Here's the scenario:
I'm making 5-frame nucs here in South Central Florida. (All nucs are already spoken for, by the way.) The way that I'm making these is by taking my 10 frame single deeps, which I've been splitting throughout the winter, and making two boxes. Those boxes consist of...
1 frame Honey/Pollen
3 frames of brood, both sealed and open
1 frame of partially drawn foundation
+ all the adhering bees on these frames
The old queen is located, and placed in one of the nucs, while queen cells are placed in the new queenless nucs, about an hour after they're made up. Queen cell acceptance level is great. And the bees are on a citrus flow. After citrus dries up, there's plenty of white sweet clover to keep them busy. These nucs will be brought back to Michigan around the first of May, BTW.
HERE'S MY QUESTION:
Am I making these splits too strong? My fear is not keeping them strong enough to combat Small Hive Beetle (SHB) or wax moth. So far, SHB hasn't been a problem, but like I say, I KNOW I'm making these splits strong. Am I wasting resources? Would a 2 brood frame split do just as well and provide an equally sale-able product?
I would say they are to strong. The problem will be that by the time the queen hatches, gets mated, and begins laying the field force will be strong. They will plug up that nuc with honey if the citrus flow is strong. You could use those nucs to draw foundation for you that could be pulled out and replaced with older empty comb. Another issue you will have is when you ship those nucs back to MI they will be so full of bees you may have overheating issues.
They should be ten frame hives after a couple weeks on a flow in Florida. I made twelve splits for the next workshop at the University of South Florida in a couple weeks. They were three frames a week ago and will be five by class date.
Over-heating on the ride home was something that I didn't factor into the equation!
After thinking it over overnight, I've decided to make my splits a little lighter, and maybe make a few more of them. To be honest, I'm starting to worry that swarming might occur during the next three weeks before I take them home. And, with half the bees remaining after swarming, and without taking into consideration the brood emerging, they'll STILL have over 3 pounds of bees remaining! And that, friends, is a bit too strong in my opinion.
Today, splits will be made with 2 or maybe 2-1/2 frames of brood, bees to cover three complete frames, 1 of honey/pollen, and 1 of undrawn or partially drawn foundation.
Thanks for those who gave their thoughts. Thanks in advance for anyone who cares to add to this advice.
SHB should not be a problem, heat and nucs too large would be a major problem, better to go light at first then recombine if you need more size,you may have to split those early nucs again, what kind of nuc boxes are you using? where are you ?
I'm about 30 miles SE of Ft. Myers. I'm currently using Kevin Jester's corrugated plastic nuc boxes.
Like I had said previously, I hadn't really thought about heat. But, you're absolutely correct. Over-heating is definitely going to be a concern with sealed nucs that are too strong.
Splits made tomorrow will be lighter to start with. When I come down at the end of the month to take them home, I'll go through and split the heavy ones again before the ride home. Although they'll be transported home queenless, I'll install a queen or queen cell once they arrive back in Michigan.
Anyone have thoughts about transporting nucs that are queenless?? Too much stress? I'm thinking no, since they ship queenless packages (bulk bees) all the time.
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