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Here in Michigan, early May finds us moving the queen from a winter survivor hive into a support nuc, giving way for the now queenless parent hive to rear a new young queen in time for the June honey flow.

The support nuc (Michael Palmer style) which has the older queen can now be used to produce frames of brood in order to boost weaker hives in time for the honey flow. To me, this sounds like a good insurance policy to have. The question then comes up as to when is the proper time to let the insurance lapse and replace the older queen found in the support nuc in order to build up a strong 4x4x4 support nuc to go through the impending winter with?

Would a late July dearth be the ideal time to replace the support nuc queen? In time for the support nuc to produce a good young queen to supply strength to itself in order to take good advantage of the September and October goldenrod and aster flow for winter?

The logistics of when and how to re-queen can become bewildering at times!
 

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I made some late season nuc splits into a double nuc/support hive arrangement last year. It worked out really well. I think, however, you have a shorter season than I do, even though fall can come fast in the mountains. Here are some things t think about:

Buy mated queens for your nuc(s). Considering that it can take up to 30-some days for a colony to make a queen and for her to start laying, you'd be up against the end of your season. The presence of drones in the late season is a concern. Buying a queen takes the risk away.

Feed and feed some more once you get a new queen in there.

Give some thought to how you want to over-winter them. Are you doing 4 x 4 nucs? They need two (8 frames) with some good build up of stores and plenty of brood to get through winter.

I did my split very late season, August 9, and introduced queens the next day. The weather here is pretty good until end of October, so there was plenty of time for them to gather for and for feeding. I had the two nucs, both with colonies. I used an insulated lid and also put insulation on the inside of the hive again the outer walls. They did fine. I think the main thing is giving them a good start with queens late season, not making them wait.

Good Luck!
 
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