Beesource Beekeeping Forums banner

1 - 12 of 12 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,123 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
After several conversations and experiences, the following method is looking feasible.
It is essentially having Nucs for 2/3 of the year and combining those into a large hive for the other 1/3.


1. Overwinter two double story Nucs (2x 4 frame), side by side.

2. At least 6 weeks before swarm season add a third story with new frames to the Nuc, swapping two frames with two frames of nectar/pollen from the second story.

3. a. If after two weeks all four new frames have been drawn then combine them: move the Nucs into standard (10 frame) boxes, side by side with a queen excluder and super centred over the two hives. Placing the frames with the most nectar/honey in the super with two new frames. Also place two new frames in each brood box on the outside edges of the brood nest (beside brood frames). You can even put a Nuc box with new frames, on each side beside the super, so that each broodnest is in a "L" shape.

3. b. If the four new frames are not drawn, then come back in another two weeks and then combine them.

4. Super as needed, making sure they are always building comb.

5. Then 6 weeks before the late summer dearth remove the queen(s) to Nucs. Taking one frame of brood and three of stores. Make them into two story Nucs with two frames together in the bottom and two frames in the top. The rest of the frames being new ones. Place them at least several feet away and only have a 1 inch wide entrance.

6. After the old hive has reared a new queen and the summer dearth has finished, harvest and reduce the hive down to a double story Nuc before winter.


I'll explain why this is done in more detail later.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,433 Posts
Sounds good, but I'm still at the stage of getting hives through the winter and keeping them from swarming in the spring.

We also have things like clover and soybeans that can keep the bees busy all summer, so it probably would not work here.

Peter
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,123 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
...I'm still at the stage of getting hives through the winter and keeping them from swarming in the spring... Peter
That's precisely why I'm suggesting this method: For better overwintering, reduced chance of swarming and producing a honey crop.

A number of people are reporting better overwintering with Nucs.

Reasons include:
- Smaller area to heat and maintain temperature.
- Movement of the winter cluster is more vertical and stores are not left behind as can happen in a standard width hive.
- Smaller population eats less stores. (Also helps to have Carniolans)
- With two Nucs rather than one hive, the chances of survival are doubled.
- The Nuc is in establishment mode when coming out of winter.

Which leads onto reduction in swarming.
A hive in establishment mode gets to a stage of needing to build comb BEFORE swarm season. So the objective is to get a large number of wax makers building comb before swarm season and to keep them making wax throughout the swarm season.

When preparing to swarm, wax makers hold on as long as they can, being used as storage tanks for nectar until they swarm and set up a new home. This methods gets them to build comb and use up their excess nectar to make wax and so stop or reduce back filling of the brood nest. Having two queens also means there is more open brood which I believe also helps reduce swarming.

I have found comb is much more readily built when in a Nuc. A hive when given a Nuc or super at the same time to draw comb, did so mostly in the Nuc box. I also like having direct access to the brood nest, so having the Nucs on the sides allows this without having to take the hive apart. Placing them in standard boxes also allows you to have spare Nuc boxes for collecting swarms.

Combining them before the main flow gives a much larger workforce for the collection of nectar. It also allows for the use of standard supers.

Which leads onto removing the queen(s) 6 weeks before the dearth.
A queen less hive will produce more honey due to not having to raise brood. The small amount of brood that is left gets special attention and makes for producing good queens. It also gives the hive a brood break for those who have mites. This reduces the hive population down in time for the dearth, so there are less mouths to feed.

The Nuc is given a laying queen, so it is not set back waiting for a virgin queen to mate, and has plenty of stores but little brood, so can build some comb and get established in time for winter.

The larger hive can later on be reduced in size as it's population will have dropped significantly by the end of the dearth.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,062 Posts
you mention the your chances of overwintering are double...... not sure about your winters, but I would have said the oppisite nucs are more than 2 times harder to winter for me.....
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,183 Posts
I've experimented with all of the elements of what you are planning except the two queen hive. It all seems to work for honey production, but so far for me not for preventing swarminess. It also requires that you stay involved and do all of the work when it needs doing.

An easy way of combining the workforce of multiple hives is to set them right next to each other before the main flow, and then remove the weaker ones to another spot across the yard right when the main flow starts. This results in the remaining hive getting all of the foragers. Then the trick of course is keeping it from swarming.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,123 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
you mention the your chances of overwintering are double...... not sure about your winters, but I would have said the oppisite nucs are more than 2 times harder to winter for me.....
Our winters are mild, but I'm thinking yours can't be worse than Michael Palmers'? He seems to be doing well with overwintering Nucs. What is he doing different to you?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
109 Posts
Michael
When would you suggest starting the nuc's to overwinter? I installed four packages into two off your 2x10 long hives, and into two 3x10 long hives. Would you make nuc's out of these the first year or wait until next year. I'm at 5000' in Montana and overwintering is a real priority.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,062 Posts
Our winters are mild, but I'm thinking yours can't be worse than Michael Palmers'? He seems to be doing well with overwintering Nucs. What is he doing different to you?
unfortunatly were in a zone that doesn't freeze well.... we end up with damp wet cold for about 4 months. Had better luck farther north with drier air and colder temps.... been many times I was here home with a coat on freezing and went north 4 hours to work and was warmer

Michael seems to set his nucs on other hives to stack up warmth. his nucs are also split deeps, mine are seperate boxes... last year I wrapped and insulated them and no joy in mudville......
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,123 Posts
Discussion Starter #10
When would you suggest starting the nuc's to overwinter? I installed four packages into two off your 2x10 long hives, and into two 3x10 long hives. Would you make nuc's out of these the first year or wait until next year...
It really depends on how they have built up. In general I would wait until next year as they will usually still be in establishment mode coming out of winter.

How are they going? I would love to see photos.

If you are going to do a split after summer solstice (2.5 weeks away), to be on the safe side, I would say they should have at least a super of capped honey and several frames of brood per queen. (Also depends on how long the summer dearth is and how good your autum flow is.)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,123 Posts
Discussion Starter #11
unfortunatly were in a zone that doesn't freeze well.... we end up with damp wet cold for about 4 months...
It can be damp here for a few months here as well.

So what do you think they die from, starvation? Do they need more stores?

I'm saying put the two Nucs together like a standard 2 story hive. Could use divided deeps like Michael does.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,062 Posts
Well small cluster then freeze.... I have not found the balance between nuc cluster size and food stores. to big and they starve. to small and they freeze...... Useing the deep hives as heat sonds great, unfortunatly that would require a lot of new woodenware.....
Thinking on useing some of those heating pads from Ebay this fall. but frankly not sure its worth even attempting.....
 
1 - 12 of 12 Posts
Top