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Is the last week of June too early to start nucs in NE Ohio?

1642 Views 5 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  Will O'Brien
This is my first year in Ohio and it has been a few years since I last had my bees (so I have some experience but definitely not a veteran). I ordered nucs last winter, then got a call in April that they would be late because of the winter that we had. That was certainly understandable. Eventually I assumed that they just didn't have enough production given the long and hard winter and I wouldn't get nucs this year. I got a call this week that the nucs (4 of them) are now ready and I plan to pick them up on Saturday.

I would appreciate any comments from folks that are knowledgeable about the climate, nectar flow etc. of northeast Ohio and the viability of starting nucs in the last week of June. My definition of viable in this case is the bees' ability to prepare for and survive winter. I know that their are several variables in this question but if starting the nucs this late in the year is so significant of a negative factor that it causes me to have too little of a chance of the bees being able to over-winter then I would rather not start the bee yard this year. Your thoughts and comments would be appreciated.

Also any advice to increase my success rate if I start the bee-yard this late will be helpful too.
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Assuming the nucs are strong they should do fine. We are just starting our main flow for the year and depending on the weather it can last several weeks. Our fall flow, goldenrod and aster, can be somewhat erratic. Although, most years my hives produce surplus honey in the fall.

A typical overwintering configuration is double deeps. Some may do a deep and a medium.

While I have heard many beekeepers had high losses in Ohio last winter I only lost one hive. Mine were double 8-frame deeps or 5+5 frame nucs.


If it can be done with one frame of brood and a queen cell. I think you'll be fine.

You'll be more than fine if you feed patties and syrup.
I am still starting some nucs with 2 to 3 frames of brood and a mated queen. I will keep doing this until around July 1st. I also winter them in 5 frame hives but 3 deep. I will have to feed all summer to get them to draw combs. I know am at the opposite end of the state but you should be fine.
We just made up 20 nucs with 2 frames of brood, one honey and pollen, and one empty yesterday. Gave them mated queens today. Plan to do at least one more round of them maybe 2 if we get rain to keep the flow going. Looking good right now, plenty of rain. We use 4 over 4 nucs and then give them a 3rd box for the winter stores.
You should be fine, feed if you have no comb to get them started. Once they get going the flow should be enough to continue growth.
That is great help. Thanks for the comments and encouragement. I was considering over wintering in nucs already and given your comments I will plan to do that given the bees' ability to move up but not across during the winter.
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