Delayed nucs

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thorn 

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We found sites for two new apiaries last December, and decided to buy some colonies to start them off as it was too late to develope our own. We ordered four nucs, two from each source. This week both suppliers have told me that because of the cold spring delivery will be at least two weeks after the anticipated date.
I'm not unhappy that they're holding the colonies back until they're stronger, but people posting here are already worrying about swarming, such is the strength of the colonies they've brought through winter, and several of my colonies are stronger than I've ever known in mid April.
What is the general experience of beekeepers who've brought nucs through this last winter? Are they slow in building up? And have those who ordered nucs found that their supplier has told them they'll be later than expected?
 

madasafish 

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I took 5 nucs through winter.
One - National 5 frame poly nuc is full of bees all frames.
Four others - home made Poly lang jumbos are full of bees : already hived two, will have sold one tomorrow. and plan to rehive one this am.

My three Mini nucs overwintered well Strong. One died overwinter - queen .One died late Autumn.

My nucs came through far stronger than 5 out of 6 main hives: why? Nosema? (have not tested for it but treated two hives as if it is)

Coldest Spring for years.. far worse than Beast for East in 2018. I would say 4 out of 7 days in a week were cold and overcast, 2 wet and overcast and one good - up to a week ago.

Fed everything pollen patties as little foraging a month ago due weather.
 

DaveG23 

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Are the nucs you ordered defintley overwintered? They could be overwintered queens that will be getting given to a nuc that gets made up from donor hives, if its been too cold to make up the nucs or the main hives that will donate bees/frames are not yet strong enough hence the delay.
 

Patrick1 

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We found sites for two new apiaries last December, and decided to buy some colonies to start them off as it was too late to develope our own. We ordered four nucs, two from each source. This week both suppliers have told me that because of the cold spring delivery will be at least two weeks after the anticipated date.
I'm not unhappy that they're holding the colonies back until they're stronger, but people posting here are already worrying about swarming, such is the strength of the colonies they've brought through winter, and several of my colonies are stronger than I've ever known in mid April.
What is the general experience of beekeepers who've brought nucs through this last winter? Are they slow in building up? And have those who ordered nucs found that their supplier has told them they'll be later than expected?
From Kent, ours are so slow to build this year, although we have plenty of foraging available the weather until today has been dire. Snow earlier in the week !
 

BigAshW 

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Looking at my colonies yesterday. I noticed that I had plenty of eggs and sealed brood but very little larvae. I think My colonies shut off laying for a while. So maybe your nucs are similarly delayed.
 

Amari 

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This is the coldest spring, especially April, that I can remember.

Slightly off topic: 2/12 colonies died of starvation. Mea culpa. Most of the others are slow to build up.
In retrospect many were not very strong entering winter - maybe I requeened some too late (August) and was reluctant to amalgamate. I fed each the same amount of invert (12.5kg) as previously.
Insufficiently strong colonies + prolonged winter = struggle to survive.
 

tonyofarr 

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We overwinter nucs for ourselves and also to sell and the cold weather has held them back this year, particularly the cold nights. We would not feel happy selling a nuc on 6 frames that was going to be put in a full sized hive WITH the temperatures we have been experiencing; we use the paynes polynuc boxes and the nucs we keep for ourselves go on double boxes before they are hived. The cold temps will knock colonies back if they are put into larger spaces and as we often sell nucs to new beekeepers we feel it is better to give the bees and the new keepers a better chance by waiting until the nuc boxes are really full with bees.

I should also add that we are supering up colonies later this year because of the cold nights and we are now rushing around apiaries putting them on. Interestingly the hives at an apiary yesterday were overflowing with bees and there was wild comb in the roofs (full of dandelion honey) but no swarm preps yet and the wife reckons this is because of the cold weather.
 

Boston Bees 

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Are the nucs you ordered defintley overwintered? They could be overwintered queens that will be getting given to a nuc that gets made up from donor hives, if its been too cold to make up the nucs or the main hives that will donate bees/frames are not yet strong enough hence the delay.
A very good question.

Even if they are overwintered, it depends very much on when last year they were made, and how strong they were going into winter. Some commercial sellers will (I suspect) make up "thin" nucs late in the season to overwinter. These, if they survive, will come out of winter a lot weaker, and take much longer to build up, than a nuc made earlier in 2020 and given time to build up properly pre winter.

It's perfectly possible for 6 frame nucs to be absolutely bursting at the seams now, despite the cold weather. We have a few like this, made in summer last year.
 

drdrday 

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I overwintered a 6 frame nuc as insurance, with plans to sell it this spring. They were created last week of August, and now they're bursting out of the box. I'm in Kent, so whilst it's been frosty at night, we have had a few warmer days when the sun is out.
Of course the best laid plans have now changed and I'll be keeping them a little longer, so they had a super on about 10 days ago to tide them over (I don't have another 6 frame BB), but it's looking like they'll have to go in a full size hive in a few days.
 

gregior 

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It's a funny start to the year for sure last week I lost one to isolation starvation and another swarmed!
 

Ian123 

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We found sites for two new apiaries last December, and decided to buy some colonies to start them off as it was too late to develope our own. We ordered four nucs, two from each source. This week both suppliers have told me that because of the cold spring delivery will be at least two weeks after the anticipated date.
I'm not unhappy that they're holding the colonies back until they're stronger, but people posting here are already worrying about swarming, such is the strength of the colonies they've brought through winter, and several of my colonies are stronger than I've ever known in mid April.
What is the general experience of beekeepers who've brought nucs through this last winter? Are they slow in building up? And have those who ordered nucs found that their supplier has told them they'll be later than expected?
When you purchased the Nucs most suppliers say subject to weather and the bees. Both are variables that the supplier has little control over. In this cold spell my bees have been building nicely, and whilst in the sunny south you could have taken a quick look most days even in this cold snap. It’s a different storey to package up 50 or 200 nucs, some years you’ll find Nucs that require moving up in March some are ready now. It could even be they have a delayed shipment of queens and your already moved up nuc is waiting to be split. Whatever the cause you’ve been informed and aware of the vagaries beekeeping brings, there should be no complaints. Ian
 
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madasafish 

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The vagaries of British weather also affect UK based Queen rearing - as buyers will no doubt find out.
 

GuyNir 

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Q’s from Becky’s Bees are delayed also (from Greece), due to delivery/transportation issues.
 

thorn 

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When you purchased the Nucs most suppliers say subject to weather and the bees. Both are variables that the supplier has little control over. In this cold spell my bees have been building nicely, and whilst in the sunny south you could have taken a quick look most days even in this cold snap. It’s a different storey to package up 50 or 200 nucs, some years you’ll find Nucs that require moving up in March some are ready now. It could even be they have a delayed shipment of queens and your already moved up nuc is waiting to be split. Whatever the cause you’ve been informed and aware of the vagaries beekeeping brings, there should be no complaints. Ian
Did you read my post or just react to the title?
 

Gilberdyke John 

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We found sites for two new apiaries last December, and decided to buy some colonies to start them off as it was too late to develope our own. We ordered four nucs, two from each source. This week both suppliers have told me that because of the cold spring delivery will be at least two weeks after the anticipated date.
I'm not unhappy that they're holding the colonies back until they're stronger, but people posting here are already worrying about swarming, such is the strength of the colonies they've brought through winter, and several of my colonies are stronger than I've ever known in mid April.
What is the general experience of beekeepers who've brought nucs through this last winter? Are they slow in building up? And have those who ordered nucs found that their supplier has told them they'll be later than expected?
My hives have been slowly ticking over until last week but now they are accelerating dramatically. Pity the recent frosts got to a lot of the blossom or it might have become exponential growth☺
 

wightbees 

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I think it depends greatly on where in the uk you are. I’m far south and all my over winter Nucs have been move to full size boxes for few weeks now. Even a three frame Nuc over winter has been moved up yesterday on six frames. Up North I bet it’s a totally different story .
 

Ian123 

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Read your final sentence and compare it against what I'd said.
If you want to be pedantic about it I said “there should not be any complaints” I did not say you had or did complain. I would also suggest there was enough questioning of the suppliers explanation that in itself left the subject open to interpretation!
 
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