19 hives, treat, plant zone 8b, at sea level, latitude 49.13, longitude 123.06

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    Northfield,MN
    Posts
    102

    Default Re: Large scale Nuc production

    how do you winter the bees?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    St. Albans, Vermont
    Posts
    5,555

    Default Re: Large scale Nuc production

    Quote Originally Posted by B&E View Post
    My questions is, is anyone familiar with a palletized nuc system that would allow us to move around this quantity of nucs, out of our holding yards and into summer pasture yards? Obviously our migratory pallets would not work well since the hives would all need a divided bottom. Is this a terrible idea?
    I've run bees on pallets, and nucleus colonies on stands. Never nucleus colonies on pallets. I don't think it's a terrible idea...but I wouldn't turn your whole operation into nucs until you're comfortable in your management. You might find you want a balance between production colonies and nucleus colonies. Also, I would run them as 4 over 4, and then super over an excluder.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    Manitoba Canada
    Posts
    6,502

    Default Re: Large scale Nuc production

    Quote Originally Posted by B&E View Post
    one frame of brood end of June...cells everywhere and then excluder and super
    what kind of mating success do you usually have?

    I usually use two seperate nucs, many use a divided hive body. I like the separate units as I can replace failing nucs, and the merger works better if two units are more so even is strength
    Ian Steppler >> Canadian Beekeeper's Blog
    www.stepplerfarms.com

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    Niagara-on-the-Lake, ON, CA
    Posts
    13

    Default Re: Large scale Nuc production

    Grozzie: That is certainly not the case in ON. I don't know of anyone here that is building nucs purely for the purpose of sales. There are some people that sell nucs every year of course, but as Doug points out, that demand is huge. So many people in ON have 2-5 colonies, and there are hundreds more like that each year. The demand for bees has never been higher without question. And with a high price of honey there is little incentive for commercial guys to shift the focus away from honey production. It simply is not happening. You would not be able to source 1500 hives/nucs to purchase in ON next year...the available ones are already spoken for. I would bet that. Certainly the situation in the west could be the opposite for all I know.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    Niagara-on-the-Lake, ON, CA
    Posts
    13

    Default Re: Large scale Nuc production

    Quote Originally Posted by MNbees View Post
    how do you winter the bees?
    Pallets of 4 doubles, or singles if they didn't get big enough for a second box. Wrapped 2 together. We're in Niagara, quite mild...but damp, which isn't ideal.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    Niagara-on-the-Lake, ON, CA
    Posts
    13

    Default Re: Large scale Nuc production

    Quote Originally Posted by Ian View Post
    what kind of mating success do you usually have?
    It's actually kind of hard to tell, since 50% of our splits we are adding a cell to a hive with a queen already...we hope for the new one to knock off a bunch of last years queens, since we are always getting better at improving our breeding stock. But when we do our first check, we were finding a 5 in a yard of 48 that were not laying in 17-19 days. Some yards were better and worse. I know 3 weeks is better; we had some poor weather and available cells so I wanted to get back around and add another cell and some brood to any that were not laying. Often we found a queen that looked mated and had just not started laying yet. We have now found (6 weeks later) that we are eliminating about 3 for every 48. So I'm very pleased.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    Cartersville, Gerogia, USA
    Posts
    61

    Default Re: Large scale Nuc production

    In a migratory operation we make up several hundred double nuc boxes out of 10 frame hives with the bottom board nailed on each hive and divided with tin or Masonite. On the double nuc a 7 or 8 inch stick was placed in the middle of the entrance area so the entrances for the two nucs were separated and some fancy colored paint was put on one entrance. We set the double nucs on four place pallets with two double nucs facing one direction and two facing the other direction. Then when moved and set at the location we would pick up and turn the opposite corner double nucs 90 degrees thus having one double nuc facing each direction on the pallet. Queen mating went well only having two entrances on each side of the pallet. To get ready to move we would turn the two double nucs back into place for loading and transporting.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    whatcom co, WA
    Posts
    110

    Default Re: Large scale Nuc production

    The frenchbeefarm web site has some interesting ideas/equipment setup for divided nucs, especially if you are considering making your splits with only 1fr brood.

    (To stock in spring I use 1 fr brood, 1 frame partial brood, 1 frame feed, one empty frame, and frame feeder + extra frame worth of bees shaken in ....in a divided 10 frame box, it's a tight fit but works). I'm thinking of switching to top bottle feeders however as an extra frame in the box would help.

    Many of my divided nucs have drilled 1/2"-3/4" holes in the box for the entrance/ventilation (sometimes screened with hardware cloth if bottom board /pallet has entrance), and I have some that I set up to use on 4 way pallets without attached bottom boards (the pallet has a strip in the middle to match up with Masonite divider in the box).

    The downside to this setup is the nucs with "side" facing entrances can't be as easily shuffled to other positions on the pallet or easily moved to other pallets.

    The setup I like best has bottom boards attached to the nuc, 4 on a "warehouse type" pallet, with 1x2" boards/runners on the pallet to catch/lock in the feet/bottom cleats of the bottom boards for transport. Boxes pushed together for transport, when in place the 4 individual nucs can be spread out a few more inches on the pallet. I feel like I have better mating success this way. As Makin honey does, I also use different colors/shapes/patterns spray painted next to each entrance, although not really sure that necessarily helps much.
    Last edited by bfriendly; 08-19-2014 at 01:05 PM.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Clear Lake, WI / Sebring, FL
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    639

  13. #13
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    Apr 2011
    Location
    Weeki Wachee, Florida,USA
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  14. #14
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Knox Co, Ohio, USA
    Posts
    877

    Default Re: Large scale Nuc production

    Trevor,

    Your pictures are very timely for me. I'm building some 2-way pallets. I was going to run a board down the middle. That would let me use the pallet for a nuc, a divided deep/double nuc of a regular deep. I had thought of building a pallet like yours but didn't want to have it dedicated to just nucs.

    Tom

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