What to Do When You Get Your Nuc

Preparation:
You will need-2 deeps with frames and foundation, 2 or 3 supers ( medium or shallow) with frames and foundation, a bottom board, inner cover and outer cover for each hive you want to start. In addition you will need a smoker, hive tool, and veil. Bee equipment can be found at Betterbee in Greenwich, NY. Also catalogs from Mann Lake, Dadants, Brushy Mountain, and Walter Kelley. All have websites. Humble Abodes makes woodenware in Maine for Down East customers.

When you receive your nuc…
Take it home and place it where you want your hive to go. Open the entrance to the cardboard nuc box. Leave it alone for a day.

After the bees have flown for a full day, you may transfer them to full size equipment (8 or 10 frame, your choice). Set the wooden hive box on its bottom board, and place them tight up against your nuc box. One by one, gently, slowly and carefully, transfer the frames to the center of your full size box, keeping them in the exact same order. Fill in the empty spaces with frames of foundation. Look in the nuc box for any extra bees. Check especially for the queen (a larger, longer bee). If she is not there you may thump the nuc box upside down on the hive body to dislodge the remaining bees, or place inner cover and outer cover on your hive body and lay the nuc box on its side on top to allow the remaining bees to slowly crawl their way to their new home. Unless you are already skilled at spotting the queen, we do not recommend searching for the queen as you transfer frames as this usually causes more disruption than it is worth.

Check your nuc every few days to a week, first for eggs, to make sure the queen is laying, and then to make sure they have room. Do not attempt to find the queen each time you open the hive, find eggs and be content that she is there and laying. As they fill the first hive body, you will need to add a second and then supers one at a time as they expand. You may need to bait them up into the second hive body with some drawn comb in the middle position, but just use comb, honey or pollen. Do not split the brood nest by moving eggs or brood up.

Foundation: We use 5.1 mm foundation. This is considered a middle size between 5.4 ‘large cell’ and 4.9 ‘small cell’. Because of this middle size you can purchase either size for your new hive. If you would like to use the standard 5.4 the bees will adjust to it easily, if you prefer to ‘regress’ them to 4.9 they have been on 5.1 for years and are ready to regress.

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