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Discussion Starter #1
I have been wondering what other peoples experience has been with Double (Palmer) nucs- in their first year of make up. And I truly hope those who use nucs and variations thereof (Ian, MP, Lauri, etc) will chime in.

The reason I'm wondering is, I gave it a go with three sets. Now, as I go over my history cards, I wonder if I could have influenced them better- been a better steward. A retrospective: how & could I have done better?

Basically I made three doubles of 5 frames and put them in a row, numbering individual compartments; left to right, 1-6.
4-19 (start date) they all got 2F with CB/larae, adhering bees and a queen cell (grafted for the first time too) due to emerge within 24 hrs and 3F undrawn foundation.
5-7 they had eggs
6-10 added the second hive body, moving one frame of larvae up (inside slot)

Then about mid July, Ian posted about, 6F nucs bunched in threes and filling supers. Then I realized I was missing opportunity!

7-18 I supered 1/2 and 5/6 (they had all foundation drawn and filled) with a deep of foundation and queen excluder, each.
7-27 no comb was being drawn, moved a frame of mostly honey up from nucs 1,2,5&6 ; above them respectively.
8-18 placed a 9F drawn med. above nucs 3/4.

Then pretty much ignored them until after elk hunting season was over. It's hard to work your bees when your 100 mi. away and 4k ft above your bees, right Lauri?

10-20 (three months supered) I ended up with 6 frames drawn with honey plus three part drawn faces, in super over 1/2. Four frames of honey and two faces part drawn, over 5/6. Nuc combo. 3/4 didn't put a drop in the drawn med. super over them. With waning nectar sources the last month in mind, should they have done better?

Even so, double nucs are in my roundhouse to stay!
With an investment of 12 F brood and bees + 6 queen cells + time = 6 (5x5) hives going into winter (that I didn't have to feed) and 14 F of open comb built and some honey in the jar!

Things to do differently next year:
Set them so the middle box doesn't drift?
Feed them while they are drawing any comb! !
go 4x4?

What else? What ungrasped or unrealized opportunity passed me by?
 

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I set up two stacks of 4 frame nucs on June 1 with 4 new queens. Initially I started with 4 drawn frames from other colonies installed in the divided 10 frame bottoms and put 4 wax foundation frames in each of the 4 frame boxes above. Three queens were accepted but one nuc built cells and killed the installed queen. That nuc lagged the others a bit till their raised queen came on line. I shared some brood frames around and swapped box locations to equalize them.

I put an excluder on at the two deep level and a medium super just to see how they worked together. No disagreements that I could see and they were starting to fill the drawn supers. There was a dry spell and not much coming in so I pulled the supers and excluders off and put on another 4 frame nuc box of waxed foundation on each which they drew out. They were up to 180 to 200 lbs each double stack of three high when I wrapped them up. They certainly did every thing I could have wished for.

I could have taken a bit of honey or had them draw out some more comb. They sure drew nice comb and virtually no drone cells. Lots of possibilities.

Not sure what I will do with them in the spring: maybe let them continue as some kind of two queen hives or put each queen into 10 frame equipment.

Edit; Oops, I see from my picture that I supered them at three deep not two!
 

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I've taken a shine to those Lewis 6 framers. I shudder everytime I want to dig down into my 5's. These 6's are easier to open up. And one more frame to brood up.

 

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This was the first year I used palmer style nucs. In beginning of June I gave them two frames of brood, a honey frame and a mated queen. The rest of the time they got all undrawn foundation. They are now three high (4x4x4). All frames are drawn and filled. I'm curious to see how this winter goes. It will get cold for a couple days then warm. They have lots of flying weather but I'm not sure what they are foraging on. They continue to make brood at a steady controlled rate. I agree this is something I will continue to use. I think every year right before or right after I harvest honey from production hives I'll make up a set amount of nucs. When spring comes I'll sell them or use to fill in for deadouts.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Ian, it continues to boggle my mind that you're pulling 4 deeps of honey off 18F of bees.

crofter and Charleston, you average both sits above where I ended up, congrats.

I thought for sure this topic would have got more traction-
 

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I thought for sure this topic would have got more traction-
It probably would if you could buy 4 frame nucs rather than have to build them. I set another pair of stacked 5 frame nucs side by side tight and played with supering them with a single 10 frame excluder and a small cover either side for the gap. It was late when I supered and did not leave the super on long enough to fill any frames. They finished up as 5X5X5 colonies with a bit of feed. I will see how they compare in the spring with the side by side 4X4X4 colonies.

The 4X boxes use a standard base and 10 frame bottom box and may be a bit more efficient per unit of wood ware. Seems like a good way to produce early spring nucs! We cant get much for local mated queens till into june. A lot of the spring nucs will be queened with California or Hawaiian imports.

To me a nuc whose queen has produced and overwintered everything you see in the colony is worth a lot more than an assembled nuc with an imported queen still on probation.
 

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I also thought it would generate a great deal of interest. It may be that more are subscribed than feel they have anything to add. I expect in spring to do with some incoming nucs what Bernhard Heuvel was describing in a fascinating double queen thread: side-by-side queens, multiple box, split deeps topped by supers. I plan to make some divider boards, grooving the interior of some new unassembled deeps to accommodate them.

Ian's 6-frame triple-wides in the photos above are very thought-provoking. Reminiscent of Bernhard's mention of the triple queen setups in the document he links. I may use that pdf file to re-acquaint myself with my German-English dictionary. I suspect that the scientific dictionary doesn't provide comprehensive coverage of beekeeping vocabulary, so Langenscheidt is probably the path forward.

After-thought: perhaps those who have the greatest familiarity with double nucs don't use them for honey production until the 2nd year? "Brood and comb factories" comes to mind, rather than honey. But HoneyHouseholder's pattern of single packages in deeps for first-year production seems relevant, if not exactly on-target. He quotes (with gobs of already drawn comb) average per-hive production over several years of about 130 lb., although he breaks up the colonies and sells off the bees rather than leaving them 50 lb of honey for the winter.

Michael
 

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I read the advice that the nucs can be very light on stores if they have been working under supers and excluders; all the honey gets put above! Dont remember whether that was Ian or Michael Palmers advice. I decided building more comb and stores was a better thing than taking some honey. Next season I will have a better feel for what to expect so can take some honey.

Have heard that new queens are more suited to this procedure than overwintered ones. I will have to watch them a bit closer for swarm preps next summer!
 

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I have been following this as I plan on my expansion to go into a resource hive. I want to see what I can do to maximize this, not just use it as a resource depot.
 

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Ron manos...I have both types of nucs. We had hurricane Mathew come through here and I couldn't leave work to strap hives down. My hives are blocked by three sides with fence ab 10-15 ft away. Nothing blew over. I think both work fine in my climate. I keep the 5over 5 over 5 medium nucs and the 4x4x4 deeps.
 

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Basically I made three doubles of 5 frames and put them in a row, numbering individual compartments; left to right, 1-6.
4-19 (start date) they all got 2F with CB/larae, adhering bees and a queen cell (grafted for the first time too) due to emerge within 24 hrs and 3F undrawn foundation.
5-7 they had eggs
6-10 added the second hive body, moving one frame of larvae up (inside slot)

Then about mid July, Ian posted about, 6F nucs bunched in threes and filling supers. Then I realized I was missing opportunity!

I would start them with all comb, and add foundation as they grew.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
To me a nuc whose queen has produced and overwintered everything you see in the colony is worth a lot more than an assembled nuc with an imported queen still on probation.
Exactly! it's like trying to compare a new transfer to a varsity player.

I would start them with all comb, and add foundation as they grew.
Yes Sir! Oh to have those resources. (first slot honey, second CB, third OB, fourth empty comb; right?) I do now have the comb from the supers I placed, one of the reasons I went with deep's; even if all they did was start drawing two frames, it put me ahead for next year. Totally working that plan for next year.
 

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Exactly!
Yes Sir! Oh to have those resources. (first slot honey, second CB, third OB, fourth empty comb; right?) I do now have the comb from the supers I placed, one of the reasons I went with deep's; even if all they did was start drawing two frames, it put me ahead for next year. Totally working that plan for next year.
And that's the point. Little by little. Inch by inch, row by row.
 

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I've taken a shine to those Lewis 6 framers. I shudder everytime I want to dig down into my 5's. These 6's are easier to open up. And one more frame to brood up.

@Ian Lewis six frame nucs are 11-1/8" wide. Any tricks stacking ten frame supers above? Or do they pretty much fit ok?
 

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Ian, it continues to boggle my mind that you're pulling 4 deeps of honey off 18F of bees.

crofter and Charleston, you average both sits above where I ended up, congrats.

I thought for sure this topic would have got more traction-
Nate,

First I seen this thread.
I had a side by side 5F that did really well.
Started it in June, pull a split, separated them as they out grew too fast, at 5x5x5 one I put in a 8x8x8 and then later in a 10x10x10, the other I used to requeen a queen less hive.
I got a split and 25ish frames build.

IMO your results seem a little slim. I would have expected 5x5x5 by fall
Perhaps:
feed a bit to get more comb drawn
I did start with 3 frames of bees and a shake of a 4th to cover fly back.
I did not feed the flow was on.

GG
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Nothing like a resurrection from 2016, 'eh Grey Goose?
Yeah, first attempt was slim - but state average honey for colonies hovers around 30lb annualy... what's that saying about location and beekeeping? lol. I have learned to beat the average since then. Resources are awesome!
It does bring to light how some colonies are far more vigorous! When you have 12 starts, all given the same footing, but one will severely lag and hopefully one or two are leaps and bounds ahead.

PDT, they set square on. The one bit of advice I would give is: make absolutely certain your queen-excluders sit flush and your queens can't go 'visiting next door'.
 
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