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331 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
There are some truly good beekeepers on here and two who stood out to me are Mr Palmer and Mr Steppler.
In fact I watch MP's 'The Sustainable Apiary' , like a great movie, at least twice a year.

In my search to find applicable knowledge concerning Nucs I routinely emulate what these two are doing-- and more importantly try to understand WHY it is being done that way. So, over time I compiled a somewhat lengthy albeit disjointed list of their answers to various questions here on Beesource. I miss their active participation, I hope you enjoy.
[side note, why isn't there a Nucleus forum?]

First run:
Default Re: Trying single deeps and need tips please.
I build my hives from singles into doubles, split, build into the second, then shake the queen down into the single separated with an excluder. You want to retain the same population space balance when managing singles in the spring as you would managing a double brood nest.
When the brood hatches out a few weeks later the bees sum backfill and we begin harvests.

[[ Originally Posted by yousowise View Post
Ian, how many frames of brood are you looking for when you split your doubles? Also after you shake back down to a single with an excluder (I am guessing you do this when the main flow starts), do you get many swarms?]]
Around here I'm looking for 3-4 brood frames which will fill that box with bees. Add a second to allow her to continue to stretch her legs and promote expansion upwards for a few weeks then before too much surplus begins to store upwards, move her down for the rest of the year. The bottom will be empty underneath by that time which gives her enough.

Default Re: Running two queen colonies
I like sliding two 5 frame nucs together, queen excluder and supering them up.
I'll make a bunch of smaller units up through out the season. To catch the flow in the supers instead of the Nuc chambers we will combine two equil strength nucs under an excluder. The combined work force brings in a nice bonus if honey.
It's as simple as it sounds. HBH is used during merging of the work force.

Re: Running two queen colonies
I like the way running two nucs together buys me flexibility of easily adding space for surplus storage and eliminated a lot of the fuss of honey bound nuc nests. It promotes a large brood best while sending all they harvestable honey overtop.
Otherwise building nucs would be too time consuming here with our honey flows

Running two queen colonies
There must be something lost in translation because we are so far apart. {[speaking to Bernhard Heuvel]} I'm guessing it's our equipment size. 2 , 5 frame units under a 10 frame super fits perfect, both sides will have their nest chalked full of brood sitting under 5 boxes, which is the greatest concern of managing smaller units. Zero space for resources whips the need to supply it to them during honey pulling operstions.

Re: Running two queen colonies
Combine two queen right hives, excluder over, super accordingly
Best to merge during a flow when they are in storage mode. Otherwise the bees mingle nicely.
You must understand, each unit with their dominant population around their queen protects her from initial squabbling. In matter of hours these two units are building upwards instead of waring between each other

Running two queen colonies
Or start your nucs later with cells, and gather a decent crop all the same
Fresh queens ready for singles next season

Running two queen colonies
I don't know how others manage two queen colonies but for me, set up and timing is everything. I don't rotate brood. Too much work and I'm not sure the reason for it.
You needs fresh queen. I build these units later in spring with cells, when that first round of brood emerges boxes are added uptop and the field force hits the blooming fields. I basically start up two small units for no cost and manage their production close to my full sized yards .
Harnessing bees in certain ways can provide interesting results

Re: How to make a lot of honey
Look into running double or triple queen hives. Mid season confine the queens in their separate units under an excluder and allow the bees to mingle and share storage space uptop.
It keeps honey out of the broodnest and pushes it all up top, and with the combined populations these units will maximize their house and field fources

In a lot of cases the simple equation of more bees = more honey does not pan out, swarming is the great equalizer
I work it from the other perspective, smaller younger together = more honey

Re: 6F nucs for honey production
Quote Originally Posted by sakhoney View Post
Ian - if that's the case why did you not flip them in a 10 when they got built up - what I see is 6 frame brood nest - that would only hold back a good laying queen. I though this was for nucs - I will add - the crop does look good - love seeing that white wax myself
Your not understanding what's going on. I'm not holding back the queen. The calendar comes into play, by placing unlimited space up top with a smaller nest to maintain more attention is pushed upwards. Big nests don't always equal big crops

Re: 6F nucs for honey production
What I'm trying to do is make up a boat load of nucs, with next to no resource. 2 frames brood, queen cell, June...makes a perfect little hive but surplus hits me. So instead of managing singles and wasting space and honey boxes ( a small nest in a single will not push honey up) I push a bunch together to keep the nest small and manage the surplus by sending it up.

e: 6F nucs for honey production
Old queens don't nuc very well. It's a fresh girls game

Re: 6F nucs for honey production
Quote Originally Posted by Andersonhoney View Post
[ Ian with your 6 fr neucs stacked up 2 and 3 boxes high and with queen excluder, do you get a chance to look into the brood box? If so what do you find? That is, is it 6 fr of brood or is there pollen frames on the sides? Do you move any brood up into the 2nd box? Or does over 1000 hives and a honey flow make it hard to make those inspections? ]
You will find exactly what you'd see in the centre 6 frames of a 10 frame single. Lots of brood, pollen around the edges, some honey. Once I get the nucs going, we hustle to get them into place with space uptop. Once the nectar starts flowing those nucs will get honey bound. It's happened to me, swarms. But as long as you give the space to deposit nectar, the upward movement satisfies their need for space. With thoughts towards the fields and not the trees, time of year and young queen those 5 or 6 frames seem to be enough.

331 Posts
Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Second run:

Re: 6F nucs for honey production
I used 2 brood, 1 honey, 3 frames foundation

Re: Which size hives are most productive?
Quote Originally Posted by whitebark View Post
["Ian do you mean you run singles up in Manitoba? Do you boost these in the fall to overwinter doubles? Part of the issue isn't just what gets you the most honey but what survives the winter."]
Yes I winter in singles and 5 frame nucs, indoors. But my neighbour does the same wintering outdoors.

Re: Which size hives are most productive?
Double nuc tops the list, single brood honey management, take it all

Re: Which size hives are most productive?
No beeware10, not a nuc, a double nuc (2 queen hive) and they easy produce 200 lbs. average , smaller nests, more bees , more honey than two stand alone nucs

(Most of the honey yield equation is the amount of forage and quality of forage available)

Re: Which size hives are most productive?
Quote Originally Posted by Natbeek View Post
["I have been watching alot of fat bee man you tube videos and he mentioned that 5 frames are actually the most productive compared to other hives. ....Are smaller configurations really more productive in other peoples experience?"] .
As originaly asked, yes smaller configurations are more productive. Smaller brood nests, less house keepers, combine the two nucs under an excluder and their productivity amplifies. We can take all the honey this way.
I do the same with my singles, expand the best into 2 brood during the spring, then push her down into the single for the flow. The single is used exclusively for brood production all the production is taken up top.

It's all about managing numbers and space

I have never had a problem feeding my bees. I give them 4-5 gallons in the fall
My hives sit many months brood-less on syrup and do extremely well.

Re: 6F nucs for honey production
I also run 2 5 frames under a shared stack of supers. As for packages, hive them late, allow for the broodnest to establish then stack them up.

I winter indoors. After the crop is pulled we back fill the nest and winter them indoors out of our frigid windy weather

Re: Double nuc ?
Ya the secret is young queens
I Make mine with cells later part of May. They really take off and produce just about as much honey as my full sized

Question for experienced beeks please - using single deeps for honey production
i add a super as your second, let the queen use two boxes to brood in until the flow hits. Shake her down into the single and extract after the second has been backfilled.

Re: Question for experienced beeks please - using single deeps for honey production i
add a super as your second, let the queen use two boxes to brood in until the flow hits. Shake her down into the single and extract after the second has been backfilled.

Re:Combining hives but can't find queens!
Just put the heavier one on top of the paper, and be done with it. The bees will sort it out. (-MP)

Re: Strengthening nucs to over winter
You don't say how "weak" the weak nucs are.

B.(out of choice list) I would add emerging brood. Replace brood taken from strong nucs with comb, if you have it. (-MP)

It ain't the box that matters. (-MP)

Default Re: Single Brood Chambers
The trick about managing singles is not to restrict your thought toward single box’s, just manage around the single box as the base unit -Ian

Michael Palmer: Re: Nucs during flow
I think better to do as My-smokepole says. Forcing bee to move down, as when a colony is forced down by incoming nectar flows, is a prime trigger for swarming. Now, I use foundation and comb. I find it better to have brood in contact with foundation, or have the foundation directly over brood, if I want the foundation drawn rapidly. I am assuming, since I don't practice the method, that foundationless would be handled in a similar way.

I have issues with what is being sold as breeding stock. I don't often bring in anything from outside, but I have a number of times in the last 15 years. Most of what I've gotten is II. Nothing I bought, but a trade between breeders. I send them mine, they send me theirs. Good way to check out other stocks. One producer has been pretty good overall, but some daughters were a bit testy. Couldn't hold a candle to some others. Brutally savage bees are nothing I care to deal with. I mean eat you alive mean. And swarmy. I set up an apiary with daughters of a breeder got from one known breeder queen producer. Every one had swarm cells before dandelion...when no other colonies in my operation did. And, they'd chase you into the next county.

Anyway, to me a breeder queen is one that has been observed over a number of years, and her daughters have been observed for a winter and a summer. Of course you need to have enough colonies to be able to select intelligently...maybe 100 colonies or more. At that level, you can buy production queens from a producer, evaluate them over a year or two, and if anything good shows up, that one can be used as breeding stock. The following year, if the daughters are exceptional, you have a breeder queen. MP 9_30_17

Basically a takeoff on Brother Adam’s management, but with some changes. I use emerging brood when placing brood above the excluder. That’s what Adam did...according to David Kemp who worked with Adam from ‘64-‘74. Also, the brood remains above the excluder for 9 days so there are no larvae in the cell builder. I don’t want any larvae that take nursing resources away from the growing grafts. Grafting is done on day 10 after adding the brood. Adam harvested brood from production hives. I have dedicated nucleus colonies (brood factories) that provide the brood needed for boosting the cell builders. -MP 2-5-20

Re: 4x4 nuc
When we transfer strong overwintered nucs into 10 frame equipment, we overdo it. A medium of comb on the bottom board, then a deep with the 8 frames +1, and then another deep with 6 combs and 4 foundations. This when the dandelion flow is on. My standard broodnest is 2 deeps and a medium. Because they buildup so fast, they’ll need a couple supers soon after. -MP
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