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I'm planning on starting grafting and queen rearing next season. I've a couple of questions regarding personal preference and filling in gaps in my understanding. I'm located in Mid Missouri.

1. Do you you use 3 or 4 divided mating nucs?

2. How frequently do you use/reuse nucs each season?

3. After you remove the mated and laying queen do you restock each nuc with fresh frames of brood?

4. How do you get ALL of the bees out of each nuc after use?

5. I need to pick up a Queen rearing book or two. Best one for you?

Thanks for any and all help.
 

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Hey jbraun:

I'm interested in this topic, too. Are you considering four 2-frame mating nucs in a single full depth (10 frame) super, using standard dimension full-depth frames, or are you considering cutting down frames and having shorter frames for your mating nuc? I think that the hurdle of cutting down top and bottom bars would drive me towards the use of standard dimension frames, whether it was a three 3-frame nuc setup or four 2-frame nuc setup. Does anyone sell shorter top & bottom bars?
 

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Local feral survivors in eight frame medium boxes.
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>1. Do you you use 3 or 4 divided mating nucs?

Frames? I use two frame nucs. Most of them are ten frame boxes divided into four two frame nucs. Some are five frame boxes divided in half and some are just two frame boxes. It takes less material to make the four way boxes than four single boxes.

>2. How frequently do you use/reuse nucs each season?

Every two or three weeks depending on how much they have laid when I check them or if they are queenless when I check them. I like to see a frame of capped brood from that queen before I pull her.

>3. After you remove the mated and laying queen do you restock each nuc with fresh frames of brood?

No. They have a frame of brood that queen laid. If they don't it's too soon to pull her out.

>4. How do you get ALL of the bees out of each nuc after use?

I don't get ANY of the bees out after use. I put another queen cell in. If you mean the end of the season, I remove all the boxes from where they were and put all the frames in nucs to winter or combine them into full size hives.

>5. I need to pick up a Queen rearing book or two. Best one for you?

I found it useful to read a lot of them and then try to follow one. There are a lot of free ones here:
http://bushfarms.com/beesoldbooks.htm

I particularly like Hopkins methods (both of them) and Better Queens. Queen Rearing Simplified would probably be next. But all of them I transcribed because I thought they were important books.

Here's my distillation of some of the principals:
http://bushfarms.com/beesqueenrearing.htm

And a simple system to raise just a few queens:
http://bushfarms.com/beesafewgoodqueens.htm
 

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1. Do you you use 3 or 4 divided mating nucs?
No, I use a duplex box with 3 medium frames on each side. Strong enough to fight off hive beetles and raise a good queen but not to big to find queen.

2. How frequently do you use/reuse nucs each season?
I run a 3 week cycle. I pull and cage queens on Monday and replace with a new queen cell. Pull again in 3 weeks. I have 3 groups of 144. Pull a different group each week. I pull queens from April 1st to end of July.

3. After you remove the mated and laying queen do you restock each nuc with fresh frames of brood?
Like MB said. On a 3 week cycle I have to pull excess brood out of nucs with queens and use it to make up nucs to sell or use it in nucs that did'nt make a queen.

4. How do you get ALL of the bees out of each nuc after use?
At the end of the season I combine 3 nucs into 1 10 frame box. I move the frames and shake the bees into the new box. Add a box of foundation with a feeder and within 4 weeks I have two boxes full of bees for next year. Just made up 150 like this.

5. I need to pick up a Queen rearing book or two. Best one for you?
Read any you can find. The basics are the same in all of them. Start trying different system till you fing what works for you. Don't be afraid to try new things, over and over till you make it work.

Good luck, Johnny
 
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