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Offline Bush_84

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My 2014 plan
« on: February 24, 2014, 07:03:35 PM »
Hello all.  I am hoping I can have some of you evaluate what I plan to do this year.  I've always liked getting opinions and have never had a hard time handling constructive criticism.

Firstly where I am now.  I have three hives filling most of an 8 frame deep.  I also have two nucs.  One nuc is 1-2 frames of bees and the other is about 4 frames.  I plan on buying a singular package this spring as an insurance policy.  Dandelions normally start early to mid May and they are the first real nectar around here. 

Now this year I intend on doing a couple of things.  Firstly I plan on queen rearing using a cloake board.  I have never reared any queens before so I am pumped.  I'm not sure when to start my first try, but I have two goals for this.  Firstly to requeen my over wintered hives.  Secondly to create nucs.  I am building some poly nucs just for this.  I figure that whatever nucs I create early on can be possibly split in late summer.  I intend on wintering nucs with heat tape as both of my nucs have made it through in this fashion and are likely going to be weaker than this years nucs.  After doing some reading on nucs and queen mating I think I'll create them using a frame of open brood, frame of honey, whatever extra comb I have, and a shake of bees from another frame of open brood.  These will all be 5 frame deep nucs. 

At this point I intend to do two rounds of queen rearing.  The first being like in mid to late May and a second in July.  In May I'll create a 2-4 nucs depending on how my existing hives are doing.  If all 5 make it through I figure at least 2 would be reasonable without killing honey yield.  Then the second round of queen rearing will be to get my wintered nucs setup.  This winter my nucs are in single story 5 frame wood deeps with 10 lbs mountain camped over head.  They have barely touched the sugar whereas my full hives have devoured everything I give them.  Next winter I aim for two stories and 10 lbs of sugar overhead as an insurance policy.  After creating the nucs I will feed them until it gets cold.  Then apply the heat tape underneath and wait until a warm day in jan/feb to check in.

I strongly believe that queen rearing and nucs will be my key to obtaining a sustainable apiary.  I had intended on doing this last year but last winter I had a 100% loss.  If I can go into winter with 10 nucs and have a dreaded 50% death rate...I will still have 5 nucs come spring along with whatever full sized hives make it through.  I intend to keep between 6-10 full sized hives every year.  Whatever I have extra I figure I'll just sell.

Thoughts? 
Keeping bees since 2011.

Also please excuse the typos.  My iPad autocorrect can be brutal.

Offline Steel Tiger

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Re: My 2014 plan
« Reply #1 on: February 24, 2014, 07:42:57 PM »
 All sounds like great ideas, it's just getting it done right. This video may give you some insight on where to go as far as raising nucs.


The Sustainable Apiary by Mike Palmer


 And this video may help with queen rearing.

Queen Rearing in the Sustainable Apiary

Offline Bush_84

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Re: My 2014 plan
« Reply #2 on: February 24, 2014, 07:49:17 PM »
I have actually watched Michael Palmers video.  Palmer, Kirk Webster, and Michael Bush have all been my inspiration to try this.  After nearly getting two nucs through the winter, I am even more dedicated to this.  I'll have to watch the queen rearing video and rewatch MPs video.

Edit-I realized that both are from Michael Palmer lol.  I've seen his nuc video but I don't recall seeing his queen rearing video.  I'll still make sure to watch both.  :)
Keeping bees since 2011.

Also please excuse the typos.  My iPad autocorrect can be brutal.

Offline Steel Tiger

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Re: My 2014 plan
« Reply #3 on: February 24, 2014, 10:58:34 PM »
 There's a third video about surviving cold, long winters...in case you haven't seen it. I ended up downloading all three and watch them occasionally.

Keeping Bees in Frozen North America

Offline Bush_84

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Re: My 2014 plan
« Reply #4 on: February 24, 2014, 11:17:03 PM »
How did you download a youtube video?
Keeping bees since 2011.

Also please excuse the typos.  My iPad autocorrect can be brutal.

Offline Steel Tiger

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Re: My 2014 plan
« Reply #5 on: February 24, 2014, 11:35:23 PM »
How did you download a youtube video?

 There are plenty of free programs and browser addons to download streaming videos. The one I use puts an actual download button under the video. I click the button, select the format (flv, mp4, 3pg, and so on)



Offline CJ

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Re: My 2014 plan
« Reply #6 on: February 25, 2014, 04:24:05 AM »
Youtube vids are great - thanks for posting!
Does anyone know if Mike Palmer has published any books?

Offline T Beek

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Re: My 2014 plan
« Reply #7 on: February 25, 2014, 06:29:42 AM »
Youtube vids are great - thanks for posting!
Does anyone know if Mike Palmer has published any books?

I'm not aware of any but I know Beeks have been pressuring him to write one for several years (especially his methods of wintering NUCs)…..it took a lot of pressure to finally convince MB to publish his book so one can assume 'if' the desire is there he may yet provide one……I'd buy a 'first edition' in a heartbeat  :)
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Offline buzzbee

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Re: My 2014 plan
« Reply #8 on: February 25, 2014, 08:05:07 AM »
As soon as the weather is fit you will want to start strengthening your bee numbers with pollen and syrup. It may take 6 weeks to get them up to splittable strength. Plan ahead.   You will need lots of bees to accomplish your goals.
I wish you well,and may your plans succeed. Theree is great satisfaction in accomplishing what you have set out to do.

Offline Bush_84

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Re: My 2014 plan
« Reply #9 on: February 25, 2014, 09:13:35 AM »
As soon as the weather is fit you will want to start strengthening your bee numbers with pollen and syrup. It may take 6 weeks to get them up to splittable strength. Plan ahead.   You will need lots of bees to accomplish your goals.
I wish you well,and may your plans succeed. Theree is great satisfaction in accomplishing what you have set out to do.


Natures nectar is a supplier in minnesota that keeps a pretty good blog.  They usually tell people to to put the patties on sometime in march.  If our cold weather continues as it is, it may end up happening later.  Either way I'm down for feeding and pollen patties as soon as safe.  I don't have so many colonies that I can't keep up with that. 
Keeping bees since 2011.

Also please excuse the typos.  My iPad autocorrect can be brutal.

Offline Bush_84

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Re: My 2014 plan
« Reply #10 on: March 01, 2014, 07:08:26 PM »
So after watching all of Michael Palmer's videos my desire to obtain a large nucleus hive setup stronger.  Barring any catastrophe I think it's reasonable to obtain a total of 6-10 nucs by fall from my 3 over wintered production colonies and 2 over wintered nucs.  Should be able to make a minimum of two nucs in May between my production hives and nucs.  Then i may even be able to split my 4 nucs to get me to that 6.  Getting gobs of honey isn't very important to me so there's room for possibly even more if my production hives start to boom. 

I have to dream of something while we see a high of -3 today lol.  I just all of my girls stay continue to stay alive!
Keeping bees since 2011.

Also please excuse the typos.  My iPad autocorrect can be brutal.

Offline Steel Tiger

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Re: My 2014 plan
« Reply #11 on: March 02, 2014, 01:38:47 PM »
So after watching all of Michael Palmer's videos my desire to obtain a large nucleus hive setup stronger.  Barring any catastrophe I think it's reasonable to obtain a total of 6-10 nucs by fall from my 3 over wintered production colonies and 2 over wintered nucs.  Should be able to make a minimum of two nucs in May between my production hives and nucs.  Then i may even be able to split my 4 nucs to get me to that 6.  Getting gobs of honey isn't very important to me so there's room for possibly even more if my production hives start to boom. 

I have to dream of something while we see a high of -3 today lol.  I just all of my girls stay continue to stay alive!

 In his videos, he used 50 nucs to create a ton of queens and then create over 500 nucs by June. This is without using the resources of his production colonies. If you scale it down to 2 nucs and stealing a frame now and then from your production colonies, you should be able to build 10 to 20 nucs to overwinter. That, of course, depends on getting queens.