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Author Topic: Overwintered Nucs  (Read 4044 times)
Pond Creek Farm
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« on: December 31, 2011, 11:08:01 PM »

I have read that an overwintered nucs are often the best hives in the yard.  Why is this so?  Why is an overwintered nuc more productive than a full hive that has overwintered?  I have never brought a nuc through winter, so I have zero experience in this.  (Frankly, it is somewhat of a celebration to bring a whole hive through the winter for me) Smiley
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Brian
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« Reply #1 on: January 01, 2012, 05:21:26 AM »

I have read that an overwintered nucs are often the best hives in the yard. 

that is mere  rubbish.  there is  no reason to that.

One reason is. When a colony is small, it perhaps does not swarm in summer. It has full work to build up.

Strong hives swarm first. If you do not know how to contol swarming, swarms take foragers off and you get nothing.

In my yard best hives are allways biggest hives. Reason is that big hives start to  accumulate surplus honey first and weak hives will not reach their yield later.

Best hives may have early yield 70 kg  and weak hives have yet nothing. But a good yield needs goog pastures and a good flow weather.

They must have had some good pollen frames after winter and young bees have got a good early  boost from pollen.  That is a secret of Carniolan's early build up.

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BjornBee
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« Reply #2 on: January 01, 2012, 06:54:07 AM »

Many times nucs are first year queens, first year hives, and they could possibly be dealing with less mites, disease, and other issues, like an old queen, etc.

While I hear some suggest that it was the overwintered nuc that performed best, I think it really comes down to hearing about EVERY hive, from EVERY Beekeeper. So sometimes we just clue in on some comments more than others. Have you ever heard a beekeeper suggest it was the largest and most productive hive that crashed first? Then on the other hand have another beekeeper suggest it was the other way around for him?

So in the end, we hear of every situation, good bad or indifferent. Many times based on casual observations. If one beekeeper puts on some item like a burlap sack and has their hive come through winter they claim the burlap bag was the reason for success, because the year before they lost a hive that had no burlap bag. And they will claim for the next ten years that a burlap bag makes all the difference in the world. Never realizing that it made little difference. I could pee on one hive and have it come through winter, and claim what? Because I didn't pee on the hive last year and it died, that my pee is something special?

I've had nucs come through winter and they blew other full size away in production. And I have had full size hive come through and blow many nucs out of the water. There are probably many reasons for this, and they were not due to the size of the box they overwintered.


By the way, many times, comments like "nucs being better", is about the same as some casual comments about swarming and the concept that this will "kill all honey production". And it only takes a few repeating it to make it grow legs and become urban legend.

My own observations is that any suggestions that a hive swarms and honey production will be nothing, (like mentioned in the previous post) is simply not true for me. In fact, within ten days (and many beekeepers don't even know their hives swarmed), the bee population is just as strong as they were prior to swarming, honey production is just as great as the swarming hive went through a period with no eggs being laid, and now packs away the honey since they are using far less resources for feeding brood.

But the "If your hive swarms...you will get nothing" will be repeated many times. And beekeepers will panic about that awful thing called swarming. They will split their hives right before the flow minimizing their own honey production, and will do everything in their power to NOT have strong hives for fear of swarming. They will then blame themselves when it happens.

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« Reply #3 on: January 01, 2012, 07:44:32 AM »

I could pee on one hive and have it come through winter, and claim what? Because I didn't pee on the hive last year and it died, that my pee is something special?

Bjorn, have you been peeing on your hives again?   evil   I know it's a thrill, but a little self-control please.   grin
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #4 on: January 01, 2012, 08:08:08 AM »

>Why is this so?

I'm sure any guess on anyone's part is speculation, but it could be rational speculation.  You usually have a queen who didn't need to do much last year, is just starting her second year and her first full year.  She has also survived the winter as the bees did, so the ones that survive tend to be very hardy.  The nucs populations seem to explode, perhaps because the sense the need to.  They seldom swarm because they are still building up (unless you feed them into swarming).  But they build up quickly.
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« Reply #5 on: January 01, 2012, 11:11:33 AM »

I hear alot of "this is BS" talk, or "old wives tale."

Last I checked, Brother Adam and Michael Palmer weren't "old wives" and didn't spread "BS." Brother Adam claimed a second year queen from an overwintered nuc will outproduce a first year queen, or a second year queen from a full production. Michael Palmer suggests that full size colonies deal with more diseases and pests, while nucs don't deal with as many. Michael Palmer utilizes overwintered nucs in greater numbers now than he did five years ago.

As far as the nuc v. full size colony issue goes (which may be a different issue entirely), FatBeeMan claims nucs overall are much more successful, and uses them almost exclusively.

Personally, I don't have enough experience with overwintered nucs to praise them as a miracle or shun them as a curse. But thoughtful, intelligent beekeeping minds talk about their positive uses, so I'm willing to lend a thoughtful ear and an open mind . . .
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BjornBee
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« Reply #6 on: January 01, 2012, 11:20:57 AM »

Where did the "BS" comments come from? And I don't think anybody called anything close to "old wives tales".

 huh

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« Reply #7 on: January 01, 2012, 04:45:57 PM »


My own observations is that any suggestions that a hive swarms and honey production will be nothing, (like mentioned in the previous post) is simply not true for me. In fact, within ten days (and many beekeepers don't even know their hives swarmed), the bee population is just as strong as they were prior to swarming, honey production is just as great as the

yes, but I have much data from balance hives. in Finland we have a balance network, and every year many balances starts to make horizontall graph. And the reason is that a swarm escaped. And the grapfh has never turned upwards.

When new workers emerge, they are in foraging at age  3 weeks old.

And it is surprising that if the hive looses 4 kg bees via swarming, it does not mean nothing.

Then from where comes an American professional sentence: "swarming is the biggest enemy of beekeeping".


Bjorn, you must have overgrazed pastures if loss of bees means nothing to the yield.

"The smaller  gang, the better party"
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« Last Edit: January 01, 2012, 05:35:28 PM by Finski » Logged

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« Reply #8 on: January 01, 2012, 04:59:22 PM »

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According my 49 years experience the biggest hives are best producers. That is why I join small colonies at the beginning of main yield. I try to get  the colonies to 2-box wintering hive.

I renew all my queens every year.  at the beginning of next summer the amount of capped brood tells how good they will be.

When I look the later half of June, when raspberry and canola blooms, the eggs of foragers has been laid at the beginning of May. So the yield from these plants depends on, does the hive has  4, 8 or 12 frames of brood at the first half of May.

Ofcourse, to get a good yield, you need good pastures and very near the hives, under 1 km.

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BjornBee
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« Reply #9 on: January 01, 2012, 05:24:52 PM »

I don't even know what your talking about that you have "balanced" hives. Balanced hives in regards to what? What do you have once again in Finland, that we Americans do not have?

And I have no clue to your "American professional" statement on swarming. Where did that come from? Or did you pull this from who knows where from your less than positive view of American beekeeping? I've never heard anyone claim that swarming was the "biggest enemy of beekeeping". And I would strongly disagree with anyone who would suggest such a statement, beyond suggesting it was their own opinion.

I don't need 49 years of experience to tell me that if you pull out the brood, make a hive artificially swarm, confine the queen, or even if the hive swarms on their own, that increased honey production can occur.

You can spread around the dooms day scenario all you want about swarms, and that if you have one, you will lose all your honey. Maybe where you are, that is the case. It is NOT the case around here. But because you pass along information tailored to your location, as if it is the case everywhere else, I have many beekeepers upset because their hives swarmed as if they did something wrong. Or they go to extremes of splitting their hives in attempts to stop their hives from becoming too strong for the fear of swarming. Which is pure nonsense to me.

Throwing in assumptions that I do or do not have good pastures, and all the other stuff is nonsense to me. Of course you need good pastures. Although for the 99% of the beekeepers around me, we are not relying on fields of canola or massive amounts of raspberries as you state. I assume that perhaps your flow and nectar flows are just a tad different than mine, or others reading this.

Just perhaps, maybe....you should give leeway to other peoples opinion and face up that their own situations are not like your own. So making claims that if you lose a swarm you will lose all your honey, may be particular to you, and understand that your experience may not apply elsewhere. At least that is what has been mentioned to me a number of times.  Wink

 
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« Reply #10 on: January 01, 2012, 05:38:22 PM »

I don't even know what your talking about that you have "balanced" hives. Balanced hives in regards to what?
 

it is a hive which stands on balance. We weight dayly, how much the hive changes the weight.

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« Reply #11 on: January 01, 2012, 05:42:44 PM »

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At least Björn, I admit that you are greatest idiot What I have met during my 49 beekeeping years . But As I know, you will meet much more bigger idiots in a couple of year. You are specialist at that job.

I cannot help you in that.
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BjornBee
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« Reply #12 on: January 01, 2012, 06:38:12 PM »

.
At least Björn, I admit that you are greatest idiot What I have met during my 49 beekeeping years . But As I know, you will meet much more bigger idiots in a couple of year. You are specialist at that job.

I cannot help you in that.

Well thank you.  Wink

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BjornBee
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« Reply #13 on: January 01, 2012, 06:43:08 PM »

I could pee on one hive and have it come through winter, and claim what? Because I didn't pee on the hive last year and it died, that my pee is something special?

Bjorn, have you been peeing on your hives again?   evil   I know it's a thrill, but a little self-control please.   grin

Now that..........was self control!  grin
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« Reply #14 on: January 01, 2012, 06:46:18 PM »

Yes it was.  I'm proud of you!   grin   If it were me, I would have peed on Finski.
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« Reply #15 on: January 01, 2012, 06:51:24 PM »

Looks like Bjorn and Finski are talking a matter of degree.   Bjorn is saying that confining the queen increases honey production.  That makes sense.  Finski is saying that the loss of a large swarm with many foragers causes a drop in honey production and that makes sense too.  Somewhere in between lies the truth.  A small split where the queen and open brood is removed should increase honey.  A small swarm with most of the foragers left behind might not decrease honey production as much as a big swarm.  Aren't you guys saying the same thing?
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Pond Creek Farm
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« Reply #16 on: January 01, 2012, 06:56:12 PM »

Gentlemen:  Neither of you are idiots, but you are both missing the point and seeing an enemy where none exists.  You are both quite passionate about beekeeping, and clearly have amassed a great eal of knowlege on the subject.  That really is a common ground between you that you both fail to see.  Try to recognize that each of you share the common love of beekeeping and spreading knowlege.  The fact that you do it differently really should not be a point of strife but rather recognition that there is more than one way to skin a cat. I appreciate the information on the subject you both shared.

Back to the point.  Is my understanding correct, then, that overwintering nucs is simply another strategy for increasing hive numbers and that by doing it in the fall the plan is that the hive will build faster in the spring that a nuc constructed in the springtime?  So, for those of you making nucs, which do you prefer, Spring or fall or a mix of each?
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« Reply #17 on: January 01, 2012, 08:59:43 PM »

Side note - I must say that I don't really enjoy reading your posts Bjorn. You have alot of information to convey, and much of it is very helpful, but the majority of your posts are written in a style that seems like you are trying to attack someone. Just not enjoyable for me, and it often makes it harder for me to get the message that you are trying to convey. But really just a stylistic critique. I'm sure you'll somehow come back at me for this though.

Not to say that Finski's posts were called for . . . they weren't . . . but neither is really the point of the thread . . .
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« Reply #18 on: January 01, 2012, 09:01:00 PM »

the hive will build faster in the spring that a nuc constructed in the springtime?  

I think the biggest effect is just that if you over-winter a nuc, you have one more queen laying eggs in February/March.  If you build the nuc the next spring, you won't have a laying queen until later in the year, which means the total buildup of the the hive will be less.   I have not tried overwintering small nucs, but our normal overwintering size is 7 frames of bees so it's not a big hive either.  I think in our climate somewhere around 7 frames gives a good chance of staying warm in colder winters while not using up all the stores in a milder winter.  In central North Carolina we have had good results with 6-7 frames of bees and 3-4 frames of honey as of October 15 when we equalize the hives.
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« Reply #19 on: January 01, 2012, 09:30:40 PM »

Side note - I must say that I don't really enjoy reading your posts Bjorn. You have alot of information to convey, and much of it is very helpful, but the majority of your posts are written in a style that seems like you are trying to attack someone. Just not enjoyable for me, and it often makes it harder for me to get the message that you are trying to convey. But really just a stylistic critique. I'm sure you'll somehow come back at me for this though.

Not to say that Finski's posts were called for . . . they weren't . . . but neither is really the point of the thread . . .

I guess your first attempt at baiting me didn't work with your "BS" post, so your trying again.

Nice try.  Wink

Have a good day!
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