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Hi all,

I picked up the two nucs that I ordered yesterday from the president of our bee club. I've always used packages, but figured that nucs may give me some first year honey, so I thought I'd give a couple a try. Even if they don't, I don't really care, I also just wanted to try something different.

I searched for the answer to my question first, but couldn't find it. The question is; how are nucs made? Here's why I ask. It's was a very cold winter for SC, as it was for everyone. We've had a couple of nice days here and there, but but only recently over the past couple of weeks, have we gotten to place where we have consistent 60 and 70 degree days without rain. Anyway, when I picked up the nucs yesterday, I noticed that all of the comb is first year (bright white and not overwintered), they are fully drawn (no foundation peeking through whatsoever), and they are packed with brood and bees.

So the question is, how do you make nucs and when do you start? These have to have been started at least a month ago given their progress. Probably further back than that given that it's all new wax. That's the other thing. We're these started from a package since all of the wax is new? Timing wise, that wouldn't fit because we just got packages in two weeks ago.

I'm extremely happy with my purchase and on top of that, the price that he charges is very fair. I'm just trying to figure out how he did it. Obviously, the easiest way to get my question answered is to ask him, however, he sold out of nucs (he always does), and was busy getting other people orders together when I was picking mine up. He did say that all of the wax is new and they were not overwintered.
 

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Bees and Brood with a queen cell is how we make ours, then give them a while to lay up the frames and have brood hatch out. He could have fed heavy to get foundation drawn this year, or used extracted honey frames from last year. On a good flow with lots of bees, foundation is drawn fast.
 

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I agree. Making nucs will help increase your hives significantly. Besides, it is fun making new strong queens while the
flow is on. Everyone is happy!
 

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From what I can tell there are various ways they are made. I only know for certain how I do it. I rear queens and place them in a mating nuc with two full fraems of bees. one of stores and empty cells the other of capped brood. These frames will come from any hive in my apiary that can spare them. a virgin queen is introduced and given three weeks to mate. By then this little two frame compartment is busting at the seams with bees that have emerged. Once mated and confirmed fertile the queen and these two frames are moved to a 5 frame nuc. They only have 2 3 additional fraems to fill. this can happen very quickly. I generally estimate a month. I want to see any nuc have two frames of honey and pollen and 3 frames of brood. It should be packed full of bees and most of them by this time are daughters of the queen in the colony. I will at times have this colony build up into a second 5 frame medium just for good measure. This upper box and it's bees will be removed and placed in another hive in my apiary before the nuc is sold. I do this to help the queen build up to full stride in her laying. Plus it helps keep the population of my apiary built up.

To produce good queens my apiary must be strong. So keeping it that way comes first.
 

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Have you asked the guy that made them? My guess would be that he fed colonies heavily w/ sugar syrup to get them to draw new foundation, which stimulates egg laying too, and then he pulled bees and brood from that colony and added a purchased queen or maybe the overwintered queen.

Where is Trenton? There has been plenty of warm weather these last three or four weeks for colonies to grow and gather pollen. And there have been 8 or so days when the nectar flow has been decent. Enjoy your bees.
 

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Bees and Brood with a queen cell is how we make ours, then give them a while to lay up the frames and have brood hatch out.
You have nucs now in western NY? I have a friend that needs bees.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Have you asked the guy that made them? My guess would be that he fed colonies heavily w/ sugar syrup to get them to draw new foundation, which stimulates egg laying too, and then he pulled bees and brood from that colony and added a purchased queen or maybe the overwintered queen.

Where is Trenton? There has been plenty of warm weather these last three or four weeks for colonies to grow and gather pollen. And there have been 8 or so days when the nectar flow has been decent. Enjoy your bees.
Near Augusta, GA. Your scenario sounds like a possibility. He said the brood should be emerging soon, so you figure around three weeks just for the brood, then another 2-3 weeks for the wax. We got queens and packages two weeks ago, so that would fit.

The other reason I was asking was for my own knowledge in increasing my hive numbers. I made a nuc myself a couple of weeks ago with the current queen from a hive with swarm cells, and three frames of brood, pollen, and honey. They're not nearly this far along though.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
From what I can tell there are various ways they are made. I only know for certain how I do it. I rear queens and place them in a mating nuc with two full fraems of bees. one of stores and empty cells the other of capped brood. These frames will come from any hive in my apiary that can spare them. a virgin queen is introduced and given three weeks to mate. By then this little two frame compartment is busting at the seams with bees that have emerged. Once mated and confirmed fertile the queen and these two frames are moved to a 5 frame nuc. They only have 2 3 additional fraems to fill. this can happen very quickly. I generally estimate a month. I want to see any nuc have two frames of honey and pollen and 3 frames of brood. It should be packed full of bees and most of them by this time are daughters of the queen in the colony. I will at times have this colony build up into a second 5 frame medium just for good measure. This upper box and it's bees will be removed and placed in another hive in my apiary before the nuc is sold. I do this to help the queen build up to full stride in her laying. Plus it helps keep the population of my apiary built up.

To produce good queens my apiary must be strong. So keeping it that way comes first.
Sounds like a great approach. When do you start?
 

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I grafted on Feb. 16th, 10days later made up nucs with two frames of capped brood added queen cell and kept feeders full. Delivered all of them over the past two weeks. They were full of bees, 5 drawn frames, some had three frames of capped brood with one of eggs and young larva. There's no doubt in my mind these customers should make honey with them. That's how I make mine and I'm sure the same thing could be done in SC. Especially Southern SC.
 

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Sounds like a great approach. When do you start?
About three weeks ago but weather is having its say as well. Our first 32 queens are in the incubator as of yesterday. 20 of those are sold as soon as they emerge. 12 will become our first nucs of the year if they do not sell between now and then. We are trying to decide if we will make 45 more grafts today or not. Promotion of our queens is lagging way behind right now.
 

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Ace, For the most part my oldest daughter and myself. At times "We" will include my wife, youngest daughter and my son. I also have to coworkers that have become involved to some degree in building this as a business. One is a coworker that simply is excited to see it grow so she does all she can to help our sales. and is paid something like a commission or piece work. The other is my supervisor at work that has tremendous general management skills. She helps me on a continuous basis to make the many decisions that need to be made and keeps me on track. So in all we can include a team of 7 people in total.
 

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I was just curious. I seem to recall when you first came to BS it was just you but maybe I was wrong.
 

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Do I have nucs in NY now, yes, overwintered ones. Nucs that are going to be sold this spring are sitting down in GA getting fat and happy. They were made up 3 weeks ago and should be ready to be picked up in mid may. I have been booked up since February though with a long wait list for any that may come available. Definatly a sellers market this year.
 

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there are many ways these could have been made :
- are u positive they are nucs HE made in THAT area ? they could have been shipped in from the south either by them or a nuc delivery truck.
- did he pull laying queens from full size colonies and let the mother colonies raise there own new queens ?
- did he have the mated/laying queens shipped in from the south ?
- are u sure the new comb was not last years first year extracted honey frames ?
- they could have easily checkerboarded full size colonies with new foundation frames to be drawn out and laid in.

there are many many ways to make nucs. heavy feeding will draw lots of comb.
 

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I would ask the nuc sales person. In recent times I've heard of packages put on drawn comb sold as nucs, nucs shipped in from some far away place sold as nucs, recent splits with a queen cell from local queens sold as nucs, and local overwintered nucs sold as nucs. That is pretty much the reverse order of what I think they are worth...
 

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I would ask the nuc sales person. In recent times I've heard of packages put on drawn comb sold as nucs, nucs shipped in from some far away place sold as nucs, recent splits with a queen cell from local queens sold as nucs, and local overwintered nucs sold as nucs. That is pretty much the reverse order of what I think they are worth...
I never understood how you overwinter nucs. Do you add 5-frame supers on top of the brood box to get them through the winter? Also, if they get too crowded wont they swarm?
 

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>I never understood how you overwinter nucs.

There are dozens of discussions on Beeource on the topic. There are several videos of Michael Palmer talking about it.

>Do you add 5-frame supers on top of the brood box to get them through the winter?

I'm not exactly sure what you are describing. It is typical top put a nuc with a solid bottom on top of a strong hive to share some heat. It is also typical to just have a split ten frame box with four frames on each side for the nuc. It's also typical to have that grow up into another four frame box on top of each side so the nuc is eight frames. Mine are mostly eight frame medium hives with one box and sometimes two boxes.

> Also, if they get too crowded wont they swarm?

Of course. You have to watch them especially this time of year because the population can explode very quickly.
 
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