Overwintering Nucs - Page 3
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  1. #41
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    Default Re: Overwintering Nucs

    Quote Originally Posted by Maine_Beekeeper View Post
    Also if I say one thing and Michael Palmer says another, take his advice over mine. I would. Erin
    Not always, E. We should get together and talk about all the stupid mistakes I've made over the years.

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  3. #42
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    Aug 2008
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    Claremont, NH, USA
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    Default Re: Overwintering Nucs

    Quote Originally Posted by giant pumpkin peep View Post
    ...also the thing with styrofoa nucs is you can just pour the suger syrup right into the hive. He said a liter or so will bring it just up to the frames. I am going to try this next year. It works as a issurance policy if you loose any hives.
    Yeah, that's how they describe it on the BetterBee website. But, have you ever looked in the bottom of a PS nuc? It gets pretty cruddy with wax cappings, bits of bees (the bees can drag the dead ones out, but legs, wings, etc. get left behind), bits of pollen, etc. I think that adding syrup to that could create a nice environment for nasties to grow. But, apparently a lot of beeks do exactly that, so maybe I'm being overcautious.

    If you do try it, be very careful about condensation. I don't know about you, but I close off one of the two upper vent holes in the winter (the one facing west, the predominant wind direction) and just leave the one over the entrance open. Being plastic, the nucs really hold moisture, and I think the bees are more active all winter, since it is warmer inside, and so respire more, giving off more moisture..... With enough ventilation it is not a problem, but I consider the dry sugar MY insurance policy.


    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Palmer View Post
    I think it's too late for either...in New Hampshire.
    Thanks, Michael. I needed that.

    Bill
    “If you want to gather honey, don't kick over the beehive.” - Dale Carnegie

  4. #43
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    Aug 2002
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    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    Default Re: Overwintering Nucs

    >I am converting everything to mediums. Do you think you can overwinter in 5 frame medium nucs?'

    I think 8 frames is a much better bet.

    > They are next to my home so checking on them or feeding them from time to time during the winter would be possible.

    Except it's too cold in the winter for them to take feed... at least here it is.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 42y 40h 39yTF

  5. #44
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    Oct 2007
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    CAMARILLO, California, USA
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    Default Re: Overwintering Nucs

    Do you think you can overwinter in 5 frame medium nucs?'

    A wintering cluster of bees covering 8 frames has much less surface area compared to a 4 framer and the the smaller nucs will die because they can not maintain their core temperature.
    Ernie
    Ernie
    My websitehttp://bees4u.com/

  6. #45
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    Aug 2002
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    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    Default Re: Overwintering Nucs

    Look at it this way. You need some minimum sized cluster plus enough food for them for the winter. That volume seems to come out to about four deep frames as a minimum. If you convert that to mediums that's about six frames minimum. Five is just under that. I think it's safer to go a little over that instead.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 42y 40h 39yTF

  7. #46
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    May 2009
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    Knox County, Maine USA
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    92

    Default Re: Overwintering Nucs

    Can someone explain the benefit of overwintering in nucs? Are these splits you made and are keeping in nucs because they have a better chance of surviving the winter in smaller hive sizes? I have read the 5 pages here and am intrigued that you would keep removing brood to maintain the small size - so am wondering why all that trouble? What are the advantages? Thanks,

  8. #47
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    Mar 2009
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    columbus,ohio,USA
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    Default Re: Overwintering Nucs

    Can someone explain the benefit of overwintering in nucs?
    If you overwinter a nuc it is a issurance policy. If you loose a hive you don't have to pay as much money for a package or a nuc, and maybe get honey on the first year of replacing the deadout.
    Chris Cree
    Cree's Bees

  9. #48
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    Aug 2008
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    Claremont, NH, USA
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    783

    Default Re: Overwintering Nucs

    Quote Originally Posted by giant pumpkin peep View Post
    If you overwinter a nuc it is a issurance policy. If you loose a hive you don't have to pay as much money for a package or a nuc, and maybe get honey on the first year of replacing the deadout.
    Also, if you DON'T need the nuc as a replacement, then it can be used either:

    1) as a way to expand in the spring and make some honey from that hive that year, which is harder to do from a colony started from a package or split from that year; or

    2) sell it as income, since many people want nucs in the spring.

    Just a couple of additional options.

    Bill
    “If you want to gather honey, don't kick over the beehive.” - Dale Carnegie

  10. #49
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    May 2009
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    Flora,IL
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    Default Re: Overwintering Nucs

    Questions for Michael P....( or any with advice)

    THis year our honey flow has been bad, so instead of wintering 30000 itialians I intend to cut them down to a 5 frame nuc.... my plan is to put a devider in a standard 10 frame box, $ frames of food, 1 of bees....

    One of my questioins is how many bees do I really want???

    until I read this my plan was to place the hives about 4 deep bodies high, (8 nucs per stack) with a SBB between layers.... from what I read this will not be enough to keep the bees from contacting each other..... why is that bad???

    I am also wondering about ventilation in the smaller nucs... in a standard hive I leave teh SBB inplace and put a draft shield under it..... I am assuming you drasticly cut air intrusion in these smaller nucs???

    Thanks!

  11. #50
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    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    Default Re: Overwintering Nucs

    >Can someone explain the benefit of overwintering in nucs?

    You can save $75 a package by having your own nucs to replace any losses and you can sell them for more than that if you don't need them.

    > Are these splits you made and are keeping in nucs because they have a better chance of surviving the winter in smaller hive sizes?

    No. They have less chance of surviving but whatever does makes a good crop of honey the next year.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 42y 40h 39yTF

  12. #51
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    May 2009
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    Manhattan,Montana,USA
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    Default Re: Overwintering Nucs

    this is a great thread, thankyou everyone for all this great info. I was wishing i had some nucs made up then realizing i kind of do have a late split probably considerd a big nuc that i am feeding the heck out of as they are in a deep that is foundationless. they are doing good as they have 5 or 6 frames drawn.

  13. #52
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    Default Re: Overwintering Nucs

    Quote Originally Posted by Loonerone View Post
    I have read the 5 pages here and am intrigued that you would keep removing brood to maintain the small size - so am wondering why all that trouble? What are the advantages?

    *You can take advantage of the resources stored in your non-productive colonies, after the main flow is over.
    *It takes less equipment and resources to winter your new queens.
    *You have these incredible life forms called nucs, that will change your beekeeping forever.


    What do you do with a non-productive colony in mid-summer? Requeen it, right? And what do you get for your trouble? One colony with a new queen that might make it through your Maine winter...or...might not. If you were to split that colony up in mid-July, you could make 4-6 nucs, each with a new queen. They winter quite well on 4 or 5 combs, 2 nucs to a box. Also, you can judge these little colonies...their queens...without tying up lots of equipment.

    The reason for pulling brood is so you don't have to expand the nuc. To expand them, you need twice the equipment...4 more combs, another bottom and box and cover, and another feeder if you use them.

    And...the brood you remove can be used for making more nucs, or helping out colonies that can use a boost. I have drops of 50 nucs. If I remove 45 frames of brood, that's 5 hive bodies. Place one body full of brood on the bottom board of a below average colony, and whatch out!

    These nucs are amazing. They're way ahead of any package you can buy, or any split you can make. Their only focus seems to be to explode their populations. By Dandelions in Maine, on comb, they'd need to be in 2 boxes already, with a third and fourth to follow close behind.

  14. #53
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    Default Re: Overwintering Nucs

    Quote Originally Posted by gmcharlie View Post
    Questions for Michael P....( or any with advice)

    THis year our honey flow has been bad, so instead of wintering 30000 itialians I intend to cut them down to a 5 frame nuc....

    I'm not familiar with Illinois beekeeping, and when your season ends, but I would hesitate turning a colony into nucs at the end of August. Will the queens have enough time ro raise three rounds of brood and the bees have enough time to set up their little broodnests for winter?

    Maybe you should feed your colony and give it pollen if they need it....so they have the resources to make the winter.

  15. #54
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    Default Re: Overwintering Nucs

    How about if you can keep them in an unheated garage and supply feed as needed?

    Quote Originally Posted by BEES4U View Post
    Do you think you can overwinter in 5 frame medium nucs?'

    A wintering cluster of bees covering 8 frames has much less surface area compared to a 4 framer and the the smaller nucs will die because they can not maintain their core temperature.
    Ernie

  16. #55
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    Default Re: Overwintering Nucs

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Palmer View Post
    I'm not familiar with Illinois beekeeping, and when your season ends, but I would hesitate turning a colony into nucs at the end of August. Will the queens have enough time ro raise three rounds of brood and the bees have enough time to set up their little broodnests for winter?

    Maybe you should feed your colony and give it pollen if they need it....so they have the resources to make the winter.
    Actually we should be good until end of sept, possible mid to late Oct before the first frost.....

    why do the queens need 3 rounds brood before winter?? seems to me a frame of existing brood from a hive would suffice?


    pollen is not aviliable and feed is getting outlandish..... its not beekeeping to feed a 60.00 package 100.00 worth of feed....... since winter reserves here are going to be so slim, I intended to rob store from the big hives to to help the little ones.......

    Last year one hive ate over 200lbs of honey, that would have kept 6 nucs all winter with no problem.... so my plan to cut them to nucs this year... yes I will get some losses instead of none, but my only other choice is to feed more sugar than they are worth, or allow 30 or so hives to die off entirely.

  17. #56

    Default Medium nucs

    I winter quite a few medium nucs. I winter them as 10 frames though or sometimes 15 if they are really strong. Just 5 frame medium nuc boxes stacked on top of each other and wrapped and set up like the regular 10 frame ones.
    To check them in the fall I just take them apart like a regular hive. After wrapping the boxes can't be separated until spring but you wont be checking them until late winter / early spring anyway and by then all what you will be looking for (bees/cluster size) will be in the top box.

    Here's a picture - there are more in the photobucket album as well:
    http://s76.photobucket.com/albums/j3...il82008007.jpg

    -Erin
    Erin Forbes, EAS Master Beekeeper
    overlandhoney.com

  18. #57
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    Default Re: Overwintering Nucs

    Quote Originally Posted by gmcharlie View Post
    why do the queens need 3 rounds brood before winter?? seems to me a frame of existing brood from a hive would suffice?
    The bees have to establish their broodnest, and set it up for winter. Just adding some brood, and getting the queen laying isn't enough. The bees from one frame of brood aren't enough. Right now, my nucs have 3-4 frames of brood in a four frame cavity. I pull one good frame of brood, and add an empty comb against the divider. She'll fill that in no time. The flow will end soon, and nights are getting colder. Swarming will stop soon. From then on, the bees decrease the brood area by storing what nectar they can, and from feeding. They've stored pollen under the honey for spring use. All this the same as a full size colony.

    So, I don't think a frame of brood at the end of August will work. My bees shut down in October, too. But the bulk of their set up is finished before the end of September. That's less than 5 weeks away.

  19. #58
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    Default Re: Overwintering Nucs

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Palmer View Post
    The bees have to establish their broodnest, and set it up for winter. Just adding some brood, and getting the queen laying isn't enough. The bees from one frame of brood aren't enough. Right now, my nucs have 3-4 frames of brood in a four frame cavity. I pull one good frame of brood, and add an empty comb against the divider. She'll fill that in no time. .
    Mike et. al,
    What do you think of this scenario. Most of my group down here in VA start our overwinter nucs in July with new queens as per your recommendations. I had no plans to start any nucs in August, but I caught a small swarm on August 10th and a few days later gave it 2 frames of brood. It is now a "bonus nuc" that I plan on pairing next to another deep nuc I started in July. Without the brood infusion, I would not have considered it, but at last check, Miss Queenie seems to be laying quite well. I can not determine if this swarm even came from my apiary, but if she did, she would have been a newly made queen this Spring at the earliest. If nothing else, will be a good experiment.
    karla

  20. #59
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    Default Re: Overwintering Nucs

    Thanks Michael, puts me in a bind though... given that scenario I have about 20 hives that will be done in.... they only have 2-3 frames total, and no food stores to speak of.......... Moved several to sunflowers just today, but not much chance of them getting much growth in the next 4 weeks.
    Now I will have to do a bit more thinking

  21. #60

    Default Re: Overwintering Nucs

    Karla -
    Your new baby "nuc" sounds like fun!
    Swarms are so well organized plus your brood frames are a huge boost!
    I think you'll be amazed that they'll do fantastically.
    Just keep feed on them plus pollen substitute if you can. Make it easy for them and they'll do it!
    This is the one to start working gloveless. They'll be so focused on their own thing they wont bother you at all if you're gentle.
    -E.
    Erin Forbes, EAS Master Beekeeper
    overlandhoney.com

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