Do you guys keep a percentage of you hives in nucs? I was thinking keeping about 10-15% nucs out of my total number of hives. Also has anyone had any luck with screened Bottoms on the nucs?:scratch: Or should i worry about them on the nucs?
I'm not real clear on what you are asking about the nucs. Keeping nucs for overwinter? Keeping nucs for replacement of deadouts? What I did this last summer for the first time was to have nucs available in my production yards. I only did this in 25% of my yards but I will do it in all next summer. When my bees come back from almonds alot of the colonies need to be knocked down because they are already in swarm mode. I use these to make splits for replacing deadouts and increase colonies. After that all hives are moved out to their honey production yards and supered. I then make checks on all colonies every 10-14 days(until main flow/mid July). If I find a colony that is starting swarm preparations I make nucs out of it and leave them in the yard. If nice swarm cells are just getting started I use those for the nucs. If the colony looks like it will swarm very soon I take the queen for the nuc and leave a couple cells behind in the mother colony. Sometimes I won't look for the queen when splitting and I will place the nuc/nucs I make on top of that colony so I will know where she is if the mother colony is queenless on my next check. I found that having 4-6 of these nucs in each yard is REALLY handy for replacing queens that fail. I carry queen cages with me so I can cage the queens before installing them in a strong but queenless colony and leave fresh eggs in the nuc so they can make another queen for me. If I find a colony that is weak and queenless I just install the whole nuc.
What I meant was. If you have several yards that say have 50 colonies, do you try to keep say 5 (or whatever the percentage) nucs for every 50 colonies through the year handy in those yards for emergencies or whatever? Also was wondering about how helpful it would be keep nucs all year or just keep them through the spring and summer?
Also, for those who keep alot of nucs, have you had good results keeping screened bottoms on them (being nucs, I wondered if it makes a difference).
I like to keep an extra 40% hives going into winter. Sometimes they overwinter as singles, nucs or doubles and these are headed by summer queens that we would have raised. This extra number of hives gives us a buffer. If the winter goes well, then we have bees for sale. In a bad winter then we are not scrambling too much to make up the loss. We have our numbers for the pollination services we provide.
Never wintered a nuc over a screened bottom board.
We've wintered nucs, singles and doubles. If the nucs are building well and if time permits we switch them to singles. If we still have time then we put seconds. I find they do better in singles than nucs. I think the queen lays out and extra frame of brood or two in the singles which contributes to their better wintering.
The bees winter just fine here. It's not too cold kinda wet, think Seattle. We're a couple of hours drive north. The keys are plenty of feed, no varroa, no tracheal , no Nosema, no bacterial diseases. These things we can control anddo. The bees take care of the rest.
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