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Starting a Nuc


#1

Second year beekeeper here. I just bought the BeeThinking plans to build a top bar hive. My plan is to build it over the winter to have it ready by next spring. I already have two Langstroth hives that are doing well.

So my question is this: I want to split one of my colonies to populate my top bar hive rather than buy a package. If I split it this season, and put the split in a top bar nuc box, how much time should I account for to insure that they will be strong enough to overwinter? I don’t want to do the split too early, or worse, too late.

Oh, and would it be a good idea to attach comb foundation (thin, no wires) to a top bar or two in the nuc box to give them a head start?

Also, I live in middle Tennessee. Our winters are fairly mild. We usually get 2 or three snow days a year, rarely more than 3 or 4 inches. Our first frost is around mid October and out last is usually early to mid April.

Thank you.


#2

In doing a little research, I think I may have answered my own question.

I am going to modify a super to fit the BeeThinking milled top bars, and attach some comb foundation to them (cut to match the shape of the top bar hive). I will put this super on my current hive, and when the comb is drawn, I can transfer the top bars to the waiting Nuc box, and introduce a new queen to them.

Does this sound viable? Any suggestions?


#3

Tim,

That will work. Or you could wait until the colonies swarm and dump the swarm into your hive (that’s probably what I’d do). When you transfer combs, you can also just ensure you transfer some combs with open brood (eggs) and they’ll raise their own queen. In my experience, I’ve had better luck going this route than introducing a queen.

Matt


#4

Sounds like a good idea. Thanx!


#5

Ha! My hive swarmed this afternoon! It speed up my timeline from my plan to split them after the honey harvest.
Anyway, I came home a bit early 9after I got my wife’s phone call about the swarm). The bees were in a tree beside the hive about 12 feet up. I climbed up and dropped them into a large Rubbermaid tub, and set it slightly ajar under the tree. Once I was sure I had the queen, I took the tub to the waiting Nuc box (I had just built a few days ago) on the other side of my house. They are settling in nicely. Now I need to start building the full hive!


#6

Update: I finished my TBH about 3 weeks ago, and transferred the colony from the Nuc box. They are doing quite well! Even though we are just starting to enter the dearth time of year, they are slowly continuing to build comb. I’m still figuring out how fast I should be moving the follower board to encourage more building, but not giving them too much space. Always a learning experience!

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