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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Quick background: I lost all my hives last winter in the first deep freeze in December. I decided this year to only manage wild local swarms that survived last winter. After studying Michael Palmer's methods, I decided to try overwintering nucs.

The swarm season here was really late and I caught 3 swarms.

2 are in double deeps and one is in a 4-frame 2-story divided nuc setup that MP espouses.

The smallest swarm I caught (size of a fist) is in the nuc and, oddly enough, they have built up the fastest in the last 60 days. It is now full of bees and nearly completely drawn out. I'm surprised that they grew as rapidly as they did.

A part of me wants to put the nuc into a double deep and let them keep expanding.

But I also want to be faithful to MP's methods of a sustainable apiary. I don't want to buy queens.

Is it best to have 3 strong hives going into winter or 2 strong hives and 1 strong nuc?

How do I manage this nuc?

Jared
 

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A couple of thoughts that may be helpful:
1. It is very important that newbees mostly succeed. Yet, overwintering nucs is very difficult. Please don't try it unless you are truly prepared for it to not work out well.
2. Mike would never say that purchasing queens is not part of maintaining a sustainable apiary. Mike purchases breeder queens.
3. For the nuc to overwinter it must have at least 50 lbs. of honey or sugar syrup AND a low mite load. Can your nucs meet these requirements?

Lloyd
 

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Does that mean that mean that 5 frame nucs must winter as 5 over 5s? To have 50lb of honey you would need a full nuc of honey! I ask as I plan to try this this winter and several are smaller 5 frame nucs. I had hoped to give them sugar if they don't build up to 2 boxes by winter.
 

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Go to the Warre forum Bernard does a good explanation with pictures for overwintering a warre single. Warre singles aren't any bigger than a 5 frame nuc. Bear in mind I'm in a warmer climate than you but I successfully overwinter 4 frame singles.
 

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Does that mean that mean that 5 frame nucs must winter as 5 over 5s? To have 50lb of honey you would need a full nuc of honey! I ask as I plan to try this this winter and several are smaller 5 frame nucs. I had hoped to give them sugar if they don't build up to 2 boxes by winter.
Please keep in mind that things are different in Vancouver than in MO, and I am in Albany NY. About the same conditions as Mike P, but considerably colder than either MO or Vancouver. Moreover, I do not consider myself an expert on overwintering nucs. I do it, with about 75% success, but I don't do it all that confidently.

Yes, you need a full nuc of honey...or...generous supplemental feeding. I overwinter as 4 over 4's. As full as I can get them, which I figure is 6 full frames at 7 lbs. each. (There is honey in all 8 frames, but they all are not full, and I figure a low 7# per deep frame. But March/April is the key. Then I feed sugar patties if I have properly prepared and, if not, dry sugar. Most would starve without the March/April feeding.

I really encourage you to find successful beekeepers overwintering nucs in MO and Vancouver. Our experience in the frigid northeast will be far different than those in slightly milder climates. For example, our bees consume very little in December-February. In your climates they may well consume a great deal more in those months.

Lloyd
 

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I have not found wintering nucs difficult at all. Our witners woudl be milder than yours. All nucs have required mid winter feeding. at least 5 lbs of sugar some of them a bit more. I keep them in a 5 over 5 and have not lost one in teh winter yet. We did loose one at the start of spring this year due to robbing.

Now I find nucs very easy. My daughter cannot seem to get the hang of them to save herself. they are not the same as a full size hive. In some cases you either have a fellfor it or you don't. It is the person aspect of beekeeping.
 

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Unfortunately my honey supers are dadants and my brood boxes and nucs are deeps. Thus unless I build so off size nuc boxes that hold dadants I will need to feed.
 

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I have found nucs winter real well in these parts.
My lightest nuc maybe 10 pounds of honey going into winter of last year with sugar balls on the top frames
made it and I was shocked it was so lite from being rodded out all summer I figured it was domed but I wintered it and it is now a strong DBL. deep made some honey and is nice and heavy getting ready for 2014 winter.
I have been running nucs all summer and I can say they build out comb and make brood faster then a lot of my DBL. deeps.
I like working my nucs I have built them as high as 5 over 5 over5 over 5 over5 a DBL deep in a nuc tower {as I like to call them} and have around 15 {lost count}.One thing with playing with nucs in the summer they swarm quick when the brood blows up lots of bee's real fast .
I used a lot of mine to be brood builders and sold some nice nucs .
Was a fun summer nucs are great.

Nucs are fun.:D
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
My setup is a deep bottom with a divider feeder thus allowing 4 frames on either side of the divider. I custom made my own nuc boxes that fix 2 wide on top of the deep with space for 4 (maybe 5) frames. So it's ran as a 4 over 4 side by side.

nuc1.JPG

I guess I could throw another layer of nuc boxes on and run it as a 4 over 4 over 4.
 
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