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Thread: Kieler mini nucs?

  1. #11
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    Well Jon having used them for the length of time already mentioned I disagree with several points. Now remember I am NOT talking about ones bought yesterday. I have never seen burrowing in the polly apart from some mouse damage. I seem to remember on an other forum several complaining bitterly about that problem with the Apideas.

    My Keilers have a perspex inner that Bernard made as I suspect they were bought with no inner supplied and so it is certainly heavier than the bees combined strength. They don't have a slot for a Q cell so yet the inner has to be removed and the cell pushed against a comb. Remembering these units are designed to be started with a virgin not a cell. So there is no difference in giving a cell to a Keiler than to a five frame nuc.

    Anyway all if this is a side show as I am asking about over wintering tricks.in KEILER units not anything else please.

    PH

  2. #12
    Senior Member fatshark's Avatar
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    OK, here goes ...

    Get rid of the internal feeder - takes up too much space (1/3rd of the ground floor). I only use this when starting them off from a cup of bees (and a cell ... which they are designed for - see below)
    Buy or build or bodge an upper storey.
    Build a 'frame feeder' for fondant but make it shallower (to fit the upper storey). I've posted a photo of one of these previously I think. Essentially a hollow with QE nailed on each side. Just use 'ears' for the top bar so you can fill it with fondant. A better DIYer than me (i.e. everyone) would make one side fold down perhaps.
    Build the colony up from one storey to two.

    If you can afford it (or can build it) get rid of the frame feeder and add a further storey packed with a kilo or so of fondant. I used to make a false floor of Correx and just used this over the top.

    Keep them as sheltered as possible. No frost pockets. I used to either leave them on a low stand in the lee of a fence under some ivy or similar. Alternatively, I've overwinter them in an unheated greenhouse with a single tube going from the entrance through a hole in the wall.

    Even with a lot of TLC I think this is a borderline activity. 50% might be the best achieved, though the numbers were small so not statistically significant. This was when I lived in the Midlands. Now I'm in Scotland I'd probably not bother. Instead I'd use 3/4/5 frame nucs which are a better bet all round.

    It's not just the survival rate, it's also the ability to get late-mated (presumably, if not, you've got all the issues of managing these small boxes through the season when they're rapidly running out of space) queens built up properly for the winter. Everything is easier in a full frame nuc, and if it all goes belly-up you can rescue what you can and simply unite with another colony.

    These Kielers are designed for QC's. They come with no crownboard by a thick piece of poly with a simple flap works just fine. Gaffer tape or pin it to one edge so it doesn't blow/lift away. The purchased top bars (at least those provided by ModernBeekeeping) have cutouts through which you can introduce a cell. The bars are close enough together you can hang a Nicot (?) cell holder by the ears. I've done it dozens of times and it works perfectly.

    However, don't buy the top bars from MB ... build your own, and simply cut opposing recesses in the two central ones. 9x21mm (if I remember correctly) timber works fine.

  3. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by fatshark View Post

    However, don't buy the top bars from MB ... build your own, and simply cut opposing recesses in the two central ones. 9x21mm (if I remember correctly) timber works fine.
    How much on earth are they charging for them????? Direct from source they are so cheap it is not even worth picking up free wood and cutting them (about 6p IIRC)....and the factory made ones are all scalloped on both sides so the frames don't need to be in a fixed position or order.

    However, much like on the Amm thread......people are not understanding so clearly that the aims of an amateur beekeeper who wants to prove he can get mini nucs through the winter, even if only once, are very different from the consideration of whether it is in fact worth doing so. Like you I cannot see why one would try very often as made up into a poly nuc they stand a far better chance AND are ready to go on the correct combs in spring.

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  5. #15
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    I am wondering if you have read Mating in Miature? The Keiler is meant to be started with a virgin and continued by cells or so Bernard taught me.

    Dear me some people are easily parted from their cash.

    PH

  6. #16
    Senior Member fatshark's Avatar
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    Yep. Got a copy here.
    Not sure what's wrong with starting them with bees and a QC. Works well. I've then got a second and - very rarely - third queen (again from cells) mated from the same box in the season. The last ones would be overwintered (or attempted).
    I've also let them raise a scrub queen just to keep the box going, then give it another QC later in the year ... probably not good practice, but it saves making them up again (which is always a pretty beastly job).
    I think these boxes are great for getting queens mated pretty quickly at the best time of the season. However, they're high maintenance. I think one of the main reasons most people don't rear queens, or are put off from doing so, is that they think grafting is difficult and then struggle with absconding/starving/robbed mini-nucs.

  7. #17
    Senior Member Jon's Avatar
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    I start off a mini nuc with a virgin queen but once she has mated and it has brood you want easy access to insert a queen cell after removal of the queen. In an ideal world I remove a mated queen and put a ripe queen cell straight in. 'Mating in Miniature' is an interesting read but is pretty dated stuff and recommends starting fresh each time. There is a big focus on a single frame mating nuc with glass sides.
    If you set up mini nucs for continuous production you can get 3 or occasionally 4 queens in a season - weather permitting. Overall I would average somewhere between 2 and 3 mated queens per unit.

  8. #18
    Senior Member fatshark's Avatar
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    Four is good going Jon. Never done that. The other issue with these very small boxs is that they're not ideal to check the quality of the Q.

    The single frame box in Mating in Miniature would be ideal to send to an isolated mating site where quality drones are available. I know they do this sort of thing on the continent.

  9. #19
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    The "mating in minature" by Mobus, now thats a blast from the past. I went to great bother making the little boxes as per instructions - never worked that well, just not enough bees to keep the thing going for long enough so little boxes wnet into the bin

    If you want to go down the single frame route then the EWK style nuc is the way to do it. They are regularly used in europe's mating stations. All mine are home made and very cheap to make but expensive to buy. I like them cos they are mouse resistant! - As Jon knows, i use these routinely now instead of apideas and I don't have many problems - in fact much better that apideas/min nucs cos you can look at the bees night or day through the glass/perspex without having to pull frames out and expose bees. I just fill with a cup of bees, wait an hour then pop in an incubator hatched virgin or queen cell. They are strictly queen rearing not for over wintering.
    Last edited by busybeephilip; 04-10-2017 at 12:44 PM. Reason: spelling

  10. #20
    Senior Member Mellifera Crofter's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by busybeephilip View Post
    ... If you want to go down the single frame route then the EWK style nuc is the way to do it. ...
    I Googled 'EWB nuc', and all I could find was that it stands for 'ein waben kasten' (or, a honeycomb box). What does this box look like, BBP?
    Kitta

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