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Thread: Nuc as a cell raiser question

  1. #1

    Default Nuc as a cell raiser question

    Hi,

    This is my 2nd year trying grafting and I'm confident of a good year because my technique has improved greatly - I think.

    I've been using my full hives to raise queens and this season I'd much rather use the the eight overwintered nucs I have, which are on double boxes.

    I'm hoping less fiddling with the full hives will deliver more honey.

    My plan on the nuc is to use one as a cell builder. My plan is:

    1. separate the double brood box nuc with a queen excluder.
    2. Move all the sealed brood to the top box and maybe add a few frames more so I can get four or five sealed frames.
    3. Wait for them to emerge.
    4. Remove the queen and any open broad.
    5. Shake some extra bees into the queenless nuc.

    That should give me a big nuc, full of nurse bees and no broad.

    My question is - if I have the equipment of six national frames of bees how many grafts could I put in for optimal results.

    I only need twenty queens and do this more because it's fun - I'm just not sure if I'll get poorer results if I put 20 grafts in (my max) than if I just do 10.

    Any advice to this novice queen rearer would be welcome.

  2. #2
    Senior Member prakel's Avatar
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    Hi, we only use nuc sized units for queen rearing now. We do it differently to your plan but it's the principle that matters in this instance rather than the methodology. I just find it preferable to use a handful of nucs which can be actively cell raising or resting, depending on what's needed rather than one or two big units. Personal choice.

    I'd personally not worry about getting the maximum take although a powerful nuc will do your twenty +/-. Looking at it from the mating end of the plan I'd aim to have maybe three or four batches of ten or so queens going through (having made maybe 14 grafts to begin); more potential drone diversity and plenty of wriggle room for getting out of problems with the weather and other general mishaps.

    Several small batches also give you a built in opportunity for culling some, this is something I now believe to be even more important than selecting the mother.

    A final advantage is that you'll be extending your practical experience of hands on queen rearing through the season, that's important because with our relatively short seasons it's hard to get hours on the clock.

  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by prakel View Post

    A final advantage is that you'll be extending your practical experience of hands on queen rearing through the season, that's important because with our relatively short seasons it's hard to get hours on the clock.
    Great point, thanks for the help.

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    If you raise 20 all at once you'll need 20 nucs to raise 20 queens..

    I only have 17 mating nucs..!:-)

    You might enjoy reading this...http://tinyurl.com/y9u6ppbt

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    Which is where mini nucs come into play.

    PH

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by Poly Hive View Post
    Which is where mini nucs come into play.

    PH
    I have 20 minu nucs. So I'm covered there. I'm starting to think I've got a poly nuc addiction

  7. #7
    Administrator gavin's Avatar
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    Hi Paul

    A few observations that may help.

    Your overwintered double nucs will grow quickly and they may need more space to keep them from swarming before you're ready. But if you get into that situation then you have a great unit for raising queen cells once you remove the queen on a frame or two. Remove their own cells in the double nuc and repeat after 5-7 days, then put in your grafts. They'll be in a great state for raising queens and can't make their own.

    One thing about your plan might be that removing the queen to a nuc with all the open brood risks taking away many of the nurse bees. They'll be on the open brood but you could shake most of them back in, leaving the stock with the queen a bit too depleted. A further thing about attempting to remove all unsealed brood is that you also risk taking away most of the pollen which is usually near the open brood. Your cell raiser needs both lots of nurse bees and lots of pollen. One more thing is that it needs to feel prosperous so either do this when there is a flow on or feed syrup before and during cell raising.

    I guess that means there are four things to get right for raising a good batch of cells:

    - lots of nurse bees
    - copious supplies of pollen (hence the discussion on pollen traps elsewhere today)
    - the colony feels prosperous (leave it its flying bees and feed if necessary)
    - no ability to make its own queens and (obviously) no queen or virgin walking about on those frames

    That last point reminds me that queen-right cell raising also works well. You could keep your two boxes together, rearrange everything with the queen below and one frame of young brood, a couple of frame of pollen and space for your frame of grafts above. Some of us do this with double polystyrene nucs and it works well. It is similar to the Ben Harden or the Wilkinson and Brown method. Then all your nurse bees remain in the hive as does the pollen - and with the queen present the unit is stable.

    http://www.dave-cushman.net/bee/benhardenmethod.html
    http://www.nationalbeeunit.com/downl...ment.cfm?id=36

    A double nuc is equal to a decent full hive (or a bit more) so 20 cells is possible but might be stretching it a bit.

  8. #8
    Senior Member prakel's Avatar
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    The following article may be of interest to the op. It was Latshaw's mention of small cell builders on beesource forum that was instrumental in my own early experiments in this direction.

    A 'Net Gain' cell building system, Beeculture, by Joe Latshaw. January 2017.
    www.beeculture.com/net-gain-cell-building-system

  9. #9

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    Thanks,

    Gavin, good tips - I'm planning my first graft early May, your point about swarming is well made. I struggled last year to keep the nucs in the box. That was one of the reasons I thought about using them for queen rearing to drain some of their brood into queen rearing process.

    I think I'll use the suggestion about just putting the queen in the nuc with some young bees and brood then chipping out the queen cells - thanks.

    Parkel, great article thank you for posting it.

  10. #10
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    Paul
    Look at using a Cloake Board. This is simply a QE between two halves of a two nuc colony . There is a removable board under the QE which enables you (if Q is in lower nuc) to make upper nuc Q- to start Q raising and remove it after 24 hours to make upper nuc Q+ (The lower nuc needs r rear entrance or have a reversed floor.
    (For FULL directions see D Cushman or even better http://theapiarist.org/cloake-board-queen-rearing/)

    I used it last year to raise queens and it is VERY simple to use,much less stressful for the bees - and more importantly - the beekeeper. (See also David Woodward's book Queen bee: Biology, Rearing and Breeding which is modern and very well written.. and he describes the method as well)

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