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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    Exeter, WI
    Posts
    134

    Default Traveling with a Nuc

    So, I wanted to take my cousin a nuc for a wedding present. I live in Wi and she is in CO. Normally we take two days to drive there spending a night in Lincoln, NE. I am planning to close up a jester nuc and take it out there. I know I'll have to be sure to keep it cool so the bees don't overheat. Is there anything else I should do to ensure their safe arrival? I am thinking that they will be locked in the nuc for 2 days (36 hours), which seems like a long time. I suppose we could get an early start and try to open them in the parking lot of the hotel so they could get out and fly before dark, but that sounds like it could also cause some problems. Any advice or cautions would be most welcome. Thanks!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2015
    Location
    Jackson, Ohio (SE Ohio) USA
    Posts
    525

    Default Re: Traveling with a Nuc

    Plenty of air, have read and been told that the best place to transport a nuc is in the bed of a pickup behind the cab. That would lead me to think it's fresh air and not the recycled but cooler stuff if they're riding inside with you. You might melt but the bees would be comfy. Typical Nuc should have one or two frames of honey which is good. I'd not be shy about spraying them down with water which I suppose they ingest, but definitely use in cooling the hive. Don't know if you're buying or making a Nuc, most purchased ones are loaded down with extra bees so they'll be really crammed in there. In this area, local clubs and dealers arrange trips "down south" to bring back packages and Nucs and the driving time is probably similar. Leaving them cooped up for 36 hours shouldn't be a hardship provided they're kept cool or allowed to cool themselves.

    A little common sense and your cousin will get a really fantastic present!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Location
    Red Bud, IL, USA
    Posts
    964

    Default Re: Traveling with a Nuc

    Remembered a story I believe Kirk Webster told about driving cross country with his bees in cardboard nucs, it seems the bees chewed through the "boxes" and he decided it wasn't a good option to drive wearing a veil.

    Ventilation and moisture.
    “The single biggest problem with communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” -George Bernard Shaw

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2015
    Location
    Jackson, Ohio (SE Ohio) USA
    Posts
    525

    Default Re: Traveling with a Nuc

    For some reason this won't let me edit my previous post? Anyway, I brought home a nuc last Saturday, just put it in the back of my truck, hour drive, no problems, installed and doing great. Dug out the email with instructions: this is from Dan Williams, Williams Honey Bees who knows a lot about nucs and transporting them.

    "Bring roll of duct tape. (Always good for closing holes in case you have escapees on the way home."
    "If you are hauling these in your car, bring a light weight, old, breathable sheet. Don't worry, I have put these in the back of honda civics with zero issues."

    I think with the drive you're making, I'd put tape on the "doors" of the Jester nuc. They do have a positive closure, but Eikel's comment is valid.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    Exeter, WI
    Posts
    134

    Default Re: Traveling with a Nuc

    Thanks for the tips so far!
    Good points about making sure they're sealed extra well. Don't need any escapees while on the freeway. The jester nucs are way more secure than the cardboard ones, but still something to be aware of.

    I do make the nucs and sell them locally. I just never travel that far with them. I do tend to make them quite full so the customer gets a great product. I suppose a slightly weaker one might be better to give them a little more breathing room. They usually have a frame of honey and a frame of pollen, so If they need water, I could pull a frame of pollen and give them a frame of comb with water in it. i don't want them to get too wet, though. Usually moisture is the issue when bees are confined, ime.

    I could also put ice packs on top or on the sides to help keep them cool, but perhaps I'm overthinking this and keeping them out of the sun in the car with the AC on will be sufficient?

    Would it be better for me to put them in a full size hive with a screened bottom board? That way they would have more space and more ventilation. Takes up more space and is much less portable, but still should be easy enough.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Location
    Red Bud, IL, USA
    Posts
    964

    Default Re: Traveling with a Nuc

    A number of folks use wet sponges in their "locked down" cell builders, that might be a good opinion to check into. Since you do make woodware, might consider a screened inner cover; less weight, easier to regulate the open space, avoids condensation and less chance of debris falling out the bottom. Unless there is sufficient propolis to secure the frames, a couple of nails/screws/duct tape to help control shifting.

    More space with draw comb in a full size deep might be a good idea if you're rely packing the nuc with bees.
    “The single biggest problem with communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” -George Bernard Shaw

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Spencer, MA, USA
    Posts
    2,823

    Default Re: Traveling with a Nuc

    There is room in a Jester to put some sugar patties on top of the frames. I would put a damp one at one end of the nuc, gives them moisture and easily accessed feed. The nuc has plenty of ventilation - Jester stacks them 5 high and side by side, end to end and has few problems. You'll be fine.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    Exeter, WI
    Posts
    134

    Default Re: Traveling with a Nuc

    I was also thinking about a damp sponge. I use those in my cell builders as well. I was trying to figure out if they're going to be short on water, or struggling with humidity. I suppose a sponge with some 1:1 syrup might be appreciated as well. Or like Cam suggests, a damp patty.

    The jesters do have pretty good ventilation, so I probably am already good. I could cut an extra ventilation hole in the top (say 6" square) and cover with screen if that would be helpful. But as cam says, they'll probably be fine without all this extra worrying that I'm doing.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2015
    Location
    Jackson, Ohio (SE Ohio) USA
    Posts
    525

    Default Re: Traveling with a Nuc

    Let us know how things work out. Colorado is getting up there in elecvation, do you have to stop and let them pop their ears? :-)

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2017
    Location
    caddo parsh, louisiana (aka east texas)
    Posts
    8

    Default Re: Traveling with a Nuc

    i've only moved nucs 3 or 4 times with trips less than 45 minutes, but my best experience in the bed of a truck with a camper. I feel that I lost many bees in transport at red lights in my uncovered bed.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    Casey, Il, USA
    Posts
    4,131

    Default Re: Traveling with a Nuc

    I just throw em in the trailblazer with a screened hole on top and crank the ac drive a couple back to IL from MS about 11 hrs sprayed the screen with water whenever we stopped for gas. Being in the cool vehicle kept them quiet the whole ride home

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    Exeter, WI
    Posts
    134

    Default Re: Traveling with a Nuc

    Thanks everyone. I decided to benoverly safe and put a 5" square mesh in the top at each end of the jester nuc to ensure that have more than enough ventilation.

    Sounds like giving them some water (misted) will be a good idea. I don't feel I need to be worried about too much moisture with all the ventilation.

    We leave in the morning, wish us luck.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    Guilford, CT
    Posts
    235

    Default Re: Traveling with a Nuc

    Guess I'm late for this but in the future a mesh laundry bag from Walmart can be put around a single deep or a couple Nucs. Helps with the bees that might sneak out. Keeps everyone safe.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    DFW area, TX, USA
    Posts
    1,647

    Default Re: Traveling with a Nuc

    For 36-48 hours in a NUC, I'd think you need an air vent in each end of the box with a small, damp sponge holding a couple tablespoons of water inside. That way the bees have what they need to regulate their temperature on their own. Take it into the hotel with you. You can carry a NUC with a firewood carrier like the pic below. make sure it cannot come apart and ruin your plan. JMO

    P1030556.jpg
    ...We don't see things as they are, we see things as WE are...

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