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Discussion Starter #1
One story with two questions:

1. When is a nuc not a nuc? I drove 2 hours to pick one up yesterday after being in continual contact with the beek for a month. When I got there, he looked suprised that I had medium frame equipment (even tho we'd discussed it previously)--apparently 2 of his 3 medium nucs had absconded and he thought the third was queenless. We went to take a look at it anyways--there was about 1/3 of the bees covering the frames compared to what I'm used to seeing on my frames at home, and no more than about 30 capped brood on the best frames. Most of the comb was honeybound. The beek said something about going to grab a cage--I didn't like where this was going, and asked him why--he wanted to sell me that nuc with a new queen put in right then and there! Is this standard practice???

I told him I'd rather just take a nuc of deep frames with an established queen and brood, and I'd transfer them to my medium equipment later. He gave me this odd look for a few seconds, and then said okay. I got my deep frame nuc and was even able to come back in the evening to keep my field workers. (Coming back hours later, I saw that he'd left the cover off the queenless hive--not sure if he'd forgotten to put it on, or if the nuc was so useless he just wanted it to disperse/die.)

2. This brings my second question: when we were opening the deep nuc, I noticed several SHB running around--the beek crushed about 5 while I watched. My original hive dosn't have this problem so I put the new one about 75 yards away and hope its far enough. But obviously the nuc isn't strong enough to control the SHB right now anyways. I have the deep frames in 2 stacked med nuc boxes, so there's even more extra room for the beetles to run around. My question is this: Should I give my bees another nuc box full of medium frames to start working toward transfering to mediums, or give them more time on the deeps to build up their numbers to deal with the SHB? I know I'm gonna have a forest of wild comb under those deeps in double med boxes, but I just don't have any deep equipment to keep them in. Also, as part of the transfer process, should I cut the best parts of the deep combs and rubber band them into mediums?? I don't intend to ever use deeps.

Thanks for any advice!

~Tara
 

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Yes the SHB will find your hive, keep them strong and they can handle them. You can cut a spacer to fit so that you can make a deep box. Its basically 2-3 inch spacer. I have thos eon 2 of mine as i was expecting med nucs as well...... I know we never intend on it, but i am doing the same thing. Taking drawn meds and putting them about the deeps and waiting uptil they move them out. I don't want the hassle of the deeps, but thats my opinion. I have 3 out of 14 that are deep, and as they move out of the lower box in the winter, i will remove it before they go back down into it during spring.
 

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Actually you probally won't get much wild comb underneath, as long as it is the bottom box. As for adding a med on top, is this a 5 frame nuc in an 8 frame box, or a 4 in a 10? Makes a difference. Anyway I would feed them till they need more room then add a med with frames on top. No need to slow them down with a cutout type transfer. Don't have much SHB here so that will have to come from someone else. Who did you buy this from?????
 

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I've got 5 deep frames of the nuc in a 5-frame nuc (screened bottom board mini-hive fancy nuc from Brushy Mtn) with 2 medium boxes instead of 1 deep box. I have additional 5-frame boxes to stack on top, with medium frames and wax foundation. (I feel I should let this hive build its numbers before giving them an entire box to fill.) Should I put a frame or two of capped brood from my established hive in the new box along with 3 frames of foundation to help them along? My established Russians are great at chasing ants as they run around on the outside of their hive--I figure they might be good at chasing SHB as well.

I put feed on the new box this morning, along with a pollen patty just in case. I know SHB like patties too, but my old hive is eating one about every week, so I figured the new ones might like it too. They were all over it before I closed the top.

I'm not going to name the beek just yet.... He was a little older, I'm not sure if the issues I saw were primarily from forgetfulness and/or bad judgement, or if he was actively trying to hoist a bad hive on a new beek. The rest of our interactions were good and he did try to give me the deep frames without extra charge or exchange. He did live in Richmond, VA though, so if you go there for nucs, just keep an eye on things and make sure you get what you deserve for your money.
 

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Keep an eye on that pollen patty! I'm betting you'll have SHB larva in it soon. If you do get them then dispose of that patty and don't use anymore in that nuc. You need SHB traps!
 

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Discussion Starter #8
So putting in a queen in front of the customer is pushing it, but when DO most of you consider a nuc sellable? How long should the queen be in there? Long enough to see eggs? Brood? Capped brood?

Thanks for the advice on when to give the bees more room with the SHB present.
 

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If I am going to shell out the money for a nuc, it better have an established queen already laying and have brood in all stages. A caged queen WILL NOT cut it for me. I wouldnt even think about buying a nuc with a caged queen. The nuc is supposed to be a head start from a package, but with a caged queen, it isnt any further ahead than the package. They may not accept the caged queen, and if they dont, and you dont have another handy, you may have just wasted $100.:doh:

I would definatly not be doing business with this beek, what he is doing may be ok with others, but he would not be getting any of my money, JMO.
 

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You know I agree with NY Blues.

When I started beekeeping (6 yrs ago) I bought 3 nucs from a commercial guy and he made them up right there when I picked them up. He put 3 caged queens in the boxes and sent me on my way.

Looking back, I would not accept that again. At the time I just did not know any better.

I mean the whole reason we buy a nuc over a package is that they are ESTABLISHED, if you just put a new queen in there - then I am not getting what I paid for. Furthermore there is that risk of queen non-acceptance too. Why take that risk, when you can buy an established nuc from someone else for the same price?

Thankfully for me, I got lucky and all 3 queens were accepted and went on to be good performers.
 

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Ditto On what NY Blues stated :thumbsup: The Queen should have at least been in there for a month. Brood and capped all stages. Keep the Feed on and Brood Pattys, watch for the SHB. But if you have alot of SHB take the Pattys off. Get Traps/Beetle Barn ASAP on there. You should be fine.

To many other Beeks to get a quality Nuc from. Just don't go back there. :)

Sorry you had the trouble.

Good luck,

-Drew
 

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How long should the queen be in there? Long enough to see eggs? Brood? Capped brood?
Capped brood. Not only do I want a queen that's laying, I want a queen that's laying a good pattern of worker brood. I know beeks who have taken home nucs with only open brood and a few days later they find it's mostly drone brood (poorly-mated queen).
 

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To my way of thinking a nuc needs to have an established queen with lots of brood in all stages (including capped). One purveyor up here has said that he wants to see drone cells too just in case something happens to the queen.

For my spring purchased nucs I'm looking for boxes chocker block full of bees that need to be transferred to full size equipment ASAP. To get there the queen in the nuc box needs to be (at least) on her 2nd brood cycle. (Over wintered nucs where the queen has had several months to build up are even better)

Some years we have had problems with bees swarming the day after they are installed from nucs. I read a post yesterday by Mike Palmer that suggests it is a bad idea to install a bursting at the seems nuc into a hive with new to be drawn foundation. I had never considered that before but it makes sense.

I sometimes make a nuc by taking a frame of brood with attached swarm cell. a 2nd frame of brood and a frame of honey along with the bees on the frames. I'll fill out the box with empty drawn comb. Not until that box is full of bees with all the frames being used is the nuc ready. It may very well take 4-6 weeks.
 

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I think a new queen should be in a nuc and laying for a minimum of one week. You will know by then if she is accepted, and what her pattern looks like. Once she is laying, there is less chance of her being rejected.
 
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