Russell Apiaries

Quality Bee Keeping Tools and Resources

Managing Three-way Nucs During the Off-season

 

The Three-way Mating Nuc is an easy way to produce nucs or queens without having to spend a lot of time, money, and resources to make the transition to mini nucs. Using a ten frame deep, medium, or even shallow, you can simply divide the box into three separate compartments. 

You could always just cut the groves for the division boards into all of your deeps (assuming you winter in doubles with a super above) then in early spring simply pull the top deeps and put them on threeway bottom boards and place a deep of foundation on the hives in there place... that way you simply put in the division boards, add cells to all three holes, and when you're done mating queens, you cage one from each threeway and pull the division boards to let them combine... then once they are ready to accept the queen again, release her and add a deep of foundation to the top of each one so they can build up like splits... this way you are making increases, controlling swarming, not constantly robbing brood frames, and mating queens at the same time... also, your threeways will need to be weakened every now and then while mating queens, so that gives you brood and bees to make nucs with for resale... its a simple and productive way to keep all the same equipment and mate multiple queens from each box and there is very little lumber involved (only the threeway bottoms, covers for each compartment, and division boards to make during winter)... several of my student workers use this method solely and simply sell the extra singles when they are done mating queens if they do not have space for all of the hives...  

In summer, it's the perfect time for someone to start pre-converting their deeps and cycling them onto their hives by simply transferring the frames from the deeps that are on the hives into the deeps that they have converted, then convert the empties that they take off and continue that process until they are all converted over to be dual purpose boxes... we pre drill entrances in ours and then simply plug the holes, but using bottoms like the ones you have would save them from even having to do that... all they need is the grooves cut for the division boards and they are ready to be set on hives so they can be used as soon as they are building up in spring... for areas where they may not over winter as threeway nucs, simply pulling the division boards and marrying the three nucs back into one single will work and a super of honey can be placed on top or if there is a flow after they are finished using them as mating nucs, a second deep can be added to be drawn out and give you three times the number of mating nucs as the year before... its easy, uniform and effective.
 

 

Three-way nucs in Deep, Medium, and Shallow...

 A shallow three-way that a frame had been forgotten in...