Creating Nucs, will this idea work?

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aberreef 

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Early to be thinking of this I know but I like to pre plan;)

I'd like to make a few nucs in the coming season but would also like a decent honey crop so don't want to split the 2 colonies I've got (1 national and 1 TBH) unless I have to for swarm control.

Is it possible to make up nucs using undrawn foundation, shaking in a good number of bees (blocked in for a few days, fed with OM floor) and then add a pre mated queen (bought in for this year;)). Will the bees draw enough comb in a few days for the queen to lay and get off to a good start?

Thanks in advance

Huw
 

Chris B 

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Huw,
You would need to put the unopened queen cage into the shook swarm for a day or 2 and then give them some frames. It's basically a standard technique for making packages and then hiving them. You'll find a number of good videos by googling that will explain it better than I can.
But I don't think it gives you any advantage in terms of honey crop. Whichever way you make a nuc you need to rob strength from your production colonies.
Regards
Chris
 

PaleoPerson 

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Any method you use that reduces the number of bees in a colony will have an impact on honey production.

If you only take 'a few' bees, then the nuc will be weak and if you take enough (about 3 lbs plus), then this will affect the donor colony.
 

Finman 

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Wait that your hives are maximum size.

Then take a frame where bees are emerging. Give 2 more combs to the nuc, food and pollen. Young bees need pollen.

The best way is to carry the nuc 2 miles away. Then bees do not return to home. Put a good laying queen into the nuc.

Later enlarge the nuc with emerging frame.

I think that shaking swarm is the worst way to make a nuc.

No one make nucs on foundations (if he has brains).
 

Finman 

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If you have a hive with 5 box full of bees, you may take one box of bees, carry it 2 miles and make 3 nucs.

But the loss of bees is so big that the hive may stop surplus foraging.
I have many experience that if the hive looses 20% of its foragers, it looses it ability to forage surplus. It takes 2-3 weeks before it is in condition again.

When main yield is over, you may split the hives without losses.

And do not rear your own queens. Bye them.
 

Finman 

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Any method you use that reduces the number of bees in a colony will have an impact on honey production.

If you only take 'a few' bees, then the nuc will be weak and if you take enough (about 3 lbs plus), then this will affect the donor colony.
Well said
 

aberreef 

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Thanks for the quick replies:auto:

If there's not enough worker bees is the weakness because of temperature or because they won't be able to take care of the queen, eggs and larvae?

I understand that removing any bees from the colony will reduce honey crop but would still like to get as much as possible (I'd like to beat this years 3lb total:rofl:) whilst hopefully making up as many new colonies as possible. Big ask I know:leaving:
 

Rosti 

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Depends whether you are building Nucs for increase or for sale. Assuming for personal apiary increase.

  • Why not leave your colonies alone, keep them as your back bone and enjoy a honey harvest (and enjoy the swarm control learning curve and recombination to minimise honey yield loss experience!)
  • Set bait hives (late April/May)
  • Build up a colony (or more?) if you get a take / takes
  • If this fails later in season then you are no worse off. When your colonies are stronger then split for a nuc and buy in queen if you have to.
  • If you do get a bait hive take and discover the queen is not to your liking replace her come July/August time (you were already committed to buying a queen with your original plan).

Simple, gives you a plan B and meets Yorkshire frugal pre-requisites!

Notes: I appreciate the balancing act you are trying to achieve, I've been there! I also did not want to spend on buying in queens (I have never paid for bees so far - and wanted to keep my hives stocked from the established local strain(s) as much as possible - I recognise that a swarm is no absolute gaurantee of that but it's cheap).
 

Poly Hive 

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There is a bit of a mis understanding going on here.

In general removing bees from a colony will indeed reduce the potential for a crop, as who knows what the weather will do?

In reality removing a couple of frames of brood and bees, plus always a shake of a further one or two frames to ensure a good covering of bees, and the frames are sealed brood mind not open brood, then there is relatively little impact on a full colony.

You can indeed argue with cause that this "bleeding" if done every two weeks or so is beneficial to delaying swarming if not preventing it. So if you are buying in queens you could easily start off four nucs. Over two months!

I think people who want the earth moon and stars from two boxes are being wildly optimistic. I could take the two and turn them into 10, not a problem if the will and the money is there. However if I were to do that then I can pretty much guarantee no honey at all.

If the person is content to go up by a mere 100% then both increase and crop is assured. Then the next year from four, leave one alone to produce a full crop and take nucs off the three others.

PH
 

Chris B 

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If I don't say it somebody else will....

If you're objectives are to produce both a large honey crop and multiple offspring colonies, the TBH isn't what you need.

What sort of honey crop would you be happy with? Once you've achieved it just put deep boxes on your National and manage for bee increase from that point.
 

Poly Hive 

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I was being polite...LOL and he would have found out fast enough next year.

PH
 

drstitson 

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depriving colony of bees

in active season each colony requires a significant daily intake of nectar and pollen just for maintencance before any thought can be given to storage so it is logical to expect a "small" reduction in foragers to have a large impact on honey harvest. Too big a reduction will lead to reduced brood stores for winter.

it's the reverse of the situation one has with kidney physiology - you can lose 80%+ of functioning kidney before showing evidence of renal failure.
 

Poly Hive 

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This is true as I said above but.... the reality is different.

If I said I started with 6 good colonies, and got a sufficient comb honey crop to supply my business and to sell via shops, and some how ended up with 25 nucs... is that actually possible?

Well yes. ;)

PH
 

PaleoPerson 

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In post #7, this years honey crop was 3lb. There could be many a good reason for this low crop. However, I would evaluate the colonies health and size in Spring and then make a decision from there.

If the colonies have to draw out wax, then this could have a huge impact on stores if no major flow is available.
 

Finman 

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However if you make too many nucs:

- they all need bees about one box that the colony is normal to meet next winter

- yuo will ruin the main hive as a beginner

- If you use queen cells to make nucs you will loose one month from your summer: bye laying queens.
 

aberreef 

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Thanks for all the replies:hurray:

I think people who want the earth moon and stars from two boxes are being wildly optimistic. I could take the two and turn them into 10, not a problem if the will and the money is there. However if I were to do that then I can pretty much guarantee no honey at all.

If the person is content to go up by a mere 100% then both increase and crop is assured. Then the next year from four, leave one alone to produce a full crop and take nucs off the three others.

PH
Plenty of will but not much money unfortunately:ack2:. I'm really not after much in the way of honey. As I said earlier, I'd like to beat 3lbs or at least get enough to make some decent mead:cheers2:.

In an ideal world I'd like to get 4 nucs going but no issue if I can't.

If I don't say it somebody else will....

If you're objectives are to produce both a large honey crop and multiple offspring colonies, the TBH isn't what you need.

What sort of honey crop would you be happy with? Once you've achieved it just put deep boxes on your National and manage for bee increase from that point.
Thanks for the tip. As above, I'm not looking to get huge amounts of honey but the more the merrier :cheers2:

The tbh was never intended to give huge honey crops, just some decent cut comb for myself and family/friends.

In post #7, this years honey crop was 3lb. There could be many a good reason for this low crop. However, I would evaluate the colonies health and size in Spring and then make a decision from there.

If the colonies have to draw out wax, then this could have a huge impact on stores if no major flow is available.
The first nuc I bought was for the TBH. This needed to be cut to fit from a national nuc. This meant the bees had to draw out all their own comb (they managed well over 15 by the end of the summer. As such they didn't produce a crop at all.

The national came well over a month later and grew well, drawing out a full super but didn't store much honey (as I expected).

.
- If you use queen cells to make nucs you will loose one month from your summer: bye laying queens.
Definately intend to buy in any queens for this year and raise my own next year.
 

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