Making a nuc to over winter

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Matthew Roberts

New Bee
Mar 20, 2023
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Can any one give me advice on the wisdom of trying to make a nuc from my colony now to over winter.
I started as a beginner in May with a nuc. My bees have done OK so far I think. They have filled the national brood box with bees and about 1 and a half supers of honey so far. I realise this is hardly a huge colony, which is why I need advice. Can I buy a queen and take 2 or 3 frames to make a nuc?
I want to do this for 2 reasons, firstly in the hope of having 2 hives early next season and secondly, as an insurance in case I loose my one colony over the winter.
Good thinking.

The window of opportunity narrows as we head toward wasp season, because wasps will rip into weak nucs. Way round that is to give a frame of emerging brood every so often to make the nuc strong. Keep entrances to one bee space, fix a piece of electrical conduit to the entrance, and if wasps still get in, move it two miles away for a few weeks. Don't bother fiddling with tricks like traps because they will only delay the inevitable.
I don't know your climate/flows. I do know your flows last longer than mine. That said, I try to get my nucs made before the flow ends. That would be about mid-July with the end of the Lime flow. I made 303 nucs this summer between 6/30 and 7/9. Each is made up with 1 frame honey, 1 open brood, one capped brood, and one nectar/pollen. All Combs well covered with bees. I give each a mated queen. and and give them a second story about ten days after setup. Early made nucs get, in their super, one comb and three foundations. Later made nucs, say 6/30, get two combs and two foundations for their second box. Anything made up after the first of July get three combs and one honey. So for me to tell you whether or not there's still time...well I can't. Is your donor colony strong enough to donate the required bees and brood? Perhaps, but I don't really know. If you can support what I've said, then give it a try. Thing is, don't weaken your one colony to the point they won't recover and over-winter successfully.
Sorry for the delay replying, I have been away and have had a bee keeping friend keeping an eye on my hive.

My bees have noticeably less brood than the last time I personally looked about 3 weeks ago. I think there are about 7 frames of brood, perhaps a bit more. They also have less honey. I think the bad weather and perhaps wasps have caused the reduction in stores. I had the entrance block completely removed which was an invitation to the wasps. I have now put on a tunnel entrance made from electrical trunking (as described in threads on this forum), this seems to have fooled the wasps so far.

I think I am probably too late now to successfully make and over winter a nuc without ruining my existing colony.
Yep. Best to go into winter with one rammed box. Get the honey off, feed & treat, and split next year when it's booming.
yes, forget the BBKA obsession of just splitting a colony to have two for the winter.
Always better off overwintering one strong colony than two mediocre ones