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Discussion Starter #1
I am hoping to get some good info here. Watched Michael Palmer's lecture on sustainable apiary and am really wanting to get away from buying bees in the future. Beekeeping started with my 12 year old daughter 2 years ago with 4H and we had 2 hives last year. We would love to start rearing our own nucs, but have not been able to over winter any hives in 2 winters. Last year her hive died in April and 2 hives are dead already. Next month we are getting 2 nucs from a beek in California and 2 packages from Georgia. Our intention is to requeen everything. Getting a caucasian queen, one from Lauri Miller and 2 Buckfasts from Ferguson in Canada. My question is, could I in June take a frame of brood from one hive and one from another and combine to make a Michael Palmer 4 frame nuc? I can grab a honey frame from a dead out...would it hurt either hive? Either that or there is a possibility of me trading with another beek for a couple of frames of brood. I would either let them raise their own queen or get another buckfast.
 

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That will work fine. Make sure you have some eggs so you are ensured of having young enough larva for them to raise queens from. Make sure they have some pollen and plenty of nurse bees. Some of the bees you transfer will be foragers and will leave for the parent hive so watch them to make sure you have plenty of bees left in the split the next day. If you have robbing in your area reduce the entrance from the start since they will have fewer defenders.
 

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I'm not sure what your asking so I'll just throw out what I do. To start with I raise all my own queens. I've raised good ones and bad ones. Along the way I've formed some pretty strong opinions on what it takes to make a good queen.

On timing, I will not try to raise a queen until the blackberries bloom. This assures lots of drones and the weather usually allows for mating flights.

My best queens are raised after the summer solstice. I like fall raised queens.

It takes lots of bees the right age to build a good queen. When I first started I'd read where two frames of eggs and bees would build a queen. They will. She ain't worth a dime.

4 frames minimum with extra bees shook in will build you a good queen. I prefer 5 or 6
The best way is to pull the queen from your existing hive with the frame she's on and two more frames. One of emerging brood and one of honey and pollen. let the hive build a queen.
They will usually build a good queen. If by chance something goes wrong you can combine the old queen back in.

I rarely start a nuc from one hive anymore. I just pull one frame from different hives until the box is full.

Why are you losing your bees every winter?
 

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Raising Nucs are great but seem, to me at least, a bit like putting the cart before the horse. First I think you need to figure out why your hives are dying. Mites? Condensation? Starvation? Until you get that problem worked out, all those packages, nucs, and any new nucs you start are just gonna get wasted.

If you post a few pictures of your deadouts, maybe folks can help you figure out what happened and how to avoid it happening again.

Good luck to you!

JMO

Rusty
 

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Discussion Starter #5
A lot of it is our fierce winters....hives died this year due to low numbers from a skunk late last fall. My fencer battery failed. First year they were down to a very small cluster in April...This year I had fed heavy last fall protein and syrup and winterized correctly with quilt box and used hay.
 

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The best way is to pull the queen from your existing hive with the frame she's on and two more frames. One of emerging brood and one of honey and pollen. let the hive build a queen.
If you're raising queens by just doing walk away splits, I agree this is the best.
 
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