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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Should I inventory and equalize? What is the minimum frames of brood that I should give all hives on Aug 1 to make it a single by Oct1? Can I figure a certain number of frames per month? I have been grafting and mating bees all year, moving the 2 frames to nucs and starting over again. I now have a bunch of different size hives as well as queen castles that should have another 12 queens at the end of the month. I do not plan on grafting more this year. Bloom is done for the year. Any weight will have to be poured in. Between the smoke, ice and mega heat I was almost out of bees. I have been making everybody ‘donate’ a frame of bees each grafting round except the grafting hive. Now I need to get it through winter without making it all so weak that nothing goes through the year.
 

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That's very regional. Around here (Iowa), I run 2 frame (deep) mating nucs. Starting this time of year as I sell queens, I pull them and combine one 2-frame nuc w/ queen with another 2-frame nuc w/o queen into one 5-frame colony with an empty comb. And then either at the same time or a week later, I'll toss on a 2nd 5-frame box. I usually have drawn comb for them, but if I don't, I might also put a feeder in the second box with 4 frames of foundation.
I've had good luck getting them through winter this way. We don't have a "flow" for most of July/August. But there's enough of a trickle that they seem to at least keep laying and building except on a couple rare occasions over the years.

But where you're at might be an entirely different animal.
 

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like you my flow is done (usually 1st-2nd week in July) and its feeding time till winter
I go broodles most times in nov
I find for best results to over winter a nuc started with 2 frames of capped brood and a frame of food I need a laying queen by the 1st week in Aug

If dropped in to a 5 frame nuc at that same time my 2 framers won't fill it out and only about 1/3 make spring vs about 75% on my palmers and singles.. based on my outher nucs (2 chamber 1/2 frame, 8 frame shalows) that get stacked up shedding bees and dyeing off early winter in it "feels" to me its not so much about the bee pop and amount of feed going in to winter, its getting them settled and enuff rounds of brood so that a good crop of winter bees is raised

as JW notes its regional, but you can adjust things with feed supplements

in general (when there are growing conditions) an estlibished brood nest and 4+ frames of bees will grow at 2 frames a week
so starting a nuc with 2 frames of capped, one feed, for me its "something" like 21 days to fully estlibish the nest and be at 4+ frames of bees and then 3 weeks to get to 10 frames of bees, taking you to mid sept and then 2 weeks with that work force to really pack on the feed and raise winter bees before coasting threw a few little spurts of brood in oct and settling in for the winter... drawn comb is a big modifier as is temputre as is genetics
 
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
So do you think going 'Robin Hood' from the double deeps is a good idea or bad? I plan on pulling the honey frames from the outside of the deeps so that all get one. I would like to give all of my two frames a feeder, honey and extra brood frame from a deep to a 5 frame nuc. My experience is that the queens will only lay up what the bees can take care of thus a frame of brood can double the rate of growth in the early stages. My Palmers only hold 4 frames. A check up at the home yard reveals that they are all starving. I have feeders of different types on all hives.
 

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So do you think going 'Robin Hood' from the double deeps is a good idea or bad? I plan on pulling the honey frames from the outside of the deeps so that all get one. I would like to give all of my two frames a feeder, honey and extra brood frame from a deep to a 5 frame nuc. My experience is that the queens will only lay up what the bees can take care of thus a frame of brood can double the rate of growth in the early stages. My Palmers only hold 4 frames. A check up at the home yard reveals that they are all starving. I have feeders of different types on all hives.
Starving is no good. I'll tell you what I would do and for what it's worth this might not work for you.

Disclaimer: I hate feeding bees.

I'd try to assess the situation. When you say they're starving do you mean that there's a lack of honey in everything? Or just that there's a bit of a dearth?
I am always torn here. The lazy dude in me just wants to pull capped honey from production colonies that might be really heavy right now and that's what I typically do. But I also understand the benefits of feeding a nuc to help spur them to growth that just dropping capped honey in doesn't do.

What I'm getting at is if there's a trickle, I would hedge toward feeding the nucs. You can always go take honey from the bigger colonies in the late summer/fall if they're heavy enough to donate.
If there's actual starvation then you probably need to feed everything. I don't ever seem to experience much robbing. Either I'm lucky with my bees OR my colonies are in good enough shape (and I almost always run reduced entrances) that they don't give into it. If it is a very robbing type of bee that you're dealing with AND there is a starving situation, I'd say you should probably just feed the big ones as they can defend. And then move the feed over to the nucs.
This is always kind of a rough thing to deal with and some years there's just no good answer on how to deal with it. Especially if it's bad enough that you can show up with a bucket of feed and have bees on me within 20 seconds... that's unpleasant.
 
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