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Not sure if I should call it a beehive box or a nuc...

Discussion in 'Habitat - The Beehive' started by soarwitheagles, May 7, 2016.

  1. May 7, 2016
    soarwitheagles

    soarwitheagles True BYH Addict

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    Hi again everyone!

    Soar here...

    Hmmm....where to start with the explanation...

    I will try here:

    1. A friend of ours was cutting up massive amounts of pine lumber to make thousands of beehive boxes, tops, bottoms, etc. We went to visit him. He offered us literally truck loads of left over pine lumber that he did not care to use on his premium beehive boxes...It was free so...well, we loaded it up and took it home [I find it really difficult to say no to freebies...esp. when on a tight budget].

    2. On Craigslist, we found another person offering truckloads of ripped pieces of plywood for pennies...so, yes, we loaded up. I especially went out of my way to load truckloads of the 1" plywood pieces and the 1 by 4 pine...

    3. I recently learned about the importance of building lots of nucs...so, after doing tons of reading, the adventure began this morning.

    A. The pine pieces that were already dado'd I cut to 12".
    B. The 1" plywood I cut to 9 3/4" by 20"
    C. Experimented and made some telescoping tops and some normal bottoms.
    D. Realized I can put 8 of the large frames per box, with .5 inch left over.

    I cut wood for nine of these today then began the assemble and I really feel tired, but I feel it was worth it because I think I only paid about one dollar per box.

    Now, I have some questions...

    I was thinking to just let these be extra large nucs [my understanding is most nucs are only 5 frames...]

    But I also read about how people take one box and make it into 2, 3, or 4 nucs by sectioning it off and drilling holes in four different areas of the box..

    So, I was thinking about placing a 1/4" divider wall in the middle of the boxes, drilling a bee entry hole on each side of the box, make a special top, and then I would have two nucs per box.

    Anyone know if this will work?

    Or, should I simply be content with having an 8 frame nuc?

    Thanks in advance!

    Soar

    1.JPG
     
  2. May 7, 2016
    Latestarter

    Latestarter Novice; "Practicing" Animal Husbandry Golden Herd Member

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    Ummm I don't think there's technically a "right" or "wrong" way to build a hive... I mean folks have been using hollowed out trees for centuries...Really, about the only 'critical" thing I can think of is that you don't want extra space between frames, more than needed, as the bees will make bur comb from hell to fill any available extra space.

    I suppose since the bees like to start building at the center of their space is why 5 frame nucs are most common? :idunnoI know many folks who can't lift heavy weights use 10 frame boxes cut down to 8 frame, which is an even number, so I don't see why you couldn't partition the box and make 4 frame nucs, 2 to a box... I'm gonna follow and watch what you do here and how it works for you...

    Edit to add they do make 3 frame nucs also
     
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  3. May 8, 2016
    Maggiesdad

    Maggiesdad Loving the herd life

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    Hi soar! The power of a nuc is in the fact that bees thrive in a space that they can control the heat, ventilation, and humidity. If the ambient satisfies these factors, then all size boxes will work no matter how many bees are in them. But if they only fill, say, a quarter of the space, then the colony will struggle when the ambient temperatures are unsuitable. I'm sure you've seen with the hives you've already got, that a box full of bees is the one that really thrives! So fill em with bees and be ready to give them more space in three weeks wheen the brood hatches. To me, catching their growth curve is like surfing... it's easy to wipeout or miss the wave entirely until you get the hang of it. I'm headed to Mom's this morning to try to catch another swarm... I still haven't got the hang of it!:barnie:oops:
     
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  4. May 8, 2016
    soarwitheagles

    soarwitheagles True BYH Addict

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    Thanks for sharing LS! Not much extra space, so I think this will work in that area! We don't mind lifting the 10 framer's. Not bad at all and for us it is like going to the gym.

    Maggiesdad,

    Well said and well educated with bees...I never even thought about the factors you mentioned...

    We live in Central Valley. So in winter the temps rarely go below 32f. Last year, one ten frame hive dwindled all the way down to two frames and everyone I know [including some of the top beeks in the USA] pronounced the death sentence on it. I just left it alone, thinking it was a lost cause, I even ignored the advice to put them in a small nuc...in my beginner's mind, they were already dead. But, it somehow survived the winter and bounced back this spring and is totally thriving now...so I suppose our winter ambient temps are ok...in most hives here, the queen continues to lay her eggs all winter long...

    Summer temps may be a completely different story...at times, our temps reach 110f+. May I ask for you to share your thoughts on this? Would nuc sizes play an important role during high temps?

    Thank you,

    Soar

    PS Good luck on catching those swarms! If we were neighbors, I would do my best to give you a hand!

    PSS Attached some pics of our frames we took today during inspection...

    1.JPG 2.JPG 3.JPG
     
    Last edited: May 9, 2016
  5. May 8, 2016
    Maggiesdad

    Maggiesdad Loving the herd life

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    The bees like to be able to control everything HVAC related... they cool a hot hive by bringing water to the combs and fanning it off. This is how screen bottomed hives can mess them up in heat extremes, likewise opening a hive up when the temp is near 100° or above. They lose control and the combs overheat. I found this out the hard way last summer in a topbar, 98° and broiling sun. The combs started collapsing. We typically have high humidity when the temperatures are way up to. This leads to heavy bearding when they're clearing the alleys between the cones to be able to cool it. Find out what successful beekeepers are doing in your area... shade cloth might be an option to knock out a little of the noonday sun.
     
    Last edited: May 8, 2016
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  6. May 8, 2016
    Maggiesdad

    Maggiesdad Loving the herd life

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    I caught two swarms today! The first swarm's queen got away from me right after I marked her... it didn't occur to me that she could actually FLY. :he ungrateful hussy. Then a second swarm issued and I chased them to the woods. Caught and marked this queen and kept her in the marking cup. I was able to convince her swarm to go in the box with the first. :cool:Sooo many beeses! Close to 5lb total.

    First swarm.. 20160508_094501.jpg

    Second swarm... 20160508_104158.jpg
    Second pretty lady... 20160508_105228.jpg
     
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  7. May 8, 2016
    soarwitheagles

    soarwitheagles True BYH Addict

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    One of the oldest and most experienced beeks nearby lost every one of his hives a couple of years ago. Another lost 50% this last winter...so bees in some parts of California are getting hit very, very hard.

    Last year I saw one of those collapsing combs too. It was very hot that week. Also, the frames had only a few wires...so we switched to nearly all plastic foundation...hope the plastic foundation cannot melt...

    I think one of the most successful nearby beeks is Randy Oliver [one hour]. I keep reading and rereading his articles. He is a gold mine of knowledge when it comes to raising bees, he is one of the sources for me to learn more.

    http://scientificbeekeeping.com/

    You sure are a busy person! Wow, two swarms in one day...I only experience that in my dreams!

    Keep catching more!
     
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  8. May 9, 2016
    Happy Chooks

    Happy Chooks Loving the herd life

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    I have screened bottom boards. I like them for mite checks. You really learn a lot by watching the trash come out the bottom. I usually leave the boards in most of the year, but I'm going to experiment with leaving them in during our hot spell this summer and see how the bees do. I don't get as hot as @soarwitheagles does, but we still do get a week or so of 115 in the summer.

    I gotta get set up for queen marking, haven't done that yet. I can easily spot my queens, but I want to know when they get replaced.
     
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  9. May 10, 2016
    Maggiesdad

    Maggiesdad Loving the herd life

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    Randy's page is definitely a wealth of information! I also like Michael Bush's pages, and I have The Practical Beekeeper.
     
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  10. May 10, 2016
    Maggiesdad

    Maggiesdad Loving the herd life

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    This week I have grasped two queens off the comb and marked them while I held them! :th
    The one handed queen catcher thingy works well, too.
    I hear you on the marking issue... with all the swarms, my record keeping is starting to get messy. My goal is to head into winter with all 2016 queens except for two girls from last year that I really like...
     
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