How do you install a nuc? [Archive] - Beesource Beekeeping Forums

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Da Yooper
02-06-2009, 04:24 PM
We've decided to purchase medium hive/supers 5 frame nucs with carniolan queens. I have been reading and surfing alot and have seen plenty of instructions and even videos on how to install bee packages. However, I have seen very little on how to install nucs.

I know it is probably a silly sounding question. I'm sure it is as simple as placing the frames in your hive. But I have never handled bees and am interested in details. Like.... do I smoke them, should we leave them in the nuc box for awhile close to the hives, what order do we remove the frames from the nuc....Etc.

We will be picking them up and transporting them about 7 hours. What is the best way to transport them in a minivan?

Thanks in advance for any help you can offer.

In His Peace,
Fred

Sundance
02-06-2009, 04:46 PM
I know it is probably a silly sounding question. I'm sure it is as simple as placing the frames in your hive. But I have never handled bees and am interested in details. Like.... do I smoke them, should we leave them in the nuc box for awhile close to the hives, what order do we remove the frames from the nuc....Etc.

For me I like to keep the frames in the order they were
in the Nuc. Unless they are boiling over. Then I will put
some empty comb between a couple frames of brood.



I We will be picking them up and transporting them about 7 hours. What is the best way to transport them in a minivan?

Very carefully!!!:) Seriously, strap them shut or duct tape. And
make sure the entrance is tightly screened in (I use staples)
Keep them ventilated and the van on the cool side.

My first Nuc's (15 or 20) were hauled in the back of
my Subaru Legacy wagon. Lots of buzzing!!!!

bleta12
02-06-2009, 07:15 PM
And Feed them.
Most likely you will ad 5 more frames with foundation, that is why you should feed them.


Good luck Gilman

brooksbeefarm
02-06-2009, 07:22 PM
I agree with sundance. I would have a smoker lit and handy just in case. I like to use 1 to 1 sugar syurp in a spray bottle, place your hive in the location you want it,set the nuc next to the hive,crack the lid enough to spray some syurp on the top bars,if they don't act agressive,take the lid off and transfer working slowly,starting from one side and take the frames out working to the other side of the nuc,and placing the frames in the middle of the hive.If they get a little hot you can use your smoker,but don't over do it.While taking the frames out of the nuc look for the queen and if you find her make sure you don't mash her when you put the frame she's on in the hive.After you remove all the frames from the nuc,there will be alot of bees still in the nuc,just lay the nuc on the ground in front of the hive entrance and put the lid on the hive and leave them alone for a week or ten days,then give them a look, to see if they are drawing comb and the queen is laying good. One other thing,if you are going to use med. supers for your hives make sure your nuc's are med. frames or you will have a problem. Hope this helps. Jack

Da Yooper
02-06-2009, 07:48 PM
Very carefully!!!:) Seriously, strap them shut or duct tape. And
make sure the entrance is tightly screened in (I use staples)
Keep them ventilated and the van on the cool side.


I'll bee sure to take along some straps and secure them well. I don't want my first close encounter with them to be in our van while trying to navigate Chicago traffic!!! Thanks for the advice.

Fred

BEES4U
02-06-2009, 08:00 PM
Fred,
:thumbsup:Welcome to beekeeping.
When I have to screen the entrance I use 1/8" hardware cloth.
Have a safe trip.
Ernie

Da Yooper
02-06-2009, 08:09 PM
I agree with sundance. I would have a smoker lit and handy just in case. I like to use 1 to 1 sugar syurp in a spray bottle, place your hive in the location you want it,set the nuc next to the hive,crack the lid enough to spray some syurp on the top bars,

Should I also spray some of the sugar syrup on the foundation of the 5 frames that are in the new hive? I think I read somewhere along the line that this might "encourage" them to draw comb on new foundation.


While taking the frames out of the nuc look for the queen and if you find her make sure you don't mash her when you put the frame she's on in the hive.

Do think I should leave out a new frame or two so I can place the nuc frames in spread out a little. And after the nuc frames are in I can then slowly slide them together and then add the new frames to the outside. Seems like I would have less of a chance of "rolling" the queen doing this. I don't know if this makes sense or not....


One other thing,if you are going to use med. supers for your hives make sure your nuc's are med. frames or you will have a problem. Hope this helps. Jack

I ordered our nucs from David at Long Lane Honey Farms this morning. He is building us medium size nucs.

Thanks for the detailed post Jack. This is exactly what I am looking for.

Have a great weekend.

Fred

beedeetee
02-06-2009, 08:22 PM
I don't know if these are newly made up nucs or overwintered ones. If you take the lid off and the frames will easily slide back and forth it is a newly made up nuc. If you have made up your new boxes and frames you may have noticed that there seems to be a lot of extra room for the frames. By the end of the summer you will probably be wondering how your box shrunk because your frames will barely fit.

When I open a full sized hive I normally don't take out the end frame. The second frame in is usually easier to get out. After I get the second frame out I may take the end frame out if I need the room to work. With a full hive I only find the queen on one of the end two frames maybe 5% if the time.

Now a nuc only has 5 frames so it is much more likely that she will be on any frame. I would start to work on the side with less bees. If the frames seem loose, carefully move them away from the side you are on to give you some extra room to get the end frame out.

Like the advice above I try to leave them in the same order that I found them. If you struggle to get the end frame out move the frames away from the second one in and take that one out. You may find it easier. Also I have put the nuc in the middle or on one end of the new box and haven't noticed a difference in how they progress.

brooksbeefarm
02-06-2009, 10:46 PM
Da Yooper, Yes you can spray the new foundation with the syurp,it does seem to make them go to work on it faster. Yes that's a good idea to take one or two frames out to give you more room to work. I like to know which frame the queen is on so I can feel more at ease when putting the rest of the frames in.Sounds like your thinking ahead,:thumbsup:.You'll do fine. Good luck. Jack

Sundance
02-07-2009, 08:19 AM
Pull out one of the outside frames first. With
a new Nuc one of those will likely be just
foundation or partly filled comb. Pull that
one first. Chances are good the queen will
not be on that one. But behave like she is.
Cuz she just might be........

Once you have that frame out, you can slide
the next one over a bit and lift.

Even with a new Nuc the bees will probably
have "glued" them together a bit.

Matt NY
02-07-2009, 09:12 AM
My first nuc was ordered and I did as much homework as I could. Look for the queen, etc.

The day came for installing them. The only thing that I could do was get them in as quickly and as carefully as I could, shut it up and walk away.

I stood back and thought, "what have I got myself into?"

That first experience was best described as otherworldly. I found it so bizarre and fearful all these stinging insects that I had been raised to fear were flying all around my head!

I overcame a big obstacle that day, my fear. I was able to get the job done while holding my fight or flight instinct in check. I was thrilled.

I attended a beginner class before this and the most helpful advice given was: "Don't fight, if someone took a swing at you think how would you react, bees are the same. Don't run, bees don't like that sudden movement and will respond; if you start to panic just set everything down for a minute, compose yourself and then go back."

I did take a quick break at one point. I never bothered looking for the queen.

The next time I checked them all was well with them and with me.

Good luck.

Allen Dick
02-07-2009, 10:21 AM
All good advice. To add some thoughts, keep the nuc cool and out of the sun while screened. Without knowing exactly how crowded the nuc might be, it is hard to advise, but cool is good, hot is bad.

Once home, set the nuc where you plan to install it and open the entrance. Allow the bees to fly a while. When they settle down, then they are ready to transfer. You can wait a day or two. No worries.

When ready to transfer, place the nuc and the new hive side by side, touching, with the nuc closer to you. (You are on the side, not front or back). For a beginner, the new hive should have all frames removed so there is lots of room.

If you have allowed the bees to settle, they should not be runny and you will need a minimum of smoke, if any. When smoking, waft a little smoke gently over the bees you wish to calm and watch the result. They should withdraw a bit, but not run.

The others have covered some of the details, and if the frames are loose, the job is easy. Simply lift each frame, one by one from the nuc, starting with the closest and, reach over the nuc and place each frame in the same orientation and same relative position into the brood box box. Don't worry about spacing at this point. Your goal is to reassemble the nuc in the hive exactly the way it was in the nuc box. Some suggest inserting extra frames if the nuc was crowded, but you are up north, and as a beginner, that is a bit of an advanced operation. I'd advise against for now. The bees will be fine regardless, and you won't be risking brood loss due to chilling.

When all the frames are in the new hive, then slide them together in the middle if they are not already. I'm assuming that the frames are self-spacing, but if they are not, make sure the spacing is about the same as in the nuc. If you have frame spacers in hive and not in the nuc, don't worry. The spacing is fine. If the nuc has spacers and your hive does not, just do the best you can.

When the nuc is positioned in the middle of the box and looks about the way it did in the nuc, add the outside frames and close it up. If all the frames don't fit, leave one or two out for now. Don't worry, you can adjust things later.

OK. You are done. You did not waste time looking for the queen, but maybe you got to see the brood. If you have looked at pictures of healthy brood, then you'll have an idea if you have brood in all stages, if the patterns are reasonably solid, and if all is well.

If you have a digital camera, taking pictures of the frame faces as you transfer will allow you to study the brood and see the queen later on your computer and you'll have a record if you want to ask advice, or if you think you should complain to the supplier. Having a helper take pictures of each side of the combs as you handle them is ideal, but not everyone has brave friends.

You don't need to spray with syrup, and doing so can make the job more difficult. If you notice that the frames are very light and you don't see any honey anywhere, after the hive is transferred, add a syrup feeder.

Once the bees have settled a day or two, you can go back at your leisure in an early afternoon on a nice day and do an inspection. The bees will be calm and you will have more confidence.

Da Yooper
02-07-2009, 01:08 PM
The day came for installing them. The only thing that I could do was get them in as quickly and as carefully as I could, shut it up and walk away.

Matt, Thanks for sharing your experience with me.



If you have a digital camera, taking pictures of the frame faces as you transfer will allow you to study the brood and see the queen later on your computer and you'll have a record if you want to ask advice, or if you think you should complain to the supplier. Having a helper take pictures of each side of the combs as you handle them is ideal, but not everyone has brave friends.

We're getting three hives because I'll have one, my wife will have another and my mom the third. We have a digital camera and video recorder. So with three of us involved we'll be recording the whole thing. Who knows we may win $10,000 on AFV. :D

Thank you for all the great advise.

In His Peace,
Fred

Tillie
03-15-2009, 07:31 AM
I just installed two nucs at the Blue Heron Nature Preserve in Atlanta. These are to be teaching hives for the beginners in our bee club so we are trying to document it very well.

There's a slideshow of the process on my blog, if you'd like to see pictures of what to do. We did use smoke, although I don't usually smoke the bees because the bees (due to low temperatures in Atlanta) had been in the nuc on top of the hive for five days and were not happy bees. And we were planning to put baggie feeders in the hives and wanted to be able to get the bees out of the way so as not to squash them!

Here's the link if you want pictures:

http://beekeeperlinda.blogspot.com/2009/02/blue-heron-phase-two-installation-of.html

More pictures of a different installation:

http://beekeeperlinda.blogspot.com/2008/04/how-to-install-nuc.html

Hope these help.

Linda T in Atlanta

Lauren
08-02-2010, 06:10 PM
I just recently got my very first bees in a nuc and had a friend to help me.

I was AMAZED at how gentle they were. They were busy, they were curious but they weren't aggressive or even angry! I moved slowly~ they were fine.

My beek friend was intent on finding the queen. I thought that was silly. Surely she's there. We just missed her and all I wanted was to shut them up nicely and happily and call it a successful day.

He insisted we keep looking for her once more..... while he was checking the frames, I looked into the bottom of the nuc and found her :eek: huddled in the corner surrounded by attendants! My friend scooped her up and placed her quickly in the hive.

I am glad that I didn't just leave her out by the gate or thump and dump her! :rolleyes: Oh and do try to push the frames together (as they were in the nuc) . It WILL matter later!

Congrats on your new bees! Lauren

bonterra bees
08-09-2010, 05:48 PM
Congratulations on the beginning of beekeeping. I have Observation Hives. Bees are marvelous creatures. They will bring you joy, humility, entertainment, respect for their selfless society, and sometimes sorrow and a bit of anxiety when you think they have a problem and they probably donít. Bees know what is best for bees and they donít always do what we think they should do. You canít think like a Bee but you can watch them think.
I have millions of Bees and I enjoy the Colony but I find myself often focusing on the individuals, watching a new bee chew her way out of a capped cell and stumble around wiping here eyes and body and in a matter of minutes begin her selfless duty in the Colony. Watching her do all the different jobs she will have and finally watching her glide in to the entrance heavy with pollen and nectar and then deposit the pollen and pass on the nectar.
I often name the queens. One I named ďBella NovaĒ
I was installing a nuc, indeed the queen was at the bottom of the box after all the frames were in, however I was not successful at getting her into the hive, as you were, I feared the worse. Remarkably though the hive created a new queen and did well; that queen was named thusly; Bella Nova.
BEE SMART, BEE HEALTHY, and BEE HAPPY.
Mark
www.bonterrabees.com

buhbee
02-18-2011, 10:06 AM
Thanks to all who contributed to this thread. I have a nuc on order for this spring and the posts found in this thread answered the questions I had about what to do when it arrives. I appreciate the step-by-step instructions and the do's & dont's as well.

Greg

applefan
02-28-2011, 05:40 PM
Do you need to use a feeder right away after you install the nuc? For how long? What about pollen patties?

Also, I've seen mixed answers about this — after you finish transferring the frames, would shake the remaining bees out of the nuc?

Thanks :)

bonterra bees
02-28-2011, 07:55 PM
Yes use a feeder right off. 1part water to 1part sugar; boil the water then turn off the heat and stir in the sugar, stir till clear then cool. Make up at least a gallon per hive. a jar feeder slid in the front entrance is good. feed till the bloom is full on.
for fall feeding make that 1 part water to 1 3/4 part sugar.
Good Luck and congratulations.
Mark
www.bonterrabees.com
Is it really warm enough in MI to be working bees already?
We still got snow, ice and single Dididididigigigits i MMMMaine

EastSideBuzz
03-21-2011, 09:12 PM
We will be picking them up and transporting them about 7 hours. What is the best way to transport them in a minivan?

Meshed laundry bag. The kind that have vent holes in them you don't want them to get out while you are driving. Really it is scary to have to drive with the windows down. If it is dark they just crawl and that is worse.

bonterra bees
03-22-2011, 08:20 AM
To transport, I have a large, sheet bug net, for black flys and so on, purchased at the local hardware or sports store cheap, throw it over the nuc or package or hive, for insurance against strays in the car.
Mark
www.bonterrabees.com

You can't think like a Bee, but you can watch them think

applefan
03-23-2011, 10:27 AM
How long will it take a new nuc to draw comb on 2 8-frame medium supers?

Vance G
03-24-2011, 06:54 PM
entirely too many variables there! The first is nucs range tremendously in strength and size. If it is a good honest five frame, it could be drawn out in a month if they have good weather, good flows or lots of feed. Just be sure you are ready because they can always surprise you to the upside and if you are not ready, they swarm and you lose you crop and maybe your colony. If they have the best of it, they can make a big crop. Depends on the year and the bees.

Lyndi
05-23-2018, 08:07 AM
Thanks for this advice. I just got my first nuk last night and excited to transfer my bees into their new home. My nuke came with a frame feeder. I do have one question if you don't mind. How long should I continue to feed my bees?

Abdul Azeem
07-10-2018, 03:18 AM
A nuc is fairly unique. It has a small number of frames (2-5, with 5 being a typical option) and these frames are placed straight into the target hive. In a five-frame configuration, three frames contain brood, of all stages, while the outer two frames normally store honey and pollen.

The package in which the frames are transported is often just a cardboard box, though purpose-built wood made nucs are generally and more robust.
Despite the fact that technically not a requirement, most nucs come with a queen. The nuc has workers and drones usually born from the queen herself. This is an important consideration since there is no need for the workers to acclimatize to her - she is their mother!

Additionally, the nuc has bees in all phases of life, such as newly laid eggs (the queen will even continue laying eggs while the nuc is being transported), larvae and pupae. The adult worker bees represent all the roles, from nurse bees, cleaners, guard bees, forager and everything in between.

little_john
08-17-2018, 04:23 AM
[...] Despite the fact that technically not a requirement, most nucs come with a queen. [...]

WHAT ?
LJ