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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have read several posts on the benefits of over wintering nucs...quick start in Spring, Queens on hand, extra bees.

Now I have a couple of 5 on 5 nucs and one 5 on 5 on 5.

What are the advantages/disadvantages of keeping them as nucs rather than moving them into single deeps.

Is over wintering of one less problematic than the other? Any difference in varroa management?

Thanks for learned input.
 

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I know that some people use the NUC's like you speak of to actually make honey. They stay pretty strong and can put it up well. The stack tends to get quite large though. As for wintering, i've only seen 5,5,5 stack for wintering. After that they tend to break them down and use them for brood for other NUC's or cell builders, etc.

Putting them into a double deep once they have filled out a 5,5,5 is diff for them as they cannot hold the heat in as well during the winter. Some pple have actually gone from 10 frame back to 8 for wintering for that reason alone or even back to NUC's. All in all it's a personal choice.

I myself plan to winter over colonies in double deep 8 frame equip as well as 5,5,5 NUC's. I know in the spring that NUC's seem to build up pretty dang fast compared to any other, partially due to the fact that they retain the heat so well. That's my primary reason for overwintering 20 colonies that way.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Have you over wintered them as 5 on 5 or 3 stacked before?
 

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Myself, only a 3 stack, was too scared not to give them the extra honey stores. However, they didn't need it. They ended up with 5 full frames not touched at the end of our winter here. However, I know that up in Vermont Michael Palmer does the same thing only with 4 frame NUC's giving them only 12 frames and winters them on a 3 stack in their winter, which is WAY worse then mine. Probably more compareable to yours.
 

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Only attempted to winter nucs once so far (last year). I'm in Northern Ontario... very cold winters. Not even sure I know anyone around here who winters in singles without risk.

The nucs I wintered last year were stacked 5/5/5... not perfectly drawn out, feeding heavily in the fall. I put two stacks of 5/5/5/ beside eachother and wrapped with insulated "bee cozies". Both nucs made it through the winter. I didn't provide a top entrance... in hindsight I should have given them some sort of entrance, even just enough for a couple of bees to pass through without losing too much heat. Stacking two side-by-side obviously helped keep the heat in. Only downside to that is if one dies it's a big heat sink for the other wrapped hive.

I'm planning to try wintering more nucs this year as there is always a demand for early season bees.
 

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Here in Wisconsin 5/5's work fine. Following Michael Palmers nuc principle and Mel Disselkoen's brood break principles I have been doing quite well. Last year I lost 3 colonies out of 39, of those 2 were experiments. They can be seen at 19 seconds, and at 3 minutes of this nearly 4 minute youtube video of my yard in January. Both died in March, plus a 5/5/5 that starved out because I broke my own rule and didn't weigh it.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QxjDa6mB_co
 

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I have had good success with 5 over 5 configuration. Was pondering what would be the real difference between 5 over 5, vs a single 10. For now my attitude is hedging toward, what we've been doing has been working, so I'm not sure I see a good reason to change it.

But I have seen some significant variation from year to year. First year we tried this, carved out 2 nucs of 3 frames on May 15. By mid august, one of them was in a 3 high stack of 5, and one of them in a double deep fully drawn, they only got the 3 initial drawn frames to start. Second year did a bunch more, they struggled to finish drawing the second story, but did winter well. In year two, most of the starts came about from finding swarm cells.

Things are progressing slower than I had hoped this year, so I haven't got a lot of starts going yet. My plan for this year was to get a similar number of starts going in 5 over 5 and 10 frame singles, then look at the results next spring. So far we've been able to winter well in 5 over 5, but they do get off to a slow start on the buildup when they arrive into spring tucked away in the top box, and only expand the nest over 3 frames. The question I want to answer is two fold. a) Do we get similar survival in the single vs the 2 high 5 ? and b) Does the single get a better start on the spring build up ?
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I have had good success with 5 over 5 configuration. Was pondering what would be the real difference between 5 over 5, vs a single 10. For now my attitude is hedging toward, what we've been doing has been working, so I'm not sure I see a good reason to change it.

But I have seen some significant variation from year to year. First year we tried this, carved out 2 nucs of 3 frames on May 15. By mid august, one of them was in a 3 high stack of 5, and one of them in a double deep fully drawn, they only got the 3 initial drawn frames to start. Second year did a bunch more, they struggled to finish drawing the second story, but did winter well. In year two, most of the starts came about from finding swarm cells.

Things are progressing slower than I had hoped this year, so I haven't got a lot of starts going yet. My plan for this year was to get a similar number of starts going in 5 over 5 and 10 frame singles, then look at the results next spring. So far we've been able to winter well in 5 over 5, but they do get off to a slow start on the buildup when they arrive into spring tucked away in the top box, and only expand the nest over 3 frames. The question I want to answer is two fold. a) Do we get similar survival in the single vs the 2 high 5 ? and b) Does the single get a better start on the spring build up ?
I am a similar area to you. How did you set up the nucs for over wintering...? Wraps/tarps, quilt box, feed etc. we do not have fancy nucs...just plywood boxes.

This year has been slower than hoped for us as well. Having trouble getting some hives settled with an accepted Queens. Two swarms that I know of but expect there have been more as well Queened hives are no longer Queen right.
 

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Grozzie, good questions that i have not done an experiment with to find out. What I have noticed is that in the 5/5 they use the center 3 frames for brood rearing in each level and that they build up quick enough for my needs.
 

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How did you set up the nucs for over wintering...? Wraps/tarps, quilt box,
Here is a shot of what they looked like going into winter.



We weighed each colony in early september, then put on feed for those that needed it, which was not all of them. As for quilts, wraps, etc, I dont do any of that. Our problem here is not cold, it's moisture more than anything for wintering.

We are rapidly approaching our time for making more nucs this year, I've got one started already, and plan to do 5 more soon. I'm hoping the summer is good enough, I can do another half dozen in July. Ideally, when winter rolls around I'll have half a dozen in each of three configurations, 2 high 10 frame deeps, 2 high 5 frame deeps, and 1 high 10 frames.

Like Adrian, mine used only the center 3 frames for brood early on, but they stayed in the top box. I didn't wait for them to move down, transplanted them into 10 frame stacks before that. Today, they have all 20 frames in a 2 high stack covered in bees, and a honey super half full of bees, with nectar going into that super. They will get another super later this week if things stay on track here.
 

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I am planning on wintering NUCs this winter, my question I have is to use 5 frame boxes or use a 10 frame deep with a board down the center to separate them. I was planning to use the 10 frame boxes manly due to the extra warmth factor. Am I wrong for thinking this way, this is my first try at wintering NUCs.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Here is a shot of what they looked like going into winter.



We weighed each colony in early september, then put on feed for those that needed it, which was not all of them. As for quilts, wraps, etc, I dont do any of that. Our problem here is not cold, it's moisture more than anything for wintering.

We are rapidly approaching our time for making more nucs this year, I've got one started already, and plan to do 5 more soon. I'm hoping the summer is good enough, I can do another half dozen in July. Ideally, when winter rolls around I'll have half a dozen in each of three configurations, 2 high 10 frame deeps, 2 high 5 frame deeps, and 1 high 10 frames.

Like Adrian, mine used only the center 3 frames for brood early on, but they stayed in the top box. I didn't wait for them to move down, transplanted them into 10 frame stacks before that. Today, they have all 20 frames in a 2 high stack covered in bees, and a honey super half full of bees, with nectar going into that super. They will get another super later this week if things stay on track here.
Did you make nuc sized rims for winter feeding? How heavy do you want your single deep, double deep and 5 on 5 nucs to be? I really have no idea as to what is sufficient.
 

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Will this work in Mississippi where we don't have that much cold weather. I would be concerned that if it stayed to warm they might use thier stores and starve out.
 

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Did you make nuc sized rims for winter feeding? How heavy do you want your single deep, double deep and 5 on 5 nucs to be?
I use a frame feeder in all of them. This time around, the feeders will be in the bottom box for fall, and I'll get the 5 on 5 up to 65 pounds or better. The doubles I want to see at 100. Last year I had the feeder in the top box, and realized it really cuts down on the size of the early brood nest with only 4 frames up there.

This was what it looked like in the first week of april. Same colony today, has filled a double deep and is working on the first honey super now, but they did have the benefit of going into boxes full of drawn comb.

 
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