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.