Author Topic: Wintering Nuc's  (Read 566 times)

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Offline yukonjeff

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Wintering Nuc's
« on: September 02, 2017, 01:10:49 PM »
My two nucs did not build up much this summer and was considering combining them both in a single deep with a divider board in between. then a queen excluder on top, with a sugar brick and a quilt box above that.

My plan to start, was to use a snell grove board with one on top of the other for a couple days before combining them to get used to each other.

Will this work ?

Offline Perry

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Re: Wintering Nuc's
« Reply #1 on: September 02, 2017, 04:36:40 PM »
I can't add much to that. How long are your winters there (silly question maybe)?
Our bees here stop flying for the most part in early November and don't really start again except for the odd warm day in March. I have had success over-wintering 5 over 5 nucs with a bit of preparation.
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Offline yukonjeff

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Re: Wintering Nuc's
« Reply #2 on: September 02, 2017, 07:34:09 PM »
Sound like our winter hits about the same time as yours, spring comes a bit later.

Thanks I am considering trying it. I don't have much wooden ware here to choose from.

Offline Perry

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Re: Wintering Nuc's
« Reply #3 on: September 02, 2017, 07:39:22 PM »
I sheet of plywood (1/2") will make 4 nuc boxes, or 2 nuc boxes with a second story each. Put them side by side, with 2" of insulation on their outer sides and rear, but leave the front covered with just tarpaper for solar gain. A 1 1/2" shim on top for any emergency feed (fondant) you may or may not need so you don't have to crack the top during winter. 2" of styrofoam over the out lids and you're good to go.
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Offline Barbarian

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Re: Wintering Nuc's
« Reply #4 on: September 03, 2017, 04:34:24 AM »
If you go for the colonies in a single deep brood, you may wish to have a window in the division board. Covered with some fine mesh, the smells from the colonies of the nucs mingle. If you come to a stage where you need to take out one of the Qs, the board can be removed and the workers merged (hopefully without a punch-up).
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Offline yukonjeff

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Re: Wintering Nuc's
« Reply #5 on: September 03, 2017, 12:43:04 PM »
Thanks much guys. I need to take another look here soon and see where they are at as far as space. I don't have a table saw and everytime I try to make bee equipment with a skill saw I get big gaps ,and nothing fits well. :-[

I was thinking if I could use standard 10 frame deeps with a partition it would help keep all my equipment the same.

Offline Lburou

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Re: Wintering Nuc's
« Reply #6 on: September 03, 2017, 08:36:43 PM »
You might also consider combining the two NUCs.  Chances of making it through your long (no fly) winter would be better.  You won't know until next spring.  :)
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Offline yukonjeff

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Re: Wintering Nuc's
« Reply #7 on: September 04, 2017, 12:50:53 PM »
Thanks ,  I was considering that also. I hate to kill a queen though. I guess I could try my two queen idea and that will combine them, and one queen should survive . (If the hive does that is)

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Re: Wintering Nuc's
« Reply #8 on: September 04, 2017, 07:22:00 PM »
Over winter them as nucs. Leave them out side till the forecast temp drops below -10C bring the nucs in and put them in a dark basement floor and leave them their till the temp goes above 10 deg in the spring then take them back out side. they will use very little stores but if they do feel light put a jar of syrup on them. 
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Offline yukonjeff

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Re: Wintering Nuc's
« Reply #9 on: September 05, 2017, 01:16:07 PM »
Thanks Apis, that is a good idea. Although we don't have basements here in this part of Alaska, I wonder if my shed would work, it gets some solar gain. usually warmer than outside temps, but still gets pretty cold inside.( unheated)

Perhaps the attic ?

Offline Lburou

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Re: Wintering Nuc's
« Reply #10 on: September 05, 2017, 02:27:44 PM »
Thanks Apis, that is a good idea. Although we don't have basements here in this part of Alaska, I wonder if my shed would work, it gets some solar gain. usually warmer than outside temps, but still gets pretty cold inside.( unheated)

Perhaps the attic ?
We spoke of using a shed last year Jeff, I still think it is a good idea.  Put all the hives in there.  From my disastrous experience (trying to overwinter) in the garage at Eagle River, I'd advise against having the bees inside your domicile.   :-[  Too painful to expound on my stupid try, and it's been 30+ years.  :)
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Offline yukonjeff

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Re: Wintering Nuc's
« Reply #11 on: September 06, 2017, 02:55:44 AM »
Thanks for all the great ideas guys. I think I will try put the Russian's in the shed then since they are the weakest.

The Other Nuc is coming along better, and  I will see if its big enough in a week or two to go it alone with a wrap and perhaps quilt boxes for all. the big hives three deeps would be a pain to move off the hill and back up. And of course my luck they would all start flying in the shed, and that would be impressive  :)

The shed faces south and gets full sun, could I put a tube to the outside so they can get in cleansing flights ? Was thinking to paint that wall black as well. It would make a big difference in raising the temp, I would bet. Good or bad I am not sure.

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Re: Wintering Nuc's
« Reply #12 on: September 06, 2017, 04:41:09 PM »
The bees need to be in a dark place if it warms up and they see light they will fly.
A tube will let them fly but if the inside temp is warm so the bees are active and they fly out into the cold they may not make it back.
Insulate and a heating pad to give the nuc a little heat for when the temp falls.
Honey Judge, Beekeeping Display Coordinator, Armstrong Fair and Rodeo.
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Offline Lburou

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Re: Wintering Nuc's
« Reply #13 on: September 07, 2017, 09:09:47 AM »
If the walls are tight and there is a window in that shed, the bees will go to the window and leave their excrement on the window and nearby walls - unless you can confine them to a tube with access to outdoors.  Like you reported last year, sometimes the bees get out and fly straight into a snowbank to die.  With cracks in the shed walls, bees will use them to fly into the snowbank.  Don't leave lights on in the shed, bees will mob it and cook themselves unless the fixture can keep the bees away from the hot bulb...

I keep one or two weak NUCs in my shop in cold months.  I use discs that rotate to close off the entrance, allow ventilation or allow bee traffic, this allows the bees to breathe in the shop but not fly until I take them outside.  On days warm enough for bee flight, I carry the NUC out and open the entrance, then return the to my shop  when it gets too cold to fly.  You can do that too, just put the NUC in the same spot each time it is outside.

With a red light, you can open the NUC in the dark and feed them while inside your shed.  Bees won't fly but will crawl if they aren't tightly clustered, you will need to be fast.  I've had them fly from the top of the frames to my bare hands, but no further...I  think the red light gives off some light they can see, and it varies from light to light. I like the forehead mounted lights because you always have light wherever you look and it leaves your hands free. HTH  :)
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Online apisbees

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Re: Wintering Nuc's
« Reply #14 on: September 07, 2017, 11:16:06 AM »
What Lee said 100% agree.
I do not screen as I have a light free area to put them in. But with no light it also keeps them from raising any brood till they get put outside in the light.
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Offline yukonjeff

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Re: Wintering Nuc's
« Reply #15 on: September 09, 2017, 11:27:28 PM »
Thanks again Guys, that fills in a lot of the questions I was about to ask.

 I will get a head mounted red light, and heat pad. I do have power to the shed. I might have to screen them off and bring them out on warm days. There is a big window. I could block it off.

Could I put a small light in the hive and turn it on to get them back in ?

 I am still kicking around them tube to outside idea.

We wont have many fly days from Nov to April. Its usually very windy here when it warms up to 40 degrees in the winter. if they leave the house they will be blown to Russia.  literally.  ;D


Offline Lburou

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Re: Wintering Nuc's
« Reply #16 on: September 10, 2017, 12:02:25 AM »
Thanks again Guys, that fills in a lot of the questions I was about to ask.

 I will get a head mounted red light, and heat pad. I do have power to the shed. I might have to screen them off and bring them out on warm days. There is a big window. I could block it off.

Could I put a small light in the hive and turn it on to get them back in ?

 I am still kicking around them tube to outside idea.

We wont have many fly days from Nov to April. Its usually very windy here when it warms up to 40 degrees in the winter. if they leave the house they will be blown to Russia.  literally.  ;D


A definite "NO!" on the light in the hive...Sadly, I've tried it, and if you'll take my advice it will save you a lot of trouble...and mess.

My NUCs (the NUCs kept inside in winter, and then out in nice days) have a migratory cover, which allows us to drape towels or blankets over the box and still have air circulate freely around the bottom of the box.  I have vent holes in the rotating discs on the front and back of the boxes, this allows good air circulation and conserves heat in the box too.  It is all portable and easy to move on those nice days in winter, or access for feeding.

With a window, any bee escaping the NUC will go directly to the window and stay if it is light outside -this is what happened during my failed attempt to move the bees into my Alaska garage in 1983.  All of my bees did not return to the box, and many of the bees that did return were fried on the light bulb I put in there.   :-[    Your results may vary Jeff.  :)

If it is dark outside, you could put a light in the shed (that does not get hot) and let them fly to the walls and cleanse themselves that way...at least they wouldn't die in a snow bank and I'd think/hope they may reorient to the new spot and return to their hive.  Don't know if it would work, just a thought.  HTH  :)
Lee_Burough

Offline Riverrat

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Re: Wintering Nuc's
« Reply #17 on: September 12, 2017, 09:49:05 PM »
I would consider either combining or overwintering separately on a 5 on 5 configuration.  brood in bottom and stores on top for each nuc. I dont see where combining them into a single hive with a division board is going to be any more beneficial that what you have now IMHO
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Online apisbees

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Re: Wintering Nuc's
« Reply #18 on: September 13, 2017, 11:20:59 PM »
He has to get the bees through an long winter. It is not the winter but the sporadic cold spells through the spring that take their toll on the bees.
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Offline yukonjeff

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Re: Wintering Nuc's
« Reply #19 on: September 17, 2017, 02:38:29 PM »
I think I have a plan C.   C:-)

I remembered that I have two partially drawn medium supers, with a bit of honey in them too. I am now going to fill the empty comb with 2-1 sugar syrup and put them on. At least now they will be able to move up and have some stores above.