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Discussion Starter #1
Suppose you find those capped queen cells on 5 or 6 or so different frames.

Do you start splits with all those frames?

I ask because it seems a waste to let queen cells hatch and then get killed by the first queen. To let a good queen go to waste, all I see is dollar signs, queens go for $30 each around here. I can see leaving 2 or 3 in the hive, but the rest, I want to make new hives.

The only thing is: does everyone keep enough equipment around to all of a sudden throw together 4 or 5 new hives? I don't have a nuc box, I just used a medium when I found queen cells recently, and that worked fine. But I ran out of bottom boards and lids. I have enough equipment, being a hobbyist, for 5 hives. That doesn't go real far when you find a whole bunch of capped queen cells.

So what do you do in this case?

Maybe I should order extra bottom boards and lids, just for making up one or two super hives for when I find queen cells...

Nuc boxes will only last so long before they run out of space, right? Doesn't seem worth it to invest in nuc boxes.
 

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That is what I did pre swarm and post swarm. My results this year have been.
Pre Swarm where they are makign cells under both swarm impulse and emergence impulse on average 19.5 cells per hive for a total of 249 cells. plus we grafted additional cells for a grand total of 287 cells in all.

Emergence form cells was poor. i suspect due to weather conditions. ONly 60% of the cells had virgins emerge.

Virgin introduction was even worse. In the first two weeks and approx 80 queens introduced only 2 where accepted. after that acceptance and mating rate rose to 50%

IN all we got 70 to 80 queens. nearly half sold as virgins and the other half sold as mated or in nucs.

Mated queens came from nuc which then made more queen cells. we now have 82 queen cells in compartments. I am anticipating as many as 60 mated queens. we introduced cells to the compartments rather than virgin queens.

An additional issue. although small mating nucs work to get queens mated. they do not work well to get colonies started. Build up of a colony form just a hand full of bees is very slow and additional queens are lost.

Don't expect more than half the cells to actually produce mated queens and don't expect all of them to survive unless you boost their population to more like a 5 frame nuc of bees.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thank you, Daniel Y. That answers a question I had. The only hive I'm not seeing a queen or larvae in still has 2 queen cells hanging. The other 3 hives are well past that stage onto capped brood. I was wondering whether all queen cells hatch. I'm fairly certain these have no excuse to still be there, with no queen, so I can assume those 2 queen cells will not hatch and I need to go to Plan B, either put new eggs/brood in there and start over, or combine.

So how much spare equipment do you find you need, with 287 queen cells? Where did you put them?

I put my queen cells right into new splits, so there was no introduction necessary - the queen hatched right there among them. That probably helps with the acceptance rate. Of course, with the queen cells, I also put in a couple frames of honey, pollen, and probably one good frame of capped brood in each split.
 

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Suppose you find those capped queen cells on 5 or 6 or so different frames.

Do you start splits with all those frames?

I ask because it seems a waste to let queen cells hatch and then get killed by the first queen. To let a good queen go to waste, all I see is dollar signs, queens go for $30 each around here. I can see leaving 2 or 3 in the hive, but the rest, I want to make new hives.

The only thing is: does everyone keep enough equipment around to all of a sudden throw together 4 or 5 new hives? I don't have a nuc box, I just used a medium when I found queen cells recently, and that worked fine. But I ran out of bottom boards and lids. I have enough equipment, being a hobbyist, for 5 hives. That doesn't go real far when you find a whole bunch of capped queen cells.

So what do you do in this case?

Maybe I should order extra bottom boards and lids, just for making up one or two super hives for when I find queen cells...

Nuc boxes will only last so long before they run out of space, right? Doesn't seem worth it to invest in nuc boxes.
We like to start splits when we find an abundance of queen cells. I agree, it is a waste to let all the other queens be killed.

I run both deeps and mediums. And have accumulated/made enough extra equipment to have several nuc noxes on hand. With the eight frame mediums you have an instant nuc box.

As far as running out of space, nucs will hopefully run out of space quickly. But, you can always super the nuc. Nucs, in my opinion, are a great investment.

Shane
 

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I will know alot more in a couple of days abotu how much of a difference cell introduction may have made. We start checking the latest 82 cells tomorrow.

As for equipment after loosing 40% as cells alone it left us with roughly 200 cells remaing. of those that did emere 32 where sold as virgins and not introduced to mating compartments. Leaving us less than 170 cels to actuly put in compartments. In reality there was a bit of a turn over in these compartmetns. goign back adn finding virgins lost etc so we where able to get by with 26 deep 10 frame boxes that where divided into 4 compartments each. holding a total of 104 queens. We had even more boxes ready they jstu where not needed.

We made up nealry 40 nucs int eh end and teh remainder of queens where either sold or lost in one way or another. I have lost track of just how much equipment we have all together.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Well, if you made up nearly 40 nucs, I'd venture to guess you are making these nuc boxes and not necessarily buying them, because that would run into some big bucks.
 

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I don't know how handy you are but I made some of the D Coates nucs this year from OSB at a cost of 2.50 each. I built these just for selling nucs. Ones you plan to keep should be made from plywood.

I'm sure the OSB would last a few years, more if it was painted.
My personal rule of thumb is to have at least one nuc for every hive I have. I also always have four or five extra hives.
 

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If you need extra tops and bottoms, you can make them out of exterior 3/4" plywood, not treated. You can use 3/4" strips on the bottoms and add a cleat on each end of the tops to keep them from sliding off the top of the hive. Put some exterior paint on them and you're ready to go. The 3/4" strips raise the hive or nuc up off the bottom enough to use standard entrance reducers. With a couple of coats of paint they should last a couple of years.
 

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I run all 8 frame med so when I need a nuc I grab any ol empty box. For top boards and bottom boards I have never used anything other that a piece of plywood with 3/4 in shims on the bottom and a brick on top
 

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Well, if you made up nearly 40 nucs, I'd venture to guess you are making these nuc boxes and not necessarily buying them, because that would run into some big bucks.
So far we have made all our nuc boxes but it does not really save us a lot in the way of money. Deep 10 frame boxes we have stopped making and have been buying them this year. We will be dividing a bunch of 10 frame boxes to use as nucs this year also.

As of last year all the money comes from the bees.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I run all 8 frame med so when I need a nuc I grab any ol empty box. For top boards and bottom boards I have never used anything other that a piece of plywood with 3/4 in shims on the bottom and a brick on top
So bottom entrance only?

Will the boards make it thru winter if needed?
 

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You might want to keep some division screens on hand, sometimes called double screen board, for this use.
 

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take hive 1. remove top cover/inner cover.
put the division screen in place.
open the entrance you want (maybe a top side entrance).

take the box you are using for a nuc. put it on the division screen -- they use the entrance in the screen you just opened.

put your covers on top of the box you are using for a nuc.
 

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When you get to making your own nucs D.Coates style, buy a sheet of Smart Sideing, it`s like T- 111 but made of osb and painted already. Has a 30 year warranty don`t swell like osb I paint the cut ends and edges, then paint the whole box. 2 years on like 30 or so nucs and 25 minis. More to make this winter,,,,,,,,,Pete
 

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I made up over 20 of the D.Coates nucs last fall. Low price but takes time to build. The time is fine a certain times of the year such as winter. this time of year I have to consider how much I can do. We just made up anther 20 deep boxes and are waiting for the fraems to get here. They where back ordered. We are starting to make the transition from making our own to buying it ready made but needing to be assembled.

The OSB nucs are intended to be sold. Better than cardboard and lower priced as well. Not certain how it works out once you factor in the labor. Labor for me right now is measured in "do I have time". I will say the D.Coates nucs are about as easy as it gets. even cardboard nucs need to be assembled. Right now it would mean figuring out how to get some 40 sheets of OSB home from the hardware store.
 

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Discussion Starter #18 (Edited)
Are Coates nucs always deeps and 5 frames? I only use medium frames.

Actually, I think I'd tend more to just using one 10-frame medium super (which is all I have) as a nuc for splits. But good ideas about plywood boards for a top and bottom, I can put a slotted shim on bottom and top for entrances and ventilation, and strips on the bottom of the top board to keep it in place were it to get windy. That sounds easy.
 

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No reason you couldn't make a Coates nuc medium, but you would probably want to make two boxes. A five frame medium would get cramped quickly. If you made it more than one box high you would probably want to add a rim to the edge of the boxes to make it wider to sit on top of another box and to help prevent the plywood from bowing.

The idea behind the Coates nucs is to maximize the number of boxes from sheets of plywood.
 

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Are Coates nucs always deeps and 5 frames? I only use medium frames.
If you've got the equipment (table saw, skill saw) to cut the wood, make some nucs. My experience is deeps, but mediums just means you have to be a little faster with providing space.

I make my nuc boxes like this:
-seperate bottom (1/2" plywood, 1x2 rim w/ 2x1" holes drilled in it... use a large cork to plug holes for transportation).
-5 frame deep nuc (1/2" sides, 3/4" ends... use a dado blade on the table saw to cut a frame rest and rabbet for the sides to sit in. Drill 1" holes in ends, screen on insides w/ hardware cloth. This allows ventilation when you cork the entrance, and you can cork the vent holes when the entrance is open to limit excessive airflow. I drilled on an upward angle to prevent rain coming in the hole). Use a dado blade on the table saw to cut a handhold in the 3/4" plywood. Easiest to cut once the box is assembled, set up some stops, sit box on edge, lower down onto running blade, slide 2", lift off.
-migratory style top cover (3/4" plywood, 2 strips of 1x3 w/ groove/rabbet cut for plywood to seat in). My only problem with these covers is there is no extra space above to feed a patty. My next batch may have a rim.

This is all deeps... the initial timing for mediums is the same, but you'll run out of space faster when she starts laying.
A strong nuc (starting with 3+ frames) and a queencell, will still take ~25 days to get a laying queen (from time of egg laying/grafting). Popping a capped cell in there means ~14 days till she starts laying. A chunk of your initial brood will have hatched, opening up space for the new queen to lay.

I started some nucs with 3 frames brood, and some with 1 frame brood, all given a grafted cell set to hatch 2-3 days later... the 3-frame nucs took ~1 month to get a laying queen and be very strong, to the point I stacked a 2nd box on some. the 1-frame nucs took ~1.5 months to get out to all 5 frames being mostly drawn.

The big advantage to removable bottoms on a nuc... you can easily stack another box on. When some of my nucs got very strong, but I wasn't ready to sell or move into deeps yet... I put another box on. Give them a week with a strong flow and nearly 5 frames are drawn and queen is laying in 3 of them. I just moved them into 10F deeps last week... 5 frames in each deep, plus drawn comb surrounding. Keeps core temps close, since we had cool weather forecast for this week.

If you're building it yourself, must modify dimensions to suit what you want.
 
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