5 Frame nucs
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Thread: 5 Frame nucs

  1. #1
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    Default 5 Frame nucs

    I know this topic is frequently debated but I thought this was a fresh question on the "what should come in my 5 frame nuc?"

    How old do you expect the 5 frame nuc to be?

    Do you pull the frame the queen is actively working, and put that in a cardboard box with 4 other frames and hand it off to a customer a few hours before they arrive to pick it up?
    OR
    Do you put together the 5 frame nuc several days in advance? A week?

    How long would you have expected that 5 frame nuc to have been assembled/living together prior to picking it up?

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  3. #2
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    Default Re: 5 Frame nucs

    Personally I'm more interested in ensuring the queen is functioning as expected rather than a specific time period; a lot depends on if the queen was introduced as a QC, virgin or mated. If I had to put a number on it I'd probably say into the second week after I know she should be laying.

    You're not that far from me, if you have a problem finding a nuc that meets your expectations, drop me a PM and I'll see if I can connect you with one that does.
    “The single biggest problem with communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” -George Bernard Shaw

  4. #3
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    Stockholm, NJ, USA
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    Default Re: 5 Frame nucs

    Quote Originally Posted by schmism View Post
    I know this topic is frequently debated but I thought this was a fresh question on the "what should come in my 5 frame nuc?"

    How old do you expect the 5 frame nuc to be?

    Do you pull the frame the queen is actively working, and put that in a cardboard box with 4 other frames and hand it off to a customer a few hours before they arrive to pick it up?
    OR
    Do you put together the 5 frame nuc several days in advance? A week?

    How long would you have expected that 5 frame nuc to have been assembled/living together prior to picking it up?
    If I am purchasing a NUC, I would like it to be an overwintered NUC or a hive that has gone through 2 or 3 generations of worker bees. Or a queen that is transferred to a NUC with frames of bees and broods from her original hive. Unscrupulous sellers throw a package together in a nuc with a caged queen and call it a NUC. This is not right, especially when every beekeeper should try to encourage more beekeeping and scamming people does not help a bit. In my USDA 6A area, true NUCs are ready around mid May to June, anything earlier is a NUC from the south or a package thrown together.

  5. #4
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    Default Re: 5 Frame nucs

    I like to sleep at night. When I sell a nuc, it is the queen and the brood she has produced. I only sell locally mated queens and in my area, the earliest is mid April. Sorry to ruffle feathers, but a nuc from an outsourced queen and a bunch of brood from another hive is not a nuc in my opinion.
    Thankfully, the bees are smarter than I am. They are doing well, in spite of my efforts to help them.

  6. #5
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    Default Re: 5 Frame nucs

    Quote Originally Posted by JWPalmer View Post
    I like to sleep at night. When I sell a nuc, it is the queen and the brood she has produced. I only sell locally mated queens and in my area, the earliest is mid April. Sorry to ruffle feathers, but a nuc from an outsourced queen and a bunch of brood from another hive is not a nuc in my opinion.
    I am with JW on this one. Nuc to me is a queen & her brood. An over wintered nuc is entirely different then a spring nuc. For me my overwintered nucs are usually my gang busters in the spring build up. I end up putting them in 10 frame boxes by early April & 2 med supers on top at the latest by mid to late April.

  7. #6
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    Default Re: 5 Frame nucs

    Agree overwintered nucs are the best but not finding the definition of a quality nuc defined as a queen and her brood of 2 to 3 generations of bees realistic for spring nucs if you're using local stock and locally open mated queens. Keep in mind the queen is successfully mated, it's validated she's laying well, the nuc is well provisioned with stores/nurse bees and likely been together at least a week or two while the queen gets up and running.
    Not looking to start a tinkling contest but looking for a definition of quality that's not defined as one quality nuc per split hive, aka a queen and her brood (or is her brood quantified by a percentage?). What exactly and be specific, do you find denied/missing in frames with brood and attached bees from more than one hive or what is the perceived value added in holding the hive for multiple generations?
    “The single biggest problem with communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” -George Bernard Shaw

  8. #7
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    Default Re: 5 Frame nucs

    For a spring nuc, expecting all the bees in the nuc to be from the queen is unrealistic. For me, it is just her brood. That way the customer can see for themselves the pattern that THAT queen is laying. An overwintered nuc is just that, a colony that has survived the winter as a colony and has a queen from the previous summer.
    Thankfully, the bees are smarter than I am. They are doing well, in spite of my efforts to help them.

  9. #8
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    Default Re: 5 Frame nucs

    Agree but "her brood only" limits a "quality" nuc to one if the queen has to be included. This and waiting for her brood only from an introduced queen is too time consuming. Because a frame with empty cells is included when the queen/QC was introduced, the laying pattern is visible via eggs and very young larvae. If on the off chance a queen doesn't meet expectations, I believe most reputable sellers would provide a remedy.

    I agree there are those that sell a less than quality product and fail to make good on any complaints; shame on them and may a thousand fleas invade their armpits. However, I just wanted to challenge any notion a well stocked and provisioned nuc with a laying queen wasn't quality or should be avoided if it wasn't the original queen with only her brood. No offence was intended.
    “The single biggest problem with communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” -George Bernard Shaw

  10. #9
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    Question Re: 5 Frame nucs

    No over wintered worn out queens and bees here. I start the season with 700 packages in March. From there I make MY increase, another 250-350 hives from splits from package hives. By the first of May all the extra frames of brood is pull and make nucs for sale with the same mated queens I use for production. Nucs are made up with a caged mated queen and 4 frames of brood and a frame of feed. Nucs are ready for pickup 10-14 days later. Why only 10-14 days late, because if you know what you are doing that nuc is ready for transfer into hive. Really at 21-30 days you have swarm cells. Nucs are just splits. You can make good splits and BAD ones. Always know what your supplier is selling you. A good young queen is KEY. Why would you want an old over wintered queen? My fresh package queens grow twice as fast as my over wintered queens. If I sold my old over wintered queens, my customer wouldn't return the next years to buy my bees from me.

    Almost 40 years in the business, and I always sell out.

  11. #10
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    Default Re: 5 Frame nucs

    not sure I would call a queen coming out of her first winter worn out. My experience has been that first true spring is when she is at her best. Could be my winters are not to hard as compared to northern winters, or nucs in general do better over winter then larger hives, or I have an unusually large amount of pollen trees/shrubs (feb-March) that bloom prior to when splits and nucs are made. All I know is where I live this works best for me.

  12. #11
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    Default Re: 5 Frame nucs

    The way I sell nucs is (using the OTS method): I have hives (usually 2 deeps) that survive winter with a queen that was bred after the summer solstice. So they are overwintered but still young, locally bred queens. After I evaluate the hives and they are growing I pull the queen with 3 frames of brood, two frames of honey/pollen and send them off the next day or two leaving my hives to raise new queens. I have done it the day of sale but I end up with a ton angery bees and customers in the same yard. I also don't sell a ton of nucs, maybe 12-15 a year, but my customers have always been happy.

    Important note: I am a hobbyist, I don't make a living with bees. If you are looking to make a living with them this may not be a great method.
    zone 5b
    Back in 2019!

  13. #12
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    Default Re: 5 Frame nucs

    I am starting my second year. For me, I expect a laying queen with a good brood pattern she produced.

  14. #13
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    Default Re: 5 Frame nucs

    Schmism,
    Did we, in a round about manner, answer your questions or did we miss the mark?
    “The single biggest problem with communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” -George Bernard Shaw

  15. #14
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    Default Re: 5 Frame nucs

    As long as I got what i paid for I would be good. No no one should walk away feeling like a bait and switch just happened.
    An open brood frame and eggs that she laid to prove her, plus another frame of capped brood/ bees from another hive would not bother me a bit.
    It is not true that you cannot teach an old dog new tricks.
    They can learn them, they just can't do them.

  16. #15
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    Default Re: 5 Frame nucs

    My selling point is that my queens are local queens. Raised and mated in my own apiary. I could produce nucs earlier by purchasing southern queens and still have a quality product, but that is not what I want to sell at this stage.
    As far as worn out? A late summer queen in my area is a true powerhouse the next spring and an overwintered nuc commands a higher price than a spring nuc.
    Thankfully, the bees are smarter than I am. They are doing well, in spite of my efforts to help them.

  17. #16
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    Default Re: 5 Frame nucs

    Product that matches what was advertised. Nothing less.

  18. #17
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    west central Arkansas
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by althea View Post
    not sure I would call a queen coming out of her first winter worn out. My experience has been that first true spring is when she is at her best.
    That's been my experience as well. An overwintered queen is worth more than an unproven one for me, but I am not in the honey business. There may be some benefit that comes from a new queen that I've never had a need to know, but I'm fond of my second year queens.
    Season 5. TF.

  19. #18
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    Default Re: 5 Frame nucs

    Quote Originally Posted by schmism View Post
    I know this topic is frequently debated but I thought this was a fresh question on the "what should come in my 5 frame nuc?"

    How old do you expect the 5 frame nuc to be?

    Do you pull the frame the queen is actively working, and put that in a cardboard box with 4 other frames and hand it off to a customer a few hours before they arrive to pick it up?
    OR
    Do you put together the 5 frame nuc several days in advance? A week?

    How long would you have expected that 5 frame nuc to have been assembled/living together prior to picking it up?
    schmism, I guess if you have "expectations" you should clearly spell them out. "I want an old last years over wintered queen on 3 generations of her own bees" IMO overwintered Queens in NUCs would not be for sale, they would be used to produce more NUCs.. Also I would say newly mated queen in the NUC for 2 weeks, so her pattern could be clearly evaluated would be what I expect. I ask how long, what size frame and what I feel i need to know. You can always shop somewhere else if the answers do not suit you. In general I want the NUC from a specific person , that I have heard good things about. So I somewhat use word of mouth to find the person and go with the flow as long as my questions are answered in the manner I am happy with.
    GG

  20. #19
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    Default Re: 5 Frame nucs

    Quote Originally Posted by JWPalmer View Post
    My selling point is that my queens are local queens. Raised and mated in my own apiary. I could produce nucs earlier by purchasing southern queens and still have a quality product, but that is not what I want to sell at this stage.
    As far as worn out? A late summer queen in my area is a true powerhouse the next spring and an overwintered nuc commands a higher price than a spring nuc.
    You are right Jw. My 3 nucs this year will be from my strongest queen from late June 2018. I will create those nucs a week or 2 after the tulip poplar bloom. Come next spring those 3 nucs will be my best hives. They will just explode in mid March when the plums and apricots bloom. 8-9 month old queens seem to be the best for me. I like my queens at that age going into the spring build.

  21. #20
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    Default Re: 5 Frame nucs

    In my area package queens suck. We just had 70 packages picked up by our club as part of a group buy that came from GA. My good friend who was my student and been keeping for 4 years now installed 5 packages and had issues with every queen.
    For the past at least 2 winters all my overwintered stock has come from feral bees, no package queens have made it (i usually get 1-2 packages a year, but this year i bought 0 because i could get the local nucs)

    Why is this relevant, because if you tell me your going to give me last years 1 yo queen that overwintered Id jump on that. So no I am not in the camp that says 1 yo queens are wore out. When I first started beekeeping we kept queens for 3+ years (shocker I know)

    The note about specifying what you want is a good note. I guess if i do this again I can do better communicating what i want which was part of the point of the post. What should I be expecting.

    I think (for me) what I would be most comfortable with is for the nuc to include the frame the overwintered queen is actively laying; I have no issue with building a 5 frame nuc from 5 diffrent hives of frames, and having those bees living together for a week before I get to come by and inspect the nuc and purchase.

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