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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Debating whether it would be better to put them into a 5-frame nuc box with two or three drawn combs + a comb or two that has some honey in it

or

a 10-frame box with 3-4 drawn combs, two frames with honey, and the rest foundation

In the nuc box they won't get crowded until the first brood cycle starts to emerge, it is easier for them to keep warm and easier to see if the queen is laying

It would add a step to transfer to a full-size box later of course.

Thoughts, anyone ?
 

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I see no one has answered and wish I could offer good advise, but your temperatures right now are very different from mine. FWIW, they heat the area directly around them, not the entire box. Do you have pollen and nectar flows currently? I've run several in 10 frame boxes without 10 actual frames in them until the bees were ready for them, but even in winter we usually don't go a week without flying days.
 

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I'll throw in my 2 cents for what its worth. I would use the 5 frame nuc. With a few drawn combs they will be able to put all their effort into raising the first round of brood immediately. Once they turn the nest over at least once maybe twice then put them into the 10 frame with some foundation and a bit of feed and they should draw them out nice and quick. The other option to consider if they are too crowded in the 5 frame nuc is to make it a double story nuc. Bees seem to have an easier time with that than with a regular 10 frame deep imo.
 

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Nuc and a nuc under at about 3 weeks or a little more. Assuming you are not talking about mid May delivery.
 

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it is quite amazing how much quicker a nuc will build up than 10 frame deep....they love to build up rather than out. ....first time installing in a 5 frame I was simply amazed. I had a 2nd box on in 2 weeks , stole 2 frames of brood for mating nucs at 3 weeks and installed in a double 4/4.....prolific all summer. ...guess you can say I'm sold in putting them in nucs over 10 frames to start.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
no, will not get the pkgs till about the 20th

Just trying to figure out the least-stressful-to-them strategy.

I think 3 drawn combs plus 2 about half full of honey is how I'll do it; then about end-of-May, transfer to full-sized box; at that point I'll have a good idea of how prolific the queen is. Or isn't.

Thanks to all for your input.

G
 

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Do what's done in your area! We, in Texas, would use a full box for package setup. Both options have pro and con.

Nuc build up may be faster depending on the temperature but on the flip side they might swarm faster too! And then there is a hassle of transferring them from a nuc to full box later. You can meet in the middle if you use a follower board with full box.

Either way, you can always persuade them to build up faster if you feed them.
 

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It's about a horse a piece. They may brood faster in a nuc, but not by much. If you get distracted, they will be in the trees.

How would you feed the nuc? Feed in a pail stimulates more than feed in a frame. I bet 10 frames with a feed pail would just about equal 5 frames on honey.

Crazy Roland
 

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When we install packages in upstate ny in March (often snowing, almost never pollen) we use 4/4 with 3 comb (hopefully some pollen) 1 honey. They need another 4 frames in 2-3 weeks. If there is drift and population goes up more than you get from a 3 # package we may have them on 12 frames by the time the first round is emerging, in a year like this there are 8 frames with brood in those boomers. At this point if weather is good pollen (willows and maples) is consistent. Bigger overwintered colonies can put on weight with tree nectar but packages are way behind, using right up whatever they bring in. We keep it small for early installations as weather is unpredictable. If we have flying days about 50% of the time we will need to add a 4frame box every week until splitting down. We generally add honey with each box as it's still too cold for syrup and we don't feed pollen sub.
So if you are installing April 20 and you use a nuc you will need to add space well before the end of May. If you are the kind of beekeeper that is on top of your spring chores then install in a nuc. If you are the kind of beekeeper who might have to "put it off until next weekend" then that will be the week they hit the trees and 10 frame will be more successful. Where are you? Happy beekeeping everybody.
 

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If you have time for all this, I would say start with a 5 frame, they will out grow it quick, then to an 8 or 10 frame.
 
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