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Discussion Starter #1
I'm looking at using a divider to split a 5 frame nuc into two 2-frame mating nucs. I'm guessing you want entrances to be on opposite sides of the box? I have pre fab gear with a single bottom entrance, pondering the best/easiest way to modify or just build dedicated mating nucs. Thanks.

Hunter
 

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split the box into 2 2 frame.
Block one side and drill a hole and put a spinning disc on the back side of the blocked one..

Should only cost the disks and the drill bit

GG
 

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My approach these days is "one colony, one box" - for reasons I won't bore you with (unless asked).
Although popular elsewhere, for some reason 'dummy frames' have never become popular in North America - or at least that's the impression I've gained.

A pair of dummy frames will turn a 5-frame box into a 3-framer, and as that colony grows in size, just remove 'em - no need to possess any purpose-made boxes, and no need to re-house the colony.

If you're raising queens for sale, then it's a different story, sure - but for someone who just wants to raise a few nucs, then the use of dummy frames is well-worth considering.
LJ
 

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Discussion Starter #4
My approach these days is "one colony, one box" - for reasons I won't bore you with (unless asked).
Although popular elsewhere, for some reason 'dummy frames' have never become popular in North America - or at least that's the impression I've gained.

A pair of dummy frames will turn a 5-frame box into a 3-framer, and as that colony grows in size, just remove 'em - no need to possess any purpose-made boxes, and no need to re-house the colony.

If you're raising queens for sale, then it's a different story, sure - but for someone who just wants to raise a few nucs, then the use of dummy frames is well-worth considering.
LJ
Please, bore me. I'm interested in everyone's reason for doing things one way or another. I'm curious if the queens getting it wrong and starting a war or getting themselves killed by returning to the wrong side is something to consider.
 

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I have several time tried to mate queens in side by side setups.
Often the queen returns and is not aware of the 2 sides and goes into the wrong side, if they fight 1 or both will be lost.

Having one out the back and one out the front helps with this issue.
I like LJ now just do the matings separate in 5 frame NUCs. Different color different orientation, and have almost 100% take now

for me the side by side is an over winter or steady state option , not a mating option.

loose 4 or 5 of the ones you really wanted and consider you may....:)

good luck, any brilliant idea you have I would recommend trying a couple to see how it works , before making 20 and then finding a flaw in the plan..been there, more than once, I now follow my own advice. :)

GG
 

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Ok - you asked ... :)

There are a few reasons - firstly, with a 2-compartment setup I often found that if one queen gets herself mated before the other, or is perceived by the bees as being a better queen, then bees from the other compartment will re-locate (abscond) and join her. From a survival point-of-view, that may well be desirable, but then I ended-up with only the one nuc. I've heard others report this, so I'm not alone - but then again many others don't experience this problem ...

Ok - if you're raising queens in divided boxes, then there isn't a problem when it comes to pulling the queen, as the colony stays behind and so continues to use the same entrance location. But if you want to remove the colony itself (say, to xfer it into a bigger box), then this can be a tad awkward - for two reasons. With a single box, you can just pull the frames, then invert the nuc box over the bigger box and give it a thump to dislodge most of the residual bees. There will always be a dozen or so which hang on and stay behind. No problem - just leave the box close to the new hive, and they'll eventually join the rest.
But - with a divided box, you can't do this - that is, give just one half of the box a thump, and you really need to leave the box on it's stand anyway so that the foragers from the occupied half can continue working.

Also - with a divided box the entrances are (say) located 9 inches from each other. When the time comes to transfer the colonies into bigger boxes, the new entrances will be (say) 18 inches apart, or more - depending on what boxes you use. Now in time the bees will adjust to these new positions, so it's not a HUGE problem - but - why make life awkward for them ? Perhaps more importantly, you now have (say) two full-sized boxes butted-up hard against each other so that the foragers can continue to use the geographical entrance locations they've become used to, when the entrances should ideally now be several feet apart. Ok, so you can then move them apart ... but again, it's an inconvenience which could be avoided by using single nuc boxes in the first place. :)

With a single-nuc set-up, the location of the colony need never change, and so the foragers need never make any geographical adjustment. And - if you're going from mating-nuc to full-sized box, then by the use of dummy frames in a 5-frame box, there's only ever the need for one box-swap, and that takes place at exactly the same location in the apiary. Less confusion for the bees, less work and less effort for the beekeeper.

A word about frame numbers. You mention a 2-frame nuc - that provides one working gallery between two combs. That may well be large enough if you keep your eye on progress - but 3-frames gives two working galleries: that's twice as much space, with far less chance of losing a nuc if you should accidently take your eye off the ball. It'll require a few more bees, sure, but I personally think it's a wiser size to adopt.

I'm sure others will have had different experiences and thus hold different views to my own - that's what makes beekeeping so much fun (and so confusing ...).
LJ
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I appreciate y'all taking the time to respond and your reasoning makes sense to me. My reason for considering split 2 frames nuc boxes is simply to make the most out of what gear I have on hand and can build out relatively quickly. Might just have to work a bit harder and do some building while they make queen cells.
 

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I tried 2 framers and found it extremely difficult to catch the Qs.
Easy if she's on a frame but near impossible if she's on the box.
Fat hands I guess.
 

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I raise most of my early spring nucs in decided 5 frame boxes. I use home made division boards made from very thin plywood that go from the bottom board to the migratory lid. The nuc is split into a three frame colony and a two frame and each gets a queen cell. The three frame colony entrance is on one side using a 7/8" hole with a disk in the middle. The two frame colony uses the bottom entrance that has and entrance reducer that blocks the three frame bees. Most of the time both are successful in mating and I can move one side into another five frame box once the first capped brood starts to hatch. If one side has a failed maiting I do a vertical newspaper combine. I like it as I can double my maiting chances with the same resources and the two small colonies keep each other warm during unpredictable spring weather.
 
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