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Discussion Starter #1
Good morning. I am from Cayuga County, in the Finger Lakes region of New York state. This is my 4th year of keeping bees, and although I have been reading the posts on Beesource for a year or two, I haven't participated much in the past. I don't have a lot of practical experience, but I enjoy reading about beekeeping. Currently I have 4 hives.

I have decided to try making 2 nucs in July to overwinter. I have several specific questions;

)1 When is the best time to start to give the plenty of time to build up before winter?

)2 Can I take one frame of brood and one frame of food from each of my 4 hives, mix and match half of the frames into each nuc, and give them a queen, or will this cause any sort of problems?

)3 I have read that some people mix fumagilin (Fumadil B?) with the sugar syrup to prevent Nosema. Is this recommended?

I am open to any input on this. My goal is to become sustainable; next year 6 hives, 2022 8 or 10, or more! Thanks.
 

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here is a good thread to read to start with, Mike Palmer has bees in NY

https://www.beesource.com/forums/showthread.php?189642-Wintering-Nucs&highlight=overwintering

yes you can mix and match brood, people that leave the nuc in the same yard as the hives do that so bees don't return to the original hive.

I would skip the fumidil unless you have a problem.

the thread will tell you when he starts, depends on many things, starting with queen cells, you have to start earlier, with mated queens later, how tall do you want the nucs to be?
 

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I have decided to try making 2 nucs in July to overwinter. I have several specific questions;
I make nucs up between june 1st and aug 1st.

1 When is the best time to start to give the plenty of time to build up before winter?
See above. If you make up after july 15th you should use mated queens. I have used cells all the way up to august 5-8th and made it work. But it can't be done every year. The nuc needs to be made strong the later in the season you make it. Yes you can mix and match frames of brood from multiple hives. I do it all the time. In general to make up a nuc you should use 1 capped brood and one open brood, and a frame of honey. I give mine a patty of pollen sub and 1/2 gallon of feed. Also a few shakes of bees 2-3 frames worth as many will fly back to parent colony. I don't use fumigilin as it causes birth defects in humans. Haven't used it in well over 20+ years. You could pretty easily turn your 4 hives into 10-12 more next year.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks, wildbranch. That Mike Palmer article is very helpful.

I'm curious about this
people that leave the nuc in the same yard as the hives do that so bees don't return to the original hive.

How does that prevent bees from returning to original hive?
 

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You could pretty easily turn your 4 hives into 10-12 more next year.[/QUOTE]

Could you be a little more specific? Could I do that and still have a few hives that make honey?
 

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Could you be a little more specific? Could I do that and still have a few hives that make honey?
Not usually. The old rule is still the same you can make bees or honey. You can usually pull a nuc from a honey hive and still make honey pretty regularly. Just can't make lots of nucs from a hive it deplete's the resources to much. I usually use this method when wanting to expand. Make nucs from half the apiary and honey with the other half. If you want to maintain current number. you should over winter nucs @ 30%. For example if you keep 50 colonies you want to winter 15 nucs. (50 colonies x 30%= 15.) This should account for winter lose and failed matings. You should in my opinion re-queen at least 50% of your colonies every year. So if you have lets say over winter 50 colonies and lose 8. You replace with 8 of your over winter nucs. But 5 more of your colonies are weak. I first swap position with the strongest hives to equalize them. 2 week later I evaluate. If the queens take off great. If not you then drop in one of those over wintered nucs pinching the old queen. Whatever is truly extra probably 0-5 nucs can then be built up and broken down into nucs in june.
 

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Clayton is probably closest to you & his advice is spot-on.

I prefer flyback-splits if you can find the queen. It keeps the original and splits in the same yard. With that, your 4 can become 8 or more with very minimal effort.

I just did 2 of those in my home yard. The 1st queenless portion made enough cells and was strong enough to divide into 2 nucs. They should have hatched today.

The 2nd split queenless portion is my starter/finisher for this round of grafting.

Everyone has their preferred method. Find what works for you. But, answering your original question it is far from too late.
 

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Thanks, wildbranch. That Mike Palmer article is very helpful.

I'm curious about this
people that leave the nuc in the same yard as the hives do that so bees don't return to the original hive.

How does that prevent bees from returning to original hive?
well the theory is that with all the confusion with bees from multiple hives, the bees get confused. I don't know, never done it this way, I always make nucs in one yard and drop them in the next yard I'm going to. commercial guys call it trashing the yard when they mix and match, can't guarantee the outcome my self.
 

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I've always mixed and matched combs of bees. They don't fight. If you make up nucs and move to new yard. They should be strong as you like them when you move them. If they stay the same yard then you add extra shakes of bees to compensate for those that fly back home. That's also why you feed nucs done this way because they have lost there field force and can't gather properly till the nurse bees become field bees. About 2 weeks. Also if you get a real weak nuc add bees, don't let it hobble along. Working bees to the stronger side gives better results.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Thank you for the input. I would like to build up to 12-15 hives eventually, but I want to make a little honey too, so I'll probably take it slow. I appreciate the 30% nuc tip; makes sense to me!
 

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Hello again. I made 2 nucs on July 6, each with 2 frames of brood and 2 frames of pollen/honey. I gave them each a queen, which were released by the bees and started laying. I've checked them periodically, and they have been doing well. About a week ago I added a fifth frame of drawn comb to one of the nucs, as there was enough room in the box and they seemed to be building up well. Today I checked them again, and the 4-frame nuc is doing great, 2 full frames of capped brood and lots of bees. The other one, which is right beside it and has 5 frames, has only a little bit of brood scattered across several frames. The queen is present, but suddenly things don't look nearly so bright for that nuc. Did I do something wrong? Was adding that 5th frame a bad idea? I have been feeding both nucs light syrup, but they haven't been taking much. Any ideas?
 

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Either that queen is old or poorly mated it sounds like. Adding a drawn comb doesn't hurt anything at all. The fault is likely the queen. Unless you have a huge varroa population going on. Here in NY I put apivar or OAV going on aug. 1st. Apivar should pull out sept. 15th-ish. Exactly when the hives should be slammed with winter feed.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I bought the queen from Abraham Yoder, who advertises Northern Queens in Bee Forum magazine. I watched him open the mini mating nuc and find the queen, watched him mark her, took her home with me and put her in the nuc, so I know she's not old. Abe said that there were multiple eggs in the cells, and she seemed to be doing well at first, so that would seem to rule out poor mating. I haven't counted mites in that specific nuc, but I've counted mites in all the hives that I took resources from to start the nucs, and none had more than 3% mite load.
 

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What do you mean by 'multiple eggs in the cells'?

There should be one egg per cell. If there are more something is wrong with the queen or there are laying workers.
 

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I bought the queen from Abraham Yoder, who advertises Northern Queens in Bee Forum magazine. I watched him open the mini mating nuc and find the queen, watched him mark her, took her home with me and put her in the nuc, so I know she's not old. Abe said that there were multiple eggs in the cells, and she seemed to be doing well at first, so that would seem to rule out poor mating. I haven't counted mites in that specific nuc, but I've counted mites in all the hives that I took resources from to start the nucs, and none had more than 3% mite load.
I would check for mites on the nucs, last I knew Ab doesn't treat for mites, and not all queens are home runs, and what AR1 said
 

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Multiple eggs in a mini may not mean much. I would judge from what you see now and what you have seen since she settled in.

Poor mating is not ruled out, they can start at a sprint in just run out.

One hive up, one hive down, I would think drift. drift can be from all the bees flying in from one direction. More often it is from bees voting with their wings. Just a poor queen.

What I can tell you for 95 % conviction. Fix it now or a deadout come spring.

Is the stronger one bringing in pollen? Not a dearth shutdown?
 

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3% mites is a lot,especially this time of year.
 

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What I can tell you for 95 % conviction. Fix it now or a deadout come spring.

I know you're right, but how do I fix it now? New queen?
 

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Inspect.

We can give you theories. Only you can tell us what is in the hives. I do not mean to sound flippant.

Do you have drone brood and is it clean of mites or loaded. Pollen coming into the other hive?

Do you have pollen ( bee bread) in your weak hive? Ring of nectar around your spotty brood? Should if feeding syrup. Still need pollen.

Probably is just mites. A frugal queen can look just like a bad queen this time of year.

Cure the mites, you may cure the queen. If the problem is something else a new queen is just a distraction.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Inspect.

We can give you theories. Only you can tell us what is in the hives. I do not mean to sound flippant.

Do you have drone brood and is it clean of mites or loaded. Pollen coming into the other hive?

Do you have pollen ( bee bread) in your weak hive? Ring of nectar around your spotty brood? Should if feeding syrup. Still need pollen.

Probably is just mites. A frugal queen can look just like a bad queen this time of year.

Cure the mites, you may cure the queen. If the problem is something else a new queen is just a distraction.
How do I count the mites? I normally do alcohol wash, but i hate to kill so many when the hive is already weak. I could do sugar shake if it's accurate enough. Is Formic Pro too strong for a nuc?
 
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