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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So I live in MN, am setting up nucs to overwinter, Michael Palmer example, nucs over production colonies. I have 8 nucs started in July, they have 3 frames brood, some nectar in the 4th frame, so my question is, is it better to go to a single brood box and feed to get as much stores as possible, or do I remove a brood frame from the nucs and replace with comb and feed, or do I leave as is. I am a little concerned being in northern Minnesota that nucs may have a tough time. I have read about mountain camp feeding and will look into that in Feb, March if they need help. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Before I divide the brood boxes and make bottom boards I would like to have an idea of which is better. Thanks.
 

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Your nucs made in July are right on schedule. Are you having a Godenrod flow? With three frames of brood and just starting the fourth frame you may have to remove a frame of brood and add an empty comb at the divider. I just finished checking the nucs made in the second half of July and are they building up! Great Goldenrod flow here. I've removed brood and added combs. I'll check back in 10 days or so.

The nucs made in late June and the first half of July are now in two story nuc boxes. I couldn't hardly get them to draw foundation last year, but this...I almost wish I could get them to stop!
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks Michael. I really appreciate your response. We have goldenrod everywhere. I assume the flow is on. What a year! Bees look great.
 

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Jim, I am south of you. The bees just started bringing in Goldenrod for me yesterday. I can tell because it has a distinct smell, kind of like sweaty socks - but then again I did work for years in an adhesive factory so my sense of smell is a little different.
I am also experimenting overwintering a two story divided brood box set up with a nuc on each side. They are bringing in Goldenrod and taking down syrup.
It is going to be interesting. Hats off to Mike sharing. :thumbsup: Adrian.
 

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I have a little differient slant on the nuc making. So I need to know if I'm messing up. 7-23 I made 2 new nucs from splits, using drawn comb. One took of and within 10 days I transfered them to a full size deep. With 5 new pierco plastic foundations. By 8-15 they had drawn out and was filling 3 of these frames. So I added another deep with same foundation. Today I found 4 frames partly drawn, and many eggs in a good circular pattern.
The other nuc didn't take off quite as well. It didn't get as much brood as the first did, and more bees went back home. However, around 8-10 they had about filled the 5 frames in the nuc. So I transfered them to a full deep. Today I found 3+ frames of brood 3+ frames of honey and pollen. So I'm thinking in about a week I need to add a second deep. I have fed these with 2-1 every since I started them. They were started with pure mated Russian queens, with brood and nurse bees from my stronger hives. I am farther South than you'll are so I've got a lot of pollen coming in and some nectar. Will I be allright?
 

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Sounds like you guys are on track. Late swarming can be a problem if they get too crowded and the brood area fills up with pollen and honey or syrup. Although I can only speak of my area which is about the same as valleyman except further west. We probably have until about the middle of October to buildup unless we get early frost/freeze in our area. We might get one or two more brood cycles in. I'm trying to decide on several nucs made in June and July also whether to combine and go with a single deep 8 or 10 frame or just give them a second nuc box and let them expand upward into it. I've been stealing brood from them for several weeks to keep their size manageable in the five frame nucs and sharing it with some weaker colonies. Last year my experience was if I transfered them to a 10 frame deep this late in the season, they only used the five frames of the 10 available. Of course the extra five were only foundation and without a flow comning in they can't draw foundation this late in the season without a lot of feeding. Building the nucs has never been a problem for me, what to do at this stage seems to be an issue since it seems like there is a problem wintering them. Tim
 

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Building the nucs has never been a problem for me, what to do at this stage seems to be an issue since it seems like there is a problem wintering them. Tim
I agree. Building them up is easy. Managing them is a bit more intense...especially in my case with 250 2 story nucs and 200+ one story.

Hard for me to know what to do in KY. I think I would first attempt to keep my nucs in 2 story, 4 or 5 frame boxes. Double nuc boxes if you have them. I think Tim has it right that they won't always build up to 10 frame size. Keeping them in nuc boxes and removing frames of brood as necessary is probably the way to go. I look at these nucs at this time of the year as brood rearing factories. I remove frames of brood and replace with foundation if the season is early enough to draw, or comb if it isn't. Place the frame at the divider and they'll really jump on it. The divider is actually the center of the broodnest...the 2 nucs in a double box actually hace one broodnest...with the divider being the center. They don't form 2 small circular broodnests in the center of each chamber, but one large one with the divider as the center...half moon shaped clusters.

For my area, swarming stops when the nights start getting cold.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thanks all. I have not read before that the bees cluster in the middle of the two nuc box set up. It makes perfect sense. The nucs together can winter as well as or better than one queen brood box. So like Michael said, it becomes an issue of management. Having the right amount of stores with the right amount of bees raised for winter. THANK YOU. I am convinced that overwintering nucs is the way to go and excited about giving it a try!
 

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Careful Adrian. Feeding with the Goldenrod flow on is asking for trouble.
Why? aren't they only getting pollen from goldenrod, and other wild flowers in my area. My neighbor has about 40 acres of pasture that this year was, about a week ago, in full bloom with black eyed susan.
 

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Why? aren't they only getting pollen from goldenrod, and other wild flowers in my area. My neighbor has about 40 acres of pasture that this year was, about a week ago, in full bloom with black eyed susan.
We had a great goldenrod flow last year in West KY, all my boxes were smelling that weird but nice goldenrod flavor when just walking throught the apiary. My hives came out of August empty last year and went into October full of goldenrod and wildflower nectar. It all depends on rainfall in KY on whether we get the fall flow. Up until yesterday I doubted we were going to have much this year but we got some much needed rainfall yesterday and things are looking up. My nucs are packing in pollen from horseweed and wildflowers today, judging from the activity at the entrances they are probably getting some nectar also. I'm hoping the plants were just waiting for rain to do their thing for fall, looks like that may be the situation.

I was not aware of the great advantage of using the split box for two nucs. I have seen pictures of these and may try it this fall, it would not be hard to throw a couple together.

What do you seperate them with when you sit them on top of another colony?

Last year I tried used the mountain camp method for the second year. I didn't have good luck last year but I think I know what the problem was. I put the sugar on top of pollen patties and newspapers in November, as the moisture builtup in the hives the pollen patties molded and allowed condensation to rain down on the bees. The year before I only used sugar and didn't place pollen until January on a warm day and then put it to the side of the sugar pile. I'm just going to try sugar only in December this year and follow with pollen patties sometime in January again, that worked well year before last.

Tim
 

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What do you seperate them with when you sit them on top of another colony?

Last year I tried used the mountain camp method for the second year. I didn't have good luck last year but I think I know what the problem was. I'm just going to try sugar only in December...
They have a solid bottom board that sits on the lower colony's inner cover. I wonder if you even need to place them on another colony in KY. I do because of our snow depth. Heat from below doesn't seem to matter much.

Rather than trying to make them process sugar during the winter, something I think isn't so great for wintering bees, why don't you feed enough 2:1 at the correct time so they store, ripen, and cap it? Wouldn't it make sense to allow the bees to place their feed where they would, naturally?
 

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They have a solid bottom board that sits on the lower colony's inner cover.
Michael- are these bottom boards store-bought or home-made?

I would think that store bought bottoms on an inner cover would leave excessive openings both in front and back. Also, you mention that heat from below was not what mattered. All along that's what I thought the point was :eek:
 

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>>Michael- are these bottom boards store-bought or home-made?<<

Yep, home made. Plywood with a pine rim for 3/8 bee space above and below.

>>I would think that store bought bottoms on an inner cover would leave excessive openings both in front and back. Also, you mention that heat from below was not what mattered. All along that's what I thought the point was <<

Each nuc has a 3/8 x 3" opening and a 3/4" auger hole upper entrance. Not a lot of openings. I'm not in a robbing prone area.

I thought the same about the heat transfer. But what do you say when both nucs survive the winter well above a dead colony? For me here in Vermont, I think it's more about being up and out of the snow. If winter cleansing flight conditions occur, I want my nucs to be able to take advantage of them. Where there isn't a winter long snow pack covering the nuc boxes, I wonder about the need to winter on top of colonies.
 

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Thanks for the warning about feeding and Goldenrod. I'll check in on them tomorrow. Adrian.
This is just my 3rd year now trying the overwintered nucs, but I have had a lot of luck with them. I make them up in early July- some in mid July. This year, over 4th of July in nearly 105 degree heat. That was fun.... Anyway, I digress.

We do not have much of a goldenrod flow here at all... nothing like I hear New Englanders talk about. But we did get rain weekly the last month so we have late summer blooms and goldenrod this year again. Grass is green like June which is unusual for us. Enough nectar out there i guess so that single story and even my double story nucs do not need seem to need food after feeding 1 quart a week for several weeks straight. One already has swarm cells I saw today so I think I may have overfed. I will take up feeding again -and this time 2 to 1, in about 2-3 weeks.

It is all a dance. I found that making them up was the easy part... figuring out how to manage them is the art, much like a full hive. Mike is a great teacher.
 

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kept bees in Wisco and Mn my whole life and getting more then a 1/2 a medium super on goldenrod is a rarity.

Mike is speaking from the NE region where Goldenrod is a whole nother story.

its been a lame nectar season in western Wiso and most of Mn with no real flow thats filling a box since basswood. most of my friends agree the large amount of sweet clover seen this year never delivered.

one of the worst mid july to late aug seasons I've ever seen.

i've fed my nucs combs of honey if light and will syrup feed starting sept 1st with production hive feeding starting around the 20th.
 
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