Double NUC Setup vs two 5 frames NUCs?
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  1. #1
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    Default Double NUC Setup vs two 5 frames NUCs?

    What is the advantage of a Palmer style Double NUC Setup vs two 5 frames NUCs? I am about to buy woodenware for 8 NUCs to serve brood factories. I have compared the cost and it seems like pushing together 2 five frames NUCs that are double deep (5X5) with migratory covers on cheaper and provides 4 extra frames than a Palmer style Double NUC Set (4X4). What am I missing?

    It also seems like the risk of queues accidentally leaking into the other hive and killing each other is lower. I lost 2 queens in a row in my Double NUC Setup this year.

    Double NUC Setup Cost:

    https://www.humbleabodesmaine.com/
    Double Nuc - Deep 1X
    TELESCOPING COVER 1X
    =$98.20 or $ 6.13 per frame housed

    http://nhhoneybee.com/
    10 Frame Outer Cover - Telescoping with Metal Cap 1X
    Double NUC Set up 1X
    =$91.45 or 5.7 per frame housed

    Two 5 frames NUCs Cost
    http://nhhoneybee.com/
    5 Frame - NUC Box with Migratory Cover 2X
    Unassembled Nuc Box - Mill Run Grade - Bulk (Mann Lake) 4X
    = 87.8 or 4.39 per frame housed

    https://www.humbleabodesmaine.com/
    MIGRATORY NUC BOTTOM BOARD 2X
    MIGRATORY NUC OUTER COVER 2X
    COMMERCIAL 5 FRAME NUC BOX 4X
    =$64.20 or $3.21 per frame housed



    Alex Madsen

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  3. #2
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    Default Re: Double NUC Setup vs two 5 frames NUCs?

    Both approaches will work. One possible advantage in winter might be the greater protection a telescoping cover gives relative to a migratory lid. Also, try calculating it not on a per-frame basis, but on a per colony basis. Colonies are the functional subunit here, not frames.

  4. #3
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    Default Re: Double NUC Setup vs two 5 frames NUCs?

    Five frames have at least two outer frames leaving at most three for brood. Same number of working frames in double and a warm wall besides. It is spring warm, well year round warmth. Workers do not fight, it's a commune that works.
    It is not true that you cannot teach an old dog new tricks.
    They can learn them, they just can't do them.

  5. #4
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    Default Re: Double NUC Setup vs two 5 frames NUCs?

    You can use standard bottom and 10 frame box with removeable divider for bottom as well as standard cover. This one kept growing taller and I put on an excluder and a super. They were well on their way to filling it!

    I did not have trouble with the queens getting lost but would put entrances on opposite ends rather than side by side. They should have equal age queens. Working them is a bit more difficult especially if one side gets a box taller.

    Unless you are making the 4 frame nucs they are a bit harder to source.
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  6. #5
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    Default Re: Double NUC Setup vs two 5 frames NUCs?

    I think if you go back and listen to Michael Palmers talks about his double nucs the design was so he could use his existing equipment, and I think several times I have heard him say you can get the same results using 2 5 frame nucs.

  7. #6
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    Default Re: Double NUC Setup vs two 5 frames NUCs?

    I made mine this way so everything would be interchangeable. Lids fit. Supers can go on top above excluder. Nuc boxes fit on top of production hive if you want to winter that way.

  8. #7
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    Default Re: Double NUC Setup vs two 5 frames NUCs?

    4 frame nucs boxes can be sourced from both these places.

    https://www.humbleabodesmaine.com/

    http://nhhoneybee.com/

  9. #8
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    Default Re: Double NUC Setup vs two 5 frames NUCs?

    Another option is to push two five frame NUC together. If using migratory style covers can push them wood to wood. If using telescopic covers, add a piece of two inch Styrofoam between or use two 3/4 wide pieces of Styrofoam.

  10. #9
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    Default Re: Double NUC Setup vs two 5 frames NUCs?

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Palmer View Post
    I made mine this way so everything would be interchangeable. Lids fit. Supers can go on top above excluder. Nuc boxes fit on top of production hive if you want to winter that way.
    As we use 11-frame brood boxes, I use pairs of 5-frame nuc boxes side-by-side for exactly the same reason - identical footprints and thus interchangeability of kit.
    . . . . . . .

    Michael - at the risk of creating some thread drift - could I take this opportunity of asking you a question related to these pairs of 4-frame nucs ?

    This question relates to the YouTube video of your 'Sustainable Apiary' talk at the National Honey Show back in 2013. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nznzpiWEI8A (BTW - a video well-worth watching for anyone who hasn't - highly recommended)

    At around 35-36 mins you're showing your preferred method of making-up a pair of Nucleus Colonies, in which you're very particular about placing a comb of honey against each side of the divider - "because each nuc needs a frame of feed" - for as you say the divider effectively becomes the centre of the brood-nest. You then add two frames of brood, with an empty comb on the outside of each set of combs.

    At around 42-43 mins you then show your procedure for the later expansion of the above pair of nucleus colonies by the use of a super (being another half-width nuc box) above each.
    Having checked for a laying queen, you then pull the original frame of feed (which was preferably uncapped honey) in which the bees will by then have removed it's contents and filled it with brood (because - "just as with production colonies - bees do not like nectar in the centre of their brood-nest. So - in two weeks that comb is full of brood.")

    And that is the basis of my question - if the bees don't like having nectar in the centre of their brood-nest, why do you put it there ? That does - at first sight - seem counter-intuitive, and that inserting an empty drawn comb would be much less work for the bees. I do have a hunch as to your reasons, but thought I'd ask you first, before theorising about them.

    Best wishes from an unseasonably warm UK (50 deg F in the 2nd week of February) !
    LJ
    Last edited by little_john; 02-10-2019 at 09:09 AM.
    A Heretics Guide to Beekeeping http://heretics-guide.atwebpages.com/

  11. #10
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    Default Re: Double NUC Setup vs two 5 frames NUCs?

    LJ, Mike has discussed this in other posts. The honey frames go to the inside wall becasue that is the warmer side of the nuc and where the bees will tend to cluster. Once the weather turns and they begin to brood up, this becomes less important. You have to think of the double nuc as one hive with a divider in the middle, or at least that is my interpretation. I find Mike's lectures to be very informative.
    Thankfully, the bees are smarter than I am. They are doing well, in spite of my efforts to help them.

  12. #11
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    Default Re: Double NUC Setup vs two 5 frames NUCs?

    Quote Originally Posted by little_john View Post
    And that is the basis of my question - if the bees don't like having nectar in the centre of their brood-nest, why do you put it there ? That does - at first sight - seem counter-intuitive, and that inserting an empty drawn comb would be much less work for the bees. I do have a hunch as to your reasons, but thought I'd ask you first, before theorising about them.
    I want the bees clustering on the honey comb, and turning it into a frame of brood. I found that sometimes, when at sidewall, the bees ignore it and it renains a honey comb. If the empty comb is at the divider, they use it, but it seemed more slowly.

    That said, I've been doing it both ways of late, just to see the difference. Not much. So, maybe over thinking it.

  13. #12
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    Default Re: Double NUC Setup vs two 5 frames NUCs?

    I've been going to 6 medium frame. 2 of them will fit a square dadant footprint. But if I want to separate them they make for a wide enough footprint that I don't have to worry about them falling over in the wind even if stacked 3 boxes high. Since I have all medium frames, I found the 5 frame single box didn't provide enough volume. Any time there was heat after that initial batch of brood hatched out, they would all be clustering on the outside of the box. Add another box and they march back in and get back to work.

  14. #13
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    Default Re: Double NUC Setup vs two 5 frames NUCs?

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Palmer View Post
    I want the bees clustering on the honey comb, and turning it into a frame of brood. I found that sometimes, when at sidewall, the bees ignore it and it renains a honey comb. If the empty comb is at the divider, they use it, but it seemed more slowly.

    That said, I've been doing it both ways of late, just to see the difference. Not much. So, maybe over thinking it.
    Hi Michael - I need to preface what I'm about to write with a big MAYBE.

    I've been digging through the 'Gleanings' archives recently, and in one edition Doolittle had just read about the Adair 'Long Idea' hive, and so duly built himself two of them to experiment with. With one of these hives - for reasons known only to himself - he began extracting honey twice a week. Although the amount of honey from that hive ran to over a quarter of a ton, he wasn't at all impressed with that hive's performance, seeing as double the amount of brood had been generated by the extraction process, and the percentage of extra honey gained didn't reflect the extra number of bees that were then present.

    It would appear - MAYBE - that there was something about the removal of honey from a comb which then stimulated brood-rearing - and my thoughts raced back to your 'Sustainable Apiary' talk - and so I wondered if you were placing the feed comb in that position with the intention of stimulating brood rearing in a similar way. From what you have just written it appears not, or at least not directly.

    I'm left wondering if there might be a simple response mechanism at work here: either the movement of nectar/honey from one comb to another is simulating a flow which stimulates brood-rearing - or - that there is something about a freshly emptied stores comb which has the property of stimulating brood-rearing in some way. My fantasy is that we may have just stumbled across a basic principle. Or perhaps not ?
    best,
    LJ
    A Heretics Guide to Beekeeping http://heretics-guide.atwebpages.com/

  15. #14
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    Default Re: Double NUC Setup vs two 5 frames NUCs?

    Quote Originally Posted by little_john View Post
    I'm left wondering if there might be a simple response mechanism at work here: either the movement of nectar/honey from one comb to another is simulating a flow which stimulates brood-rearing
    Can't place my finger on the writer, one of my readings talked about placing a box of honey on the bottom, the bees moving it up simulated a flow.

  16. #15
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    Default Re: Double NUC Setup vs two 5 frames NUCs?

    What I find quite extraordinary about the Doolittle report is that he had two 4ft. 32-frame Long Hives. One was used for extracted (twice a week) honey which produced 599 lbs, the other was used for comb honey, which produced 400 lbs. Same location, same conditions etc. Both were VERY respectable yields compared with my miserable location - BUT - only the extraction hive doubled it's workforce - the other didn't. It appears he wasn't that impressed with the extra 199 lbs (for all that work) from double the number of bees. Most of that extra workforce would presuambly have arrived AFTER the flow, which is exactly when they weren't needed - indeed, they would then present as so many extra non-productive mouths to feed at a time when nothing very much would be coming into the hive. Presumably that's why Doolittle was so negative about the experiment.
    LJ
    A Heretics Guide to Beekeeping http://heretics-guide.atwebpages.com/

  17. #16
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    Default Re: Double NUC Setup vs two 5 frames NUCs?

    Perhaps. I think I'll do some both ways and track the buildup



    Quote Originally Posted by little_john View Post
    I'm left wondering if there might be a simple response mechanism at work here: either the movement of nectar/honey from one comb to another is simulating a flow which stimulates brood-rearing - or - that there is something about a freshly emptied stores comb which has the property of stimulating brood-rearing in some way. My fantasy is that we may have just stumbled across a basic principle. Or perhaps not ?
    best,
    LJ

  18. #17
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    Default Re: Double NUC Setup vs two 5 frames NUCs?

    Quote Originally Posted by msl View Post
    Can't place my finger on the writer, one of my readings talked about placing a box of honey on the bottom, the bees moving it up simulated a flow.
    I believe that's true

  19. #18
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    Default Re: Double NUC Setup vs two 5 frames NUCs?

    Doolittle, again, when making sections.
    In A years work in out apiaries.

  20. #19
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    Default Re: Double NUC Setup vs two 5 frames NUCs?

    Alex Madesn----how did you lose two queens in a row, using a double nuc set up? Were the boxes just not tight? Do you suppose the problem originated with the entrance to the hive, or at the top? Or did a rogue queen fly in and attack? Did you make the equipment yourself? I'm asking because I'm planning on a nuc expansion this year and I'd like to learn from your experience. I've chosen to use a 4 frame, double nuc system and I've been building, building, building.

    Thanks, RMH

  21. #20
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    I am not sure where the leak was. It was a purchase double nuc. I will be fastidious this year checking for gaps. I still like the double nuc system, in infact all my new hives will be this. Hence my question about configuration cost.

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