Monday, February 18, 2008

Building Up an Overwintered Nuc, Part 1

I had a colony last summer which had a single deep and a shallow super for the brood nest. I wanted to take the shallow away from the colony ans replace it with the deep that was over the shallow. Since the shallow had brood in it, the top deep was full of honey, and I had a few queens on hand the time was right for making a nuc. I took eight frames from the shallow and made a two story four frame nucleus colony. I did not do anything else for this nuc for the rest of the year and it has overwintered just fine and now is the time to start giving it extra room for the spring build up.
I put a double inside feeder on the nuc a week before I went back to give it extra room.
Last Sunday, 2/17/08, I went back to add a pollen patty, a deep nuc box with four frames of honey and pollen, and to refill the feeders. Pictured below is my daughter, Mindi, who was brave enough to remove the outer lid and inner cover for me.

When she took of the lid she told me that one of the inverted jars were empty. So she reached in pulled it out.

She then took the other jar, empty deep nuc box, and the double inside feeder off of the nuc.

After we got down to the brood area I went over to take a look while Flower came over to paw around on Mindi's leg and seemed jealous that the bees were getting her attention.

After looking at a few frames I found some eggs and some larvae so I put the frames back into the nuc box and added a pollen patty. Putting the syrup on the nuc a week earlier got the queen to start laying.

After adding the patty I added the deep nuc box with four frames of honey and pollen. The frame below is a good example of a honey dome. At the lower center the cells are empty, around that is some pollen, or bee bread, then a band of honey. This little nuc got lucky I had a dead out or it would not have gotten drawn comb with honey and bee bread. For a closer look at the frame click on the picture.

Then we put the inside double feeder on the top bars of the deep frames.

With the double inside feeder in place, Mindi put the inverted feeder jars into it. I'd like to see the queen move up to the deep frames to lay her brood. Since the bees were never given any additional space last summer they built a lot burr comb. If the queen moves up and lays in the deep frames I won't have to worry about damaging the brood in the shallow frames when I move the nuc into full sized boxes. With the feeders on top of the frames the bees will probably move up closer to the syrup.

Then she put the empty deep nuc, inner cover, and outer cover back onto the nuc. She's quite brave around bees being only ten years old.

I'll continue to give this nuc more room as it needs it. Hopefully in the next few months we will see this nuc become a nice productive colony as it grows in population and size. Thanks for reading this post and be sure to follow this small overwintered nuc during its journey through the upcoming year.

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