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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I've got a 5 frame deep nuc with a deep super that I want to overwinter. Right now two of the frames in the top box are bare foundation. I'm thinking of either moving a brood frame from one of my full sized hives to the nuc or replacing the deep foundation frames with some medium frames that I've extracted. I'm not sure whether the full sized hive would be able to rebuild the frame in time for winter. Any suggestions for helping the colony to make it through winter would be great. I'm in central Indiana.
 

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jpf - first thing I would ask myself is are the large colonies building wax right now? If so, you might get away with borrowing a frame to boost up a nuc' in time for Winter. If not, I'd consider combining the nuc' with the weaker hive.

The nucleus colony is likely too small to effectively build wax for Winter, whereas the larger colonies might be able to do so if there is a good nectar flow going on.

My goal in Winter preparation is to get a 2-deep brood box colony with one super full of honey up to 130+ pounds. If neither of your large colonies are there yet, drop the nucleus idea for this Winter. I wouldn't even consider NOT weighing them on a scale. Just do it.

Try to figure how much more honey and pollen will come in between now and when your area starts getting COLD (ask other long-time beek's in your area their opinions, add these together, and divide by the number of beek's).

Out here on the Left Coast, my Winter usually starts in late-October or November, with a "false Spring" (warm East winds in the dead of Winter) in mid- to late-December. Adjust your estimates according to your late flows in your area.

Feed them high-quality pollen substitutes and liquid feed from now on in to Winter.

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One other approach you might consider is to make a double-screen board and place the nucleus colony over the strongest colony in order to take advantage of the rising heat. Either make an adapter board to the 5-framer to place over the double screen board, or place the nucleus colony in a full-size box.
 

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Beg borrow or steal drawn out frames to fit! Better yet, drawn frames with honey and beebread. Feed, feed, feed and put in or verify natural pollen / bee bread stores from somewhere. Then insulate. I used bags of leaves one year, this year I am making 2-inch insulating sleeves to cover my nucs with 4-inches on top. I get them through winter as singles in a location for conversion to a full hive or for merging with queen-less or drone laying queened hives come spring. My hives, fed to a weight, do not need attention in early Spring, two years running but verified by weighing and to verify a worker laying queen. A little more attention should be given to the nucs to verify stores and queen status. I install thermometers to enable a quick check anytime.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Any thought to the medium extracted frames? I understand I'm asking for burr comb in the gap between the top and bottom frames but giving the queen room to lay seems more important. I'm definitely going to be babying them over the winter no matter what.
 

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I can only tell you what I would do, what I have done many years.
I would not put in medium frames as it leaves a space, not this time of year.
I would move frames of young open larva up to the top box in the nuc, checkerboarding the two undrawn foundation frames between them. I use top inverted mason jar feeders in a tight fitting hole in the top migratory style board. I'd keep that jar full of 1.5:1 syrup, it would be right above the frames of open larva and foundation frames.

Nucs draw comb better than full hives. The bees NEED that comb drawn to better feed the young open larva that is checkerboarded between the foundation frames. I've created a situation that the bees need to "Fix". I've had them draw out foundation frames that way all the way into the first week of October here in my location in Northern California. I do not know if you can get it to work there in Indiana, there are many variables such as weather and nuc strength, but it works good for me here.
 

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Any thought to the medium extracted frames? I understand I'm asking for burr comb in the gap between the top and bottom frames but giving the queen room to lay seems more important. I'm definitely going to be babying them over the winter no matter what.
IF all you have is medium frames for the 2 place them in position 1 and 5 of the bottom box.
The cluster is somewhat roundish those 2 corners would be the least likely to leave gaps in the cluster or comb for winter.

think about an end view, position 1 and 5 in the bottom box would be the "better" gap locations.
center the brood in the bottom, place the 5 fullest frames in top, feed if needed to get the weight up.

yes your idea has merit.


GG
 

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If you are determined to try to overwinter them in a nuc box, I would do what Ray says now and when you have to make a final decision late fall, do what GG suggests. Also consider using insulated follower boards on the outside frame positions to substitute for empty frames. Plan on feeding sugar bricks throughout the winter. Insulate the outside with foam board and protect from wind. J
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I'm going to make up some medium boxes really quickly and just put those on top for now. If I OAV treat this fall and winter, can I later use those medium frames for harvesting honey if the bees clear out all the honey first/I extract whatever's left?
 

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I notice that Ray says that nuc's draw out comb better than large colonies, but I have only noticed that in the mid-Spring time. If that is true for your area at this time of year, then they'd have a good chance of making it.

Seems it probably depends on your local nectar flows and your bees. I once had a colony that repaired wax moth damage and drew foundation wax into combs better and faster than any I've ever seen. Of course I bred from their queen, but lost them in the Thomas Fire back in 2017.
 

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I guess I would favor the weak and give them drawn full sized frames. The medium frames could be placed on the outside ranks of the deeps and fed full. I have a fair number of deep brood boxes with deep mediums in place. If they are built out in worker brood comb they are just fine. This is a hangover from my experiment with three medium brood chambers and making nucs out of medium brood frames.
 
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