Overwintering Nucs - Page 4
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  1. #61
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
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    Knox County, Ohio
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    2,668

    Default Re: Overwintering Nucs

    Michael, this year I did a couple two queen hives. I did something similar to the Demaree method. In late May I split the double deep and put one or two deeps of undrawn frames between the two, making sure I had eggs and larva in box brood boxes. My goal was to have a two queen hive (it works) and the queens would eventually end up in one box and one would eliminate the other. It would allow me to have a two queen hive during the summer, and an easy way to requeen.

    I peeked in the other day and the 4th deep is packed full of brood. If I make sure the queen is in that box, can I split that box from the hive and treat it like a 10 frame nuc? (and bypass the requeening) Or would I be better off just allowing the two queen hive merge into a one queen hive?

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  3. #62
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Tulsa, Oklahoma, USA
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    667

    Default Re: Overwintering Nucs

    Quote Originally Posted by gmcharlie View Post
    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
    I have the same problem with a few of my hives as gmcharlie. 3 frames of bees and brood, no growth (for a month or more) and little stored. I have requeened, added frames of brood, and added frames of bees. They always just go back to 3, never expanding.

    I have resigned myself to combining, but I wonder if anyone has any other solutions?

  4. #63
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Accord, NY
    Posts
    332

    Default Re: Overwintering Nucs

    I have a similar hive. It started as a really small swarm at the end of June and went between 3-4 frames all summer. They seem stuck at a bellow critical number. The queen fills all the frames with brood and there just aren't enough bees to keep up with her. They never stored anything. And I suspect they destroy the brood they can't rear. I just started feeding and plan to not let them run out of syrup for five six weeks. Could be they are stuck. If they don't grow combining is not a bad idea either. Three frames will not make it.

  5. #64
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Accord, NY
    Posts
    332

    Default Re: Overwintering Nucs

    Awesome thread, by the way. Is there a way I can save the thread so I can refer to it later?

  6. #65
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Claremont, NH, USA
    Posts
    783

    Default Re: Overwintering Nucs

    Just remember the title and you will be able to find it by doing a search.

    Or, copy and paste into a Word document.

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

  7. #66
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    melvin,mi
    Posts
    188

    Default when to start

    great thread, just read all 7 pages, I live in Michigan, is there a target date I should start nucs? I will be letting them make there own queens and using 10 frame deeps?

  8. #67

    Default Re: Overwintering Nucs

    Aram -

    re:>> I have a similar hive. It started as a really small swarm at the end of June and went between 3-4 frames all summer. They seem stuck at a bellow critical number. The queen fills all the frames with brood and there just aren't enough bees to keep up with her. They never stored anything. And I suspect they destroy the brood they can't rear. I just started feeding and plan to not let them run out of syrup for five six weeks. Could be they are stuck. If they don't grow combining is not a bad idea either. Three frames will not make it.

    Feed them. It sounds like you are asking them to do it on their own and they are only able to maintain with the foragers and flow they are on. FEED FEED FEED. 1-1 now for the next month or so (and pollen substitute, make it or buy it) and then switch to 2-1.
    They need lots of incoming nectar (or sugar water) to create the wax to draw comb - they also need warm temps which (at least here) are quickly coming to an end.

    I caught a swarm in a swarm trap last Thursday that has literally drawn out a full 10 frame deep in 7 days because I am (as Jennifer Berry would say it) "Feeding the snot out of 'em"

    Feeding makes a huge difference.
    -E.
    Erin Forbes, EAS Master Beekeeper
    overlandhoney.com

  9. #68
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    St. Albans, Vermont
    Posts
    8,106

    Default Re: Overwintering Nucs

    Quote Originally Posted by Countryboy View Post
    I peeked in the other day and the 4th deep is packed full of brood. If I make sure the queen is in that box, can I split that box from the hive and treat it like a 10 frame nuc? (and bypass the requeening) Or would I be better off just allowing the two queen hive merge into a one queen hive?
    Several have asked this question. Been trying to answer...too tired from nuc work...and...

    I'd like to answer with some photos of my setup. Can't find the original photos in my files. They are on a powerpoint, though. Can't seem to copy from there to photobucket.

    Any ideas?

  10. #69

    Default Re: Overwintering Nucs

    Hi Mike -
    I've asked my IT savvy beekeeper friend how to do this - hopefully he'll have a way for you -
    I'll let you know what he says.
    -E.
    Erin Forbes, EAS Master Beekeeper
    overlandhoney.com

  11. #70
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Concord NH
    Posts
    2,664

    Default Re: Overwintering Nucs

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Palmer View Post
    They are on a powerpoint, though. Can't seem to copy from there to photobucket.

    Any ideas?
    Open the .ppt's and then go to File-Save As and choose a format that photobucket will accept (gif,jpg etc etc.)
    Milk Cows Not Taxpayers

  12. #71
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Claremont, NH, USA
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    783

    Default Re: Overwintering Nucs

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Palmer View Post
    SCan't find the original photos in my files. They are on a powerpoint, though. Can't seem to copy from there to photobucket.

    Any ideas?
    If you want to save them as individual images, right click on the image and copy, then in your photo software package of choice (I use GIMP 2 - free and easy), create a new blank image, and paste the photo into it. Adjust as needed. Then, do a 'Save As' as a jpeg you can then upload.

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

  13. #72
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    St. Albans, Vermont
    Posts
    8,106

    Default Re: Overwintering Nucs

    I winter singles, too. Usually left over mediums from nuking colonies. Sometimes deeps with a good queen and a decent population. Either size has to be full of young bees and packed with feed. I don't bother trying to winter weak clusters, poor queens, or disease/viruses/high mite loads.

    I don't expect the quality of these pictures to be great, but you'll get the idea.

    I winter my singles on top of a production colony's inner cover. I use a second inner cover turned rim up as the single's bottom board. Both escape homes are taped closed and no communication betwen bottom colony and single. The inner cover notch acts as bottom entrance. I add a third inner cover with rim down and notch acts like upper entrance. Good air flow is necessary.




    To wrap for winter, I use 2" foam on top inner cover. 2 wraps...one for production hive and one for single makes it easy to check in early spring. Just have to remove top wrapper.




    This is what they look like in the spring. This is just after snow melt in Vermont. Good bees will maintain their cluster as it went into the winter. Quiet bees on capped feed will remain quiet on the combs and the cluster won't lose many bees. If they're just a weak colony in one box, with a population of predominately old bees, and couldn't set up their broodnest for winter, they probably won't make it.


  14. #73

    Default Re: Overwintering Nucs

    Hi Mike -
    Thanks for posting the photos - I don't think I've seen those shots before.
    Interesting with your inner covers setup. I like the elegance of "standard" equipment.

    I ran across one of your queens the other day - checking in my nuc yard and found a beautiful very black queen, sweet dark workers and fantastic brood pattern - and the queen had a perfect paint dot. I immediately thought "this is one of Mike's" and of course on checking my notes it was.

    The nucs are setting up well for winter - I'm amazed at how much honey they have packed away in just a few weeks.
    Keeping fingers crossed for a winter that is kind to bees...

    -E.
    Erin Forbes, EAS Master Beekeeper
    overlandhoney.com

  15. #74
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Dearborn, MI
    Posts
    48

    Default Re: Overwintering Nucs

    Erin,

    On a similar note, if you're "Feeding the snot out of 'em", how late into the season will you still be producing new brood?

    I have a 10 medium frames of bees and I'm going to "Feeding the snot out of 'em", I'm just wondering if I can grow out enough bees for the winter, and how much time I have left.

    Does anyone have a "seasonal" tie in that lets them know when brood production will stop? Something like 2 week before last frost?

    Thanks

  16. #75
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Tucson, Arizona, USA
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    5,373

    Default Re: Overwintering Nucs

    Around here most colonies never completely stop raising brood, though some do. Whenever we have a decent amount of rain at regular intervals, during the Winter, the bees respond as if it were already Spring. About two seasons ago we had abundant late Winter and early Spring rains (quite uncommon), which brought out a modest honeyflow, in late January through mid-March, from plants that only appear when it rains sufficiently during the cooler times of the year. I especially noticed the red stem filaree, which provides bright blue pollen and rape with its yellow flowers and pollen.
    48 years - 50 hives - TF
    Joseph Clemens -- Website Under Constructioni

  17. #76
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    St. Albans, Vermont
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    8,106

    Default Re: Overwintering Nucs

    Quote Originally Posted by Motown View Post
    On a similar note, if you're "Feeding the snot out of 'em", how late into the season will you still be producing new brood?

    Does anyone have a "seasonal" tie in that lets them know when brood production will stop? Something like 2 week before last frost?
    Nucs will continue to produce brood later in the season than production colonies. My productin colonies are mostly shut down later in October. You can still find some brood in some of them even into November. The nucs will still have lots of eggs and young larvae at that time. Not sure why...either the dynamics of nucs, or the young queen.

    I've never seen and seasonal tie. Every colony is different.

  18. #77
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    St. Albans, Vermont
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    8,106

    Default Re: Overwintering Nucs

    Quote Originally Posted by Maine_Beekeeper View Post
    Hi Mike -
    I ran across one of your queens the other day - checking in my nuc yard and found a beautiful very black queen, sweet dark workers and fantastic brood pattern - and the queen had a perfect paint dot. I immediately thought "this is one of Mike's" and of course on checking my notes it was. -E.
    Cool! Green dot or Red?

  19. #78
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Dearborn, MI
    Posts
    48

    Default Re: Overwintering Nucs

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Palmer View Post
    Nucs will continue to produce brood later in the season than production colonies. My productin colonies are mostly shut down later in October. You can still find some brood in some of them even into November. The nucs will still have lots of eggs and young larvae at that time. Not sure why...either the dynamics of nucs, or the young queen.

    I've never seen and seasonal tie. Every colony is different.
    Mike, Thanks for the answer two fold! First, I needed to know, and second, the information was what I was hoping to hear.


  20. #79

    Default Re: Overwintering Nucs

    Mike-
    Green. Notes say #33
    -E.
    Erin Forbes, EAS Master Beekeeper
    overlandhoney.com

  21. #80
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Leominster, MA USA
    Posts
    51

    Default Question for Michael Palmer

    Michael,

    I'm a 3rd year beekeeper.

    Thanks for your contributions to self-sufficient beekeeping. I attended the Northeast Treatment-Free conference (and your talk on creating 4-frame double nucs for overwintering) in my hometown of Leominster, MA this year, and then created 6 nucs (3, 4-frame double nucs) even though it was really "a bit too late" in the season. They were created just about August 20th. I just didn't want to lose the chance to learn something new right away and didn't mind sacrificing a colony for the lessons. I installed 4 Russian queens from the Russian queen breeders program, kept the Italian queen from the parent colony, and allowed the bees to create their own 6th queen, making sure they were set up to do so. It seems to have gone well.

    I used Snelgrove bottom boards to double as an inner cover for the production colony and a bottom board for the nucs. This way I would provide nuc entrances on the sides, to prevent drifting to and from the production colony and to have entrances that did not face the prevailing winds, which are very strong here as we have no trees for over 100 acres, and are high up in elevation. I used duct taped tar paper on the nuc-side of the double screened Snelgrove bb to block the moisture from the production colony from entering the nucs. I felt that the single layer of wood between the colonies would help with radiant heat as well. I had to buy equipment because I didn't have extra inner covers. I thought Snellgrove bottom boards would be a neat solution. So far so good.

    Checked in on the 6 nucs a couple days ago and they are all still alive and at the same strength as when they were put up, which is encouraging. I fed them pollen patty and sugar water in late September / October / November and put bee candy on them in mid-December, which they are eating. I put more sugar candy on when I checked them. I will put pollen on them on February 1st and continue the bee candy feed until temps are warm again. Of course I'm still not sure that they'll make it into Spring, as this is the first attempt with a pretty late start, and Winter is still very young, but we're giving it a good try.

    My question is this: What happens to the flight orientation of the bees in these nucs when they get moved from their hive stands to the top of the production colonies, about 2 to 30 feet total distance, in both late Fall and then again in early Spring.

    Also, when do I move them back onto their own stands in the Spring time? Am I over-thinking this? I don't want them to orient to the top of the production colonies, nor do I want to move them too early and have them lose the benefit of the small bit of heat they get from the production colony. Either way, I will leave them wrapped to collect the sun's heat, until they are well established.

    Thanks again for sharing this idea with us. This strikes me as the most important thing in beekeeping that I've learned this past year.

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