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I recently came into quite a bit or free bee equipment from my uncle who is getting out of bees. I would like to use this as an opportunity to expand my hive count and make up a bunch of nucs this year. I am not too concerned about honey production this season but want this year to be a year for growth.

I was wondering if there is a calculator that allows me to place different variables in, such as # of frames of brood, number of hives split, how often to pull nucs out etc. I am sure I could figure this out with a pen and paper but it might just be a bit easier to run several estimates changing variables along the way. I probably have enough equipment for 40 hives and I only want to get to 25 or so this year, and would like to over winter some as nucs. I would be grafting queens primarily and not doing walk aways.

I have 5 hives coming out of winter and am buying 5, five frame nucs this week. My average is between 10 and 15 colonies throughout summer but took a bit of a hit early this winter which is why I only have 5 left. I live in CT and the weather has been unseasonably warm so I might be able to start early. Thanks for your suggestions if a calculator exists!
 

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Aylett, VA 10-frame double deep Langstroth
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I think there are too many variables that can not be accurately predicted. 5 to 25 is not hard as a strong hive (10 frame double deep) can easily be split into 5 nucs. But you need bees. Are you feeding high protein pollen sub and providing sugar bricks or syrup to your bees right now? Are your hives currently packed with bees?Remember 80% preparation and 20% perspiration. You dont even need to graft. When you take out the first split from each of your existing hives, make sure you get the queen. Then in two weeks, spilt the remaining bees into four nucs this time making sure that each nuc is getting a frame that has capped queen cells on it. You may need to cut out and move a few cells if most end up being on just one or two frames. Then feed them more pollen patty and keep the sugar on them until they are full sized. Why are you buying nucs again?
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I think there are too many variables that can not be accurately predicted. 5 to 25 is not hard as a strong hive (10 frame double deep) can easily be split into 5 nucs…..You dont even need to graftWhy are you buying nucs again?
Thanks for the reply, I agree it seems like something like this would not exist, maybe just wishful thinking on my part. I put my order in for nucs in case I had a few more hives die out from the time of ordering till spring arrives but it seems like I will have my 5, plus the 5 nucs so 10 hives to draw resources from throughout the spring/summer. I have not fed pollen this year because we had such an early spring and the bees have been bringing in pollen for a few weeks now up here which is early. They seem heavy with honey stores when I was able to pull a few frames out on a couple warmer days we have had so in that regard they seem to be good and the population and brood seems strong. Thanks again,
 

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If I were trying to get to 25 from 5 colonies I would make one strong cell builder and graft 40-45 cells hoping to get 75% mated. I would put the 10 day old queen cells into the 25 x 4 frame ( assuming the 5 colonies are 2 x 10 F deeps) nuc boxes with 1 frame of foundation and check back in a month to see how many mated laying queens i had.
If you didnt achieve the 25 then make more splits and graft more queens.
 

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and i agree with JW you really dont need to buy any nucs. Thats just $ you could use for more equipment.
 

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Aylett, VA 10-frame double deep Langstroth
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I agree with you too that grafting a bunch of qc's from his best hive is a quick and easy way to get a bunch of queens. I was also concerned with swarm control cause if those five hives swarm, there might be a shortage of bees to put in the nucs. Splitting out the queens will prevent that from happening.

I would suggest mosherd1 trys to sell the five nucs he bought 'cause that will be hundreds of dollars wasted if he can make his own.
I bought one nuc and four queens my first year. I have not bought bees since.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
.... 'cause that will be hundreds of dollars wasted if he can make his own.
I bought one nuc and four queens my first year. I have not bought bees since.
I bought the nucs as a precaution that if my heavy losses early in winter continued that I would not have enough bees to grow from. So I put my order in without knowing how winter would end. I think will graft, but I like everyone's ideas. There would be plenty of time to build into double deeps before winter if I make up the nucs in May, just before Black Locust bloom. It will be nice to get this equipment out of the barn and into production.
 

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Keep an eye on your hives.Already hearing reports of sealed drone brood in central CT and I'm expecting an early swarm season.
 

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Keep an eye on your hives.Already hearing reports of sealed drone brood in central CT and I'm expecting an early swarm season.
Great point, I saw some random drone cells this past Friday. Not many, but scattered here and there. Lots of worker brood, I think in about 10 days or so the populations are really going to pop! Might need to make these nucs up sooner than expected.
 

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So how's it been working out? What did you end up doing?

It's been a weird year, but good. One colony split into three, and then the splits swarmed so that one is now 7. Have not had that happen before. With any luck you can get your 25.
 

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This year the bees have been great. I sort of had the best of all worlds so far. Big honey crop it is looking like and I am up to 18 hives with basically no work at all. I need to raise some queens in the next week or so and split some of the non producing hives down and do some requeening too but getting to my 25 will be no problem at all now. Thanks for asking, glad your year is going good too
 

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Sounds like you will get your 25 and get some honey. Nice. Looks like I may get some honey too this year. Last year was zero so I'm happy.
 
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