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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've got my first successful batch of queens in mating nucs hopefully to start laying later this week. So, I was evaluating my hives to try to decide which ones need replacing, but to tell the truth they all look pretty good with nice solid patterns. The one that I was pretty much for sure that I would replace has recently been superceded by this beauty:



It's hard to picture pinching her - or just about any of them. But I don't have enough drawn comb to make up hives for all of them unless I overwinter almost all of them in nucs.
 

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Having too many queens is a good problem to have. I think you could easily sell whatever you can't overwinter in nucs. There's always next year to raise even more!

Richard
 

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Biggest problem foreseen with overwintering nucs is... you're still going to be short combs when you come out of the winter. However, that would give you a little more time to try and round some up.

There is nothing wrong with overwintering in that manner, in fact they'll do much better in most cases, because they don't have to maintain such a large cluster to keep the hive warm. Thus they also require less feed to keep them alive. While it's not feasible on a commercial basis, as a growing hobbyist it could have significant potential for increasing the size of your operation.

If you have any honey flow on there at the moment, you might try knocking the bottoms off a few nuc boxes, doubling your nucs up with some foundation, and pouring some feed to them. With the foundation immediately above the cluster and a feeder jar on top, they do tend to pull the foundation a little quicker, and the queen tends to move up as soon as it's drawn enough to lay an egg in it, forcing them to pull it up the middle. With even a little natural honey flow on, and supplementing with sugar syrup, you'll be amazed at how much foundation you may be able to draw, when natural conditions won't allow it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
So, why not make up nucs to over winter the queens in? That might be the best thing you could do, the many advantages of over wintered nucs...

http://www.beesource.com/forums/showthread.php?t=189642
That's a a good thread - thanks for pointing it out. I think no matter what else I do I'm gonna go into winter with several nucs. It's encouraging to know that it is actually being successfully done with only 4-5 frames - that gives me more options.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Nice looking queen!!!

Hey David LaFerney - I see you are from Cookville. All my family on my mom's side is from at area. Do you know any Ramsey, Lee, or Gentry?
Those are prominent names in Cookeville for sure.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Biggest problem foreseen with overwintering nucs is... you're still going to be short combs when you come out of the winter.

.... and pouring some feed to them. With the foundation immediately above the cluster and a feeder jar on top, they do tend to pull the foundation a little quicker
I know that I could probably get them to draw more comb by feeding syrup, but I really want to keep that to a minimum mostly because it's time consuming and expensive - I don't want to cheap myself to death, but this is my second year keeping bees and so far it's all been outgo which I have to keep under control. So, I'm trying to only feed as required to keep them healthy right now.

Our fall flow is usually minimal at best so I know that I'll have to feed heavily in a few weeks anyway.

The good thing is that as I saw this past spring even a small hive can draw quite a lot of comb during a good flow - so I just want to make it to spring with as many healthy hives as possible.

Maybe in April I can take resources from the nucs to build up a few strong hives and actually make a honey crop next year - and still have viable nucs.

I have high hopes to have a bit of income instead of all outgo next year.
 

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It'll come in time! Keep an eye on Craigslist and any other local bulletin boards for cheap equipment. Occasionally a hobbyist gives it up and you can pick things up cheap. Barter... offer him something in trade. Wheel and deal, suggest you'll trade out the cost of the equipment for honey, or pollinating his garden. There are a lot of ways around the outgo!

Guy that works with me found a lady that wanted to get rid of 30 hives they had for pollination, all she wanted was pollination. Gave him the 30 hives of bees with stipulation that he had to pollinate their crops for them. He turned 30 hives into 90 nucs. Borrowed equipment to run them in. Split them again this spring, bumped his numbers up to around 130 - 140 going to the Orange. Made 5 drums of honey on the Orange, 3 - 4 drums on the Gallberry. Will probably make 20 on the Clover.

But he thinks outside the box, and wheels and deals, and horse trades, scrounges. Bottom line is, he finds a way. Run an ad in the local paper, "Want old Bee Equipment!" Hard saying what you might run across for little or nothing.
 
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