Beesource Beekeeping Forums banner
1 - 13 of 13 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,404 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am planning to build a few 4 chamber mating hives to hold 2 frames per chamber. I'm going to divide a 10 frame deep for this. Can I use one frame of brood and bees and put in an undrawn frame with it? If that's going to cause problems, I will use a drawn frame of comb but would prefer to add a frame of foundation if that will work. Thanks.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,064 Posts
Depending on how you plan to get your queens you may want to put more then a single frame of brood/bees in the nuc. If you plan to raise QC and place them into each chamber with bees to wait on them to mate, and start laying, the single drawn frame with plenty of capped brood and bees will work with a frame of foundation. However, if you plan on letting the bees do their own making of Queen cells you want each chamber full of brood and bees with plenty of stores and capped larva/open young larva.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,208 Posts
Then it is feasible to have bees make and raise a strong Queen by giving them just 2 frames with one of them having suitable larva/eggs?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,120 Posts
If you are going to use a cell or virgin you can use 1 frame of brood and 1 foundation but you will need to feed. Shake some extra bees into the chambers as well.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
7,861 Posts
It is better to use drawn comb rather than foundation. The bees population might not bee
enough to draw out the new foundation frame. With weaker nucs are you letting them to grow
or recombine them after the queens' mating flight?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,291 Posts
If you are going to use a cell or virgin you can use 1 frame of brood and 1 foundation but you will need to feed. Shake some extra bees into the chambers as well.
I did exactly that this spring. Make sure the frame is solid capped brood and you shake in another frame of bees. Actually had one swarm/abscond a day after the queen started laying, all the cells were full of nectar, nowhere to lay. They will draw out the other frames on the flow.

Now keep in mind these nucs are week and will take time to build up. 2 deep frames of brood is probably better and will build much quicker.... in a 3x3 or 5x2 setup.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,404 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 · (Edited)
Thanks for the replies.

My intent with the single frame of capped brood and bees is to install a ripe queen cell and leave them in the mating nuc only long enough to have the queen start laying. Once she mates and starts laying I would move her and the bees to a 5 frame nuc, and add another frame of bees. I can make weak 5 frame nucs here this time of year and they will do fine. I have not done it yet but I know a commercial nuc producer that does it that way not far from me. He only puts one frame of bees and brood in a 5 frame box. He feeds them and they will build up in about 6 weeks.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,064 Posts
Then it is feasible to have bees make and raise a strong Queen by giving them just 2 frames with one of them having suitable larva/eggs?
When I don't feel like grafting, that's exactly what I do. I make up a small colony using a frame from my best hive with eggs/very small larva/bees, and another frame from any other hive that's doing well with capped brood/ bees. They go straight to work on making new queens for me. I have 6 of these little Mating/starting nuc's. They crowd the bees, keep them close to each other, and they can take care of things on their own. I do feed them while they are working on making queens to ensure they do well. Other than that, it's all on them.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
7,861 Posts
I use the same set up but instead of them raising their own queen cells I put
a capped qc in there. She will emerge in a few days for better queen acceptance. It is like
an instant nuc with crowded nurse bees. Next time I will try to put a mated queen in there
using the same method. I think the acceptance rate is faster with all the new emerging
young bees. Thanks for sharing!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,788 Posts
Responding to the original question - you can indeed make up a mating nuc like that, but you will likely have better average results with at least 3 medium (or even deep) frames - 1 brood, 1 honey / pollen, 1 drawn. Another advantage is that you have more time to deal with them before the colony outgrows the box. Oops...brood goes in the middle.

A 4-frame nuc or even a 5-frame nuc gives you even more time to deal with the growth. I try to use 5-frames if the Spring nectar flow is in full swing, 3- or 4-framers after that. With only 2 frames, you have about one to two weeks before you have to transfer them to a larger house, with 3 frames, you may get 3 weeks, unless the nectar flow is going strong - it could get brood-bound in two weeks if she happens to be a real laying machine. 4 or 5-frame setups make sense if you are running lots of hives.

You probably won't get as much weird behavior in a 3-frame nuc as is a mini mating nuc - by weird, I mean swarming, superceding, and absconding in the mini mating nucs.

Another thing to consider is making up some "hive dummies". These are frames of wood that take up the space of a frame of comb. The bees have to heat less volume, and you can easily set them up in even a full box and "expand" their chamber by taking out a dummy frame and adding a frame of foundation or an empty frame as they need it. During that part of Spring when nights are still cold, the management of "dead space" that the bees have to heat up is the real art of beekeeping, and hive dummies are a great solution to dead space volume management.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8,288 Posts
Root, A. I., ABC of Bee Culture, 1891, A. I. Root Co.

If we are to have this [a] quart of bees work to the best advantage, something depends upon the sort of hive they are domiciled in. A single comb, long and narrow, so as to string the bees out in one thin cluster, is very bad economy. Two combs would do very much better, but three would be a great deal better still. It is like scattering the firebrands widely apart; one alone will soon go out; two placed side by side will burn quite well; and three will make quite a fire. It is on this account that I would have a nucleus of three, instead of one or two frames. The bees seem to seek naturally a space between two combs; and the queen seldom goes to the outside comb of a hive, unless she is obliged to for want of room. p. 205
 
1 - 13 of 13 Posts
Top