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New here from ohio

Hello. My husband and I are starting beekeeping actually picking up the first nuc this evening.

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I’m excited for you Beth! You’ll find plenty of support here if you have any questions as you get established :slight_smile:

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Welcome to the Flow forum. I presume that is Ohio, USA? If so, it is very late in the season to be starting. If I was selling a nucleus at this time of year in the US, I would feel compelled to offer a refund if they didn’t make it over winter. The major nectar flows are over now, and a new colony could have a difficult start. Hopefully you are getting a very strong nucleus, and you are prepared to feed them generously over winter. Please ask if there is anything specific you need to know, we all love to help. :blush:

Yes I was quite concerned about the time of year but the seller “assured me” that’s it’s a strong nuc so we LL see. I need to know when to start feeding and what the best type of feeder is. I went out this morning to let them out their is little action but I’m sure the move probly confused them. So from what I’ve gathered, I should leave the super off till spring. He said I could get fall honey but I’m not ok with doing that. So we re leaving it for them.

So you have a brood box with 8 or 10 frames in it? Five from the nucleus and 3 empty ones? Or are you keeping it in a nucleus box for the winter? The reason I ask is because if they don’t start using the extra space right away, you may want to buy some “follower” boards to reduce the space inside the hive. Take out the unused frames and push the follower board adjacent to the populated frames. That will make the space that they are using restricted, which will be easier for them to keep warm over winter.

For feeding, I think it is too late now to use syrup. Once the night time temperatures drop regularly below about 55F, bees tend not to take syrup as they can’t process it properly without chilling the hive further. You need to consider fondant (candy) or solid white granulated sugar. Sugar is the cheapest and arguably safest option. Making your own fondant requires careful temperature monitoring so that you don’t create toxic (to bees) caramelization from HMF formation in the mixture.

Do not feed them any patties with large amounts of pollen (or pollen substitute) in it at this time of year. Pollen stimulates brood production, and if they don’t have one two deeps of stores in your climate, the whole colony may starve. This is one option:
https://www.dadant.com/catalog/bee-feed/m0016010phw-ap23-winter-patties

One other thing when you put feed on, please reduce the hive entrance to one or two inches. Even better, put a mouse guard on the entrance - rodents love nice warm hives for the winter, and they can do a lot of damage to your colony. This one should work for an 8 frame Flow hive:

I am not trying to scare you with all of this, just trying to give you the best chance for your colony. I am actually pretty upset with the guy who sold you a nucleus at this time of year. For a new beekeeper it is a tough challenge, and in my opinion, it was ruthless and unprofessional of him to do that.

We will do our best to help you succeed and support you. :blush:

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Thank you so much! I don’t normally bad mouth people but he was paid for the bees a month ago and kept them until last night. The deal was pretty rotten. I guess we have 6 frames with brood 1 with honey and some pollen. Ok so the sugar cakes I’ve seen will be ok. That’s what I was thinking. Yes I will be keeping them in the nuc box for winter. The less space the better the chance of survival. I will definitely be looking into those divider boards. The links really help! I do alot of Amazon. So glad I ran into this forum! Thanks again!

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That sounds like an 8 frame hive. Not really a nucleus by standard measures, as they are usually 3, 4 or 5 frames. With 8 frames, you have a chance to overwinter successfully. All of my other comments are still relevant - feed, reduce the entrance, use a mouse guard etc. You may also need to treat for Varroa, unless he has done so already.

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He’s done that already. I feel a little better about it now. Thank you for all your help! Hopefully we will come through winter ok. Do I need a candy board for the sugar cake and how does that fit on the nuc box?

It depends on what product you are using. If you using a “squishy” fondant, you can just put it on the top bars of the hive box and squish it down under the inner cover. If they are rigid sugar cakes, you will need a candy board of the right size for the hive box you are using. :wink:

Okidokie I’m on it! Look out bee world here I come!

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Hey @Beth_Stevenson welcome and I like your can-do attitude :sunglasses::raised_hands: I echo all of Dawn’s points, especially the part about the flaky supplier plunking down a very small colony at the edge of winter and giving you no tips. I think you can give your bees a very decent chance tho, and I’m rooting for you.

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Thanks so much Eva! I love a good challenge!

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Welcome to the forum Beth.
Shame nuc colonys here don’t come with 8 frames. :grin:
Have you got your Varroa strategies?

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I want to go all natural for the mite issue if possible. I’m not big on chemicals. Not sure what natural treatment to use. There is so much information out there on beekeeping it can be overwhelming. Any and all suggestions are very appreciated!

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Treat.
Seriously, if you really want to go treatment free, treat and learn bees first then decide.:wink:

I didnt mean I dont want to treat for them. I want to use natural products to treat for them.

Great. :+1:
Have a search on the forum for Oxalic acid, it seems to be the most popular. I’m sure some of your country folk will chime in with advice.

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Skegs is right - you do still have time to do an oxalic acid vapor treatment on them. It would be good to also ask the flako if he has done anything for varroa and what, just so you have an idea.

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Here’s a great post about why & how it’s done

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I agree with @skeggley, oxalic acid is an organic acid which is extremely effective for controlling varroa. If you want to use it vaporized, you will need to buy a vaporizer (the Varrox type is on sale at Mann Lake right now), a 12V DC electrical source and a tub of Savogran Wood Bleach (99% pure oxalic acid from Home Depot). If the beekeeper has already treated properly, you should not need to repeat it until about March. Although the vaporizer is a bit expensive, each subsequent treatment only costs pennies, as oxalic acid is very cheap.

Other organic treatments include formic acid strips (called MAQS) and thymol. Formic acid kills around 10% of queens and has to be applied under closely monitored weather conditions. I don’t like it. Thymol is not very effective, so I don’t use that either. There is also a treatment called Hopguard, made from hops, but it is even less effective than thymol. There is a lot of research out there, by people like Randy Oliver and the Bee Informed Partnership. Both have web sites where you can access the information for free.

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