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Author Topic: Expanding opinions: Packages, Nucs, or Splits  (Read 1635 times)
House Bee
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Gender: Male
Posts: 344

Location: Springfield, MA

« on: October 18, 2009, 01:10:34 PM »

Ok, so I'm trying to expand things around here. I currently have 5 hives which seem to be doing well going into winter. Next year I would like to be up to at least 20. Obviously there is the possibilty of winter losses, but that aside, I figure these are my options:

Buy a few nucs and split what I have doing 50/50 walk-aways.
Buy a few packages (I can get more packages than nucs for the same price) and split what I have doing 50/50 walk-aways.
Take 3 of my hives and make 5 frame nucs, letting them make their own queens.
Take 3 of my hives and make 5 frame nucs, buying queens.

What are your expert opinions on this?
Michael Bush
Universal Bee
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Posts: 13961

Location: Nehawka, NE

« Reply #1 on: October 18, 2009, 03:49:57 PM »

Things always depend on how much money you have to spend and what you want for an end result.

Assuming you want large cell foundation in deep boxes for brood, nucs are hard to beat. Especially from a reputable source who will sell you a good strong nuc.

Assuming you want something other than large cell foundation or something other than deeps, then finding medium nucs or small cell nucs (or small cell medium nucs) is another undertaking.  You might find them, but they are hard to find, so packages become a more likely method.  Again, both the packages and nucs cost money.

Making splits won't cost money (unless you are short on equipment or you buy queens) but will cost you honey.  On the other hand some years you almost have to make some splits to keep them from swarming.

I like walk away splits, but only if the part rearing the queen, at least, is rich in stores and bees.  Otherwise the queens get underfed and are not up to the quality I want.

I did a lot of walk a way splits this year from eight frame medium boxes split by the box.  I just "dealt" them like cards.  One for you and one for you.  It worked really well in mid may, not bad in mid June and not as well in mid July because of the way the flow went.

There are several reasons to raise your own queens, among them are acclimatized queens.

Michael Bush
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"Everything works if you let it."--Rick Nielsen
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