The conference was Thursday evening though Sunday night. I have absorbed more information in the past few days then I have in a very long time. I have to admit that a lot of it was over my head, but I filed away as much as I possibly could. Mike Palmer and Kirk Webster both talked and demonstrated making up nucs for over wintering. I think I am going to try and make some Top Bar nucs next year (if I my hive(s) are strong enough to doso. It fit really well with Corwin Bell’s ideas of bee guardian’s and localizing your bees.
I’ve heard a few people talking about the problem with northerners ordering southern bees. They just aren’t well adapted for our winters. However, southern packages are available early in the year and kind of the only option for a lot of people. If we all made up a few nucs and over wintered them you will have bees available to help with winter losses, or to give/trade/sell to your neighbors who need bees in the spring. Now, if you are working together and trying to get a line of bees that are adapted for your region. Mike Palmer also said that his overwintered nucs build up really well in the spring and have been yielding good honey crops. Now if that doesn’t convince you, think about how much money you could save by not having to buy packages or nucs to build up your numbers or replace winter losses.
They built 4 frame nucs in one hive body with a special feeder to divide them. They put one frame of uncapped honey against the feeder, a frame of brood next to that, then a partially filled frame of brood, then a mostly empty frame of drawn comb. The idea is that the bees will eat the honey then fill that with brood. They will fill and cap the outer frames. The nucs seem to form one cluster in the center against the feeder as if they are sharing their warmth. That’s the basic idea; hopefully videos from the conference will be posted so you can hear it straight from the horse’s mouth.
If you are going to be introducing queens, it was suggested that you remove any queen cells on the frames. Otherwise make sure they have the materials to make their own queen.