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Creating a nuc??

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It seems to me that the best time to ask advice is well before the advice is needed so if my questions seem a liitle premature I appologise.

I would like to expand to a minimum of 2 or even 4 colonies this year and wondered whats the best way to split the parent colony and how to make up a nuc? Having only 1 colony doesn't seem to give me much to play with - at most 11 frames of bees, so when is best to split and what/how many frames should I put in a nuc?
 

wbchive 

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Why are you going to make a nuc, Hawklord? Why not split straight into a full size brood box?

Steve
 
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Hi Steve, I will be using full size brood boxes, but to my understanding a nuc doesn't become a full colony until it has a super above.
 

oliver90owner 

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until it has a super above.

Not really. A nucleus hive is generally about half the size of a full sized hive, that is all.

5 or 6 frames is normal. A full sized brood full of bees is still a full colony if it doesn't have a super above.

most 11 frames of bees

Not so, if you can get two broods full of bees!

I would split into a brood box with dummy frames to reduce the space or even a tighter fitting divider if temperature is an issue. You will likely need full broods by the end of the season (unless you are going to take nucs through the winter)

By all means go for 4 colonies but you must be prepared to reduce, by uniting, at the season-end if they look to be at all under-strength.

Honey? You would not expect so much if you go for increase.

You need a strong colony to split 4 ways, especially with little experience. It needs to be done early in the season before there is a wasp threat (no guarantee that this weather will reduce the wasp problem next year - it needs a lousy spring to destroy a lot of the potential nests while the queen is working single handed to raise those first workers).

Personally, I would recommend, at this stage, you plan to split in two and hope to pick up a swarm as well. With only one hive to play with, splitting further might be a disaster. If strong enough to split three ways, consider that to be a bonus.

Any late splits might be robbed out by wasps and you have no reserve for strengthening your colonies in that situation.

The alternative is to feed them up, encourage brood (a second brood box) and then perhaps be strong enough to split further. But forget any certain decent honey crop, unless you can grab some OSR early.

Problem here is that you are working with that one colony - no choice of best one to build up - so if it is slow to expand for any reason, you can be thwarted in your aspirations.

On the other hand it might be a super spring and the bees go off like a train, so you can look back at this post and say 'rubbish, it was easy'.

One last thing is you will need to induce queen cells which can be a problem if the colony is not strong enough. Simply splitting and using emergency queen cells is not advisable - scrub queens are not the best way to go. They might do but not to be recommended as the most reliable method.

So what you need to do now is buy enough kit for all the possible eventualities and just 'play it by ear' when the time comes and it is decision time as to what you are confident you can manage.

Just don't try to run before you can walk.

Regards, RAB
 
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Thanks Rab. I fully understand that things might not go according to 1 plan but it's no use asking what to do days before it needs to be done so I am tring to get as many plans as I can. I had thought about adding a second brood chamber and splitting a much larger colony later. When adding that second brood box should it go under the existing 1 and should I have a super on top as well?
 

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That's the way to go. Give it a second brood box on top if it is vigorous, then a super or two, then once its worked most of that lot, hopefully near the end of the OSR season, try rearranging to give one brood box on top of the supers with Q excluders either side of the super(s) and one brood box below. If the queen is below, and you put unsealed brood and eggs in the top box, with luck they will make queen cells in the top box. When/if they do that, split the top box into maybe three nucs, shake in lots of young bees, hold them in with grass in the entrances for a day or two, and feed the nucs.

Sorted!

Gavin
 

Poly Hive 

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How much money are you willing to spend on this?

Can you run to 3 or four mated queens? £100 or so

PH
 
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MJBee 

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Yes I think he is.:) If you split a colony and allow them to raise their own queen(s) or use swarm cells you will have a brood break of up to a month while the cells become queens and the queens then mate and come into lay. Buying in mated laying queens, while frowned on by some, keeps the brood going and allows a quicker build up to full colony. Gives you a chance to try different strains too.
:cheers2: Mike

PS Sorry to hijack your post PH
 
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I agree, it would be the most reliable way to make increase and even if you get no more than a dozen jars of honey from each queen this year they will have paid for themselves. You might well get none, but done early enough in the year and fed with syrup in the early days to get them going you have a good chance.

If going down this route forget about shallow supers on your original colony just keep putting full depth brood chambers on and try and build up as many full depth frames as possible. Don't even use a queen excluder. You can then potentially make up several new complete hives once the queens arrive using the brood and stores from your original hive.
 

ainsie 

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Hi Rooftops, if going to double brood without any drawn foundation for second brood what is the best way eg full brood of foundation and feed? Ainsie bee-smillie
 
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Yes, feed and feed again! I would suggest 1:1 sugar/syrup. This is supposed to encourage them to consume rather than store it. It is what is recommended after a shook swarm.
 

Poly Hive 

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I am indeed suggesting buying in Queens, preferably from your locality so the frowning ones can be appeased.

Its far more efficient to make up nucs with mated Queens which is why I raise queens in mini nucs but that is another and rather long story.

If you are going to go to a double brood box and the top is to be foundation then you need to feed as suggested already 1:1 syrup in (my preference here) a frame feeder.

Probably about the best you can hope for is going to be some 16 or maybe 17 frames of brood. Why?

Pollen and stores combs. At least 2 combs per box will be pollen so that's 18 left and depending on how prepared you are to be ruthless with your hive tool then you will have stores combs too.

So from your combs to make up your nucs go like this....

Into new brood box put a pollen comb, a frame of seaeld brood, shake in another two or three frames of bees, insert a foundation frame and add a frame feeder to act as dummy as well as supply feed. Close up to a one inch entrance which it's self should be closed for the first three days.

After three days open up and let them fly. Day after introduce the queen in a slow release cage (candy blocked is good) and leave well alone for a couple of weeks.
Replace the borrowed combs with foundation in the parent hive and super them.

Sorted.

PH
 

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Yes, feed and feed again! I would suggest 1:1 sugar/syrup. This is supposed to encourage them to consume rather than store it. It is what is recommended after a shook swarm.
That is really wrong way to "encourage" brooding. Nothing happens.

After shook swarms bees need sugar to build combs. And it is a warm summer.

In brood rearing bees need protein.

In spring bees need nurser bees to keep brood area warm and feed larvae with larva milk.

Syrup only takes space from brood area and limit brooding.

USA beginners are mad to feed small cononies with sugar. So hives only swarm and they do not get bigger colonies.

HIVE IS NOT A CAR WHICH YOU CAN ACCELERATE AS YOU WISH.

Brood takes 3 week time to become a bee, and you cannnot nothing to that speed.

*************

I can speed up brooding with electrict heating and pollen patty 3-fold, but I know that in British climate it is impossible because there bees go with full speed all the time :cheers2:

..
 

Finman 

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Hi Rooftops, if going to double brood without any drawn foundation for second brood what is the best way eg full brood of foundation and feed? Ainsie bee-smillie
Bees make new combs if they need. Don't press to do that.

And what is the spring? Which time?

Is it wise at all one hive owner to try accelerate his only hive to fnal speed.
I don't beleiev that it bring any good.

Beginners biggest problem is that rape may give so much nectar that combs are stucked and the hive swarm.

SO, you feed tiny hive all winter along
- then when snow is melted, feed again.
- then raise first brood, feed again

- you want more drawn combs. You put a cold foudation box on the brood area which makes a big harm to heat economy. And then desparete feeding!

Pure nonsence.

Take your pills nicely and be calm!

.
 
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If adding a second brood box full of foundation above the existing brood, is there a chance the bees will use it to store honey? Would it be better to build the first brood box up to busting and then split those frames placing some above the others in the second brood box and then fill the space in each box with foundation/dummy frames?
 

Poly Hive 

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They may store but with luck and judicious usage of the hive tool namely bruising the cappings and moving the frames around you should manage to get a decent number of frames of brood. After all, all you really need as I outlined for you already is 4.

PH
 

Finman 

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If adding a second brood box full of foundation above the existing brood, is there a chance the bees will use it to store honey?
In the summer when honey flow is strong and if you have bees to occupye the frames.

Would it be better to build the first brood box up to busting and then split those frames placing some above the others in the second brood box and then fill the space in each box with foundation/dummy frames?
Let the hive first grow big to size of 4 boxes and then start to think making nucs. Then ít is possible to bye good laying queen too.

How much you have drawn combs now?

If you have one brood box in the hive in spring, I recommend that give the second brood box down, and take from upper box food frames to the lowest box and put 2-4 foundations to the upper box.

When foundations are drawn, put them down and lift another two foundations up.

But don't brake the brood area or force them to make more brood what they do themselves.

.
 

MJBee 

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Another point to remember is the increase in brood is totally weather and flow dependant.

In spring 2008 (it was awful remember?) I gave a full box of foundation to one of my colonies in April and they started to draw it in JUNE. Other colonies expanded much quicker than this one.

The reason - too early therefore too much "vain space" kept the bees virtually clustered trying to keep their brood warm. My handling (mishandling) set this colony back and achieved the exact opposite of what I was trying to do
Mike
 

Finman 

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I keep often towards the box walls foundations or semidwarn foundations.
I can see from them when bees are winnling to make new combs. When they are willing, they begin first to make burr between frames and inner cover.

It is amazingly late when the hive wants to draw combs. It is summer and a good flow.

Of course you may them force to draw combs but nothing good will follow from that.
 

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