Feeding mating nucs
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  1. #1
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    Default Feeding mating nucs

    I plan to set up a couple hundred mating nucs this spring. They are full size medium double 3 framers. I plan to make them up with 1 frame honey or extracted comb filled with 2to1 sugar syrup, 1 frame brood and 1 frame foundation, plus cpl frames of bees. I am not starting till light flow is on.

    I have read that it is difficult to get them to accept queen cell if no flow is on. I can't rember who, but someone on here said they would pour a little SS in bottom of nuc for feed. I hate to use up 1 of 3 spaces for feeder.

    I hope to keep these nucs growing and pull out frames of brood on occasion and replace with foundation. Use brood to make up hives or more nucs.

    How do ya'll handle feeding mating nucs, when they need it?

    Johnny
    "Suppose you were an idiot and suppose you were a member of Congress. But I repeat myself." - Mark Twain

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  3. #2
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    Re: Feeding mating nucs

    Depending on timing, you can feed syrup for the first 2 cycles, then you can add an empty honey comb... Be careful about letting them build up any in the nucs... this is where your acceptance rates will fall... you want to keep nucs somewhat hurting for brood... this will create an ergency from the bees and will raise your acceptance rate by far... letting her lay too long will also cause them to start trying to pull their own cells and refusing yours. A fist sized cluster of eggs on the inside of both frames is plenty to keep it weak, but going. Timing is absolutely everything. Feeding is important in the beginning to get a good take in your nucs. Once a flow has begun you can add an empty frame for them to place stores in.
    Last edited by rrussell6870; 12-31-2010 at 06:43 PM. Reason: typos

  4. #3
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    Default Re: Feeding mating nucs

    About how many days does it take before it gets too far? Can you steal brood frames to keep it weak enough to accept cells - or is it more a matter of how long she has been laying? I had hoped to go about 20 days between installing cells this coming year just to get some experience with keeping a cycle going. But if that's too long to get good acceptance I might need to go back to the drawing board.
    Last edited by David LaFerney; 12-31-2010 at 06:58 PM. Reason: clarification

  5. #4
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    Re: Feeding mating nucs

    Every area, drone supply, flow, and weather condition will create a different scenario. Here in March using mini nucs 15 days is usually perfect, in April with less rain and more flow 12 days is better, then later on like August-November 15-20 days is better...

    Using full length frames 15-20 days will be fine... Study your nucs... see how they are doing, take lots of notes and select your queens based on performance rather than date... this way you can adjust your catch and graft dates accordingly so that each year you will get more accurate.

    Hope this helps!

  6. #5
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    Default Re: Feeding mating nucs

    I'm planning on using full size medium frames in divided 8 frame boxes - 3 frames loose or 4 frames tight. I used some like that to dabble last summer and they seemed to work pretty well.

    I guess if you pull the queens a few days before the next batch of cells is ready that will work as long as the mating nucs don't have anything to make a queen with. Yes? No?

    Can you not just tear down any wild cells they might start a day or so before introducing the cell you want to raise?

    And actually on the subject - can't you just feed light syrup if there isn't much of a flow? In my area it seems that lots of people have queenless issues as the fall dearth progresses - so it would be nice to keep on producing a few in case of emergencies as late as possible. We usually have lots of drones at least until the end of October.

  7. #6
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    Re: Feeding mating nucs

    I catch and plant at the same time... We have timing down to a perfect science, so when we catch the last queen of a batch, and have planted the last cell of the replacement batch... the cells will in turn hatch within the hour... this leaves the only down time being the time that it takes the queen to mate properly... you also have to keep in mind that a queenless nuc will create an ergency about it... this can cause a queen to rush through her mating process and not get properly mated before she begins laying... by leaving the nuc queenless you create that ergency... if they have eggs to draw, the ergency will not be as bad, but even if you smash the cells that they draw, they will still accept less of your cells...

    I know I have discussed the catch/plant date issue in depth somewhere... I think that it may have been in the "Mini nuc percentages" thread...

    here is a link and I also brought it back to the top of the forum in hopes that it may help others.

    https://www.beesource.com/forums/showthread.php?t=246263


    Hope this helps!

  8. #7
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    Default Re: Feeding mating nucs

    How is the best way to keep the feeders from leaking. We did the paraffin dip last Thanksgiving for last years nucs and about 30% leaked. Any ideas, to early, etc.? Thanks
    larry

  9. #8
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    Default Re: Feeding mating nucs

    I've used dixie cups squashed enough to get them between frames and fill them with a tablespoon or so of syrup. If I were building the nucs from scratch I'd plan to use the bottom board as a feeder and feed at dark so they can clean it up by morning so they don't get robbed.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 42y 40h 39yTF

  10. #9
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    Default Re: Feeding mating nucs

    Michael, my bottoms will be syrup tight so I can do that, but will it require daily feeding?

    Johnny
    "Suppose you were an idiot and suppose you were a member of Congress. But I repeat myself." - Mark Twain

  11. #10
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    Default Re: Feeding mating nucs

    Quote Originally Posted by LT View Post
    How is the best way to keep the feeders from leaking.
    Use subfloor adhesive or exterior liquid nail to seal all seams when you build them.

  12. #11
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    Default Re: Feeding mating nucs

    Quote Originally Posted by David LaFerney View Post
    I guess if you pull the queens a few days before the next batch of cells is ready that will work as long as the mating nucs don't have anything to make a queen with. Yes? No?
    Depending on how long the first queen lays, you will have eggs and young larvae in the nuc. If you wait a few days the bees will start emergency cells, and the acceptance will go way down. If you do wait, wait until there are no eggs or young larvae from which the bees can raise a queen cell.

    But, why wait? Why not schedule a round of cells to be ready later on the day you catch queens, or early the next day. It's all about scheduling.

  13. #12
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    Default Re: Feeding mating nucs

    Quote Originally Posted by rrussell6870 View Post

    here is a link and I also brought it back to the top of the forum in hopes that it may help others.

    https://www.beesource.com/forums/showthread.php?t=246263


    Hope this helps!
    Yes, that's a good thread. Thanks.

  14. #13
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    Default Re: Feeding mating nucs

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Palmer View Post
    But, why wait? Why not schedule a round of cells to be ready later on the day you catch queens, or early the next day. It's all about scheduling.
    I agree. The plan I've been working with is to graft every 10 days, keep them in mating nucs for 20 days so that I can plant cells every ten days (alternating into 2 groups of nucs) at the same time that I catch queens.

    The ten day cycle is because I want to learn to manage a continuous process, but on a small scale - one queenless starter/finisher producing a few cells every 10 days. Once I get the hang of it I might scale up next year.

    But Then... this thread pointed out that if you leave the queen in the mating nucs too long the acceptance rate goes down for the next cell.

    On the actual subject - why not just feed 1-1 from an inverted drink bottle through a hole in the lid? It doesn't get much simpler or less invasive than that does it? In my very limited experience very small entrances do a pretty good job of preventing robbing even if you are feeding - as long as you aren't feeding a few and letting the rest starve. Anyway, since the bottles are external you can very easily put them on in the evening and take them off in the morning if you like.

  15. #14
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    Default Re: Feeding mating nucs

    thats how i feed my nucs is with a 20 oz drink bottle. poke 2 or 3 small holes in the lid. and i find it helps to coat the rim of the hole in the lid with some sylicone to form a gasket to help with rain drippin in.

  16. #15
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    Re: Feeding mating nucs

    LT,
    You heat was probably too high. When you dip the feeders, you want it somewhat cool so it builds up a thick layer quickly.

    Johnny,
    For those of us in the south, beetles are a huge issue for queen nucs... be careful when handling syrup...beetles love it... and queen nucs are easy pickings for shb... we only feed them when its absolutely necessary...first two cycles in early march... after that, let them fend for themselves. Even if you don't use bait, I would strongly suggest cd traps on the floor of each nuc... this wouldn't work if you feed in the floor...
    Last edited by rrussell6870; 01-02-2011 at 12:57 PM. Reason: added

  17. #16
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    Default Re: Feeding mating nucs

    Quote Originally Posted by rrussell6870 View Post
    ... this wouldn't work if you feed in the floor...
    Probably attract ants too - I had some of that last year in mating nucs.

  18. #17
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    Re: Feeding mating nucs

    I suggest using some form of stands for nucs to sit on... blocks with 2x8 boards work well... concrete slabs are ok, but they get hot and rain splatter will speed the decay of your equipment... metal shelves can be made using angle iron or square tubing and they work well to protect the nucs from rain splatter and ants...

  19. #18
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    Re: Feeding mating nucs

    Here is a tip about feeders... galvanized feeders were completely untouched by beetles during testing... the slick surface made it hard for them to climb on, and the galvanization treatment may in fact have an effect on deterring shb.... we are preparing to test galvanized entrances next season... if they show promise, we will be offering them on our website and I will post instructions for building and using your own.

  20. #19
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    Default Re: Feeding mating nucs

    I plan on having them up on stands to keep off ground away from ants and make it east to mow around.

    I use beetle barns with roach bait to keep SHB numbers down. Also 3 standard medium frames for nuc. These will be stronger than baby nuc and better able to fend off SHB.

    I have insulated tops with cloth inner covers, so feeding thru top not an option.

    Only planning on needing to feed in late summer to get some queens for fall requeening. Not much flow here at that time.

    Strength of hive is relative. I have used 5 frame deep nucs for mating nucs and had better than 80% acceptance. And they were really strong.

    Johnny
    "Suppose you were an idiot and suppose you were a member of Congress. But I repeat myself." - Mark Twain

  21. #20
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    Default Re: Feeding mating nucs

    Anyone know where to buy some mini feeders?
    We have ours on a wooden rail about 32 inches off the ground. Helps wifes back.
    I use Russells scooter box. She makes me put mine on the ground.
    larry

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