Anyone getting HONEYBEE NUCS this year?
Standby for a tip or two -
First off, a "nuc" (pronounced "Nuke") is a mini, or NUCleus hive - a queen, workers of all stages, larvae of all stages, and some capped honey & pollen. Some folks try to sell 3 or 4 frame nucs, but 5 frames is what you need. What used to be $15 when I started out 44 years ago is now 10 times as much nowadays. Other ways to get bees are to buy a package of several pounds or, if you're lucky, to catch a swarm. A swarm in May's worth a bale of hay, a swarm in June's worth a silver spoon, but a swarm in July ain't worth a fly. Old saying.
Anyway, most of you know that I like to build things here at HoofHenHoney Organic Farm as if I'm making them for my Grandpa- cuz, before you know it, I AM. That means smarter & lighter, incl raised beds and lighter honey equipment.
Standard deep supers can hold 120 lbs of honey. My days of that ended decades ago. I've switched over to Illinois (Dadant, 3/4) depth supers for everything - brood chambers & honey supers. Cheaper to buy & stock one size, & easier on feet & back.
Problem is, nucs are sold in full-depth frames in deep nuc boxes. So, I take a deep box, and secure a double-layer of two-by's on both the left & right insides. That leaves about the right spacing to take up 2.5 frames on both L & R, leaving me room for the 5 frame nuc in the center. I set that on my bottom board and stack Illinois depths above (I generally end up giving them 3 for their brood chamber). Above that will go more of the same for honey supers.
Anyway, I thought you might want to know my method of converting a 5 frame deep nuc into a medium depth brood chamber. Bees typically work from the bottom up, & from the inside out, so you'll have a chance to wean them out of the deep.
What will help with that is, secure metal 1/8" hardware cloth across the bottom of that deep super. It will allow bottom ventilation, allow any mites to fall through, and prevent wasps from entering. Create a small entrance (and landing strip) between the deep and 1st Illinois for the guard bees to work and the nuc's small foraging force to enter. This helps stimulate migration up into the Illinois, and they don't have to traverse the inside height of the deep to put stores upstairs.
Always remember to keep an eye on the bottom of the inner cover; moisture there means insufficient ventilation as the gals evaporate the nectar down!
Apiarists, chime in!
Russell S. Spriggs, KI7BIV / WQYA480, C.E.R.T.
No Texts; 208.660.8877; Fax 855.420.6345
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