Spring Plan to make NUCs and Honey
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2017
    Location
    Katy, TX
    Posts
    20

    Default Spring Plan to make NUCs and Honey

    Hi all, I am a 3rd year beekeeper and we am planning on making some NUC for sale and try to make some honey this year in the west Houston area. I am going to use OTS Queen Rearing on one hive and Lauri's Fly-back Split on another hive. (all 4 double deeps and 1 NUC overwintered this year). The other hives will be used for extra resources as needed and honey production. Please let me know if you see any errors in my plans. Already completed week one. Capped Drone cells were found in the 2 hives. Our big flow is the Chinese Tallow that runs from late April thru all of May.

    Queen Rearing Hive 1 - OTS
    Weekend Week Egg Age
    2/23/18 0 3-4 Move Queen to NUC with 2 frames of sealed brood and 2 frames of scratched honey/pollen.
    Shake in some nurse bees
    Move Nuc away from old hive
    Make cell builder starting with all other frames.
    Find 4-6 frames with very young larva.
    Notch 2 or 3 places on each frame of larva
    Feed all hives syrup and pollen patties

    3/2/18 1 10-11 Make 4-6, 2-frame mating NUCs, with 1 frame brood & 1 frame with QC
    Knock down QC's so that only the 2 strongest remain in each NUC
    Add scratched honey/pollen frames to NUCs to fill to 3-4 frames.
    Move old Queen back to old location and add frames to make a 10-frame deep, add second deeps if needed.
    Move NUCs at least 10 feet away and place weakest NUC in old queen location, arrange entrances in different directions
    Close hive entrances to smallest size
    Feed all hives syrup and pollen patties if necessary
    Queen Age
    3/9/18 2 1-2 New virgin queens should emerge in mating NUCs
    Add supers to Old Queen hive if necessary
    Feed all hives syrup and pollen patties if necessary

    3/23/18 4 15-16 Check NUCs for laying Queens, combine any that may have failed
    Add supers to Old Queen hive if necessary

    Queen Rearing Hive 2 - Lauri's Fly-Back Split

    Weekend Week Egg Age
    2/23/18 0 3-4 Move Queen to new deep box with 2 frames of open brood and 1 frames of scratched honey/pollen leave in old location
    Fill in box with foundation frames (undrawn)
    Make 1-2 NUCs with all other frames
    Find 2-4 frames with very young larva.
    Notch 2 or 3 places on each frame of larva
    Add scratched honey/pollen frames to NUCs to fill to 3-4 frames.
    Move away from old hive, arrange entrances in different directions
    Close hive entrances to smallest size
    Feed all hives syrup and pollen patties

    3/2/18 1 10-11 Knock down QC's so that only the 2 strongest remain in each NUC
    Feed all NUC hives syrup and pollen patties
    Add second deep to old queen hives if needed
    Queen Age
    3/9/18 2 1-2 New virgin queens should emerge in mating NUCs
    Add second deep to old queen hives if needed
    Feed all hives syrup and pollen patties

    3/23/18 4 15-16 Check NUCs for laying Queens, combine any that may have failed
    Add supers to Old Queen hive if necessary

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
    Location
    Decorah, Iowa USA
    Posts
    189

    Default Re: Spring Plan to make NUCs and Honey

    Interested in how you did. Which method did you use?

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2017
    Location
    Katy, TX
    Posts
    20

    Default Re: Spring Plan to make NUCs and Honey

    I used the methods on two separate hives. On one hive(A) I removed the queen and notched 4 frames. The other hive (B) I did a fly back split/swarm and made 3 splits plus the parent hive.

    On hive A I found 3 frames that had queens cells the following week (March 2nd) and made three 5 frame splits, (QC frame, brood, honey, pollen, open frame). I moved the old queen back into the original location. Two of the three splits had a hatched queen last week (March 9th) and the old queen needed a 2nd deep box. The third split had 2 unopened Queen cells, probably not going to make it and will recombine with the old queen hive to boost for honey production in May.

    On hive B, the following week (March 2nd) I knocked down all small queen cells and left 2 big ones in each Nuc. Last week (March 9th), all of the Nucs have hatched queens and the old queen has built out about 6 or 7 of the frames on the original location. A little disappointed in the fly-back portion, but it may have been a little early and I also forgot to feed syrup the first week.

    Great weather this week so hopefully the new queens will get mated.

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2017
    Location
    Katy, TX
    Posts
    20

    Default Re: Spring Plan to make NUCs and Honey

    Not sure if this is helping anyone but might as well continue to report on the splits we made at the end of February. We went back yesterday.

    The one split from hive A that had an unopened Queen cells was recombined back into hive A. The quell cells were duds. A quick peek to add more syrup in the other nucs. The all looked strong and quiet. Hive beetles don't seem to be an issue. We will check them next week for eggs. And hopefully sell them at the end of the month.

    Hive A (the old queen in the old location) has moved up into the 2nd deep we added last week. Hive B (fly-back swarm/split) is slow to fill the frames in the first deep. Probably ready for a 2nd deep next week or we may try using a single deep brood nest and supers to make honey through our big flow in May.

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2017
    Location
    Katy, TX
    Posts
    20

    Default Re: Spring Plan to make NUCs and Honey

    Update on March 23rd we made a visit to the hives.
    4 of the 5 remaining Nucs have laying Queens!
    The 5th Nuc had laying workers and sketchy drone patterns, so we combined it into another hive using a double screen board.
    1 of the 4 Nucs had sketchy drone patterns as well, but we then found the queen, eggs, and brood.
    The Nucs will be sold the weekend of April 6th.

    Didn't look into Hive A or B this time.

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2016
    Location
    Southeast Texas
    Posts
    1,792

    Default Re: Spring Plan to make NUCs and Honey

    be careful with the pollen patty's. I'm around Beaumont and have found these are hive beetle magnets. Found that using a small patty like 1 inch x 1 inch will let the bees consume the sub before the beetles swarm it. us small and more often than 1 big patty.

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2017
    Location
    Katy, TX
    Posts
    20

    Default Re: Spring Plan to make NUCs and Honey

    Thanks SAK, We are only able to check the hives once a week because of work and any left over patties went into the trash. They did have beetle larva on them.

    Final Update. the 4 NUCs will be sold tomorrow.

    Hive A is now 2 deeps and 2 medium supers, one super is filled with honey.
    Hive B received a second deep of drawn comb this week and a second super. It had been one deep and one super. The first super was full of honey. Our big flow (Chinese Tallow) starts in about a month.

  9. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2017
    Location
    Katy, TX
    Posts
    20

    Default Re: Spring Plan to make NUCs and Honey

    One further update. The NUC that we thought was queenless and put on top of another hive using a double screen board, actually had a queen. We found capped brood this morning. So it is true to always wait a week when dealing with virgin queens. We were lucky and went 5 for 5 on virgin queens that hatched and 5 for 6 on splits (1 split never raised a queen).

  10. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2017
    Location
    Green Ridge, Missouri
    Posts
    76

    Default Re: Spring Plan to make NUCs and Honey

    You could have just spent $150 and bought five queens......I am joking of course. To me, it is a much better feeling raising up your own.....for free. Congratulations!

  11. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2018
    Location
    Muenster, TX, USA
    Posts
    46

    Default Re: Spring Plan to make NUCs and Honey

    How's the temperament on those splits? I'm almost in OK and find home raised queens can be more than I want to deal with

  12. #11
    Join Date
    Mar 2017
    Location
    Green Ridge, Missouri
    Posts
    76

    Default Re: Spring Plan to make NUCs and Honey

    I only have 5 home raised/feral hives as compared to a single Italian package. My home raised queens tend to produce a bit more defensive bee and I would say smaller sized bee. But, I am after a more resistant, naturally occurring bee that can overwinter in my area and display good varroa resistance when I make my splits and give them brood breaks. Though I make not make as much honey. I can utilize my genetics and other neighbors genetics who don't treat our bees with chemicals and get survivability. I prefer raising my own queens. For hot hives, don't pull cells from those to raise a queen. Pull from what you want.

  13. #12
    Join Date
    Feb 2017
    Location
    Katy, TX
    Posts
    20

    Default Re: Spring Plan to make NUCs and Honey

    Over a 2 year period we have purchased 6 queens all from a supplier in Navasota ( that is how we started beekeeping). By far, the feral mated daughters and half sisters have produced hives that were less defensive. They are also very small bees. I see bees on some you tube videos and they look like giants in comparison. We treat in spring and late fall so mite resistance isn't something we breed for. The feral hives make slightly less honey but are easy to work. A friend of ours bought 2 queens from the same supplier and had to move them to some land he had because he couldn't walk out of his back door without being harassed.

    The splits before we sold them were very easy to work. We always wear jackets and veils, you can walk right up to all the hives without protection, but not to do an inspection or take honey.

    Some people go to the sauna, we work bees in the summer in Texas with a beekeeping jacket on.

  14. #13
    Join Date
    Feb 2018
    Location
    Muenster, TX, USA
    Posts
    46

    Default Re: Spring Plan to make NUCs and Honey

    Hmmm, maybe Katy is too humid for AHB? I think that's why they don't have them in LA. Those queens from Navasota always seem pretty docile to me (not quit as docile as the cordovian Italians for California though). They seem to tolerate mites better than other queens I've bought too. The open mated queens around here are a crap shoot w/ about one in four being too hot for me. I agree working bees in June and July is no fun. Luckily I'm far enough north to find a cooler day in August lots of years

  15. #14
    Join Date
    Feb 2017
    Location
    Katy, TX
    Posts
    20

    Default Re: Spring Plan to make NUCs and Honey

    Update on the 2 parent hives.

    Hive A is on the verge of swarming with 2 full deeps and 2 supers about 65% full. Starting to back fill brood nest. incredibly hard to find queen (bought in April 2017 )and meanest hive. Did alcohol wash and found 12-14 mites. Decided to treat all honey production hives with MAQS. The window for using MAQS will close soon as our highs are reaching high 70' low 80's.

    Hive B is now 2 full deeps and 3 supers about 50% full of honey. Bees easier to handle, locally mated queen from fall of last year.

    Lots of wild flowers, including dandelion, blooming near and Tallow should be popping in the next week or two. Tallow flow last for most of the month of May.

    I'll update again once we extract in early June.

  16. #15
    Join Date
    Feb 2017
    Location
    Katy, TX
    Posts
    20

    Default Re: Spring Plan to make NUCs and Honey

    Update

    Harvested 3 medium supers from hive A and 4 medium supers from Hive B with average weight of 32 pounds of honey/super.

  17. #16
    Join Date
    May 2015
    Location
    Skaneateles, NY
    Posts
    930

    Default Re: Spring Plan to make NUCs and Honey

    this thread with all the follow up posts was really useful thanks!

    I have 26 hives going into winter 2018 ( 11 x 4/4/4 overwintering MP style nucs) and 15 double/triple deep larger hives.
    Im hoping to graft queens next year ( aiming for 25 mated queens in round 1 and same in round 2.)
    -> hoping to sell 20 nucs and expand up to 40-50 total colonies for winter 2019 ( combination of double/triple deeps and double overwintering nucs).

    again thanks for this thread it is def food for thought!

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