Apidea or Mini-Nuc?
So I was starting to put together a shopping list for next year and was intending to have a go at this queen rearing malarky.
I was just wondering what people thought on the relative merits or otherwise of Apideas against a mini nuc like the Kieler.
I use both. Both work well although the apidea is a bit better made and you can build it up to try and overwinter bees in it although I havn't done this yet. The cheapest supplier I have found is Busybees
Do you not mean Buzzy bee shop?
I prefer the apideas to the Kielers.
I still have 4 queens in apideas, 3 doubles and a triple each with a kilo of fondant on top.
You need to get yourself at least one Apidea to marvel at the design and construction. £20 odd quid well spent.
I'm a mere beginner in the delicate art of mininuc queen raising and haven't tried the cheaper Kielers but the greater volume of bees required to stock a Kieler would be an issue if you were going to raise numbers of queens.
Noticed that Paynes have Apideas in their sale at the moment but Buzzy Bees still beat them on price I think.
Buzzy Bees have Swi-bines on offer for packs of 6. No idea what they're like but I'll bet that someone out there does.
I have two and I don't much like them.
Originally Posted by gavin
The wooden top bars get propolised really quickly compared to apideas and the feeder compartment cannot be removed if you want to expand upwards.
The apidea can be expanded with a purpose built super which costs £12 and slots on top instead of the lid.
I did rear a few queens in the swi-bines so they do work but the apidea is a much superior product.
Last edited by Jon; 31-12-2011 at 08:34 PM.
Reason: removed incorrect edit
I also have Swi-bines. They work OK but not as good construction as the Apidea. They take the same amount of bees as the Apidea. To stop the wooden frames from sticking I smear on vasaline. I agree with Jon the apidea is a much superior product and worth paying the extra.
Oh Happy New Year. May all your supers be full ones and your mini nucs have mated queens.
I'd recommend the Kieler rather than Apidea's. They are a bit bigger, but the few extra bees you need (actually, im not sure you do need more bees for the Kieler ... the ModernBeekeeping site has an excellent howto giving stocking instructions; I just use a plastic milk bottle scoop with a line at the relevant level - 250ml?) are more than offset by the ease of manipulating the frames and getting your hand in to retrieve the mated queen should you need to. They are a bit less expensive, are made of high quality poly, and there is a near full height 'super' you can add for extra space or overwintering.
I ran four Kielers this year, through two successful grafting runs. I started early, filled them, used them successfully, merged them down to two and allowed them to raise a scrub queen. Then, later in the season, I split them into four again and used them again for grafted queens. I didn't refill them. Most of the queens were used, but two left are currently in triple-height Apidea's (with the top level stuffed full of fondant) overwintering.
In fairness, I've not used Apideas. However, I've seen them used in parallel - same mating site - and see no particular benefits. The only notable difference I've seen is that two apideas were overrun with wasps late in the season, whereas my Kielers escaped attention. This might be because the colonies were stronger, but it may also be cause the entrance can be restricted very easily on the Kielers.
There is one design flaw with Kielers. The 'super' is less deep than the brood chamber. If you move frames from below into the super you have to cut them down by a centimetre or so. This is only an issue if merging colonies.
I've stocked up with more Kielers for this year and am just off to paint them!
Happy New Year
There are several design flaws in Keilers, I have 8 or so, one being that if your VQ decides to set up court in the feeder then they will stuff it with wild comb. A piece of old zinc QE does the job. Thick plastic drawing pinned on top is also a good idea - stops the lid being glued on amongst other things. And I agree with the same stocking rate.
Having been involved in our BKA Bee Improvement Group and had to bee-sit and mark two sets of mated queens through to acceptable brood in quite a large number of these last season I've sort of warmed to them. So much so I've bought ten (at £17 ) for this next year.
I'm assuming that's 10 Api's at that price? Keilers are about 2/3rd that amount.
Originally Posted by susbees
I agree with the need for a thick polythene sheet as a 'crown board' on the Keilers - I don't bother pinning it down but instead cut it slightly oversize so the lid moulds it in place. I also don't bother adding the bees through the removable floor - just lift the lid and dump them in. I've not had any significant amount of wild comb in the feed compartment ... I usually fill it with damp granulated sugar and keep it reasonably full.
Using the Keilers as double-deckers with the 'super' in place I have had comb built down from the upper storey. The way to avoid this is to place a thin sheet of clear perspex over the integral feeder; the bees still have access laterally and build to within a bee space of the 'floor'.
Can I ask Jon, please - how do you get a kilo of fondant on a triple Nuc? Have you got an empty Nuc on top? How do you stop the fondant 'dripping' into the colony?
I too have a q and colony in a triple Nuc but have just been topping up the feeder bit with fondant.