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Has anybody used the Better Bee double nuc. Two colonies in split ten frame deep with dual 4 frame nucs on top. So I guess it's 4 over 4 frames that are suppose to keep both colonies warmer in the Winter.
 

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Has anybody used the Better Bee double nuc. Two colonies in split ten frame deep with dual 4 frame nucs on top. So I guess it's 4 over 4 frames that are suppose to keep both colonies warmer in the Winter.


What is the point of this? you made late splits? (dont make late splits) you caught some late fall swarms... perhaps.

but for normal hives, most northern people will overwinter in 2 - 10 frame deeps. thats 20 full frames for overwinter. not 8. Why you would try to reduce a full size hive down to 8 frames is beyond me. in a standard 20 frame overwinter setup you would have 8+ capped honey frames for winter stores. that would be the entire size of your double 4 frame setup (just for stores).

Personally, I would not be trying it and dont see it working well for northern climates.
 

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What is the point of this? you made late splits? (dont make late splits) you caught some late fall swarms... perhaps.

but for normal hives, most northern people will overwinter in 2 - 10 frame deeps. thats 20 full frames for overwinter. not 8. Why you would try to reduce a full size hive down to 8 frames is beyond me. in a standard 20 frame overwinter setup you would have 8+ capped honey frames for winter stores. that would be the entire size of your double 4 frame setup (just for stores).

Personally, I would not be trying it and dont see it working well for northern climates.
Oh boy, oh boy. i think you are comparing apples with oranges
 

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What is the point of this? you made late splits? (dont make late splits) you caught some late fall swarms... perhaps.

but for normal hives, most northern people will overwinter in 2 - 10 frame deeps. thats 20 full frames for overwinter. not 8. Why you would try to reduce a full size hive down to 8 frames is beyond me. in a standard 20 frame overwinter setup you would have 8+ capped honey frames for winter stores. that would be the entire size of your double 4 frame setup (just for stores).

Personally, I would not be trying it and dont see it working well for northern climates.
I would think that Michael Palmer would disagree. I sure do. I overwintered double nucs 5 over 5 this year with less loss than my 10 over 10s. Those nucs went right into my deadouts and I will repeat this summer/fall, except I'm going to make way more nucs to also use as brood and comb builders for 16. Any swarm trap catches will be going right into the nucs.

I won't say it works for everyone but it sure works for Mr. Palmer and completely copying him on a smaller scale I think it works for me. Local queens with support staff.
 

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I'm pleased with this set up in Georgia and Mike Palmer in Vermont has proven success with them. I think that qualifies as a northern climate. I believe there is some shared warmth, but more importantly for me, with a growing apiary, I'm overwintering 2 queens and colonies in the same space that would normally contain 1. I had zero winter losses while supplementing sugar bricks due to low stores from late splits. MP calls them brood factories and boy is he ever right. They also work great for adding frames of brood to Cell Builder, Production Hives, or making splits in the spring.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Kinda what I was thinking and I know a few people that have really good luck with the smaller overwintered nucs
 

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Having nucs on hand is a valuable strategy. Having a double nuc allows you to take two nucs through the winter by sharing cluster warmth through a shared wall. It isn't failsafe, but does seem to be a better approach than overwintering two fully separate nucs.
 

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I overwintered several side-by-side nucs in upstate New York, and In my opinion, they did better than the full size hives.
For me, the losses were similar.. every once in a while, I'd lose one, whether nuc or production hive.
But the quality of the colony in the nuc coming out of winter was consistently better regarding vigor and buildup rate.

But then, that was upstate New York, and the temperature never got much below -24F.

Maybe they wouldn't do as well further north.
Though I know of some folks in Ontario that overwinter two frame nucs outdoors.

Have fun.
Enjoy your bees.
 

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I did several double Nucs over the winter. They came out strong, and all are in double deeps right now. Some have supers on now. I will be be using the double Nuc system this fall to save space and for warmth. I'm sold on it so far. We had wind chills of -25 last winter.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Thanks Mike and everyone else for your input :thumbsup: I just made 3 of the double 4 framers and a couple of the 5 frame standard nucs and plan on doing some reading this summer on getting them through the Winter.
 

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I get some of the overwinter nuc concept, but one thing I don't get is the bottom box. Why not use two boxes on the bottom as well? I make d. Coates nuc boxes and modified them so they will stack. That would be 2, 1\2" boards butted up against each other, making it 1" thick. And I also make my telescoping covers a little larger to cover two, side by side. Also, they hold five frames instead of 4.
 

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I get some of the overwinter nuc concept, but one thing I don't get is the bottom box. Why not use two boxes on the bottom as well?
You can. Use what you've got. I custom made my own nuc boxes for the side by side 4 over 4. I didn't want to make twice as many to have them on bottom, too.

It's easier to use a single box below because they're readily available. It's easy just to divide them with a divider feeder or solid board and stack two Nuc boxes on top.

You can use same 10 frame telescoping cover. Bottom boards must be custom made.

But use what you have.
 

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What is the point of this? you made late splits? (dont make late splits) you caught some late fall swarms... perhaps.
...
Personally, I would not be trying it and dont see it working well for northern climates.
When I first heard of this, that was my thought. My partner said we need to do this and get these boxes on the market. I said it sounded like a dream. Then I saw how many of these survived and started thinking a lot more about it. For those that want some background, I have kept 5-15 hives since the mid 80s. I started in NH and then spent a few years in Ohio while in school and have been in upstate NY since.

The partners at Betterbee are veterinarians who had cattle practices, so I will draw some experience from how a dairy farm is run. There are cows that are not productive every year. Something goes wrong with them. Same as hives. Many farms raise heifers to replace the unproductive cows. Accounting for these heifers and their expense can be somewhat funny money because they draw a little off the farm at a time in labor as they are fed and cared for or as feed is put up for them. Other farms that don't raise heifers have very accurate accounting of the costs because they buy heifers to replace cows every year. That cost tends to be high because it is cash to someone else instead of using labor and feed that might not have been otherwise used on the farm. That sounds more like beekeepers. There is a definite cost to buying packages and nucs from others in the spring to replace losses, and they tend to be high. The really successful dairy farmers in our area did a good job of breeding cows to make heifers and raising the heifers. They had replacements readily available, so they could cull out their cows that were not productive or that took a long time to deal with. They did not have trouble paying bills. In overwintered nucs, the beekeepers have a strategy available to them of raising their own replacement hives (heifers) to be keeping an apiary that pays bills instead of creating them. Obviously this is not the only way to do that, but one of them that has proven to be repeatable.

With the overwintered nucs, you start your splits in June or maybe July, you split up non-productive types of hives, you use minimal resources (1 frame honey/nectar, 1.5 frames brood) to make each one, and then you give them a new queen or queen cell from superior breeding. You do not perpetuate genetics of poor-doers, you do not spend all summer wondering what to do with hives that are not going to make honey, you use little resources, and then you have more queens in less equipment making more bees for you to use next year. You can use them to grow or sell. The demand for these seems endless. Sometimes you will end up feeding them if you do not have flow.

These nucs draw foundation like crazy, so are a good source of drawn comb. You may need to manage them a little to move brood or honey around a little if one is too strong or not strong enough.

You can use a split box for the bottom or individual boxes. The split box is easier to make. The supers need to be split so you can examine one side at a time and not have the bees mix and potentially lose a queen that crosses the divider.

Whether you build your own boxes or buy them, this strategy for raising your own replacement bees works and is repeatable. You may want to consider it. Watch some of the youtube videos of Mike Palmer explaining it. Go the the Betterbee website and look at the informational articles in the learning section. It can be a game changer for you.

Chris Cripps
[email protected]
Greenwich, NY (1/2 way between NYC and Montreal, not the village in NYC)
 

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Chris,
Thank you for the comparison. It really helps to put it in the context a real life economic model. I haven't seen Michael Palmer's videos that will be my next stop and I will definitely look at your info on Betterbee.
 

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What is the point of this? you made late splits? (dont make late splits) you caught some late fall swarms... perhaps.

but for normal hives, most northern people will overwinter in 2 - 10 frame deeps. thats 20 full frames for overwinter. not 8. Why you would try to reduce a full size hive down to 8 frames is beyond me. in a standard 20 frame overwinter setup you would have 8+ capped honey frames for winter stores. that would be the entire size of your double 4 frame setup (just for stores).

Personally, I would not be trying it and dont see it working well for northern climates.
Michael Palmer in Vermont overwinters hundreds of these.

Opps now I see that he has replied.
 

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You can. Use what you've got. I custom made my own nuc boxes for the side by side 4 over 4. I didn't want to make twice as many to have them on bottom, too.

It's easier to use a single box below because they're readily available. It's easy just to divide them with a divider feeder or solid board and stack two Nuc boxes on top.

You can use same 10 frame telescoping cover. Bottom boards must be custom made.

But use what you have.
Does anyone have any plans or pictures for the dividers for the 10 frame deep and for the bottom board? I have a couple of small swarms that I think I am going to have trouble getting to full deep size prior to winter and would like to give this a try. I have seen Mr Palmers video also but I still have a lot of questions - is there a book or someplace on the web where I can go to do more reading?

edited-

cowdoc - I just took a look at your website and thank you for the useful information - I wish I was close enough to attend your over wintered nuc work shop.
 
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