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Using the Nicot system (today is day 4, larvae transferred) and at the point of thinking ahead to making up mating NUCS. I'm a little confused by the mating NUCS for sale at ML...there's not enough information about how to use them. What's the point of using small frames that have no foundation drawn out? Would I be OK borrowing resources from hives (ie. drawn comb with stores) and using a QUEEN CASTLE 2 frame NUC as a mating NUC instead? The whole mating NUC is not very clear to me...
thanks!
 

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For beginners it's going to be best to use your standard frames. Any nuc or even a full sized hive setup will work - which is what I use, 8 frame mediums. Just fill the space with frames of foundation, and install a robber screen or very small entrance. Preferably a robber screen.
 

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Using the Nicot system (today is day 4, larvae transferred) and at the point of thinking ahead to making up mating NUCS. I'm a little confused by the mating NUCS for sale at ML...there's not enough information about how to use them. What's the point of using small frames that have no foundation drawn out? Would I be OK borrowing resources from hives (ie. drawn comb with stores) and using a QUEEN CASTLE 2 frame NUC as a mating NUC instead? The whole mating NUC is not very clear to me...
thanks!
I use queen castles as mating nucs regularly and get about 80% success rate with them. The queens that don't come back, I remove the queen castle divider and let them combine with the queen-right "neighbor" colony and once they're all good, I transfer them to regular nucs.
 

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Agree with the full sized combs. It certainly makes management much easier when you can swap in/out as needed.

I've been using 4-way 10-frame deeps two frames each compartment with entrance on each side.

Getting about 75% returns, in fact in one batch earlier this year I got 11/12 and then the last one was 1/4, why that box was so bad I do not know (luck?)... found a barely able to walk queen out in front of one of them on mating flight day. They were happy to see her when I put her back in her box, but she obviously left again and didn't come back.
Having trouble with this current round keeping the bees in their compartment and not drifting to another. Had a couple of queens emerge out into colonies with, literally, 5-6 worker bees left in them. Have boosted by shaking more in front of them again last night. I don't need much to just get them mated, but I sure as heck need more than 5-6 bees. lol
 

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Local feral survivors in eight frame medium boxes.
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All my mating nucs are something like a queen castle or they are a queen castle. A frame of brood and a frame of honey makes and a queen cell makes up a nuc. The second time it works even better as they get established after a queen has laid it up once. At the end of the season they are easy to consolidate into bigger nucs or hive.
 
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