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Author Topic: Using Nucs as the Hive  (Read 2224 times)
ArmucheeBee
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« on: February 02, 2009, 01:44:14 PM »

I know there are some moving to 8 frame hives for weight and a tighter hive.  Are any of you using nucs as your hive?  This mimics the narrow tree cavities in nature and allows them to go up which they tend toward naturally.  For a hobbiest like me, I like the idea.  I know honey frames would need to be changed more often to keep the height down so it would not topple over.  But for me that would not be a problem.  I'm raising for fun and family honey not to sell.  The concept was put to me by a keeper with 40 year experience--sounds good.  Thoughts?
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Stephen Stewart
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ArmucheeBee
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« Reply #1 on: February 02, 2009, 01:51:48 PM »

Just to clarify, I am talking about 5 frame nucs as hives.  Using both standard and medium frames.  I am partial to mediums.  Just built 7, 10-frame mediums.
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Stephen Stewart
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danno
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« Reply #2 on: February 02, 2009, 02:16:25 PM »

I am overwintering 2- 2story 5 frame nuc's in my barn.  The tall narrow cavity is my reasoning also and so far they are doing great.  The weather here this last month has been very cold!!!!!   As low as -18F  The barn is very well ventalated and they are taking cleansing flights.  I check them about once a week with a stethiscope.
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TwT
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« Reply #3 on: February 02, 2009, 07:04:17 PM »

they can be used as hives the only thing is they are not stable in high winds, 8 framers aren't as stable in high winds like 10's are, its all mathematics, sure with a good wind break you can have all you want and do fine, they will be stacked tall but is that what you really want, while doing removals in homes seems they always in a 2 story want to build in the floor of the second story, all comb is build long ways instead of up like a tree, they do fine there, why not go with with something you wouldn't have to worry about wind blowing over every time the wind blows!!!
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ArmucheeBee
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« Reply #4 on: February 02, 2009, 07:15:27 PM »

Danno

Are you going to keep them going in the nuc spring and summer?   I like the idea of nucs for winter also.

TwT

The wind thing bothers me also, but I would pull off 5 full frames whenever that were ready and replace with empties to keep the height down.   I've had some floor to ceiling cutouts and some overhead between the floor joists comb.   So your right, they will build any direction with no problems.  It just seems like there are usually those outside couple of frames that the bees only half way fill out or they immediately move up to the super after six frames are full.  Just listening to others on that.
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Stephen Stewart
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« Reply #5 on: February 02, 2009, 07:31:02 PM »

  It just seems like there are usually those outside couple of frames that the bees only half way fill out or they immediately move up to the super after six frames are full.  Just listening to others on that.


most of that is also plastic foundation I would bet, I seen the same thing using it, with wax it is different, they will build it all, mostly honey and drones on the outside of 10 frame hives using wax foundation.
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #6 on: February 02, 2009, 08:49:18 PM »

>Are any of you using nucs as your hive?

I've gotten as high as three medium boxes or so, but after that they are too easy to blow over.

> This mimics the narrow tree cavities in nature and allows them to go up which they tend toward naturally.

But it's actually a bit narrower than most trees, but certainly not narrower than some.  The eight frame seems about the same width as a cluster in the winter.

>  For a hobbiest like me, I like the idea.  I know honey frames would need to be changed more often to keep the height down so it would not topple over.

Like every day?

>  But for me that would not be a problem.  I'm raising for fun and family honey not to sell.  The concept was put to me by a keeper with 40 year experience--sounds good.  Thoughts?

I've seen a booming hive that was wall to wall bees in a ten frame hive for five or six mediums (or two deeps and three shallows or so).  With five frame deeps that would be about eight or ten boxes high.  With mediums it would be 15!

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ArmucheeBee
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« Reply #7 on: February 03, 2009, 08:37:14 AM »

Thanks for all the info.  Good information to have.
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Stephen Stewart
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danno
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« Reply #8 on: February 03, 2009, 10:12:14 AM »

Danno

Are you going to keep them going in the nuc spring and summer?   I like the idea of nucs for winter also.


No they will go into 10 frame this spring.  This was just a experiment to see if my barn was open enough to overwinter in  and the bees where from walk away splits that I did because a couple of my hives where honey bound.  One had swarm  cells and the other I just gave couple frames with some eggs and mixed brood
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Brian D. Bray
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« Reply #9 on: February 03, 2009, 11:48:57 PM »

I have a neighbor that finally gave up his bees, he's in his mid-90's and the Arthritis just got too much for him.  He had started with 10 frame deeps back after WWII, then went to 8 frame deeps, to 8 frame medium, and finally to 5 frame medium nucs.  You can successfully overwinter a hive of bees in 2 medium 5 frame nucs as I've done and well as my neighbor.  He got ran his bees on 2 medium but it's easier with 3.  He also harvested about 10 frames of honey off each hiv each year.  Smaller operation but doable.
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ArmucheeBee
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« Reply #10 on: February 04, 2009, 02:32:33 PM »

Brian

Did he have a problem with more swarming?  or did he manage the hive (more than usual) to reduce this?  I can see how they would build up quickly and think they were full and swarm unless managed more than the 10 or 8 frame hives.  If I did this it would be honey just for home use, so taking out a frame or three full of honey to harvest every month is not a problem.  I would not attempt this with all hives, but just as a project.  Just to have fun.  What do you think?
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Stephen Stewart
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Brian D. Bray
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« Reply #11 on: February 04, 2009, 11:46:31 PM »

Everybody seems to stumble over size.  The size of a hive in the wild can vary from less than a cubic foot to several cubic feet.  A deep nuc is about 1.5 cubic feet.  Double that for a double brood box and you have 3 cubic feet of hive. 

Quote
If I did this it would be honey just for home use, so taking out a frame or three full of honey to harvest every month is not a problem.

One of the best swarm prevention techniques is to keep the bees building comb, preferrably in the brood box.  Since the outside frames in any hive (regardless of frame count( is dedicated to storage, removing those frames will essentially keep the bees building comb in the storage are of the  brood chamber, thus reducing their swarm tendency.  I'm not saying they won't swarm but the likelyhood is greatly reduced.  If you were to use 3 deep nucs you wouldn't see much behavior difference between it and a regular 3 box 10 frame.
A fair amount of honey can be produced from a colony when pulling a couple of frames per week over the course of the summer.

I think you'd be surprised at the results.
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woodchopper
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« Reply #12 on: February 05, 2009, 12:59:24 PM »


One of the best swarm prevention techniques is to keep the bees building comb, preferrably in the brood box.  Since the outside frames in any hive (regardless of frame count( is dedicated to storage, removing those frames will essentially keep the bees building comb in the storage are of the  brood chamber, thus reducing their swarm tendency. 
So using the green drone foundation to reduce the mite count in your hive might be killing two birds with one stone ? Good to know.
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justgojumpit
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« Reply #13 on: February 05, 2009, 07:05:51 PM »

If you're planning to destroy the comb on the green frames, that would work, but if you replace them with other drawn frames, the bees are not making new wax.  The other thing you could do is move some of your older frames with brood to the edges, let the brood hatch, and then remove them.  You would be killing three birds with one stone then!

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woodchopper
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« Reply #14 on: February 05, 2009, 10:00:34 PM »

Good thinking.
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saskbeeman
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« Reply #15 on: February 08, 2009, 07:59:53 PM »

I use double 5's for wintering all of my splits.  They usually produce a little honey in the fall, and I have had no trouble stacking them 4 full depths high.  I do build my nuc boxes a full 10" wide (7/8 lumber) and place them on stable pallets. 
They definitely need to be put into full size hives or split for the next season.
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