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Im considering following Michael Bush's advice on raising a few good queens for the hobbiest, that he has on his website. I have a few questions which Im hoping someone with more experience can answer easily enough.

1. Once I remove the queen cells (after the colony has been queenless for about 10 days), can I simply replace the old queen? Or does she need to be re-acclimated to the colony?

2. I would like to set up a typical 10-frame lang into four 2-frame mating nucs using follower boards. But I am unfamiliar with using follower boards in a lang, so are they exactly the same size as the frames, or do they extend all the way to the bottom board?

3. If they are the same size as the frames, couldnt the bees just go under (or above for that matter) into the next nuc? And wouldnt the queens possibly cross over and kill eachother?

4. Im planning on setting up a bunch of nucs to try to overwinter (as has been suggested by Michael Palmer in previous posts). Does anyone know if this is an appropriate time to start making queens for this purpose? I figure if I start in the next week or so, the new queens should be laying by mid to late July (this is in southern NY).

I know this is a long post, but I figured I get in all my questions at once.

Thanks in advance for any advice.
 

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I can't answer all of your questions, but I have a couple of observations based on what I have done this year. I've started a few nucs by putting a few frames in a full sized box with a follower, and I did another in an actual nucleus hive. It seems to me that it is less stress on the hive for them to grow into a full sized box than to be moved from a nuc into a full sized hive. I filled the extra space with empty frames just in case they got over there and started building comb (they didn't) then as they grow I would just move the follower and give them one new frame at a time. Works great.

Of course it's all another matter if you are raising a few good queens to requeen existing hives.
 

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I took a 10 frame lang and used a router to make grooves for 1/4" plywood boards to divide the box either into 1/3's or 1/2. The problem was that if I put a solid bottom on I wasn't sure there was enough room for the bees to go either under or over the frames, so I ran shims around the edge of the solid bottom and where each follower would hit the bottom.

I think that it would be simpler to have separate boxes for each nuc, but this was cheaper and works fine.
 

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The problem was that if I put a solid bottom on I wasn't sure there was enough room for the bees to go either under or over the frames...
My nucs are standard medium depth with a plain plywood bottom fastened directly to the hive body and a (wine cork sized) hole bored for the entrance and they use them just fine. Bee space is alright below the frames - I know because I don't crush bees when replacing frames during inspections, and they don't build burr comb. BTW that little bitty hole (plus a screened one on the other end) works just fine even with 5 cram packed frames and 100+ heat index - I do put some styro insulation on top of the cover though.
 

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Im considering following Michael Bush's advice on raising a few good queens for the hobbiest, that he has on his website. I have a few questions which Im hoping someone with more experience can answer easily enough.

1. Once I remove the queen cells (after the colony has been queenless for about 10 days), can I simply replace the old queen? Or does she need to be re-acclimated to the colony?

2. I would like to set up a typical 10-frame lang into four 2-frame mating nucs using follower boards. But I am unfamiliar with using follower boards in a lang, so are they exactly the same size as the frames, or do they extend all the way to the bottom board?

3. If they are the same size as the frames, couldnt the bees just go under (or above for that matter) into the next nuc? And wouldnt the queens possibly cross over and kill eachother?

4. Im planning on setting up a bunch of nucs to try to overwinter (as has been suggested by Michael Palmer in previous posts). Does anyone know if this is an appropriate time to start making queens for this purpose? I figure if I start in the next week or so, the new queens should be laying by mid to late July (this is in southern NY).

I know this is a long post, but I figured I get in all my questions at once.

Thanks in advance for any advice.
1. Good question I don't know. WHy not just start a new nuc with the queen and leave a cell in the old hive?
2.They are not same size as frames, as BDT stated you need to go all the way top to bottom, so routing out is a great idea. Then just slide in the plywood. I do the same thing as Dave L. and fasten bottom sheet right to the box, there is plenty of bee space under the frame for them.
3. yes that is why must go all the way to bottom and top and side to side.
4. Yes anytime after summer solstice is good time to start making up your winter nucs.

Other comments: Be sure to alternate the entrances so the queen doesn't get confused. You may want to bore a hole in each end and cover one end with a screen for ventilation, or use screen on bottom instead of solid board at least until winter. also spray paint or brush different colors on the entrances so the queen can find her way back home.

I use 2 frame medium mating nucs and also some four frame and five frame. Early in the year I find they do much better in the five frame. If you have some open brood or eggs in the nucs the bees will stay there but if not they will abscond unless you move them miles away from the home yard. Be sure they have a frame of honey or better yet open nectar and pollen and a frame of open brood. They can starve to death even this time of year without it especially if you get a spell of rainy weather.

Once the nuc reaches a balance with a laying queen they can then keep going pretty good.

Another option is to add a feeder hole in the top and place a small feeder jar over each nuc, especially if you are starting out early in the season.
 

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>1. Once I remove the queen cells (after the colony has been queenless for about 10 days), can I simply replace the old queen? Or does she need to be re-acclimated to the colony?

A queen who is currently laying (as opposed to one that was caged and mailed) is easily accepted. More so if she was their queen before. You can just put her back in.

>2. I would like to set up a typical 10-frame lang into four 2-frame mating nucs using follower boards. But I am unfamiliar with using follower boards in a lang, so are they exactly the same size as the frames, or do they extend all the way to the bottom board?

It needs to be beeproof. I never succeeded at that without cutting grooves in the ends for the dividers. 1/4" luan will make a good divider to make a ten frame box into four 2 frame mating nucs. I used 3/4" boards but it's pretty tight.

>3. If they are the same size as the frames, couldnt the bees just go under (or above for that matter) into the next nuc? And wouldnt the queens possibly cross over and kill eachother?

Exactly. So they need to be tight. Mine are in grooves on the ends, have canvas for an inner cover on top so they don't run over the top when you pull the lid and go tight to the bottom.

>4. Im planning on setting up a bunch of nucs to try to overwinter (as has been suggested by Michael Palmer in previous posts). Does anyone know if this is an appropriate time to start making queens for this purpose? I figure if I start in the next week or so, the new queens should be laying by mid to late July (this is in southern NY).

Now is a great time to raise queens for nucs if you aren't in a dearth. If you are in a dearth you may have to feed the hives and the nucs...
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks for the replies. I think it sounds like using individual nucs maybe an easier solution. This is my first time consciously raising any queens, so Im hoping the learning curve wont be too hard on me.
 

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Cost is the main difference. When I decided to try raising my own queens, building 3 mating nucs out of one box was a lot cheaper that buying 3 nuc boxes. Now that I am more comfortable raising them I can see where individual boxes would be nice, but I might still make more 3in1 mating nucs.
 

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Individual nucs have their advantages:

_The queen never gets into the other side and kills the other queens.
_You can put them further apart so there is less likely hood of the queen going into the wrong box.
_You don't have to work so hard to get the dividers beeproof.

But individual boxes take a lot more lumber. I use a lot of four way and two way mating nucs. If I were starting over I'd build three ways out of eight frame boxes, but as it is I'll use up the ones I have. I also have some individual ones (two and three and four frame) as well as a lot of five frame nucs. But as they retire I will probably replace them all with three way eight frame boxes.

http://www.bushfarms.com/beesqueenrearing.htm#matingnucs
 
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