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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I decided to try and over winter a 5 frame medium nuc for the 1st time. The elders in our local bee club advised me to move the nuc to a 10 frame hive in the early fall. I decided to give it a go for overwintering. Today was a mid 50s day so I checked the hives and the nuc for stores. All were getting low so I added some cane sugar mixed with pollen to the top of the inner cover for insurance.

The NUC looks to be doing extremely well with a good population of bees. It appears due to the amount of bees in the nuc I will have to keep a close eye on it for the next few weeks.

What types of things have you all out there done coming out of winter with overwintered Nucs? One of my plans is to use them for splits and comb building.

Does any one have ideas that turned out great for your best use of your overwintered Nucs. Thanks for any input...
 

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The answer to your question requires knowledge of your 2021 goals and resources
it might be best to let is sit, move frames of brood to other hives to boost them for extra honey production while the nuc holds a queen in reserve
or maybe grow it out and split it 5 ways and 4 take... split those four 3 ways each again and with 75% take you now have 9
or maybe run it as a cell builder
or........
 
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
MSL, you are right I was kind of lacking on the 2021 goals thanks for the heads up.

With that said, my goal is to continue to keep my 6 main hives for a honey crop. As for the nucs I am open to suggestions as this is the first time I have overwintered one and was trying to get ideas on what others best results were so I could form a plan going forward as I will have to be prepared to do something with in the next few weeks. I think removing frames and replacing with foundationless frames will be part of the plan. additionally, i will have to do a split on the nuc for sure so they don’t hit the trees early. I do not plan on adding more hives but would entertain selling a few nucs. finally, i would like to overwinter 5 nucs this next winter...
Holding queens in reserve is a great idea as well..
Any other successful results would be appreciated
 

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MSL, you are right I was kind of lacking on the 2021 goals thanks for the heads up.

With that said, my goal is to continue to keep my 6 main hives for a honey crop. As for the nucs I am open to suggestions as this is the first time I have overwintered one and was trying to get ideas on what others best results were so I could form a plan going forward as I will have to be prepared to do something with in the next few weeks. I think removing frames and replacing with foundationless frames will be part of the plan. additionally, i will have to do a split on the nuc for sure so they don’t hit the trees early. I do not plan on adding more hives but would entertain selling a few nucs. finally, i would like to overwinter 5 nucs this next winter...
Holding queens in reserve is a great idea as well..
Any other successful results would be appreciated
Nice position to be in. You have six production hives with older queens. One Nuc with a new queen.

So many different possibilities, like msl said. Maybe grow out the Nuc, and see how the production hives are doing going into the nectar flow. Then if you need to requeen you can with little production loss. If your production hives are doing fine, then consider making splits close to the end of the flow. These new splits will be insurance queens to replace the aging production queens in the fall, or maybe over winter these new splits to become you new production hives spring 2022.

So many different possibilities.
 

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The winter isn't over yet, and it's not an overwintered nuc if it doesn't survive.

IF IT survives, and is somewhat healthy, expect rapid expansion.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
00101, you are correct winter is not over yet. Do you have any suggestions on what i should be looking for between now and the next month to ensure it does survive? As stated above I just added some loose cane sugar mixed w/some pollen on the inner cover. bees are active and seem to have a good population. I have gotten them this far and would like any ideas to ensure their survival til split time next month. Thanks

WOOFEE, Thanks for the ideas. I absolutely will consider them going forward. Thank you for your input. It is appreciated...
 

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You want more nucs and you need new queens for the production hives... next month pull your old queens into nucs and let the 6 hives make new queens ( or buy). Use the nucs as resource hives pulling brood, built out frames, as needed to bulk up production hives.If a hive goes queenless you can combine a nuc with it and keep on going.
 

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How much honey remains on the colony at this point?
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 · (Edited)
How much honey remains on the colony at this point?
00101, It appears that there is 4-5 frames still in the hive in the 2 upper 5 frame boxes. I may have to move them in a slot from the outside though. I will confirm that this week sometime as it is supposed to be around 60 ish later in the week.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Murdock, If I pull the production queens over to nucs and let the main hives requeen will it jeopardize the honey crop on those hives?

My thought on the production hives was to swap the brood boxes, ensure the queen was in the bottom box, add a QE place 2 supers on then the other brood box and lid. Just to get through swarm season and the flow and then split after the spring flow. Is that feasible or am I out there flappin? So many options...
 

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username... lf you pull the queens the hives will continue to make honey. The advantages of this are you will get a brood break which will help with mite management, you don't need as much brood in the nuc because the queen is still laying so more foragers in production hives, no new larvae for 30 days +/- so nurse bees can convert to foragers, no need for QE if you use them. When the new queen begins to lay you will to check the brood nest to make sure she has room to lay (normal inspection during a flow). I like this method because I get a new queen and the hive will not swarm. Because the queen is gone they think they have already swarmed (it"s an artificial swarm that you control). Just another method of swarm prevention.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Murdock, Thanks for the input. I like the idea of pulling the queens over to nucs and letting the hives make a new one. Sounds like a lot less work than moving boxes, using QEs, splitting the brood, etc.

I reckon as soon as I start seeing drones is when I should pull the queens? It will be interesting to see how this all works out. If a new queen is not made I can always combine the nuc back with the hive, correct? Thanks again for the input..
 

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It's a timing thing. You have to be able to find your queens and several days after you pull them there will be queen cells. 16 days after the egg is laid the queen will emerge and a few days later she is off to be mated (google queen life cycle). In 30 days (+/- depending on weather) you will see eggs/larva. If your queens are not old you may not want to do this or if you are in a hurry you might want to buy a queen with specific genetics. You still need to do some frame manipulations. I use double deeps so I want the brood in the bottom & honey above. Beekeeping is not easy; it"s labor intensive to set up for the flow but if you can get there the bees will finalize the preparations and you will have a great spring.
 

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pulling queens can and will affect the honey production.
IF you have a late or sustained flow as I have here in Mich, pulling early like dandelion time will allow 2 queens with 2 hives during the sweet clover in July-August hence perhaps more honey.
IF you have an early spring flow that tapers to a late summer dearth, then I would wait for 75% of the flow being over and make a new queen on the last 25% of the flow, so you get the flow and a queen , knowing some feeding may be necessary. Early split on a heavy spring flow could have a detrimental effect.

this,, as many are,, is an It depends question, on your locality, and the flow and even maybe the bee race, and early split with Russians may not be possible, a late split with Italians may be too late...

understand your flow and the "features" of the race of bee you have and plan accordingly.

here I have a foot and a half of snow on the ground and it is 10 degrees F this Am so obviously different than many southern states.

when in Rome do what the Romans do, applies here. check with some local keepers to see when they find split the most effective.

GG
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Thanks Murdock and GG, All great points and very helpful. I have reached out to one of the more experienced bee keepers in our club and he has invited me to tag along to one of his bee yards in a couple of weeks and help him with some hive manipulations so I will get some first hand LOCAL bee keeping education.

Thanks to all who responded, I truly appreciate your time and expertise.....
 

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That's a smart move Ranger. You don't have to do everything like others but the physical experience is invaluable.
 

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I usually winter 130-150 nucs. 90% of them are 5 frame standalone in 2 to 4 boxes, the other 10% are double 4 frame side by sides. I use them first for selling nucs to local beekeepers, then splits for more selling and resupplying my own queens and nucs for the following year, and then for mating nucs to sell and keep queens. I go to them to get resources for more splits, fixing production colonies, and supplying cell builders with brood and nurse bees. They are invaluable to your beekeeping operation no matter how many colonies you have. Check out any of Mike Palmer's videos on The Sustainable Apiary for lots of ideas.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
rkereid,
Thanks. I will check out the MP videos. I am about 4 hrs. South of you. How early do you start manipulating them in the spring? I know its weather dependent as well as population and forage dependent. This NUC is very strong and I am going to give it another week and do some type of manipulation so they don't hit the trees.. My initial thought is to checker board the super (3rd box) replace a couple of frames in the 2 lower boxes, 1 each with foundation or foundationless frames and then reverse them for the next month. Possibly pulling a frame of capped brood over to one of the production hives depending on what I see when I get into it.

Does this sound feasible or should I possibly take the queen and a couple of frames and move them over to another nuc? Obviously, I would have to wait until I saw drones around.

Your thoughts.. Thanks again
 

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I am about 4 hrs. South of you. How early do you start manipulating them in the spring? I know its weather dependent as well as population and forage dependent. This NUC is very strong and I am going to give it another week and do some type of manipulation so they don't hit the trees.. My initial thought is to checker board the super (3rd box) replace a couple of frames in the 2 lower boxes, 1 each with foundation or foundationless frames and then reverse them for the next month. Possibly pulling a frame of capped brood over to one of the production hives depending on what I see when I get into it.

Does this sound feasible or should I possibly take the queen and a couple of frames and move them over to another nuc?
As well as being 4 hrs north I'm at 2,000 ft elev so my weather is quite different than yours. You have to be much more vigilant with managing nucs for stores, and adding space. Everything happens quicker in a nuc during spring. You have a colony that wants to buildup like a production hive, but it only has half or less space.

If you can take away frames of stores and brood, and give them back drawn comb, you can usually keep them in the box. Timing is everything. It depends on the bees and your weather. Checkerboarding with drawn comb immediately above the broodnest, and supering will buy you time. If you're going to keep them in the nuc boxes, you'll have to remove resources and give them drawn comb. You can start giving them foundation when they are on a flow, otherwise it may not alleviate crowding.

Reverse if they've moved the brood out of the lower box(es). Obviously, don't split the broodnest when reversing.

If you see lots of resources starting to come in, you need to implement your plan yesterday.

If you have a nuc that's busting, make some splits. If you're not rearing your own queens somehow, get some cells from successful beekeepers living near you. Swap frames of brood from the nuc with empty drawn comb in your hives. Bottom line is you need to knock the nuc back so they're not too crowded.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
rkereid,

That is extremely helpful. I have a high 50s day in a few days and I will get a pretty good idea of where it stands. I am seeing a good amount of pollen coming in on 50 ish degree days which I am presuming is an early weak maple bloom. Don't know that for sure. This Monday or Tuesday i will attempt to get in the nuc and rearrange and manipulate after an assessment.

I will give an update if any one is interested. Thanks for the pointers..
 
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