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If your mating yard is the same as where the bees are coming from be sure to shake in plenty more bees. I would make the mating nuc 3 frames (brood should be mostly capped with only a little open brood; leave open brood in old location for returning foragers) plus a frame feeder with about half a gallon 1:1 (ish), unless you have a really good flow on and put about 1 frame of honey in, in which case leave the frame feeder empty. Check back in 21 days, if using a ripe cell. Some will be noticeably queenless and you can divvy the frames and bees to other Nucs (provided they are not laying workers yet, I assume they would bot be). Some you won't be sure about so just leave them for a week and check again. Some will have a rockstar brood pattern. We get about 75% mating return in good weather on a flow. 5 frame nuc is ideal for a 3 frame split with feeder. Yes you can get queens mated on less but for you first time if recommend more bees and space. The brood nest is naturally egg shaped surrounded by stores. On 2 frames they can't achieve that; it gets long and skinny. Of course it works. Also, try some with different configurations and see what you like best.
Let us know how it goes.
 

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You shouldn't have any problem. Your taped up frame will work fine although with pepper in bloom it might be more advantageous to make the frames foundationless. Nothing but a split paint stick and a brush of wax. Just make sure you have enough bees in your nuc or the wax moths will work you over. And if they fail, be ready to do a newspaper combine on another nuc or the original hive. When I do it I use 3 frames of brood+food and 2 plastic foundation or foundationless. But maybe I have more hives to steal from. Wish you luck!
 

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For what it's worth, I would not wax foundationless frames. My impression is they attach the comb better themselves than when I mess with it.... Give a comb guide of some sorts if you like. I just put any empty frame next to the brood nest in an expanding colony that is big enough to draw new wax. Nucs draw beatiful worker comb foundationless. When they get "too" big they draw drone comb.
 

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For what it's worth, I would not wax foundationless frames. My impression is they attach the comb better themselves than when I mess with it.... Give a comb guide of some sorts if you like. I just put any empty frame next to the brood nest in an expanding colony that is big enough to draw new wax. Nucs draw beatiful worker comb foundationless. When they get "too" big they draw drone comb.
NO - not "if you like" - the presence of a comb guide in some form is absolutely essential. Without a guide there's a very good chance that combs will be drawn across adjacent frames. Then you've got yourself an unnecessary problem to sort out.

FWIW - sometimes I wax the starters, sometimes I don't. The presence of wax seems to remove any uncertainty the bees have in starting to draw comb, but in my experience it isn't essential.
LJ
 

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Amibusiness - When they get "too" big they draw drone comb.
HTB - What do you mean by that?
When a nucleus colony is small it's bees are collectively only concerned with enlargement to a size which is capable of surviving the winter, and which is capable of storing enough food beforehand for this purpose. The presence of drones (which are a drain on resources) is therefore highly undesirable at this time - hence the absence of drone comb.

But - as the colony matures and reaches somewhere approaching 'full size', it can then afford to use some of it's resources to help propagate the species. As drones are part of this process, it is at this point that provision is made for their creation by the drawing of drone comb.
LJ
 

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Political signs make good (and free) dummy frames. I staple to a strip of wood in my mating nucs and use them repeatedly. Caulk the edges with silicone if there are hive beetles where you live.
 

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Discussion Starter #28
Anyone in central Florida know how late in the year they will build comb?
 

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Discussion Starter #29
Update.

I ended up with 8 queen cells I was able to cut out, which is how many nucs I had available so that worked out nice. I gave each split a capped queen cell, 2 full frames (one capped brood and another mixed capped brood and stores) and a third of varying degrees of partially built, mostly empty comb and used the dummy frames I quickly made as discussed earlier in this thread to fill out my 5 frame nuc's. I put both dummy frames to one side instead of putting one on either side with the three frames of bees in the middle. I gathered and shook in some nurse bees to the lighter ones and had to do it another couple of times for a few on account of flybacks.

Happy to report all 8 queens are present and accounted for. They are all laying with what room they have as the Golden Rain trees have been blooming and they are bringing in a lot of nectar and there isn't much empty comb for them to lay in. There are a lot of these trees in range of my bees but I didn't expect them to bring in the amount they have considering how many bees I have. All the splits got a fourth frame today, some with partial comb, some empty and I left one dummy frame. Hoping they build out those empty frames fast so the queens can repopulate but I have bees I can shake in if necessary.

The "cardboard taped to a frame" dummy boards worked ok but I don't recommend making them a permanent solution. The tape did peel away from the cardboard on a few but casualties were low, I think only five bees couldn't be freed. They also chewed up the cardboard a fair bit in some boxes but aside from keeping them from more productive work, didn't seem to cause any issues.

So I'm at 19 currently, a few away from my year end goal of 24. If I can get more equipment built I'll probably shoot for one more round of splits in another week or two.

Thanks for the help, it's much appreciated.

Hunter
 

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Late back to this thread. Lj answered well on size. To wit, small nucleus colonies build worker comb. Colonies with extra (size) resources draw drone comb in the spring. Experiment to find out what the magic size is for you.
Lj I agree and disagree on comb guide. First, I do not recommend any wax or comb guide If You Already Have Drawn Comb. Second, that drawn comb is the guide. Getting foundationless comb drawn in the spring flow is as easy as putting whatever frame you want right next to the brood nest. (Plastic foundation must be waxed, ime.) they use that last brood frame as a template so make sure it's worth copying. I have previously said that bees don't draw comb after onset of summer dearth (in upstate NY). The last 2 years have had wierd flows that have made a liar out of me....
Good luck on your splits! For me in NY it seems really late but I've never kept bees in Fla.
 
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