I'm interested in knowing from those of you who employ the Michael Palmer Bee Bomb configuration, and live in the northern snowy states ( MI,MN,NY) as to what weight you're looking for going into winter? I believe his (MP), consist of a standard 10 frame center divided deep on the bottom, with 4 additional 4 frame nucs on top. Also, how do you weigh your Bee Bomb, with the top cover and inner cover removed? Thanks in advance for the "magic number"!
Mike's term 'bee bomb' is referring to adding a bunch of brood (harvested from 'brood factories' - which are colonies of stacked nuc boxes, managed throughout the summer in those boxes to provide brood to other colonies, or to make more nucs from) to boost another colony.
Because of the divided deep on the bottom, Mike doesn't weigh the nucs. He hefts the upper box or two to asses weight, and usually marks them as needing 1, 2 or 3 gallons. We never feed more than that to nucs which winter in 2 or 3 nuc boxes.
Personally, I don't use a shared deep, so I can weigh mine. I use a platform scale or a Fischer scale and I like them to weight 25 - 35lbs per box with the covers removed.
Adam, thank you for the quick response, and also the clarification on the term "Bee Bomb".
May I ask in what state you reside so that I might get some idea as to the severity of your winters in comparison to mine (Michigan)?
You say that as a minimum, you over-winter in as few as 2 nucs and no more than 3. For talking purposes lets assume we're talking 10 frames total (2x5). Here in Michigan, we've always been taught that we must use a minimum of two deeps or 20 frames total. So it is indeed hard for me to wrap my thinking around the fact that theoretically I could get away with as few as 10 frames, 12 with the Dadant set-up for over-wintering bees.
Anything else you can tell me about the winterizing of your nucs? Are they wrapped, put in inside cold storage like Ian does in Canada?
Many thanks for all the information. This nuc business is a new venture for me. At least I can say that I foresee the weighing process on a small scale ( https://www.webstaurantstore.com/rub...690P250SS.html) a lot easier than trying to manhandle double deeps full of winter stores!
Adam lives in Vt as does Michael Palmer and myself. When referring to the 2 story divided nuc they are on 8 total combs, 12 for a 3 story. There is no magic number of frames to get through the winter. These nucs winter great as long as they're strong, mite free, and have plenty of feed in my experience (which is admittedly limited).
I run divided doubles much as Mr Palmer does. I weigh all my stacks the same as my normal doubles. You might need a ratchet strap to unitize the nuc boxes. My minimum weight is 125 and think that would be a good minimum to shoot for. Double deeps should not be fed massively heavy either IMO. I usually look for trouble if the stack is much over 140. For me that means someone is queenless and every cell is full of honey or syrup.
I rock the stack sideways and center a 2x2' piece of plywood under the raised side edge. I place a fine antique bathroom scale so that the raised edge will set on its middle when I rock the stack the other way to balance up on the scale. At balance point, I read scale. It is close and easy and you don't have to lift whole weight, just balance it on the scale.
I am not up north. I do run a resource hive. They are simply brood factories and places to find a queen. This year I plan to add five more of these (10 colonies) as a function of expanding. They work by clustering to the center board with good mass. The two colonies get sympathetic heat from the center divider in the winter. I do plan to run them for honey this spring and see what its like for "fun" but honestly they are places for me to pull brood, honey, or if needed a queen. Highly recommended.