Beesource Beekeeping Forums banner

1 - 20 of 26 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,404 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
This may be a stupid question but I may not know the whole answer, so I'll ask. I read about people having 30, 50, 100, or even 200 nucs.

I figure nucs are for making more bees, either to keep, or to sell. Is there any other use for using them?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,604 Posts
They are good for evaluating new queens.
An excellent set up to increase drawn comb.
Frames of brood from nucs can be removed and added to other colonies for a boost.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,601 Posts
So as a newbie I hate asking stupid questions, but darn I am reading everything I can, it seems like just too much is out there to absorb. So I have to read it multiple times before the light bulb goes off sometimes.

Mike - If I need to start a new thread let me know. But please explain why this would be more effective to create more drawn comb than say a single or double hive box.

Or is me stealing brood frame every ten day a reason my build up is sooo slow.

Darn did a light bulb just get turned on???:scratch:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
746 Posts
I had the same question when I started, now 4 years later find them very useful. I primarily use them to make splits early in the season to replace deadouts from the winter, then always like to have a couple nucs going thru the summer and into fall to create resources for weak hives and to "bank" a couple of queens in case one dies out. I've done combines in December to save a hive that's gone queenless.

Other main use is for swarm traps.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,183 Posts
So as a newbie I hate asking stupid questions, but darn I am reading everything I can, it seems like just too much is out there to absorb. So I have to read it multiple times before the light bulb goes off sometimes.

Mike - If I need to start a new thread let me know. But please explain why this would be more effective to create more drawn comb than say a single or double hive box.
Not Mike, but I can answer that - because a nuc is in expansion mode and you can crowd them without too much risk that they will swarm, and they Want to draw comb. Also time spent inspecting per nuc is very minimal - it does add up though. If you have established 4-5 frame nucs when the flow starts they will fully draw a new frame every week more or less as long as it lasts. So you could very feasibly double your comb count in a month.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,404 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
If I got what Michael said correctly, he splits his poorest performing hives to make nucs and he does it after the main honey flow? Is that right? I want to increase my bee numbers and I was planning to split my BEST hive soon. By doing so I would get no honey from that hive. I am not set up to graft queens but I don't want to buy them either. I want to make queens with the OTS method or something similar.

I want to double my number of hives and have replacements for any winter deadouts that I may have next winter. So, can I do that by waiting until AFTER the honey flow? Will there be enough drones in mid summer to mate queens? That may be a region specific answer, I don't know. Can I stimulate a hive to produce drones by adding drone comb in mid summer?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
652 Posts
That may be the best tip I have ever received. That was a fantastic presentation. Now I've got some questions. LOL
pretty sure i've watched all of the videos by him from that conference. he explains things well and gives his reasoning behind decisions. also most of it you can scale down to a hobby level vs his commercial level. ie keep 1-2 spare nucs instead of hundreds but when you only have a few production hives to support then that is all you need.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
652 Posts
If I got what Michael said correctly, he splits his poorest performing hives to make nucs and he does it after the main honey flow? Is that right? I want to increase my bee numbers and I was planning to split my BEST hive soon. By doing so I would get no honey from that hive. I am not set up to graft queens but I don't want to buy them either. I want to make queens with the OTS method or something similar.

I want to double my number of hives and have replacements for any winter deadouts that I may have next winter. So, can I do that by waiting until AFTER the honey flow? Will there be enough drones in mid summer to mate queens? That may be a region specific answer, I don't know. Can I stimulate a hive to produce drones by adding drone comb in mid summer?
yea, split the weak ones because they are probably in trouble anyway. no sense messing up a good thing when you can make a wimpy guy into a few solid nucs.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
10,454 Posts
If I got what Michael said correctly, he splits his poorest performing hives to make nucs and he does it after the main honey flow? Is that right? I want to increase my bee numbers and I was planning to split my BEST hive soon. By doing so I would get no honey from that hive. I am not set up to graft queens but I don't want to buy them either. I want to make queens with the OTS method or something similar.

I want to double my number of hives and have replacements for any winter deadouts that I may have next winter. So, can I do that by waiting until AFTER the honey flow? Will there be enough drones in mid summer to mate queens? That may be a region specific answer, I don't know. Can I stimulate a hive to produce drones by adding drone comb in mid summer?
yes and no.

the poor performers are dequeened and split up for use in generating the next crop of queens and their prospective colonies. increase has to be made to make up for losses. using the weak ones that aren't likely to produce honey anyway to place grafts can turn one slaggard into several production colonies with great genetics for the next round.

the strongest ones can be 'cut down split' just before the main flow and you'll still get as much or more honey from them. plus you keep them from swarming and losing valuable resources to the woods. plus you get new colonys from your strongest ones and that increase also offsets losses plus keeps your genetic diversity from getting too bottlenecked. (it keeps more lines bees going at the same time as opposed to grafting all of your next generation queens from just one colony).

i'm doing both. i'm splitting out my best queens and letting their strong parent colony make another like them, and i'm dequeening my dinks and using the frames of bees from them for mating nucs to accept grafts from the queens i've split out of the strongest hives.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,404 Posts
Discussion Starter #13
That makes sense SP. Maybe our weather will be good and you'll make some great queens and nucs. I've got room for a couple. :)
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
10,454 Posts
you may want to consider making a couple from your best ones. they will most likely split themselves anyway by swarming before the main flow starts. my strongest now have brood in three supers above a single deep. when i remove the queen all of that room in the supers and a lot of room in the deep will get filled with honey during the month it takes for the new queen to start laying. they will then move the honey up from the deep and fill another super with it. most of the time they will drawn out another super while waiting for the new queen.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,404 Posts
Discussion Starter #15
I plan on doing that. I will check my hives one afternoon this week, weather permitting. If any have started swarm cells, I will definitely pull the queen and split those. If no queen cells are present, I may just switch the brood boxes to keep them from swarming, leave the queen in the hive and pull a split off them and let it requeen itself.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
623 Posts
Nucs are a beekeeper best friend. Excellent way to evaluate queens and start new colonies. And as also mentioned, they are perfect for drawing comb and brood for boosting production hives. I look at them like a second laying queen in a colony. In a dreamworlds I would love to have one nuc per colony at least. But none of my nucs made it through this terrible winter.
 

·
Registered
35
Joined
·
2,006 Posts
Nucs that you dont expect a honey crop from, are a great way to learn about the insides of a hive, without disrupting your productive colonies.

Just as an example, the first couple of years we had bees, we pretty much gave up on finding queens when we wanted / needed to. After I started nucs, I made a point of finding the queen each and every time I dug into a nuc. It's much easier in the small colony, and it didn't take long to get pretty good at it. I dont have much trouble finding queens in the larger colonies now either. By digging into the nucs a bunch of times, with the express purpose of finding queens, I learned what to look for, and where to look. As an example, winter is giving the last few kicks here now, and between those kicks we are having some nice days. Last week, on a nice day, I went in to give the first good check of our full size hives, and wintered nucs. It only took a couple minutes each to spot all the queens.

I have come to look at the nucs as a laying queen, in storage. One of the skills I have yet to try, and will be doing so this summer, is learning to mark queens. I expect to do in a couple of them along the way. If I was doing this using the colonies I'm expecting a honey crop from, it could be quite detrimental to honey production. But it wont affect that if I use the queens in nucs to learn this skill. Worst case scenario, I kill a couple along the way, and end up combining some of the nucs.

For me, the nucs have turned into a great learning tool over the summer, allowing me to learn about the dynamics inside the hive, without disrupting the colonies I want to produce honey. For the winter, they are spare queens in storage, and very useful come spring, I've got a couple of dead colonies that will be repopulated using the nucs that wintered well.
 
1 - 20 of 26 Posts
Top