- Published on September 23, 2013
- Written by Hugh Gibson
Hello Vermont Beekeepers
I would like to share my first experience with starting my own nucs for the purpose of overwintering as replacements suggested by Mike Palmer. Mike states it is not a new concept and that it just makes common sense in many ways both economically and biologically. You know the management side of beekeeping today has become somewhat complex and unfortunate.
When I first started 30+ years ago the bees were happier if I left them alone. Today I sometimes find myself getting discouraged and questioning whether the next year may be my last. The money I have spent on 2 hives is too embarrassing to put down here. Alas, along comes something that has inspired me like the first days of bee ownership....making my own nucs!
I heard Mike speak last year and watched his lengthy videos online about making your own nucs. For Christmas I asked my wife to buy me a double nuc from our local guy Mitch Lefevre. With that in place I had a hive come through strong and began in May taking some frames with eggs, brood, bees and honey to make up 2 nucs over time. They were to raise their own queen. It was like the old days again, excitement, progress and I might actually save a buck. The nucs took off like you would not believe. Queen rearing was succesful and upon an inspection I actually saw and heard screaming during a queen fight . I use to show beekeeping videos to my students when I taught Agriculture. One scene showed a queen fight and there was screaching going on but thought that was added for enhancement. Actually it was that screaming of the queen that moved my eyes to the ongoing fight. Just pure luck and decided to let them at it. How would I know which one to keep even understanding both could go down. By July I was having to pull out beautiful frames of brood to put into my two hives to avoid the nucs from overcrowding. They were little brood factories for sure. One note though is that I got caught off guard by strengthing one of my hives too much for the room and they went into swarm mode. Just can't win sometimes. I now understand that facet. As August began the nucs were still cranking and I did not want to move any more frames to my other hives so to avoid nuc swarming I added a self divided shallow super on top of the double nuc. That is currently filled solid!
I am reviewing Mike's video one more time about winter protection and hopefully next spring I will be the happy beekeeper I once was and a package free beekeeper.
Sincerely submitted, Hugh Gibson